Articles Posted in Insurance Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Employers in an action brought by Employers, seeking a declaratory judgment to clarify whether Hartford had a duty to pay half of the expenses related to an underlying workers' compensation claim. The court held that Hartford's purported cancellation of an insurance policy, after a workers' compensation claim had arisen, was void under Missouri law. Furthermore, assuming that Hartford properly pleaded the affirmative defense of mutual mistake, the court held that the company failed to identify any mutual mistake during the formation of the contract. View "Employers Preferred Insurance Co. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co." on Justia Law

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American Family filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment against Vein Centers, its insured, disputing American Family's duty to defend and indemnify Vein Centers in a class action. St. Louis was the class representative in the underlying action against Vein Centers and later joined as a defendant in the declaratory judgment action. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for American Family, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that American Family satisfied its burden of establishing the minimum amount in controversy and summary judgment was proper because St. Louis Heart failed to provide any evidence that adequate notice of the policy exclusion was not provided to Vein Centers. View "American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. St. Louis Heart Center, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of Twin City's cross-motion for summary judgment, finding that Twin City did not owe Robert Mau or EWS a duty to defend under a Twin City insurance policy. Applying North Dakota law, the court held that Twin City owed no duty to defend Mau in his capacity as director and officer of MW because no claims were brought against him in that capacity and, in any event, the dual service exclusion applied. The court also held that Twin City did not owe a duty to defend EWS where the claims against it for breach of contract and fraud are based upon the Asset Purchase Agreement and liability could not have been incurred in absence of the Agreement. Furthermore, even if EWS's arguments had some validity, the contract exclusion would apply to any resulting liability. View "Mau v. Twin City Fire Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's entry of judgment for the insured in a dispute over property coverage of a building that was destroyed by fire. The court held that the district court correctly entered judgment for the insured on the bad faith claim where Met could not prove misrepresentation or deception by the insured, or any reliance thereupon by Met. The court also held that the district court properly calculated the economic damages the insured suffered as a result of Met's bad faith refusal to pay pursuant to the provisions of the improperly rescinded contract. Furthermore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding reasonable attorney fees. View "Hayes v. Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of defendant in an action brought by Lincoln Life for damages it incurred in a lawsuit brought by a policyholder who purchased a Lincoln policy through defendant. Defendant counterclaimed, seeking withheld commissions and bonuses from the sale of that policy. The court held that the district court did not err in granting Wilson summary judgment on Lincoln's claim for damages on the ground the claims were collaterally estopped by the New York judgment finding coverage under the policies; by precluding Lincoln from asserting as a defense against defendant's counterclaim for commissions that he breached his agent's contract in connection with the sale of the policies; and in granting defendant prejudgment interest on his liquidated damage claims. View "Lincoln Benefit Life v. Wilson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to plaintiffs, holding that St. Paul Insurance's policy expressly precluded indemnification of intentional criminal acts and that David Kofoed's act of evidence tampering did not fall within the malicious prosecution exception. Kofoed was criminally convicted for evidence tampering while investigating two murders and eventually charging plaintiffs with the murders. The court held that St. Paul's policy coverage was not illusory where it excluded coverage for acts with specific intent, but did not cover general intent acts; the policy did not provide some exceptions to the exclusions to cover certain intentional acts such as malicious prosecution; and Kofoed's evidence-tampering crime was analogous to civil malicious prosecution. Because plaintiffs failed to sufficiently plead the malicious prosecution cause of action in their complaints, the district court's entry of default judgment against Kofoed did not include malicious prosecution. Because Kofoed's judgment did not include malicious prosecution, plaintiffs failed in their burden to show that an exception to the insurance exclusion applied. Therefore, St. Paul had no duty to indemnify Kofoed. View "Sampson v. St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in an action filed by plaintiff, seeking additional insurance benefits for smoke and fire damage at his home. The court held that plaintiff's policy was an actual-cash-value policy, and that plaintiff was not entitled to relief on his evidentiary claim. In this case, plaintiff failed to show that the district court admonished the jury to disregard his testimony, he did not otherwise make an offer of proof as to what additional testimony he sought to provide, and he failed to provide a transcript of the final day of trial. View "Hatcher v. MDOW Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Eighth Circuit held that the district court erred in holding that the misstatement clause in the contested life insurance policy did not apply where it might (or would) reduce the benefits of an incontestable policy to zero. In this case, the policy contained a provision that the policy was incontestable after two years, as well as a provision which permitted the insurer to reduce the benefit to the amount the premium would have purchased at the insured's correct age. The court explained that it was not apparent from the language in the policy that the amount payable was limited to the benefits available under the policy the insured actually purchased if she was ineligible for it at her age. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment to Farmers, but reversed its grant of summary judgment to plaintiff, remanding for further proceedings. View "Yang v. Farmers New World Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to American Family in an action alleging breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of Minnesota's consumer fraud statutes. The court held that American Family did not breach the contract because nothing in the policy imposed on American Family a contractual obligation to make objectively reasonable or accurate replacement cost estimates; American Family did not negligently misrepresent the replacement cost of plaintiffs home where, regardless of any breach of duty, no genuine dispute existed as to justifiable reliance upon the estimates; and plaintiffs could point to any promise, misrepresentation, or false statement made by American Family, let alone one that they relied upon, justifiably or unjustifiably, in deciding to purchase or renew the policy. View "Nelson v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of a breach-of-contract action to recover unpaid insurance premiums. The court held that the administrative procedures available to the insurer were too informal to require exhaustion under then-applicable Missouri law. Therefore, Travelers had no obligation to exhaust its administrative remedies before filing its lawsuit. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Company of America v. Jet Midwest Technik" on Justia Law