Articles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

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The court concluded that this appeal presented an issue of first impression that the Alabama Supreme Court is best-suited to resolve. Accordingly, the court certified the following question to the Alabama Supreme Court: Is an attorney whom an insurance company hires as an attorney agent providing a "legal service" within the meaning of Ala. Code 6-5-574 when he performs a title search, forms an unwritten opinion about the status of title, and then acts on that unwritten opinion by issuing a commitment to insure or an insurance policy? View "Mississippi Valley Title Ins., et al. v. Thompson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sought to enforce against Allied a tort judgment she received against a person Allied insured. Plaintiff initially filed suit in state court and Allied removed based on diversity jurisdiction. On appeal, plaintiff contended that the district court erred in denying her motion to remand to state court. The court concluded that the district court properly denied plaintiff's motion to remand because her claim against Allied was not a direct action within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. 1332(c). The court found no error in the district court's order compelling arbitration. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Kong v. Allied Professional Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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After Charles Eugene Becker died from falling from a two-story home after the ladder he was climbing detached from the house, his estate filed a wrongful death suit. This appeal stems from plaintiff's claims against Anchorage Homes LLC, another contractor working on the home construction project. At the time, Anchorage held a commercial general liability insurance policy with Mid-Continent. The district court reasoned that the state court pleadings and the record evidence established that Becker was exempted from Anchorage's insurance policy with Mid-Continent under the policy's employee exclusion clause. The court concluded that the district court correctly concluded that Florida's law requires that the employee exclusion clause in Anchorage's insurance policy be construed as applying both to actual and statutory employees of Anchorage. Because Anchorage was the statutory employer of Becker, Team Fritz's employee, Anchorage was not entitled to indemnification under its general liability insurance policy for damages arising from Becker's death on the job. Therefore, plaintiff could not establish that Mid-Continent had a duty to indemnify Anchorage in the underlying suit in order to enforce the settlement agreement against Mid-Continent. There were no genuine issues of material fact and Mid-Continent was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court and affirmed the district court's fee and cost order. View "Stephens v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co." on Justia Law

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Interline purchased a series of commercial liability policies from Chartis. The policies contained an exclusion for violations of any statute that addresses transmitting any material or information (the "Exclusion"). Interline was sued for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 227 et seq., and Chartis denied coverage based on the Exclusion. The court affirmed the district court's grant of Chartis's motion for judgment on the pleadings where the Exclusion was no ambiguous and the Exclusion was not against public policy. View "Interline Brands, Inc., et al. v. Chartis Specialty Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Wellness filed a putative class action in state court seeking a declaration that the form language Allstate used in the class members' personal injury protection insurance policies did not clearly and unambiguously indicate that payments would be limited to the levels provided for in Fla. Stat. 627.736(5)(a). The district court subsequently granted Wellness' motion to remand, concluding that the value of the declaratory relief was too speculative for purposes of satisfying the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(2), amount-in-controversy requirement because Allstate had failed to show that declaratory judgment in this case necessarily triggered a flow of money to plaintiffs. The court concluded, however, that Allstate had carried its burden of establishing an amount in controversy that exceeded $5 million and Wellness did not provide any evidence to rebut Allstate's affidavit or controvert its calculations. Here, the amount that would be put at issue is the amount that the putative class members could be eligible to recover from Allstate in the event that they obtain declaratory relief. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "South Florida Wellness, Inc. v. Allstate Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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The Commission appealed the district court's order preliminarily enjoining him from enforcing several provisions of the Georgia Code as preempted by Section 514 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1144(a). The court found that AHIP had standing to challenge Section 4, 5, and 6 of the Insurance Delivery Enhancement Act of 2011 (IDEA), O.C.G.A. 33-24-59.5; AHIP's suit was not barred by the Tax Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. 1341; AHIP was likely to succeed on the merits of its claims where the challenged IDEA provisions were preempted by ERISA Section 514; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that AHIP met its burden to show irreparable injury and that the balance of equities weighed in favor of a preliminary injunction. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "America's Health Ins. Plan v. Hudgens" on Justia Law

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Chapter 2007-1 of the Laws of Florida made state-subsidized reinsurance available to Florida insurers at rates lower than those offered in the private market. Plaintiffs filed suit against Allstate alleging that it violated Chapter 2007-1 by failing to promptly reduce its premiums and retaining the costs savings resulting from the state's subsidy of its reinsurance. The district court dismissed the claim for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). The district court relied on several alternative grounds to reach the conclusion that plaintiffs failed to state a claim. Plaintiffs failed to clearly raise any challenge to the alternative holdings. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiffs abandoned any argument they may have had that the district court erred in its alternative holdings that each of their four claims was inadequate as a matter of Florida law independent of any issue concerning the filed rate doctrine or whether there was a private right of action for insureds against insurers who violate Chapter 2007-1. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Sapuppo, et al. v. Allstate Floridian Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, on behalf of herself and the Estate, challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment to Zenith on the Estate's breach of the insurance contract claim. After review and oral argument, the court certified questions to the Florida Supreme Court: (1) Does the estate have standing to bring its breach of contract claim against Zenith under the employer liability policy? (2) If so, does the provision in the employer liability policy which excludes from coverage "any obligation imposed by workers' compensation . . . law" operate to exclude coverage of the estate's claim against Zenith for the tort judgment? (3) If the estate's claim was not barred by the workers' compensation exclusion, does the release in the workers' compensation settlement agreement otherwise prohibit the estate's collection of the tort judgment? View "Morales v. Zenith Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Well-Come sought a judgment declaring that it was an additional insured on a commercial general liability policy and an excess/umbrella liability policy allegedly issued to Flintlock, its contractor, on the apartment building project, by ASRRG and ASIS. Several third parties have brought tort actions against Well-Come and Flintlock in New York state court to recover damages they sustained as a result of the construction of Well-Come's apartment building. The court dismissed Well-Come's claims against Flintlock as well as Flintlock's counterclaims against Well-Come. With this dismissal, the court was satisfied that it had subject matter jurisdiction over Well-Come's appeal. To the extent that Well-Come claimed that it was in fact an additional insured under a Flintlock policy issued by ASRRG, Well-Come has failed to support this claim as alleged in the complaint. The district court should have disposed of Well-Come's claim with a statement that Well-Come failed to establish that ASRRG and ASIS issued a commercial general liability policy and excess/umbrella liability policy to Flintlock, as alleged in paragraphs 6 and 7 of its complaint. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment on that ground. View "Flintlock Construction Serv., et al v. American Safety Risk Retention, et al" on Justia Law

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Allianz appealed the district court's grant of judgment in favor of plaintiff on his claim that Allianz miscalculated the monthly benefit to which he was entitled under a long-term disability insurance policy. Allianz contended that the district court improperly interpreted the offset provision of the policy. The court concluded that the policy's offset provision was not afflicted with ambiguity and the district court should not have resorted to canons of construction to determine the unwritten intent of the provision. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of Allianz. View "Duckworth v. Allianz Life Ins. Co., et al" on Justia Law