Justia Insurance Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
Heiser, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, et al.
Plaintiffs, victims and victims' families and estates, filed suit against Iran and others alleging their liability for the attack on the Khobar Towers apartment complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Plaintiffs obtained a default judgment and attempted to collect. Plaintiffs had writs of attachment issued to Bank of America and Wells Fargo, seeking any asset held by the banks in which Iran had interest. The banks conceded that some accounts were potentially subject to attachment and these "uncontested accounts" were the subject of an interpleader action in the district court. The remaining "contested accounts" are the subject of this appeal. The court affirmed the order of the district court denying plaintiffs' motion for a turnover of the funds because plaintiffs could not attach the contested accounts under either section 201 of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-297, 116 Stat. 2322, 2337, or 28 U.S.C. 1610(g) without an Iranian ownership interest in the accounts and because Iran lacked an ownership interest in the accounts. View "Heiser, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, et al." on Justia Law
United Steel, et al. v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
In this case, participants in the Thunderbird Mining Company Pension Plan sought "shutdown" pension benefits. The PBGC, the government agency that administered pension termination insurance under Title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001-1461, denied the participants' request. These early retirement benefits were triggered by a permanent shutdown of a plant and were payable to plan participants who met certain age and years-of-service requirements. The court held that the agency's determination was not arbitrary or capricious where the record provided sufficient support for the agency's judgment that a permanent shutdown had not occurred before Eveleth's pension plan was terminated on July 24th, 2003. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the agency. View "United Steel, et al. v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp." on Justia Law
Pettaway v. Teachers Ins. and Annuity, et al.
After injuring her back in a car accident, plaintiff filed for and received long-term disability benefits from the insurance plan sponsored by her employer. Plaintiff brought suit pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 42 U.S. C. 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., against her employer and the administrators and underwriters of her employer-sponsored long-term benefit disability insurance policy after the claims administrator of that plan determined that she no longer qualified for benefits. At issue was whether the district court properly granted defendants' motion for summary judgment, finding no violation of law. The court held that because defendants acted reasonably, the court concluded that defendants' termination of plaintiff's benefits complied with federal law. The court found none of plaintiff's procedural claims persuasive and held that the district court did not err when it held that defendants did not violate plaintiff's right to a full and fair review of her adverse eligibility determination. The court also rejected plaintiff's argument that the district court violated local rule 7(h) where plaintiff failed to make this argument before the district court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.
Stephens, et al. v. US Airways Group, Inc., et al.
Plaintiffs, retired U.S. Airways pilots, each received pensions from the U.S. Airways pension plan (the plan) and each opted to receive his pension in a single lump sum rather than as an annuity. Plaintiffs subsequently sued U.S. Airways claiming that the plan owed them interest for its 45-day delay. The court reversed the judgment of the district court with respect to plaintiffs' actuarial equivalence claim where the amount of plaintiffs' lump sum benefit was equal to the actuarial present value of the annuity payments plaintiffs would have received under the plan's default payment option. Even so, U.S. Airway's 45-day delay in paying plaintiffs was unrelated to the calculation of plaintiffs' benefits and therefore, not reasonable under existing IRS regulations. The court remanded to the district court to calculate the appropriate amounts due to plaintiffs and affirmed the judgment of the district court that plaintiffs were not entitled to attorney's fees.
Susan Whiting v. AARP, et al
Plaintiff sued defendants, United Healthcare Insurance Company and the American Association of Retired Persons, alleging breach of contract, fraud under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act, and unjust enrichment when plaintiff had to pay nearly $40,000 in uninsured medical bills. At issue was whether the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim when plaintiff tried to recover the uninsured amount by alleging that the contract between plaintiff and defendants was ambiguous. The court held that the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's claim under Rule 12(b)(6) where the contract was not ambiguous when it included sections on what services were and were not covered and included notations limiting coverage that was directly relevant to plaintiff's circumstances.