Justia Insurance Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Bonner v. Triple-S Vida, Inc.
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Triple-S Management Corporation and Triple-S Vida, Inc. (collectively, Triple-S) and dismissing this case brought by Dora Bonner, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Bonner's discovery-related motions and did not err in considering the evidence at the summary judgment stage.Bonner brought several claims alleging that Triple-S denied her millions of dollars of proceeds from certain certificates and devised a scheme to defraud her. After denying Bonner's motion to compel discovery and extend the discovery deadline, the district court concluded that Triple-S had established as a matter of law that the persons behind the fraudulent scheme were not related to Triple-S. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to compel and motion for consideration; and (2) properly granted summary judgment for Triple-S. View "Bonner v. Triple-S Vida, Inc." on Justia Law
Green Enterprises, LLC v. Hiscox Syndicates Limited at Lloyd’s of London
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting a motion to compel arbitration in this insurance dispute, holding that the district court correctly granted the motion to compel arbitration brought by the underwriters of Green Enterprises, LLC's insurance policy, all syndicates at Lloyd's of London (Underwriters).After a fire destroyed one of its plants, Green, a Puerto Rican recycling company, filed an insurance claim. Underwriters denied the claim, after which Green brought this lawsuit. Underwriters filed a motion to compel arbitration under an arbitration clause in the parties' contract. The district court granted the motion and dismissed Green's claims without prejudice. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court properly granted the motion to compel. View "Green Enterprises, LLC v. Hiscox Syndicates Limited at Lloyd's of London" on Justia Law
Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Andersson
The First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court ruling that Insured's claim of unfair claim settlement practices in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 176D and 93A was barred by the choice-of-law provision of the marine insurance policy he purchased from Great Lakes Insurance SE (GLI), holding that the district court erred.Insurer, the insurer of Insured's forty-seven-foot catamaran sailing vessel, brought a declaratory judgment action to determine whether the "constructive total loss" of Insured's vessel was covered under the relevant policy. Insured brought a counterclaim alleging violations of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 176D, 3(9) and ch. 93A, 9(3A). The district court ruled that pursuant to the policy's choice-of-law provision, New York law barred Insured's Massachusetts counterclaim because New York law does not provide for a chapters 176D and 93A claim. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) Insured's statutorily-based counterclaim was extra-contractual; (2) the plain language of the choice-of-law provision was not broad enough to unambiguously encompass an extra-contractual claim; and (3) any ambiguity in the policy must be construed in favor of Insured. View "Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Andersson" on Justia Law
Gottlieb v. Amica Mutual Insurance Co.
The First Circuit affirmed the judgments of the district court dismissing part of Plaintiff's putative class action for failure to state a claim and entering summary judgment disposing of the remainder of his claims, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.In his complaint, Plaintiff argued that an increased coverage limit on his house and premium violated the terms of his contract with Amica Mutual Insurance Company and that he and other Amica insureds paid too much to insure their homes. The district court dismissed the breach of contract and implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claims and then granted summary judgment for Amica on the unjust enrichment, money had and received, and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A claims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below. View "Gottlieb v. Amica Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Motorists Commercial Mutual Insurance Co. v. Hartwell
The First Circuit affirmed the conclusion of the district court conclusion that the insurance policy issued by Motorists Commercial Mutual Insurance Company to the dealership that owned a motor vehicle that killed and injured several people did cover the accident at issue in this case, holding that the district court did not err.This dispute arose from an auction at which a motor vehicle being displayed for bidding suddenly accelerated into a group of auction attendees, killing five people and injuring several more. Motorists brought this action seeking a declaration that its policies did not provide coverage for the victims' claims against the auctioneer or its employee who was behind the wheel of the vehicle when it struck the victims. The district court granted summary judgment for Motorists. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the policies at issue did not provide coverage for the accident. View "Motorists Commercial Mutual Insurance Co. v. Hartwell" on Justia Law
Lionbridge Technologies, LLC v. Valley Forge Insurance Co.
The First Circuit reversed the ruling of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of a general liability insurer (Insurer) and dismissing Insured's complaint seeking full coverage of its defense when the company faced a trade secrets lawsuit brought by a competitor, holding that Insured was entitled to summary judgment on the duty to defend.Insured brought this action after Insurer only paid for some of Insured's defense. Insurer counterclaimed seeking a declaratory judgment of absolution from policy coverage. During discovery, both parties moved to compel responses. A magistrate judge denied Insurer's request for information exchanged between Insured and its lawyers and then stayed discovery until it ruled on cross-motions for summary judgment. The district court then granted summary judgment for Insurer. The First Circuit held (1) the district court erred in granting summary judgment for Insurer, and Insured was entitled to summary judgment on the duty to defend; (2) on the reasonableness of the defense, the case is remanded for further proceedings; and (3) the district court correctly granted Insurer's motion to compel. View "Lionbridge Technologies, LLC v. Valley Forge Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Ministeri v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co.
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court in favor of an employee's widow in this insurance dispute, holding that the employee did not lose life insurance coverage under his employer's group policy after he developed a brain tumor that disrupted his usual work.Plaintiff, the employee's widow, submitted a statement to Insurer claiming approximately $1 under her late husband's life insurance policy. Insurer denied the claim. Plaintiff then sued, alleging wrongful denial of benefits under section 502(a) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(1)(B), (a)(3). The insurance company denied life insurance coverage on the grounds that the employee's coverage under the policy had lapsed. The district court granted summary judgment for Plaintiff. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) because the policy language invoked by Insurer in this case was less than clear the rule that ambiguous terms in an insurance policy should be read in favor of coverage applied; and (2) the employee was covered at the time of his demise. View "Ministeri v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Railroad Avenue Properties, LLC v. Acadia Insurance Co.
The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Acadia Insurance Company in this action brought by Railroad Avenue Properties, LLC for breach contract to recover additional insurance proceeds for property damage sustained from a fire at one of Railroad's commercial buildings, holding that there was no error.Although Acadia insured the building at issue and paid Railroad for damages arising out of the fire Railroad claimed that it was entitled to additional payment under the terms the insurance policy in the form of a depreciation holdback and code upgrade coverage. The district court granted summary judgment for Acadia. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Railroad was not entitled to relief on any of its allegations of error. View "Railroad Avenue Properties, LLC v. Acadia Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Ken’s Foods, Inc. v. Steadfast Insurance Co.
The First Circuit certified to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) a question regarding whether Massachusetts recognizes a common-law duty for insurers to cover costs incurred by an insured party to prevent imminent covered loss.Ken's Foods incurred extensive losses from an accidental discharge at one of its processing facilities caused wastewater to enter Georgia waterways. Ken's Foods filed a claim with Steadfast Insurance Company seeking clean-up expenses and business losses resulting from a "pollution event" that cause a "suspension of operations." When Steadfast refused to reimburse Ken's Foods for the cost of its prevention efforts Ken's Foods sued in Massachusetts federal court. At issue was whether Ken's Foods could recover from Steadfast the costs it incurred to avoid suspending its operations after the pollution discharge. The district court granted summary judgment for Steadfast. The First Circuit concluded that certification was necessary and certified to the SJC the issue. View "Ken's Foods, Inc. v. Steadfast Insurance Co." on Justia Law
N.R. v. Raytheon Co.
The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting Defendant's motion to dismiss as to count one of Plaintiffs' complaint and reversed the dismissal and remanded for further proceedings on counts two through four, holding that dismissal was improper as to the remaining three counts.Plaintiffs, S.R. and T.R. and their child N.R., brought this action against Raytheon Company, T.R.'s employer, after United Healthcare, which administered the company's health insurance plan, refused to pay for N.R.'s speech therapy, alleging various violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001, et seq. The district court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss in full. The First Circuit held (1) the district court properly dismissed count one of the complaint; but (2) the dismissal of Plaintiffs' remaining claims was improper. View "N.R. v. Raytheon Co." on Justia Law
Posted in: ERISA, Insurance Law, US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit