Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

“How Washington Made Harvey Worse”

“A federal insurance program made Harvey far more costly—and Congress could have known it was coming.” [Michael Grunwald, Politico, more] And from July, “Reforming the National Flood Insurance Program: Toward Private Flood Insurance” [Ike Brannon and Ari Blask, Cato Policy Analysis]

More: “Lack of Zoning Is Not Houston’s Problem” [Vanessa Brown Calder, Cato; Nolan Gray, CityLab]

In Philadelphia, sue thy neighbor

Dozens of Registered Community Organizations (RCOs) across Philadelphia “have to provide their own liability insurance to protect their volunteer staffers, and all it takes is one or two lawsuits for premiums to reach untenable heights.” The lawsuits are readily forthcoming since a common role of RCOs is to submit comments on land use development proposals, high-stakes issue often leading to litigation. The Bella Vista Neighbors Association, involved in a lawsuit three years ago, was set to shut down just the other day when “a Utah-based carrier specializing in tough-to-insure entities — think fireworks, helicopter bungee jumps, and trampoline companies — stepped in, finalizing a plan hours before the meeting, which coincided with the last day of the association’s coverage.” [Julia Terruso, Philadelphia Daily News]

Liability roundup

  • Entrepreneurs launch plaintiff’s insurance to cover costs of pursuing litigation, not quite same thing as the “legal expense insurance” commonly found in loser-pays jurisdictions [ABA Journal]
  • More on the class action procedure case Microsoft v. Baker, from the just-ended Supreme Court term [Federalist Society podcast with Ted Frank, earlier]
  • Why Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Supreme Court case on state court jurisdiction, “is one of the most important mass tort/product liability decisions ever” [James Beck/Drug & Device Law, earlier]
  • Sandy Hook massacre: “Newtown And Board Of Education Seek Dismissal Of Wrongful Death Lawsuit” [AP/CBS Connecticut]
  • Pennsylvania: “Evidence-Manipulation Claims Dog Asbestos Lawyer” [Lowell Neumann Nickey, Courthouse News] “California’s Latest Litigation Invitation: A Duty to Protect Against ‘Take-Home’ Exposure” [Curt Cutting, WLF]
  • It’s almost as if trial lawyers were in the driver’s seat of these ostensibly public actions: Tennessee counties’ opioids suit also seeks to strike down the state’s tort reform law [Jamie Satterfield, Knoxville News-Sentinel]

Thwarted love and insurance coverage

From the First Circuit’s opinion introducing the case of Sanders v. Phoenix Insurance Company, arising out of somewhat lurid facts touching on both insurance coverage and professional responsibility:

SELYA, Circuit Judge. This case begins with a tragic tale of unrequited love and morphs into a series of imaginative questions regarding the coverage available under a standard form homeowner’s insurance policy. But when imagination runs headlong into settled legal precedent, imagination loses. Recognizing as much, the court below dismissed the complaint. After careful consideration, we affirm.

Liability roundup

  • Recent easing of lawsuit crisis in U.S. owes much to rise of arbitration. Now organized litigation lobby is intent on taking that down, and Obama administration has helped with steps in labor law, consumer finance, and nursing-home care [James Copland, Manhattan Institute, related op-ed]
  • SCOTUS should grant certiorari to clarify lawyers’ obligation to clients in class settlement, argues Lester Brickman [amicus brief courtesy SCOTUSBlog; earlier on Blackman v. Gascho]
  • St. Louis, California, NYC asbestos litigation, south Florida and the Florida Supreme Court, and New Jersey are top five “winners” in latest annual “Judicial Hellholes” report, which also includes a focus on qui tam/whistleblower suits [American Tort Reform Association, report and executive summary]
  • Deep pocket lawsuits remain systemic problem in America for political branches to address [David Freddoso, Washington Examiner investigation]
  • Florida insurers struggle with secondhand suits under assignment of benefits doctrine [Insurance Journal]
  • Storm lawsuits in Texas: “All Hail Breaks Loose” [Mark Pulliam, City Journal]

Liability roundup

  • “Big Bucks and Local Lawyers: The Increasing Use of Contingency Fee Lawyers by Local Governments” [Michael Maddigan, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform]
  • Class actions: “The New Rule 23 Is Available for Public Comment,” comment period ends Feb. 15 [Andrew Trask]
  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association urges Supreme Court to review Third Circuit case approving liability for FAA-approved part design [AOPA, Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp.]
  • “An FCC ban on arbitration of privacy claims would be the anti-consumer-protection approach” [Geoffrey Manne & Kristian Stout, Truth on the Market]
  • Montana case could bypass Daimler limits on state-court jurisdiction in cases under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, Washington Legal Foundation urges certiorari [BNSF v. Tyrrell]
  • Insurers brace for new tilt of adverse doctrine as American Law Institute mulls Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance [Nicholas Malfitano, Legal Newsline/Forbes]

Closing costs and cartel capture

Pulling up stakes and moving is tough enough. Regulations that drive up closing costs make things worse [Naomi Schaefer Riley/New York Post, thanks for quotes]

Cato Institute Senior Fellow Walter Olson says that it’s not just the taxes that make some states more expensive than others. “States regulate real-estate transfers so as to require additional stages and the involvement of certain professionals’ services, like lawyers’, at more stages.” He says New York is “particularly bad.”

Olson notes: “The title-insurance industry is also regulated in ways that make consumers pay much more in some states, independent of any difference in underwriting risk.”

And the “high-cost methods required in some states are stoutly defended by lobbies of professionals who make a living from the expensive way of doing things.”

“When It Comes To Police Reform, Insurance Companies May Play A Role”

To what extent can insurance companies, which seek to minimize payouts for official misconduct, play a constructive role in police reform? “One of the first things I found was this pamphlet from Travelers Insurance about how to do a strip search, and I just thought people in my world have no idea that this stuff is out there and it’s really fascinating,” says University of Chicago assistant law professor John Rappaport, who “says he spent years studying police reform before it dawned on him to ask” what role insurance companies might play. After-the-fact review of use-of-force incidents and training of officers are among existing roles for some insurers. One factor, according to Joanna Schwartz of UCLA: the private companies are relatively free from “the political counterforces that could prevent the city council or mayor from pushing hard on a law enforcement agency to reform.” [NPR] Much more: Radley Balko.