Articles Posted in Insurance Law

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Lori Greenwood was injured while working for J.J. Hooligans, LLC. Greenwood was informed that because of nonpayment, FirstComp Insurance Company (FirstComp) was not the workers’ compensation insurance carrier on the date of the accident. Greenwood filed a petition against J.J. Hooligan’s and FirstComp seeking workers’ compensation benefits. FirstComp filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it was not a proper party because it had timely notified J.J. Hooligan’s that it had terminated its insurance coverage for nonpayment of its premium and therefore did not provide workers’ compensation insurance on the date of the accident. The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court sustained the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that FirstComp failed to present sufficient competent evidence as to whether it complied with the employer notice of cancellation requirement in Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-144.03 to warrant an order of dismissal. View "Greenwood v. J.J. Hooligan’s, LLC" on Justia Law

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Lori Greenwood was injured while working for J.J. Hooligans, LLC. Greenwood was informed that because of nonpayment, FirstComp Insurance Company (FirstComp) was not the workers’ compensation insurance carrier on the date of the accident. Greenwood filed a petition against J.J. Hooligan’s and FirstComp seeking workers’ compensation benefits. FirstComp filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it was not a proper party because it had timely notified J.J. Hooligan’s that it had terminated its insurance coverage for nonpayment of its premium and therefore did not provide workers’ compensation insurance on the date of the accident. The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court sustained the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that FirstComp failed to present sufficient competent evidence as to whether it complied with the employer notice of cancellation requirement in Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-144.03 to warrant an order of dismissal. View "Greenwood v. J.J. Hooligan’s, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the dismissal of Appellant’s complaint against American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin claiming wrongful denial of coverage. American Standard denied underinsured coverage to Appellant, who was in a motorcycle-motor vehicle accident, asserting that Appellant’s motorcycle insurance policy had been canceled prior to the accident. The district court granted partial summary judgment for American Standard. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred when it found that American Standard sent a cancellation notice to Appellant by certified mail in compliance with Neb. Rev. Stat. 44-516, and therefore, American Standard was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "Barnes v. American Standard Insurance Co. of Wisconsin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s summary judgment for the County of Lancaster in this complaint filed by the City of Lincoln seeking reimbursement of expenses paid on its employee’s behalf after a deputy sheriff with the County made contact with the employee, injuring the employee’s shoulder. The district court concluded (1) the County’s procurement of liability insurance did not constitute a waiver of its sovereign immunity for claims less than the policy’s retained insurance limit; and (2) because the amount in controversy was $63,418, the County did not waive its sovereign immunity by obtaining insurance for claims exceeding $250,000. The Supreme Court affirmed for reasons different from those stated by the district court, holding (1) the County’s procurement of insurance did not constitute a waiver of immunity as to a claim arising out of a battery; and (2) therefore, the County’s policy did not cover the underlying event, and there was no waiver of immunity regardless of the retained insurance limit. View "City of Lincoln v. County of Lancaster" on Justia Law

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Rosemary Henn filed a putative class action in a federal court alleging that American Family Mutual Insurance Company wrongfully failed to compensate her and others similarly situated by depreciating labor costs in calculation of “actual cash value” for loss or damage to a building under its homeowner’s insurance policies. The federal court certified a question to the Nebraska Supreme Court asking whether an insurer, in determining the “actual cash value” of a covered loss, may depreciate the cost of labor when the policy does not state explicitly that labor costs will be depreciated and the terms “actual cash value” and “depreciation” are not defined in the policy. The Supreme Court answered in the affirmative, holding that the term “actual cash value” is unambiguous and that labor can be depreciated. View "Henn v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company issued a homeowner’s insurance policy to Howard Hunter that prohibited an assignment of “[a]ll rights and duties” without Farm Bureau’s consent. After a storm damaged the roof of Hunter’s home, he assigned his claim to Millard Gutter Company, the company that repaired the roof. Millard Gutter sued Farm Bureau and obtained a county court judgment. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the postloss assignment of a claim under a homeowner’s insurance policy was valid despite the nonassignment cause. View "Millard Gutter Co. v. Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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Bruce Evertson was killed in a two-vehicle accident during the course and scope of his employment. Bruce’s estate filed a wrongful death claim against the insurer of the other driver. The county court accepted a settlement in the matter and allocated the proceeds among Bruce’s widow, Darla Evertson, and adult children. Darla received workers’ compensation benefits from Travelers Indemnity Company as a result of Bruce’s death. Travelers filed a subrogation claim to Darla’s settlement proceeds. The county court ordered that Travelers was not entitled to any distribution of Darla’s proceeds and did not provide Travelers any future credit against the workers’ compensation benefits it owed Darla. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the court of appeals and remanded with directions to vacate the order of the county court, holding that the county court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear and decide the subrogation matter. View "In re Estate of Evertson" on Justia Law

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At the center of this dispute was defective rebar that was incorporated into the construction of concrete pile caps that would form support for the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Some of the pile caps had to be modified in order to provide the necessary structural support for the Arena. The general contractor paid the costs of the correction and sought reimbursement from Drake-Williams Steel, Inc. (DWS), which fabricated the rebar. DWS reimbursed the general contractor and sought coverage from its insurers. The insurers denied the claim and commenced this action to determine their obligations under the policies of insurance. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the insurers. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no coverage under the policies. View "Drake-Williams Steel, Inc. v. Continental Cas. Co." on Justia Law

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Opal Lowman was injured in an automobile accident. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company provided underinsured motorist coverage to Opal and her husband. The Lowmans sued State Farm, seeking damages. The jury returned a verdict for the Lowmans in the amount of $0. The Lowmans filed a motion for a new trial, which was overruled. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err when it entered judgment on the jury’s verdict where the jury awarded the Lowmans no money damages; and (2) the district court did not err in denying the Lowmans’ motion for new trial. View "Lowman v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Rent-A-Roofer, Inc. (Appellant) settled a lawsuit filed by the National Research Corporation (NRC) without notifying its insurer, Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company (the Insurer), of the lawsuit. Appellant later notified the Insurer of its involvement in litigation and made a demand under Appellant’s policy with the Insurer. The Insurer declined coverage on the grounds that Appellant breached the policy’s notice provision and the voluntary payments provision. Appellant subsequently brought this action against the Insurer, alleging breach of contract and bad faith. The district court granted summary judgment for the Insurer. The district court first concluded that for an insurer to deny coverage based on breach of a voluntary settlement condition, the insurer must show prejudice in connection with its claim. The court then ruled that, where Appellant failed to meet both the notice and voluntary payments provisions, prejudice had been established as a matter of law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly found that the Insurer was not liable for settlement by NRC against Appellant and not liable for Appellant’s defense costs. View "Rent-A-Roofer v. Farm Bureau Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co." on Justia Law