Articles Posted in Insurance Dispute

law_justice_court_judge-1024x768The legal landscape can be full of unexpected twists and turns, and one such situation arose in this perplexing lawsuit. Erika Mann’s post-Hurricane Katrina home-raising project became a legal battle when she filed a lawsuit against Tim Clark Construction LLC and their insurer, Evanston Insurance Company. As the trial court issued a judgment that seemingly favored both parties, questions arose about the validity and coherence of the ruling. Join us as we delve into the intricacies of this case and explore how an inconsistent judgment navigated its way through the appeals process.

Erika Mann hired Tim Clark Construction LLC to raise her house in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as part of Louisiana’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Evanston Insurance Company was Tim Clark’s insurer for the relevant period. Its policy included a commercial general liability form covering bodily injury and property damage. It was an occurrence policy, which required that the injuries and damage occurred during the policy period. Additionally, the insurance policy had a pre-existing endorsement, which excluded any damage or loss that began to occur from an occurrence that began before the policy period. 

The construction took a few months, after which Tim Clark Construction obtained a certification of completion and occupancy. However, elevation studies revealed that the house had not been appropriately elevated. Mann then informed Tim Clark Construction it had not properly completed the project, and the house had failed inspection.

safe_road_safety_traffic-1024x683Car accidents can be distressing, and the aftermath becomes even more complex when multiple vehicles are involved. Such was the case with Lisa Watson, Shelley Tannehill, and Melissa Smith after a three-car collision on Interstate-10 in New Orleans. Determining liability in these situations is no easy task, as demonstrated in this legal battle revolving around whether summary judgment was warranted for the dismissal of claims against the driver of the middle car. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this case and highlight the significance of seeking professional legal advice when facing similar situations.

While driving on Interstate-10 in New Orleans, Lisa Watson was followed by Shelley Tannehill and a car driven by Melissa Smith. After Watson came to a complete stop, Smith’s vehicle hit the back of Tannehill’s vehicle, which then hit Watson’s car. Watson filed a lawsuit against Smith and her insurer and Tannehill and her insurer. Watson claimed Tannehill had been following her too closely and claimed she was hit from behind after the Smith car rear-ended Tannehill when Tannehill suddenly stopped. 

Tannehill filed a summary judgment motion claiming she was completely stopped when the Smith vehicle hit her. Therefore, the only time she hit Watson’s vehicle was because the Smith vehicle hit her. Tannehill provided excerpts from depositions and the police report to support her claim. Watson argued there was a factual dispute about whether Tannehill hit her car before Smith hit Tannehill’s car. The trial court granted Tannehill’s summary judgment motion and dismissed Watson’s claims against Tannehill. Watson appealed.

oil_oil_production_oil-1024x768Can a trial court’s approval of a settlement agreement in a property contamination lawsuit be upheld without determining remediation requirements and the deposit of funds into the court registry? This question lies at the heart of the following case, which features an appeal of the trial court’s judgment approving a settlement agreement regarding property contamination caused by historic oil and gas operations. The appeal raises issues of statutory interpretation and whether the trial court erred in its application of the law. The resolution of this question has significant implications for the approval process of settlement agreements in similar cases governed by Act 312.

In this case, Certain Insurers appealed the trial court’s approval of a settlement agreement in a property contamination lawsuit. The insurers raised two issues for the court to decide: (1) whether the trial court erred by not determining whether remediation was required before approving the settlement, and (2) if remediation was necessary, whether the court erred by not ordering the deposit of funds into the court registry.

The litigation involved historic oil and gas operations in Jefferson Davis Parish, and the plaintiffs sued Riceland and BP for damages and remediation. Riceland, in turn, filed a third-party demand against Certain Insurers seeking coverage under applicable insurance policies. After years of litigation, the plaintiffs, BP, and Riceland reached a compromise to resolve all claims. The settlement agreement included provisions for remediation by state regulatory standards, and Riceland assigned its rights against Certain Insurers to the plaintiffs.

tug_boat_barge_towing-1024x681The language used in insurance policies can hold immense significance when determining the resulting coverage and payouts. In a compelling case involving three tug boats, the M/V Miss Dorothy, the M/V Angela Rae, and the M/V Freedom, an unfortunate collision prompted a dispute over insurance claims. As insurers of the Miss Dorothy sought compensation from the owners of the Angela Rae, the crux of the matter revolved around the interpretation of key terms within the insurance policies. The court’s analysis focused on the definition of “tow” and the parties’ intent, underscoring the critical role that precise language plays in insurance contracts. This case serves as a powerful reminder to both drafters and signers of insurance policies that every word holds weight and can shape the outcome of a claim.

Three tug boats, the M/V Miss Dorothy, the M/V Angela Rae, and the M/V Freedom, plied the Mississippi River with a barge boat in tow. The Angela Rae and the Freedom were positioned behind the barge, and the Miss Dorothy was positioned in front. The Angela Rae was designated as the ‘lead tug’, with the other boats acting as ‘assisting tugs.’ 

In an unfortunate turn of events, the Miss Dorothy collided with a portion of the Sunshine Bridge’s fender. The Miss Dorothy subsequently sank, resulting in a total loss of the ship and its machinery on board. In the ensuing dispute over insurance claims, the insurers of the Miss Dorothy sued the owners of the Angela Rae in its capacity as the lead tug. The two insurers of the Angela Rae, Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company (“Atlantic Specialty”) and P & I Underwriters (“P & I”), both filed motions averring the insurance responsibility to the other, claiming that the other’s policy should be paid out instead of their own. 

storm_damage_hurricane_wind-1024x768Borrowing a car from family or friends is a common occurrence. While you might think your car insurance protects you in the unfortunate event you are involved in a car accident while driving the borrowed car, it is essential to be aware of exclusions that might apply to your insurance coverage. This case involves a policy exclusion that applied to property damage caused to the borrowed car. 

Asha Sade Johnson had a car insurance policy from Geico. Johnson was involved in a car accident while driving a Jeep owned by her mother, Ruby Lee Lewis. The accident caused significant damage to her mother’s car. Lewis did not have her own collision or comprehensive coverage insurance for her car. Johnson owned a different car insured by Geico. 

Lewis filed a lawsuit against Geico seeking compensation under Johnson’s insurance policy for the damages caused to her vehicle from the accident while Johnson was driving her car. Geico filed a summary judgment motion, arguing Johnson’s policy did not include coverage for damage to property such as Lewis’ car. The trial court denied Geico’s summary judgment motion.

coins_currency_investment_insurance_0-1024x683Receiving compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy after a car accident can bring relief. However, it is essential to be aware of the potential complications if the awarded amount exceeds the other driver’s insurance policy limits. This case serves as an example of what can happen in such situations and highlights the importance of understanding the legal implications.

Claudio Larios was waiting to find a parking spot at her apartment complex in Metairie, Louisiana, with Marlon Funez riding in her passenger seat. Lindsay Vehorn was stopped behind them in her car. A truck came around the corner and tried to get in front of Vehorn and her car, apparently not seeing Larios in her car. The truck hit the back left of Larios’ car. The truck passenger was drunk. Larios could see the driver of the truck before he drove off. Larios and Funez had to receive medical treatment due to the incident. 

The day after the accident, Larios encountered the truck passenger. She gave the passenger her contact information and asked that it be passed along to the driver of the truck. Julio Martinez, whom Larios recognized as the truck driver that had hit her car, subsequently contacted her and provided her with insurance documentation. Because Larios and Funez could not locate and serve Martinez, they voluntarily dismissed the claims against Martinez and brought all claims against Imperial under Louisiana’s Direct Action Statute, La. R.S. 22:1269. At trial, the court found in favor of the plaintiffs. Larios was awarded $21,318 ($6,218 for past medical expenses and $15,100 for past pain and suffering). Funez was awarded $21,267 ($5,267 in past medical expenses in $16,000 for past pain and suffering). The court ordered Imperial to pay the amounts. Imperial appealed. 

hurricane_katrina_as_seen_0-1024x640Dealing with the elements is an inherent part of construction work. Yet, sometimes the elements get unexpectedly unruly. This is where insurance is supposed to step in and compensate for delays or damage. In the following case, however, overlapping insurance policies made determining who should step up difficult. 

Gibbs Construction, L.L.C was the general contractor for appellant National Rice Mill, L.L.C. Rice Mill hired Gibbs to renovate their new luxury apartment complex, Rice Mill Lofts. Gibbs hired Rush Masonry, Inc. as a subcontractor tasked with restoring the masonry related to the renovations. Before the renovation, Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Company issued Rush Masonry a commercial general liability policy. This policy covered the restoration from February 2011 to February 2013. On top of the CGL coverage, the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company also issued an excess liability policy to Rush Masonry during the same time period. A Zurich American Insurance Company CGL policy issued to Gibbs, the general contractor, also covered the restoration. The Zurich policy was in effect from January 2011 to January 2013. 

During the restoration, the construction site experienced three instances of water intrusion. The first occurred during a thunderstorm in July 2011, and the second happened during Tropical Storms Lee and Isaac. General contractor Gibbs filed a lawsuit against Rice Mill for failure to make payments under the general contract. Rice Mill counter-claimed against Gibbs, Rush, Zurich, and other parties. 

transport_roadworks_autobahn_837813-1024x768In the aftermath of a tragic situation, such as the death of a child, the last thing you might want to consider are insurance policies and legal requirements. However, it is essential to understand how courts determine whether an individual was covered by a specific insurance policy so that you know who might be liable for your losses. This is especially important when the accident involves a vehicle used both commercially and personally. 

Jamie and Ericka Myers found themselves in a tragic situation after Brad Welch hit and killed their six-year-old son, Tyler, as Welch was turning into his house’s driveway. The Myers filed a lawsuit against Welch, his employer, Valentine & Leblanc, and Security National Insurance. Valentine & Leblanc insured the car that hit Myers’ son, although Welch owned the vehicle personally.  

The Myers brought claims for themselves, their deceased son, and their twelve-year-old son Peyton. After a successful mediation, the court dismissed the claims against Welch, Valentine & Leblanc, and Security National Insurance. The Myers added AIG Specialty Insurance Company as a defendant as Valentine & Leblanc had a commercial umbrella liability insurance policy from them. AIG Specialty Insurance Company then filed a summary judgment motion, arguing that Welch was not in the course or scope of his employment with Valentine & Leblanc when the accident occurred and therefore was not covered by the at-issue insurance policies. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of AIG Specialty Insurance Company, holding that Welch was not an “additional insured” under the at-issue insurance policy. 

interview_paperwork_quill_law-1024x768When you sign a settlement agreement and release, it is easy to assume you waived all rights to sue over the incident that led to the agreement. However, there are certain circumstances where you should have been provided with relevant information at the time of signing. Therefore, it is crucial to understand your rights and the terms of any agreement. Consulting with a qualified attorney can ensure you are fully informed before signing.

Russell Charles was driving a vehicle while pulling a trailer on I-10 in Iberville Parish, Louisiana. A Dodge Ram truck driven by Mark Moore hit Charles from behind. Moore owned the Dodge Ram truck through his company, Moore Leasing, LLC, which State Farm insured. After the accident, Moore signed an affidavit stating that he was not working at the time of the accident and that only the State Farm insurance policy would provide coverage to Charles. In addition, Charles and his wife, Consandra, signed a release against all persons, firms, or corporations who were or might be liable for the accident in exchange for $50,000. 

Later, the Charleses filed a lawsuit against three companies owned by Moore and his wife, claiming that Moore had been working at the time of the accident, which would make the corporations vicariously liable. The company’s insurer was later added as a defendant. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Moore had not been working at the time of the accident and that the previous release prevented this lawsuit. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed Charleses’ claims, but they appealed the decision.

business_signature_contract_962358-1024x768To avoid a lengthy trial, many lawsuits will be solved through settlements. Settlements may have their requirements, like signing a release. If presented with a release make sure you read it carefully and ensure it includes limiting language if other parties may be at fault. This is a lesson learned by Raymond Cressy when he signed a release form through his power attorney, severely hurting his claims. 

In 2010, Raymond Cressy was a passenger in a 2006 Dodge Durango driven by his brother and owned by his sister, Yolanda, in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. The driver swerved to avoid a tire in the roadway when control of the vehicle was lost. The vehicle consequently entered the median and rolled several times. The accident left Raymond a quadriplegic. 

Yolanda, later in 2010, was granted power of attorney over Raymond. In late 2011, acting as Raymond’s power of attorney, Yolanda signed a document titled “Release In Full of All Claims” on Raymond’s behalf with the understanding this was to settle claims against the GEICO insurance company.

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