News

According to a letter from the Department of Medicaid Executive Director Dr. David Dzielak, the DOM’s difficulty “in pursuing its obligation to recoup subrogation claims,” caused the Mississippi Legislature to make changes this year in how the DOM may collect these claims. The attached letter points out some of the major changes and includes links for more information.
When the Ferraros’ filed their first claim for benefits on their flood insurance policy following Hurricane Isaac, they submitted a signed proof of loss form along with the initial adjuster's estimates for $103, 836.83. Later, a public adjuster estimated the damage at $320, 436.55. The Ferraros’ failed to file a signed proof of loss form along with this estimate for damages. The lack of this form and their failure to provide the email from their adjuster saying the form wasn’t needed resulted in a ruling for the insurance company in their suit to recover the denied claim.
Discussions on minimum wage are being held in many states and even nationally. This month Minnesota takes the top spot with the highest minimum wage in the Midwest at $9 an hour. The new wage law does allow some exceptions. For more details on those and how the Governor of Minnesota expects the increase wages to affect the state read here: http://news.findlaw.com/apnews/15ee14cb7f7e4311a738c7e334c814ef  
What exactly does a claim of “handmade” mean? When it comes to bourbon, one judge in California ruled “that 'handmade' cannot reasonably be interpreted as meaning literally by hand nor that a reasonable consumer would understand the term to mean no equipment or automated process.” Maker’s Mark, the defendant in the misleading marketing suit, promotes its Kentucky bourbon as handmade. Read more about the case here:
Drones are making the news everyday. Increased use of drones by individuals and businesses introduce increased liability and legal questions. Click below to find the Insurance Services Office’s latest drone related endorsements along with a link to a drone webinar and white paper. http://www.insurancejournal.com/blogs/academy-journal/2015/07/27/376301.htm  
According to a panel of judges for the Seventh Circuit Court, retailers whose databases have been hacked causing users credit information to be used fraudulently will have to answer for the lack of security. The court limited the plaintiff's complaints by saying federal law doesn’t recognize private information as a property right. The Insurance Journal has all the details: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/08/03/377142.htm  
Mary Alice Stennett worked for the Tupelo Public School District for 37 years. When her last position was eliminated, she applied for seven positions within the TPSD. She was not hired for any of them. The Fifth Circuit found she had met her burden of establishing a prima facie case and the district court should not have issued a summary judgement in favor of the TPSD. Find out why: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/unpub/13/13-60783.0.pdf  
Drones providing high-level pictures and videos of emergency situations may score points on YouTube, but emergency responders aren’t so excited. Claiming drones endanger lives with flyovers during situations like recent Californian forest fires, California state legislators are ready to take action. http://www.laweekly.com/news/law-would-let-authorities-take-down-drones-5823254  
When Advanced Services, Inc began demolition work for Georgia-Pacific, Advanced added Georgia-Pacific as an additional insured on their general liability policy which included an exclusion for insured vs insured lawsuits. During the time of the demolition, a fire occurred on site and damaged some leased equipment. Advanced paid for damages to the equipment company and filed for indemnity against Georgia-Pacific.
In a case of first impression, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals applied a two prong test to determine whether a business pursuits exclusion applied to preclude coverage for claims made against the general contractor/electrician of a project undertaken by the insured for the insured’s parents where a plumber was injured. The first question is does the insured regularly engage in the business as a mean of livelihood. The second question is if change to “whether” the motive of the activity was monetary gain. If both prongs are answered in the affirmative then the exclusion will apply.
Professional cheerleaders are cheering for new reasons in California. Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring professional sports teams to pay their cheerleaders at least minimum wage and provide sick leave and compensation for injuries. The bill addresses another instance of the contractor vs employee debate. http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/07/17/pro-cheerleaders-win-employee-rights-in-ca.htm
GM employees may be protected from prosecution due to loopholes and gaps in laws surrounding auto manufacturers. Although the employees saw and failed to report problems that eventually lead to a recall of 2.6 million vehicles and is linked to at least 124 deaths. The company itself is facing criminal wrongdoing charges, but isn't sure specific employees will be charged.
Contrary to the views of several federal courts, the EEOC recently issued an opinion that homosexual bias falls under the workplace rules against gender discrimination. One law professor says the opinion could protect the LGBTQ community from job discrimination. Get the details here: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/eeoc_opinion_interprets_gay_bias_as_a_form_of_sex_discrimination
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will celebrate 25 years on the Supreme Court this fall. At just 67 years old he's one of the younger Justices and has a distinctive career with SCOTUS beginning with his initial confirmation hearings. This month, The Atlantic magazine wrote a profile about the distinguished judge and his history on the bench.
Comments on social media and posing as an animal rights activist cost one SeaWorld employee his job. SeaWorld says the employee's actions didn't represent the company and has agreed to participate in an investigation into allegations one employee incited violence among peaceful protesters. Find out more here: http://news.findlaw.com/apnews/ceafa3f871ea41c7bc5074b866f65667
Do your vision problems earn you a restricted driver's license? If so, the simple mistake of leaving your glasses at home before getting behind the wheel could cost you. How much a ticket for driving without glasses when your license requires it will cost you depends on where you're driving. Get the details on some state specific laws along with the answer to what you need to do if you've had corrective eye surgery and no longer need glasses here:
Employee or contractor? For both the employer and the workers, it's an important distinction. The U.S. Department of Labor recently published a blog post detailing the six questions companies should ask before they classify a workers a contractor and not an employee. To find these questions, plus details on classifying workers, read this article. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/07/16/375401.htm#
Dan Webb and Wayne Williams, members of Webb Sanders and Williams PLLC, have been named to the 2015 MidSouth Super Lawyers Magazine. Super Lawyers combines peer nominations and third-party research to evaluate outstanding attorneys from each state. The service rates lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
We’ve covered a lot of the news following the BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast in 2010. From Florida to Texas, Gulf Coast states continue to repair their natural resources, suffer from economic losses and rebuild their fishing communities. Check out which states will be receiving a piece of the $18.7 billion dollar BP settlement, how much each state will receive and how they plan to spend the money.
Eric Joe flew his homemade drone over his family’s Walnut orchard last November. His neighbor, Brett McBay, claimed the drone was test surveillance equipment and shot it down. After attempting to negotiate a settlement in person and through e-mail, Joe took McBay to court, where McBay was ordered to pay Joe $850 for damages to the drone.

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