News

Attorney Catherine Servati joined the North Mississippi legal community in an effort to provide legal assistance to those who may have lost access to navigate the justice system. When the funding for North Mississippi legal services was reduced, the legal community opened a clinic with the hopes of helping those who cannot help themselves. Servati, along with many other local lawyers, volunteered their time to provide aid to those in need. Find out more about the Lee County Legal Clinic.
Most cases involving vaccine allegations were fast-tracked which allowed families to receive compensation within a year or two. In the last 15 years, cases have increased substantially with only 2% being fast tracked. The Supreme Court now has an opportunity to weigh in on whether people who suffer harmful vaccine side effects should have an easier time receiving compensation.
Following allegations of fraud and underestimates of payments to Hurricane Sandy survivors, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will provide Hurricane Sandy survivors an opportunity to have claims readjusted. FEMA also says it will make “sweeping reforms” in the way they deliver the National Flood Insurance Program.
You can’t insure against everything. In Mitchell Scruggs, et al. v. Greg Bost, et al., the policyholder (Scruggs) initially told his insurance broker he wanted to be covered “in the event that anybody sues us over almost anything.” When he was sued for patent infringement, his policy denied coverage because the policy did not cover illegal behavior. Scruggs then sought to hold his broker liable for not securing coverage to protect against a patent infringement claim. The court denied his claim against his broker. Find out why.
Governor signs House Bill 346, which will allow auto insurance companies to include, and rely upon, exclusions in their auto policies. Application of exclusions to deny or limit coverage to less than the statutory minimum liability limit was questionable after the Mississippi Court of Appeals ruling in Lyons v. Direct General Ins. Co., 138 So. 2d 930 (Ct. App. Miss.
Although the agency responsible for managing the federal flood insurance program has made progress in carrying out key changes mandated by Congress, they lack the resources and data to completely implement all changes. http://bit.ly/199EvGe​   
This “expanding” scope of the “who can sue whom” may be moving into Mississippi as well.  We are defending a suit where the  plaintiff was a passenger in a car driven by her husband.  They had an accident with a truck.  Her husband died and she was injured.  She sued the truck driver and got money in the settlement in one role on behalf of the estate as a wrongful death beneficiary of her husband and for her own injuries while claiming the truck driver was the sole (read, only) cause of the wreck.
Florida insurers could be at risk for liability for payment of a plaintiff's attorney's fees based on the language in their own policy. While it still appears that the majority of Florida courts will deny direct recovery of attorney’s fee awards from insurers when the recovery is based solely upon Florida’s proposal of settlement statute, Florida insurers may still be compelled to pay because of language contained in the insurance policy itself.
Some communications are just meant to be read not heard, especially those that include emoticons. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest of Manhattan recently ruled jurors should be instructed to read Internet communications from a defendant which included the popular smiley faces. 
COME JOIN US ON MARCH 18-19, 2015 The Symposium offers participants the ability to receive up to 9 hours of continuing education credit in either property-casualty or life-health.  This year’s keynote speaker is Glenn M. Renwick, Chairman, President and CEO of Progressive Insurance. The event speakers, listed below,are outstanding :
Can franchisees be named as joint-employers in employee discrimination suits? The National Labor Relations Board has allowed a suit to go forward classifying McDonald’s as a joint-employer of its franchise locations. Read more about the NLRB’s decision: http://www.insidecounsel.com/2015/01/23/new-mcdonalds-discrimination-suit-could-show-how-f?ref=nav  
We’ve been closely following cases involving the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear an appeal by David Rainey, a former BP Plc executive named in  U.S. v. Rainey. Rainey is charged with misleading Congress over the amount of oil spilled. Reuters has the full story: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/26/us-usa-court-bp-idUSKBN0KZ1MX20150126
In M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on behalf of M&G Polymers USA in a suit brought by former employees of the company.  Retirees of M&G Polymers had sued in 2006 when they were required to contribute to their healthcare costs. The retirees claimed their union agreement guaranteed them health benefits without requiring them to contribute. Although lower courts sided with the plaintiffs, the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed.
In 2005, as Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it tore the Grand Casino barge from its moorings.  Adrift, the barge rammed into Cherri Porter’s Biloxi beachfront home. Her ensuing insurance claim was declined because her policy excluded water damage.  Porter claimed the policy does not exclude damage from “barges”.
After recent cyber-attacks, like the one in November against Sony Pictures Entertainment, President Obama is pushing for Congress to pass the stalled cyber security legislation. The President hopes to obtain bipartisan agreement with Republicans for legal protections for companies sharing threat data with the government. One of the major concerns of any bill regarding data sharing is the inappropriate monitoring of personal information.
Property/Casualty insurance executives overwhelmingly predict that 2015 will be the year of cyber insurance and merger and acquisitions growth. The Insurance Information Institute recently surveyed executives attending its annual Property and Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum. While cyber insurance did not make the 2014 list of concerns, in 2015 80% believe commercial insurers could experience major growth in cyber growth this year.
The following article was published in the Westlaw Journal on January 16, 2015.  If the United States Supreme Court grants certiorari and issues an opinion the landscape for applying Medicare repayment rules may be clarified or made more confusing.  We will keep you posted.  
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has recently addressed whether one party, subject to a forum selection clause, may have its claims severed and transferred from the claims of other parties in multi-party litigation.  In In re: Rolls Royce Corp., No.
On December 8, 2014, without comment, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari of BP’s last appeal (In other words, the Supreme Court declin

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