News

When Automation Support and Humble Designs agreed to voluntarily dismiss all claims in a trade secrets theft suit, Humble reserved the right to seek attorney’s fees, which it did. Automation Support filed multiple appeals which eventually landed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court affirmed a lower court’s decision and remanded for that court to award attorney’s fees.
In October, Major League Baseball (MLB) became the first professional sports organization to sue a variety of insurers over COVID-19 claims refusal. Although the league played an abbreviated season of 60 games, it claims at least $3 billion in operating losses for its teams due to the pandemic. Insurance insiders allege paying out MLB’s claims would bankrupt the industry.
Prior to COVID-19, the insurance industry and its SIU claims teams were in the midst of a transition toward more tech-driven investigations. The 2020 pandemic fast-tracked many of those changes as investigators worked remotely more often. The industry as a whole can expect additional new technologies, especially AI-based tech, to advance in the coming year.
As the Coronavirus pandemic picked up steam in late March and April, Tyson Foods’ pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa remained open to keep America’s meat supply steady. Employees allege the meatpacking giant ordered its employees to continue working even when they exhibited symptoms of COVID-19. More than one-thousand workers contracted the virus and five died.
When PCL Civil Constructors, Inc, (PCL) alleged Command Construction Industries (Command) defaulted under the subcontract, PCL sought payment from the performance bond Arch Insurance Company (Arch) issued to Command. The case involved three connected contracts. The initial, or prime contract, existed between PCL and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. This contract included a clause specifying the forum for litigation.
Reducing insurance fraud protects both an insurer’s financial stability and their clients’ rates. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud on November 6, 2020, published this upcoming action by the National Association of Insurance Commissars (NAIC).
As employees return to work, many employers are seeking ways to protect their businesses should those employees contract COVID-19 while on the job. A few businesses have gone so far as to require their employees to sign liability waivers, others request their employees sign an agreement to follow safety rules. But are either of these agreements enforceable?
OSHA whistleblower claims have skyrocketed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March. Attorneys expect a surge in litigation due to COVID-19, but whistleblower claims represent one of the largest categories of litigation related to the pandemic. Business owners can take steps now to reduce their risk of being caught in this litigation by reviewing and implementing CDC, OSHA, and local guidance related to workplace safety practices.
While many businesses purchase insurance policies specific to their industry, most businesses will at minimum hold a commercial general liability (CGL) policy. Those policies cover general business claims including bodily injury and property damage. Below is a good reminder of what your policy’s terms mean and how Mississippi courts specifically may interpret and enforce those terms.
In October, Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association’s publication The Quarterly, recognized Webb Sanders & Williams’ member Roechelle Morgan as one of only five past female presidents of MDLA. Morgan joined MDLA in 2002 and served as Secretary-Treasurer before taking the reigns as President in 2019. The profile accurately describes Ms Morgan as a strong advocate for her clients and a loyal colleague and friend.
Basic Capital Management, Inc., et al v. Dynex Cap, No. 19-11272 (5th Cir. 2020), provides a good, clear case on judicial notice and its use at “any stage” of the proceedings. Plaintiffs in the case first brought suit in 1999 in Texas state court when Dynex Commercial, Inc., failed to fulfill an agreed-upon loan commitment. The Texas Supreme Court, in 2015, entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs for more than $55 million. In 2017, the plaintiffs brought a new lawsuit in an effort to enforce the judgment.
Over the course of fourteen months beginning in December 2016, Kellerman Jason Zheng took out at least twenty-four life insurance policies in his brother’s name with both Zheng and his parents listed as beneficiaries. His brother, however, died in April 2015 while on a trip to China. To assist with his ruse, Zheng opened and used bank accounts in his brother’s name and renewed his brother’s driver’s license.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Western District of Texas court’s dismissal of a suit for lack of personal jurisdiction over subcontractors. The business agreement between Sayers Construction and its subcontractors began well enough. The subcontractors picked up orders from Sayers’s Florida offices then performed the work on a site in Florida. Afterward, they submitted invoices to Sayers’s Texas offices, and Sayers paid within 45 days of receipt.
Perfecto Valencia sued Allstate Texas Lloyd’s, Inc for breach of contract and violations of various Texas business codes in 2017. Valencia alleged Allstate Texas Lloyd’s, Inc., issued him a homeowner’s policy for property in Houston, Texas that sustained damage in 2015, but his claims were never paid. A separate insurance company with a similar name, Allstate Texas Lloyds (without the Inc.) requested to remove the case to federal court. Allstate Texas Lloyds is located in Illinois, while Allstate Texas Lloyds, Inc., is located in Texas.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 Ole Miss Insurance Symposium has moved to a webinar format. The symposium offers 12 hours CE and CLE credits for the 2-day webinar. Webb Sanders & Williams has been a long-term supporter of the event. There's still time to register for the 2020 Ole Miss Insurance Symposium here or click here to view the great line-up of speakers.
For the second time this year, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled the arbitration agreement in an electric cooperative’s (co-op) bylaws are enforceable in disputes with customers (who become members by becoming customers) because
Although this case relies on Texas Insurance Code, it gives all businesses and insurance companies who may find themselves in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals some insight into that Court’s analysis of the specificity required in pleadings to comply with statutory requirements.
D2 Excavating, Inc., agreed to an excavation contract with Thompson Thrift Construction on a site which Thompsons claimed to require no import or export of dirt. In the contract, D2 agreed they’d visited the site and examined it to determine the appropriate amount of work required. Due to heavy rains and an eager client, D2 did not physically examine the site, but rather relied on a computer modeling program to determine how much work the site would require.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and legal career have been detailed many times since her death in mid-September. As the second-ever female Supreme Court Justice, her reputation of fighting against gender discrimination (for men and women) is well known.

Pages