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The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals joined the Fourth Circuit in agreeing the “Fair Labor Standards Act preempts redundant state law tort claims for unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation when the state’s law does not provide for minimum wages and overtime compensation.” The case at hand involves 890 current and former employees of the Mississippi Department of Corrections who sued the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the State of Mississippi, the Department of Corrections Commissioner, and the Governor of
A case in the Southern District of New York may provide support of reading COVID-19 into force majeure provisions that do not expressly list “pandemic” as a basis for contract termination. In this case, Phillips Auctioneers LLC contracted with JN Contemporary to present a painting at auction in May 2020 with a guaranteed minimum of $5 million from the sale. While the contract’s force majeure did not include the word “pandemic” the court agreed that the pandemic fell under the common meaning of “natural disaster” which was included.
Nearly a year after stay-at-home orders shuttered many businesses due to COVID-19, insurance cases continue to roll through the courts. At issue in most cases is the specific language of an insured’s policy. In Ohio, three different cases each present different interpretations of the policy language.
In February 2017, Michael Harrington opened a liquor store in Harrisburg, Mississippi, using the name “Midtown Wine & Spirits.” His certificate of formation with the Mississippi Secretary of State lists the official company name as T.M.T., LLC. He registered the company’s service mark of Midtown Wine and Spirits with the Mississippi Secretary of State more than a year later in September 2018.
Robyn Turner, pharmacist-in-charge at Town Pharmacy and Gifts in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, had a contentious relationship with her employers, Tommy Turfitt and his mother Laurie, from the beginning. The difficulties came to a head five months after the pharmacy opened. Turner alleged the relief pharmacist, Jerry Segura, illegally dispensed a schedule IV medication for a patient without a prescription. She did not, however, ask Segura about the incident even after Tommy told her to.
In one of the largest publically-announced, single-plaintiff gender discrimination settlements ever, Pinterest agreed to pay Francoise Brougher $22.5 million in response to her allegations of gender discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination. Brougher rose through the ranks at the tech company to become Pinterest’s COO and helped take the company public.
Blank sections of a Liberty Mutual Insurance Policy Deductible Endorsement left three insureds and the insurance company with questions about who was responsible for the $1 million policy deductible following an automobile accident. The automobile accident in question occurred in May 2018 between an employee of Big Binder, L.L.C., and another vehicle. The employee, Raymond Goodlin was driving a tractor leased to Big Binder and was pulling a trailer owned by Darling Ingredients, Inc.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the district court that Robert Moody, Jr. was not an employee of American National Insurance Company (ANICO) when the company ended its contract with Moody Insurance Group (MIG). Moody was an employee of MIG, the company he owned, when he charged ANICO’s officers and board members with violating SEC regulations. ANICO then ended its contract with MIG. Moody filed a whistleblower complaint against ANICO.
The International Association of Arson Investigators has extended the early bird registration deadline for ITC 2021. The conference is to be held April 18-23, 2021, at Harrah's Resort Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and will adhere to the current CDC, New Jersey, and Atlantic City guidelines.
The Connecticut Supreme Court decision in Nash St. LLC v. Main Street America Assurance Company, No. SC20389 (Conn. Sept. 9, 2020) increased the pressure on insurance carriers in that state when determining whether they have a duty to defend an insured.
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.

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