When a concrete laborer injured himself as a result of horseplay on the job, the South Dakota Department of Labor denied his claim for workers compensation. The South Dakota Supreme Court overturned their denial. Although company policy forbids horseplay, periods of idleness “were to be anticipated” and therefore the horseplay was “in the course of employment”. Read more about the ruling here:
In suit by general contractor's commercial liability carrier against carrier for subcontractor  for coverage following settlement of personal injury claim by inspector, district court  determined that responsibility for the injuries would be prorated between the two carriers.  Read the full opinion here for more information.
The questions of what separates right to privacy on electronic work devices are ever evolving. For instance, what if in the process of a legitimate work related review of a company’s mobile device you discover your employee’s personal use of the device has resulted in plan overages, can you discipline that employee? Does an employee’s communication with her attorney through a private, password protected email account on a company computer waive her right to attorney client privilege?
According to a website maintained by the claims administrator, BP has paid out around $5.3 billion dollars of the $7.8 billion dollars it expected to pay out following the 2012 settlement over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. On May 8, a U. S. Federal Appeals court granted BP the right to appeal some of those claims. Find out more here:
From Google Glasses to tattoos embedded with computer chips, wearable technology is increasing in use. In a recent survey, Strategy Meets Action found only 3% of insurers are actively using wearable technology while 22% are developing a strategy for using the technology. Uses for wearable technology include return to work issues, catastrophe claims and marketing, but all the benefits may come with a price to customer privacy.
In the fall of 2010, Dr. Scott Klingler was a tenured professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. After reading an online class chat transcript, where students spoke unkindly of him, Klingler allegedly made the following comment to a graduate assistant, “I have never shot a student and what that girl said does not bother me, but I think about it and I think about it a lot.”  He was then placed on administrative leave and ultimately his contract was not renewed. Klingler filed suit against USM, Dr. Martha Saunders (the President of USM), and Dr.
Multiple federal agencies have begun scrutinizing employee handbooks and non-disclosure agreements for language that might violate whistleblower laws. Companies with non-disclosure agreements are encouraged to seek legal advice when drafting new non-disclosure agreements and in reviewing current agreements.
Do you know what what your commercial liability insurance policy covers? Junior Flowers of Missouri Hardwood Charcoal discovered his policy only covered accidental injuries to members of the public after one of his employees was killed on the job. Because the policy did not cover employees, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled the insurance company was not required to pay a $7 million judgement in favor of the employee’s family. Read the details:
If you haven’t checked your CGL and other insurance policies for coverage of cyber attacks, now’s the time to take a look. Risk manager Timothy J. Flaherty spoke at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s annual conference in New Orleans earlier this month. In his presentation, he detailed steps companies should take to assess the risk and purchase coverage to fill any gaps in current policies. Flaherty says to expect putting together the right cyber policy to take some time. Read more about his suggestions for your cyber coverage.
There’ll be no singing in the Post Office says an appeal court in Atlanta. A customer filed suit against a postal employee who refused to grant his request to purchase a post office box because the customer was singing a disruptive song. The ruling says, “Refusing service to a disruptive customer does not violate any clearly established and obvious federal law.” Find the details here:
Sony Corp. of America recently settled a lawsuit with Zurich American Insurance Co. in which the insurance company claimed “they were not obligated to “defend and potentially indemnify” Sony from class action lawsuits, miscellaneous claims and possible investigations by state attorneys general related to the hacking attack on its networks.” Read how this settlement may affect whether or not you can expect your current policies to cover cyber attacks.
Imagine having a bird’s eye view of a disaster area just minutes or hours after the disaster occurs. Those moments when debris or other dangers prevent physical access to the site are often the most critical in terms of search and rescue and property recovery efforts. Drones offer new opportunities to assist communities and survivors in the moments they need help the most, however, current FAA policy doesn’t allow private sector use of drones for disaster recovery during these critical times.
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania recently held that specifically tailored requests to an insurer for information regarding an adjuster whose conduct was at issue in the litigation was discoverable so long as the requests were limited in scope.
We’ve regularly covered cases involving the BP Deepwater Horizon 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. All our discussions so far have focused on decisions affecting the U.S. However, Mexico has filed claims in the case as well. Specifically the Mexican states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas, and Quintana Roo filed a suit against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, and Cameron. The case was initially dismissed by the district court because the Mexican states did not hold a sufficient “proprietary interest”. The Mexican States appealed the case to the 5th Circuit Court.
Jenkins v. City of San Antonio Fire Dep't, No. 14-50483, 2015 WL 1802133 (5th Cir. Apr. 20, 2015) Randy Jenkins brought suit against the City of San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD) alleging discrimination on the basis of race and age as well as retaliation in violation of Title VII. The Fifth Circuit ultimately affirmed the District Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the SAFD on the basis that Jenkins's Complaint was untimely and failed to establish a prima facie case discrimination and retaliation.  
A recent interview with Europol director Rob Wainwright reveals banks and their employees are the main targets of hackers, not necessarily bank customers. While some recent attacks have been made public, many others have not. Unless banks improve their defenses, they run the risk of not being able to deal with future attacks.
April marks Autism Awareness month and Webb Sanders showed our support by sponsoring the Run Wild 5K, a fundraiser organized to benefit the Autism Center of North Mississippi. During the month of April, the Autism Center raised $24,000.00 with the Run Wild 5k contributing $10,000 to the final total. We are so proud to sponsor such a worthy cause.
While most small business owners worry about common claims like theft and property damage, studies have shown that the most common claims aren’t always the most expensive.
Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, however all states tend to have a similar basis for claims: If an injury is work-related, the injured party is generally entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits. But what about a heart attack? Whether a heart attack is work related is not so easy to establish. Dietary habits and physical conditions could play a role in a worker’s heart attack. However, if it is established that stress from work aggravated a worker’s conditions to trigger a heart attack, the worker may be eligible for benefits.
Usually, when a dog injures a person, that person sues the dog's owners.  Sometimes, there is a question under the policy whether the insurer for the owner is required to defend and indemnify.  There isn't much leeway in the whole process. Or so we thought. A recent decision out of North Dakota throws a wrench in the traditional dog injury case.  In Morrison v. Sioux Falls Mutual, No. 2014-2469 (So. Central Dist. Ct., N.D. Mar.