Insurance

* Vicious infighting, “arm twisting,” and discord at the Supreme Court? It almost sounds like the justices are in a sorority. According to this report, there hasn’t been so much bitterness and tension at the high court in almost 70 years. [CBS News]

* The Supreme Court might have issued a ruling on the Affordable Care Act, but the battle is far from over. With a repeal vote coming this week in the House, critics are now on the offensive about interpretations of insurance subsidy provisions. [New York Times]

* Dewey have a bankruptcy filing potpourri for you! With countless objections from the U.S. Trustee and many D&L motions on tap, advisers for the failed firm may be in for a long, bumpy ride at this afternoon’s hearing before Judge Martin Glenn. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* Noting that legislators hadn’t violated the New York Open Meetings Law, an appellate court overturned a trial court decision and refused to push the Empire State’s gay marriage law back into the closet. [Bloomberg]

* Lincoln Memorial’s Duncan School of Law has again been denied ABA accreditation. Seeing as the ABA would likely accredit a shoe, maybe the administration should throw in the towel. [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* If you’re having trouble getting a job as a scientist, you might want to consider going to law school instead. Many schools have near-perfect employment rates nine months after graduation. /trolling [Washington Post]

* Footloose in NYC: a middle-aged couple was arrested for dancing on a subway platform, and now they’re suing. We shudder to think what would would have happened if the pair was drinking soda. [New York Post]

President Barack Obama now supports marriage equality. And so do many major law firms, it seems. More than 30 top firms provide the “tax offset for domestic partner health benefits” or the “tax equalization for same-sex health benefits.” (If you’re not familiar with this benefit, also known as the “gay gross-up,” see this explanation.)

Since our last discussion of which Biglaw firms offer the tax offset, a few more names have jumped on the bandwagon. Let’s find out which ones, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Firms Stand Up For Marriage Equality”

How... do you keep changing your race?

* Dewey seriously have one chairman again? Good Lord, this law firm is literally falling apart! Martin Bienenstock had “no plans to file bankruptcy” because he knew he was taking the first life raft off this sinking ship. [WSJ Law Blog]

* When Dewey WARN people? When it’s already too late. In case you missed it last night, the firm was served with its first suit following its en-masse layoffs. The more the merrier, because it’s a class action. [Bloomberg; WSJ Law Blog]

* Elizabeth Warren can’t decide whether she’s white or Native American. Apparently it depends on her geographic location, because she was white at UT Law, but a minority while at Penn Law. [Boston Globe]

* Racial profiling still ain’t easy, but Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio “will fight this to the bitter end.” The Department of Justice has filed a civil rights suit against the no-nonsense Sheriff and his department. [Associated Press]

* New Jersey Governor Chris Christie must be gearing up for his inevitable 2016 presidential run, because yesterday he vetoed an online insurance marketplace required by the Affordable Care Act. [New York Times]

* Syracuse Law recently broke ground on a $90M building that will serve as its new home. May political plagiarizers continue to grace the law school’s halls for years and years to come. [National Law Journal]

This is a case with shocking facts.

Few things fill a junior associate with more dread than a partner beginning a sentence with the following words: “There must be a case that holds….” Much of the time, there is no such case (especially when the issue concerns some annoying e-discovery dispute that no judge would ever want to write about).

But if a partner says to you, “There must be a case addressing whether an insurance company is liable for accidental death benefits when the decedent accidentally kills himself while engaged in masturbation that involves intentional self-electrocution” — well, now there’s a case that’s on all fours. With an electric cattle prod.

Keep reading, to learn about an ERISA opinion that is very… stimulating….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Self-Abuse of Discretion?
(Or: The most interesting ERISA opinion ever.)

* If Obamacare gets struck down, do you think insurance companies will allow children to remain on their parents’ plans until age 26? My Magic 8-Ball says: “Outlook not so good.” [Wall Street Journal]

* There’s no crying in baseball bankruptcy sales! Which Biglaw firms hit a home run for playing a part in the sale of the LA Dodgers? Dewey & LeBoeuf, Foley & Lardner, and Sullivan & Cromwell. [Am Law Daily]

* “Just because you wear a hoodie does not make you a hoodlum.” But a hoodie will definitely prevent you from being recognized on the House floor. Just ask Congressman Bobby Rush. [New York Post]

* Things you can’t do on an airplane? Have a mid-flight nutty. Pilot Clayton Osbon has been criminally charged for his erratic form of in-flight entertainment, and he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. [Reuters]

* Guess who’s allegedly been infringing upon a high-end fashion house’s trademarks to the tune of $124M? Gucci was in court yesterday to accuse Guess of engaging in a massive “knock off” scheme. [Bloomberg]

I wrote about these contractual issues the week before Thanksgiving. I received so many emails that I thought it best to flesh these topics out a bit more. Also, some of these headings are from the anonymous “comments” section on this site, so I can’t attribute them (and I’ve also edited them for language).

1) “Real life example: Company A hired to refurbish shipping vessel owned by Company B. Contract obligated Company B to indemnify Company A fully, worded broadly enough and specifically enough to require indemnification for Company A’s own fault. Company A sets the boat on fire through clearly negligent actions and then tries to put it out with a garden hose. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals tells Company B that yes, Company A was at fault; yes, you are out quite a bit for the value of the boat and the lost income, but you must eat it as you have to indemnify Company A for your own claim.”

Why on Earth someone would agree to indemnify a Customer for their own negligence is beyond me. I have been through this scenario many times, and I always inquire as to how I am expected to indemnify my Customer for its own negligence. In the B2B arena, indemnity should be limited (if possible) to third party claims against the potential indemnitee, at which point the indemnitor would take on the payment.

This raises another point: even if I indemnify you, who is going to defend you?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “House Rules: Insurance, LoL, and Indemnity, Redux”

So, the Customer wants you to take on unlimited liability for breach of confidentiality, indemnify (and hold harmless) for any and all bad acts of your employees, and to carry a multi-million dollar insurance policy. What do you do?

First, begin by triaging these from simplest to more complicated. During a negotiation it can be helpful to appear to “give” as much as possible up front when you’re down to a few points. This way, when the final hot button items arise, you appear reasonable.

Insurance requirements are usually no-brainers, and as long as the amounts demanded are not grotesquely high, your Risk folks will approve the proposed language with very light editing, if any. Today, it is also not unusual for the Customer to demand to be named as a payee in the event of a loss; this is often fine, and usually not an issue. More practice pointers, after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “House Rules: Insurance, LoL, Indemnity, and Other Dirty Words”

* Now that DADT has been repealed, the Ninth Circuit has tossed the Log Cabin Republicans case. How does that Paula Abdul song go? Two steps forward, two steps back? [Los Angeles Times]

* Is this a new way of protecting taxpayers? In early 2012, Bank of America is going to start charging $5 a month for debit card purchases. Thanks Dodd-Frank, thanks a lot. [Wall Street Journal]

* Bob Morse of U.S. News wants to know if the ABA will “take more steps . . . to ensure data integrity” in light of the latest admissions data scandal. Aww, you’re so cute. [ABA Journal]

* The DOJ wants Raj Rajaratnam’s medical information, but they probably don’t need it. Just pick some of the usual fat people diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure. [Bloomberg]

* If I only had a brain heart lower recidivism rate. A serial shoplifter is probably going to lose out on a heart transplant because her health insurance doesn’t cover inmates. [New York Daily News]

Hurricane Irene: She came. She saw. She blew. She sucked? In the wake of Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene, people have been expressing their displeasure with the way this natural disaster panned out. Apparently, we’re now so bitter as a society that we’re wishing greater harm upon ourselves. That’s a little sick, no?

After days of preparation, there is still a lot of damage to deal with in the aftermath of the storm. So, for all of you Irene naysayers, consider these facts. Across the Eastern Seaboard, millions of people are without power. As of this morning, at least 21 people have lost their lives. We’re looking at estimated property losses of $7 billion.

UPDATE (1:10 PM): The property losses could actually run as high as $13 billion, meaning that total economic losses could reach $14 billion to $26 billion (because “the rule of thumb is that total economic losses are equal to about twice property losses”). See this interesting post, entitled “How Irene Lived Up to the Hype,” by Nate Silver.

In the legal world, we know that it pays to be prepared, but there are some things that we just can’t work around….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Recap of Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene”

If this tiger reminds you of your pet cat, you are an idiot.

There’s a Chris Rock joke about the Siegfried & Roy tiger attack: “That tiger didn’t go crazy, that tiger went tiger.” With that in mind, I bring you this latest decision from the Tenth Circuit, via the National Law Journal:

An insurance company does not have to pay a Kansas family $100,000 for an accident in which a Siberian tiger attacked and killed their daughter during her senior photo shoot, a federal appeals court ruled this week.

On Monday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that Safeco Insurance Company of America does not have to pay damages in a wrongful death suit because the homeowners policy bought by the tiger’s owners excluded coverage for business pursuits.

I’ll admit, it took me a second to appreciate what was going on here. As it turns out, the only actor that behaved reasonably in this situation was the tiger (and the Tenth Circuit)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Tiger Goes Tiger, Insurance Company Doesn’t Have to Pay”

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