Jury Permitted to Determine if Misrepresentations by Insured Were Material

In many jurisdictions, for an insurer to carry its burden of proving that coverage is void due to a material misrepresentation, the insurer must prove not only that the misrepresented fact was something that the insurer wanted to know, but that the misrepresentation affected the insurer’s investigation. In other words, that the misrepresentation was material. The question often becomes, how is materiality determined? Continue Reading

Behind Closed Doors at People’s Trust Insurance Company

Merlin Law Group has often questioned the representatives and adjusters of People’s Trust Insurance Company (“PTIC”) during depositions about what has transpired in our client’s insurance claims for damages, but it would be very interesting to see the processing of my client’s claims before Merlin Law Group was hired and understand what goes on behind closed doors. Continue Reading

Hurricane Harvey Critical Flood Deadline in One Month – Texans Have Not Been Made Aware!

Many Texans will lose their right to additional flood insurance money that they’re entitled to – this situation is urgent. The most important deadline for Texans with Hurricane Harvey flood damage is quickly approaching – it’s only one month away on the anniversary of Harvey – and Texans largely have no clue. Continue Reading

Insurance Reciprocal Exchanges and Federal Diversity Jurisdiction

Recently, a federal district court in Oregon clarified where one may sue an insurance reciprocal exchange. In the case of Staggs v. Farmers Insurance Exchange,1 the homeowners were Oregon citizens who brought suit under a homeowners’ policy issued by Farmers Insurance Exchange in a federal district court in Oregon. Farmers moves to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because there was no diversity; that although its primary place of business was California, the Staggs were Oregon citizens. Continue Reading

Federal Law Preempts State Law Claim for Attorneys’ Fees in Recent Hurricane Irma Case

Attorneys’ fees are often sought by insureds in the course of litigation for insurance claims. However, they are not guaranteed and are not always granted. In a recent ruling in Brown v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company,1 the court dismissed the insured’s claim for attorneys’ fees. Continue Reading

Man’s Best Friend—Are You Covered?

According to the 2017 statistics of the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year.1 With the United States population as of 2017 at approximately 325.8 million, that means “man’s best friend” bites 1 out of every 72 people a year.2 The CDC 2017 figures indicate that one-half of all children by the age of 12 have been bitten by a dog with 5 to 9 year-old boys being at the highest risk.3 That statistic is not surprising when you consider that children have less experience in reading dog behavior, are more likely to engage in activity that alarms or stimulates a dog, and are less able to defend themselves when a dog becomes aggressive. Continue Reading