Eleventh Circuit Holds Unlicensed Professional Was Not Engaging In “Professional Services”

The courts frequently apply insuring agreements broadly. However, in a recent decision, a court narrowly applied the definition of “professional services” to restrict coverage. Specifically, in Chapman v. Ace American Insurance Company, the Eleventh Circuit determined the services provided by an individual holding himself out as a counselor did not constitute “professional services.”    

The underlying lawsuit concerned Mark and Barbara Chapman’s ten-year old son who was diagnosed with ADHD and had a history of behavioral problems. The Chapman family engaged the services of …

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No Second Chances: New Jersey Appellate Division Prohibits Alleged Insurance Fraudster From Re-Litigating Issue Of Whether There Was An Underlying Auto Accident

The New Jersey Appellate Division held that an individual alleged to have submitted a fraudulent insurance claim as a result of an auto accident was collaterally estopped from litigating for a second time the issue of whether there was in fact an auto accident. In Badolato v. McMillan, No. A-5474-16, 2018 WL 5091799 (App. Div. Oct. 19, 2018) an individual, Charyse McMillan, filed a claim with New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company (NJM) for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits as a result of injuries she …

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Sixth Circuit Uses Every Tool in the Box To Build Case for Coverage for Defrauded Policyholder

July 12, 2018, we reported on the Medidata decision handed down by the Second Circuit in which the court found coverage for a claim resulting from social engineering fraud. We suggested the ruling in Medidata lacks persuasive power due to its unusual factual circumstances and atypical policy language. The Sixth Circuit’s decision in American Tooling Center, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. of America, No. 17-2014, 2018 WL 3404708 (6th Cir. July 13, 2018), will have more persuasive power, but due to …

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Second Circuit’s Decision Upholding Social Engineering Fraud Coverage Likely a Paper Tiger

In a case closely monitored by the insurance industry, the Second Circuit upheld in a non-precedential summary order a New York federal district court’s summary judgment finding coverage under the computer fraud coverage of a commercial crime policy. Medidata Solutions, Inc. v. Fed. Ins. Co., No. 17-2492, 2018 WL 3339245 (2d Cir. 2018). Although the policyholders are apt to tout the decision as a seismic victory, the atypical policy language and factual circumstances should greatly limit its persuasive value.

As background, the insured, Medidata …

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No Sympathy: Injured Claimant Without Auto Insurance Due to Fraud Barred From Bringing Personal Injury Claim

In Bencosme v. Kannankara, no. A-1672-14T3 (App. Div. Mar. 22, 2016), the New Jersey Appellate Division concluded that the apparent harshness of the decision was not a sufficient basis for it to refuse to affirm a trial court’s ruling that dismissed a personal injury lawsuit against a claimant who failed to carry statutorily required auto insurance, even though the claimant was uninsured as a result of fraud.

Federico Bencosme was involved in an auto accident with Joseph Kannankara in which Bencosme allegedly sustained injury. …

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GAO’s Update on ACA Enrollment Process: CMS Encouraged to Take Steps to Monitor Program Cost, Risk, and Performance

The issue of fraud is still alive and well with respect to the health care exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a new update with respect to fraud in the federal exchanges. In that report, the GAO recommended that the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) strengthen enrollment controls and manage Fraud Risk. The report notes that implementation of the new eligibility and enrollment provisions for the first year was “a broad, complex, and costly …

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In New Jersey, Insurance Fraud Does Indeed Equal Prison

It is no secret that New Jersey courts have a tendency to treat insurance policies different from standard contracts, at least in part because the insurance industry is heavily regulated and affects the public interest. In its ruling in State of New Jersey v. Goodwin, No. A-20 (N.J. Jan. 19, 2016), the New Jersey Supreme Court has drawn a definitive hard line in the sand in the fight against insurance fraud. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a defendant can be convicted of …

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Daughter Does Not Have to Pay for the Sins of Her Mother: Insurer Entitled to Restitution from Insureds but Appellate Court Remands Damage Award

The 2015 holiday season might be a bit tense for a mother-daughter team ordered to pay restitution to their insurer for fraud and misrepresentation. Secura Ins. v. Thomas, 2015 Mich. App. LEXIS 2230 (Mich. App. December 1, 2015). While restitution was owed for the wrongful acts, the court held joint and several liability did not apply to frauds in which a party (the daughter) was not directly involved. This case presents an example an insurer performing excellent due diligence in discovering fraud, and a …

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Logical Construction: Federal Court Relies on Practical Considerations in Finding No Coverage for Lost Future Earnings

In 3M Co. v. National Union Fire Insurance Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131197 (D. Minn., September 28, 2015) a federal judge for the District of Minnesota determined that a policyholder was not entitled to coverage for earnings on its investment in a trading company engaged in a Ponzi scheme because it did not own the earnings.

The policyholder invested its employee-benefit plan assets in the trading company. The investment took the form of a limited partnership in the trading company. In 2009, …

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Insurer Required to Pay Policyholder Attorneys’ Fees Despite Policyholder Misrepresentations

The Florida Third District Court of Appeal found that an insurer was required to pay attorney fees that homeowners incurred during a coverage dispute despite a finding that the policyholders committed fraud. The Third District affirmed the lower court’s decision, finding that the insurer was required to pay the policyholders’ attorneys’ fees because the insurer lost its counter-claim against the policyholders. The court found that there was no exception for fraud.

In Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Bascuas, (Third District Court of Appeal, Florida, …

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