Accidental Death

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Can a law banning discretionary clauses apply to an event occurring prior to the legislative enactment?

In Cerone v. Reliance Standard Life Ins.Co., 2014 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 46529 (S.D.Cal. March 28, 2014), after the plaintiff’s accidental death claim based on the death of her husband was denied and her appeal exhausted, Debra Cerone filed suit against Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company. The issue decided in this opinion was whether the de novo or […]

Papotto v. Hartford Life & Acc.Ins.Co., 2013 U.S.App.LEXIS 19660

Papotto v. Hartford Life & Acc.Ins.Co., 2013 U.S.App.LEXIS 19660 (3d Cir. September 26, 2013) is a significant recently issued case involving ERISA civil procedure. The underlying issue in this case dealt with an accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy. The policy excluded losses “sustained while Intoxicated.” Because the decedent had consumed alcohol prior to his […]

Scope of review: Buzzanga v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Amer.

Buzzanga v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Amer., 2013 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 1348 (E.D.Mo. January 4, 2013) (Issue: Scope of Review). This case involves an accidental death claim asserted after the plaintiff’s husband was killed in a single-car accident. The insurer denied the claim, maintaining the decedent’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit and therefore […]

Insurance ruling strays from precedent in drunken driving case

When an intoxicated driver dies in a collision, can his survivors collect under an accidental death insurance policy? Most courts deem such an occurrence an accident; however, in Whinery v. Life Ins.Co. of North America, 2012 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 160667 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 7, 2012), the court upheld an insurer’s benefit denial under a deferential standard of review. […]

Courts see more accidental death claims

In addition to disability insurance claims, accidental death claims are the frequent subject of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation. One recent ruling was cited by the website, Above the Law, as “A Self-Abuse of Discretion? (Or: The most interesting ERISA opinion ever.)” In Martin v. Hartford Life and Acc.Ins.Co., 2012 U.S.App.LEXIS 7879 […]