Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Northern California Daily Digest

Here are some other cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

In Ching v. State Farm, the plaintiff sued the insurance company under California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL) stating that his insurance policy's "med-pay" reimbursement clause is ambiguous and he should be able to retain both the insurance company's payout for his injury and the amount he obtained in a later court settlement against the person who injured him.  Judge Maxime M. Chesney stated that the clause was unambiguous, reasonable and not unfair under UCL.

Wood v. Scottsdale Indemnity Company involves the sad story of a 12-year old girl who died in a inflatable tube accident.  Kayla Wood was under the supervision of her father's girlfriend on an intertube owned by the girlfriend's father.  After her death her parents sued the girlfriend's father and obtained a settlement with his homeowner's insurance policy.  Scottsdale provided the girlfriend's father with an umbrella policy which covered injuries under the supervision of an insured while a person is on a "watercraft."  Magistrate Nandor J. Vardas found that neither the girlfriend's father nor his wife believed that the policy covered inflatable tubes, and that the girlfriend was not covered by the policy in the first place.  The court granted summary judgment for the insurance company.

In Kahn v. Astrue, the petitioner is appealing his denial of disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.  An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that Mr. Kahn was capable of performing work "at all exertion levels" including rapidly lifting materials of 100 pounds.  Mr. Kahn is 56 years old, suffers from arthritis, hypertension and Stargardt disease.  The ALJ relied on a checked box on a form to establish that conclusion.  Judge Lucy Koh stated that this conclusion is not supported by substantial evidence and remanded the case to the ALJ to make further findings.

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