January 21, 2009
To the list of industries seeking government relief, add another: life insurance.
Battered by the financial crisis, life insurers are urging regulators to let them operate with thinner financial cushions — the capital they must hold to absorb financial shocks and cover their obligations to policyholders.
The American Council of Life Insurers, an industry group, has been pleading with regulators to adopt a variety of changes in capital and reserve requirements before companies must file their annual reports for 2008. The ACLI fears that the reports could otherwise spook policyholders into dropping coverage and liquidating policies — steps that an ACLI official said would be unwarranted and contrary to consumers’ interests.
Read Article: Washington Post
Federal judges say they are underpaid. The problem, in Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s words, “has now reached the level of a constitutional crisis.” It takes a pretty brave soul to argue the other side.
“I couldn’t find any evidence to support his claim,” Scott Baker, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, said of the chief justice. Professor Baker published a study last year in the Boston University Law Review that considered whether society would be better off were judges paid more as a matter of labor economics.
Its conclusion: “Pretty much nothing would happen if Congress decided to raise judicial salaries.” Money appears to have almost no impact on the quantity and quality of the work judges produce, Professor Baker found, and lots of capable people are eager to take the jobs at the current salary.
Read Article: New York Times
As it turns out, the period to file lawsuits against insurance companies over Hurricane Katrina and Rita claims might not have expired two years after the storms.
A state appeals court opinion issued Jan. 7 says that it was legal for New Orleans homeowner Brenda Pitts to have filed a lawsuit against Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. months after the deadline for initiating litigation, because a class-action lawsuit had stopped the clock from running out.
If the unanimous decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal stands, Citizens, the state sponsored insurer of last resort, believes that the ruling will open the door for new people to file lawsuits against the company over their 2005 hurricane claims.
“We obviously don’t agree with the ruling. We will appeal it to the Supreme Court,” said John Wortman, chief executive of Citizens, which has had a goal of resolving all claims from Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike by the start of hurricane season June 1.
Read Article: New Orleans Times-Picayune
Thousands of California residents can sue AOL in their home state for invasion of privacy despite agreements they signed requiring all legal disputes to go before “courts of Virginia” and be guided by Virginia law.A federal appellate court on Friday cleared a path for a class-action lawsuit to proceed against AOL.
On July 31, 2006, AOL (formerly America Online) placed on a public Web site 20 million search inquiries by 658,000 of its members over a three-month period.
A broad protest erupted in cyberspace, with one blogger describing the incident as the “Chernobyl of the Internet,” in reference to a disastrous 1986 nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union.
The data included addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords and other personal information.They revealed members’ “personal struggles with various highly personal issues, including sexuality, mental illness, recovery from alcoholism, and victimization from incest, physical abuse, domestic violence, adultery, and rape,” according to the class-action suit on behalf of affected members nationwide.
Read Article: Sacramento Bee
A Vermont couple whose young son was hospitalized with salmonella poisoning after eating peanut butter crackers filed a lawsuit Tuesday, saying the boy was among the people sickened in a nationwide outbreak linked to peanut butter products.
The suit, against Peanut Corporation of America, was filed on behalf of Gabrielle and Daryl Meunier, of South Burlington, whose son, Christopher, 7, took ill Nov. 25, a day after eating Keebler Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich crackers, according to his mother.
He has since recovered. The Keebler crackers are among those recalled by the Kellogg Co., which listed Peanut Corporation as among its suppliers.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Georgia by Seattle lawyer William Marler, who specializes in foodborne illnesses.
Read Article: Boston Globe
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