February 2012

AMCM, Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that a hobby farm was not intended for a “similar use” under a newly-acquired property clause of an insurance policy covering a day care center.

Secure Energy, Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri denied the defendant insurance company’s motion to dismiss, holding that the plaintiff had pled facts sufficient to withstand the motion.

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Bill Carleton wrote a piece last week about law firm Gunderson Dettmer making form agreements available on Docracy’s website. In case you haven’t heard of Docracy, here’s how the web company describes itself:

Docracy is a social repository of legal documents. Our mission is to make useful legal documents freely available to the public. We also hope to make them easier to find, customize and sign. No more crappy templates behind a paywall that you download hoping everything will be alright. Instead: reputable, transparent sources and social proof to help you find something as close as possible to the perfect document.

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Here are a few things I’ve read lately. Maybe you’ll find them interesting too.

AT&T Throttling. AT&T has been throttling its heaviest users whose iPhone accounts were grandfathered under unlimited data plans when AT&T introduced tiered plans. The throttling affects its heaviest users and apparently slows data speeds to a crawl. An affected subscriber recently won an $850 judgment in small claims court in California. It’ll be interesting to see whether subscribers attempt to mount a class action suit and whether the class arbitration waiver in AT&T’s subscriber agreements holds up.

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XTRA Lease LLC v. Pacer International, Inc.

Pacer Transport, an affiliate of Pacer International, Inc., the defendant in this case, leased a flatbed semi-trailer from XTRA Lease LLC. The trailer was involved in a serious accident when a wheel came off the trailer and struck a car, killing the driver of the car and seriously injuring the passenger. XTRA was sued for the personal injuries and death resulting from the accident. XTRA looked to Pacer for indemnification under its lease agreement with Pacer, and brought suit when Pacer refused.

Is Pacer required to indemnify XTRA for its own negligence?

The issue before the court on the plaintiff’s and defendant’s motions for summary judgment was whether the lease’s indemnification provision required Pacer to indemnify XTRA for its own negligence. The indemnification provision in the lease reads,

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Glenn v. HealthLink HMO, Inc.

Dr. Byron Glenn brought breach of contract claims against HealthLink HMO and HealthLink PPO (HealthLink) alleging breach of an HMO Agreement and a PPO Agreement. The Circuit Court of Girardeau County granted summary judgment in favor of HealthLink, and the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Background

Glenn signed HMO and PPO agreements in 2001 to become a network provider for HealthLink. Beginning in 2007, after receiving complaints about Glenn’s services, HealthLink provided Glenn with various notices of termination of the agreements and subsequently rescinded the notices. HealthLink eventually terminated the PPO agreement and provided timely notice of non-renewal of the HMO agreement. HealthLink removed Glenn’s name from two of HealthLink’s online provider directories before the HMO agreement expired.

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Hess v. Loyd

Attorney Lawrence Hess sued a client of his former law firm alleging breach of contract, among other claims. The circuit and appellate courts denied his claims and imposed sanctions for bringing the claims for an improper purpose.

Hess’s employment agreement and breach of contract suit

Hess had an employment contract with his former law firm, Kanoski & Associates, where he had been an associate. The contract stated, “Employee acknowledges that while licensed employees must perform all legal services, the clients contracting for said services are clients of the Corporation and not of any individual employee.”

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The Supreme Court once again affirmed federal policy favoring arbitration this week as it reversed the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in Marmet Health Care Center, Inc. v. Brown.

The state high court had held unenforceable all predispute arbitration agreements that apply to claims alleging personal injury or wrongful death against nursing homes, based on West Virginia’s public policy. But the Supreme Court held that the public policy of a state is not a sufficient basis for refusing to enforce an arbitration agreement. The Supreme Court wasn’t subtle in disagreeing with the lower court’s decision:

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Here are a few pieces from the Interwebs I found interesting. Maybe you will also….

Dine and Dash 101. There are two kinds of truffles. My favorite is made of chocolate and is a reasonably priced treat. The other is for those with a more talented palate and deeper pockets that I have. Truffle hunting is tedious business and truffles are extraordinarily expensive, as a diner at a Manhattan restaurant discovered when he ordered the pasta lunch special without inquiring about the price, which turned out to be $275. His story made the New York Times last month, and the ContractsProf Blog posted a quick lesson on the application of Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code to the situation.

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Here are a few pieces from the Internet I’ve enjoyed recently. You might want to take a peek.

What’s in a Name? A lot of people were surprised to learn from a Reuters story this week that there’s neither King nor Wood at the Chinese mega-firm King & Wood &mdash nor has there ever been. As I understand it, in the olden days, it was universally considered to be unethical for a law firm to use anything other than real life practicing lawyers in its name (or former real life practicing lawyers who have passed on). Apparently, there was a feeling that law firm clients are easily confused, and that feeling (and rule) still prevails in several states. Fortunately, law firms in Missouri are now free to operate under fictitious names, which paved the way for my favorite: leadfootspeedingticket.com. (Shameless plug.) It also simplifies things when the ten name partners can’t decide who should take one for the team and fall off the masthead.

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Here are a few recent pieces from the Interwebs I found interesting. You might want to take a peek, also.

Contracting on the Run. The ContractsProf Blog posted a short piece about a man who offered a couple some money to let him hide in their house while he was running from the police. They agreed, but called the police while he was sleeping. The fugitive sued the couple for breach of contract claiming damages suffered from being shot by the police. The case was dismissed.

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