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Each issue of The Brief, the Section's quarterly magazine, includes an array of practical articles of interest to plaintiffs' and defense lawyers who practice tort or insurance law.  In addition, the popular "Practice TIPS" section provides practical, how-to advice on practice and litigation matters.

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The Brief
Summer 2007 Vol. 36 No. 4
Article Abstracts

" The More the Merrier: The Challenges of the Joint Defense"
By Paul W. Burke and Brian T. Moore
In cases involving multiple clients, a joint defense agreement is a valuable tool to protect communications under client privilege, promote efficiency, and also facilitate all counsel working together. When drafted correctly and in recognition of potential ethical issues, these agreements allow lawyers to share knowledge, resources, experts, and tasks, and to significantly lower costs.

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" Limiting Liability for Trucking Accidents by Uniting Safety and Claims Departments When Addressing the Preventability of Accidents"
By Donna L. Burden
The preemptive goal of all trucking companies is to reduce the number of accidents, but safety planning must also consider risk management and not hinder litigation defense. Improved communication can enable both the safety and risk management departments to fulfill their respective responsibilities while providing the company with a cohesive strategy for both evaluating and managing driver risk as well as positioning the company to protect itself from liability based on a driver’s negligence.

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" Time Element Coverages in Business Interruption Insurance"
By Clark Schirle
Business interruption insurance is designed to compensate an insured for actual business interruption losses resulting directly from physical damage by a peril insured against to the insured’s covered property. Time element coverage consists of business interruption coverage and express extensions of that coverage that may include contingent business interruption coverage, coverage for civil authority of ingress/egress, and coverage for extra or expediting expenses. The author examines recent case law, including cases arising from property damage incurred on September 11, 2001.

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" The Admissibility of Statistics in Product Liability Actions"
By Eugene Hamill and Gerard Cedrone
Evidence regarding another, unrelated accident is inadmissible in tort litigation unless it is substantially similar to the accident at issue. Controversy regarding the admissibility of statistical evidence in product liability litigation centers on contentions that statistics are evidence of other accidents reduced to numbers but with no showing of circumstances. The authors suggest that the correct basis for determining the admissibility of statistics should be relevance and that evidence, statistical or otherwise, should be admitted absent a policy reason to exclude it.

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" State Regulation of Discretionary Clauses in Insured ERISA Plans"
By Teresa S. Renaker
Provisions conferring discretionary authority on benefits claim decision makers have become a fixture of employee benefit plans under ERISA. As they weigh potential conflicts of interest affecting plan fiduciaries, federal courts have differed in determining what circumstances are necessary for such provisions to secure deferential judicial review of benefits decisions by insurers that also fund the benefits at issue. Recently, state insurance regulators have declined approval of form policies with discretionary clauses and have withdrawn previous approvals. One ERISA expert examines such state actions and their effect on federal litigation.

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" Class Action Trends in the Life Insurance and Financial Services Industry"
By Jeffrey M. Grantham
Courts have increasingly denied class certification in market conduct litigation, holding that such actions—involving oral sales presentations by insurance agents—raise individual issues that fail to meet the predominance requirement of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3). The insurance industry has seen the focus of class action claims shift to theories of liability that allege an inherent defectiveness of specific policy provisions. One insurance and financial services litigator explores the developing case law in recent class action cases described as juvenile smoker litigation, bonus annuity litigation, unearned premium litigation, and industrial life litigation.



Last Modified on Thursday, May 28, 2009 8:50 AM

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