New Commissioner Withdraws Oxendine Directive
January 24, 2011
On January 10, 2011, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens issued Directive 11-EX-1 (http://www.oci.ga.gov/Other/Directive.aspx?ID=385&I=133098&G=60BA4C0E
) withdrawing former Commissioner Oxendine’s earlier Directive (10-EX-1 from April 2010) applying diminution in value to commercial property claims. We addressed Oxendine’s controversial directive in our Fall edition of the First Party Report (http://www.swiftcurrie.com/uploads//FPR_Fall2010.pdf
). Subsequently, Federal District Court Judge Robert L. Vining rejected a commercial property claim for diminution in value in a summary judgment order he issued on December 2, 2010, in the matter Royal Capital Development LLC v. Maryland Casualty Company
. We alerted you to Judge Vining’s order in an Alert sent on December 10.
Diminution in Value
December 10, 2010
The controversial right to recover for diminution in value in commercial property losses, mentioned in our Fall edition of the First Party Report (http://www.swiftcurrie.com/uploads//FPR_Fall2010.pdf),
was rejected in a recent order issued by the federal district court for the Northern District of Georgia. The December 2, 2010, order granted summary judgment to Maryland Casualty Company. The case, Royal Cap. Dev., LLC v. Maryland Cas. Co.
(Civil Action No. 1:10-CV-1275-RLV), involved damage to a structure as a result of nearby construction on the “Streets of Buckhead” project. The Court held that economic damage or “diminution in value” was not included within the commercial property policy’s coverage for “direct physical loss of or damage to” property and determined that loss of value to the building post-repair was not covered. As stated in the Court’s order, the matter “boil[ed] down to simple policy interpretation.” According to Senior Judge Robert L. Vining’s office, the order is not expected to be published although the judge’s office has received numerous contacts regarding the decision. Please note that this decision is subject to appeal. The insured’s attorney told reporters that the plaintiff intends to appeal the decision. (Tobin, Buckhead Building Owner Loses Damage Suit
, AJC.com, December 7, 2010.)
Georgia Supreme Court Says Hospital Liens Do Not Increase UIM Exposure
December 2, 2010
On November 30, 2010, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued its decisions in State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Adams
and American Int’l South Ins. Co. v. Floyd
, two cases in which the Court of Appeals had held that the payment of a hospital/medical provider lien reduced the liability coverage available to the insured such that a UIM carrier could not take a set off credit for the liability carrier’s payment to the extent of the lien amount. In Adams
, the liability carrier paid Grady Hospital to satisfy the hospital’s lien and paid the remainder of its policy limits to the injured party. State Farm claimed a set off in the full amount of the liability policy limit against its UIM exposure. In Floyd
, the liability carrier paid its full limit to the claimant and a hospital lien remained unsatisfied. Although Floyd’s UIM limits were equal to the liability limits, Floyd contended the existence of the hospital lien reduced the available liability coverage and the UIM carrier should be required to pay.
Medicare Reporting Delayed Until January 1, 2012, for Some
November 23, 2010
On November 9, 2010, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a revised timeline concerning the reporting of settlements, judgments, awards and other payments for some entities. The one-year delay in reporting primarily pertains to liability insurers and self-insurers, with some exceptions. The delay does not affect the reporting requirements for workers’ compensation insurers and no-fault insurers. CMS also indicated that the interim dollar reporting thresholds set forth in the User Guide published by CMS have been extended by one calendar year. For your convenience, a copy of the Alert is attached. You may also visit the CMS website for additional information http://www.cms.gov/MandatoryInsRep/
Swift Currie Participates in 2010 Gate City Bar Association Justice Benham Law Camp
July 1, 2010
As part of its commitment to diversity, Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers, LLP, partnered with the Gate City Bar Association and hosted one of its high school interns participating in the 2010 Justice Robert Benham Law Camp. The Law Camp is a three-week program designed to expose minority high school students in the Atlanta area to the field of law. Our Law Camp intern this year was Jasmine Judge. Jasmine is a 15-year old student at Grayson High School in Gwinnett County.