Specialty Lines Advisory

Get the latest Professional Liability news and additional Employment law updates from Tressler’s experienced attorneys.

The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District recently ruled that Illinois’ personal jurisdiction precedent was not overruled by recent decisions made by the United States Supreme Court. Schaefer v. Synergy Flight Center, LLC, 2019 IL App (1st) 181779 (1st Dist. 2019). Specifically, the appellate court ruled that the 2013 Illinois Supreme Court case of Russell v. SNFA, 2013 IL 113909 (2013), which held that Illinois had personal jurisdiction over a French company whose parts were in an air ambulance helicopter that crashed in Illinois and killed the pilot, was not overruled by the 2017 U.S. Supreme Court case of…
The lower Court in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. (9th Cir. 17-16096 5/2/19) had rendered a decision in a decade-old class action. Subsequently, last year in April 2018, the California Supreme Court decided Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court (SC S222732 4/30/18). The landmark Dynamex decision severely limited businesses’ classification of an independent contractor in the California wage and hour context. On May 2, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Vazquez et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. strengthened the Dynamex decision by applying it retroactively. This makes it more difficult for businesses…
Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, et al. (SC S238941 2/7/19). The California Supreme Court has recently decided that a payroll company cannot be held liable to an employee for breach of contract and negligence in calculating wages. The existing law is that a payroll company cannot be considered an employer for purposes of liability for California wage claims as well as Federal Fair Labor Standards Act claims. Futrell v. Payday California, Inc. (2010) 190 Cal.App.4th 1419. Goonewardene expanded this protection to exclude liability for breach of contract and negligence claims brought directly by employees against payroll companies. The employer (Altour)…
On September 25, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for The Ninth Circuit followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s lead by enforcing class action waivers in arbitration agreements. This a significant win for employers, and Uber in particular. Uber drivers filed class action suits alleging that Uber and related defendants violated various federal and state laws including 1.) misclassifying drivers as independent contractors (rather than employees) 2.) failing to remit the entire gratuity paid by customers to drivers (California Labor Code § 351), and 3.) failing to pay the drivers’ business expenses, including vehicles, gas, and maintenance (California Labor Code…
Jennifer Perdigao is a partner in Tressler’s insurance practice. Her practice includes insurance coverage and defense as well as non-insurance advisory matters. Jennifer’s insurance coverage experience includes insurance coverage analysis and insurance litigation involving commercial general liability, aviation operations, personal and advertising injury, construction defects, environmental coverage, and professional lines. Jennifer’s defense litigation experience involves a wide range of matters including the defense of wrongful death, personal injury and property damage claims arising out of premises, aviation accidents, airport operations, motor vehicle accidents and products liability. Outside of her legal career, Jennifer is a licensed pilot and enjoys helping young women…
On December 12, 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board met to present its findings and proposed recommendations related to the sinking of the U.S. cargo ship El Faro. The 790-foot El Faro sank about 40 nautical miles northeast of Acklins and Crooked Island, Bahamas, on October 1, 2015 while en route from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The sinking claimed the lives of all 33 people on the ship, making it the “deadliest shipping disaster involving a U.S.-flagged vessel in more than 30 years.” [i] The disappearance of the El Faro as it neared the eyewall of Hurricane…
United Airlines recently prevailed on a False Imprisonment claim involving a passenger who refused to leave the United Club Departure lounge in Cooper v. United Airlines, Inc., 2017 WL 3278924 (S.D.N.Y. August 1, 2017).  The Plaintiff was returning from Kenya to Newark via Heathrow. Her flight into Heathrow on Ethiopian Airlines was late and she missed her connecting flight to Newark.  Plaintiff proceeded to the United Club Departure lounge. United employees had already left for the day and employees from Sedexo were operating the lounge.  Sedexo employees advised Plaintiff that she had to return to Ethiopian Airlines to rebook her…
Plaintiff sued a hot air balloon operator in Erika Grotheer v. Escape Adventures, Inc.,  __ Cal. Rptr. 3d. ___ (2017) for injuries she incurred as a passenger on a hot air balloon adventure which abruptly ended when the balloon crashed into a fence. Plaintiff alleged that the balloon operator was a common carrier, therefore, the operator owed her a heightened duty of care. The balloon operator brought a summary judgment motion asserting that Plaintiff had assumed the risk and waived her rights when she signed a liability waiver. The court evaluated the history of the concept of the heightened duty…
In National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA v. Town of Norwood, __ F. Supp. 3d__, 2017 WL3185848 (D. Mass. July 26, 2017), the Town of Norwood, Massachusetts (“Norwood”) recently found out that a First Amendment claim for retaliation is inherently willful.  Norwood owns and operates the Norwood Airport. At all relevant times, Norwood maintained Aviation Commercial General Liability Policies (“CGL Policies”) issued by National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA (“National Union”) for Norwood’s operations in connection with the Norwood Airport. Plaintiff, Boston Executive Helicopters, LLC (“BEH”) sought to expand its business at the Norwood Airport.…
On March 21, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued a remittitur in a case much anticipated by California employers.  The questions before the Court in Augustus, et al., v. ABM Security centered around whether duties during a rest break and were set forth as follows: (1) do Labor Code, § 226.7, and Industrial Welfare Commission wage order No. 4-2001 require that employees be relieved of all duties during rest breaks; and (2) are security guards who remain on call during rest breaks performing work during that time? Plaintiffs in the Augustus action worked as security guards.  A requirement of their…
In Madison Mutual Ins. Co. v. Diamond State Ins. Co., no. 15-3292, 2017 WL 1065557 (7th Cir. Mar. 21. 2017), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals determined that two separate lawsuits filed by the same plaintiffs against a real estate broker were not related Claims both involving the real estate broker’s professional services. Geraldine Davidson, a real estate broker in Illinois, sold a home to Dr. William and Wendy Dribben in 1999, in the same development where Mrs. Davidson and her husband lived.  The development contained an artificial lake, which was created by a dam located on the Dribbens’ property. …