Body Shop Antitrust Case Hits Roadblock in Florida

Following up on one of our more popular posts from last year, here’s an update on a key development in the on-going multi-district Body Shop Antitrust case brought by hundreds of auto body repair shops against dozens of auto insurers. (Full disclosure: the Bose McKinney & Evans team of Brian Jones, Curtis Jones, and Joel Nagle represent one of the insurers in the Indiana case that was consolidated.)

Since our last post, the total number of pending cases in the MDL has gone up to 22, and the defendants in the Indiana, Florida, Utah, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee cases filed Motions to Dismiss. The Court conducted a hearing on the pending dismissal motions in early November.

On Wednesday, the Middle District of Florida dismissed all of the claims in the Florida case (including one claim with prejudice), finding, among other things, that the plaintiffs failed to plead plausible claims as required under Twombly. The Court gave the plaintiffs until February 10 to amend their complaint.

This ruling paves the way for similar rulings in the Indiana case and others. Stay tuned for further developments.

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The First Update of the 2015 Indiana Legislative Session

It’s that time of year again. (And I’m not referring to yet another heartbreaking loss to the clearly evil Patriots, though that happened…again…)

No. I’m talking about the Indiana General Assembly being back in session, which means more as-it-happens insurance industry scoop from our friends at Bose Public Affairs Group. In this first issue, developments in:

  • Unclaimed life insurance benefits;
  • The Indiana Department of Insurance;
  • Data security;
  • Dental coverage;
  • Mental health coverage;
  • Medical malpractice;
  • Worker’s comp; and
  • More!

We’ll bring you the latest updates as soon as we get them. Stay tuned!

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Federal Insurance Office Releases Report on Global Reinsurance Market

Back in December, the Federal Insurance Office released its first report on the global reinsurance market, creatively titled “The Breadth and Scope of the Global Reinsurance Market and the Critical Role Such Market Plays in Supporting Insurance in the United States.”

At 47 pages, it’s a surprisingly quick read. (Spoiler alert: the global reinsurance market is big and plays a critical role in supporting insurance in the U.S.) What’s more, it provides a nice overview of the history of reinsurance and its various forms. So, no more citing to Second Circuit opinions for that background stuff.

I know many in the industry were–and still are–very concerned about just what the Federal Insurance Office will actually do. If reports like this are any indication of what the FIO will be doing, I don’t think we have anything to worry about…

…yet.

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Happy 2015 from the Bose Insurance Blog!

To all our friends and readers, we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015!

2015 New Year celebration

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Transitional Reinsurance Reporting Deadline Extended

Brian Jones:

Another useful health insurance post from our friends at the Bose Employee Benefits Blog.

Originally posted on Bose Employee Benefits Blog:

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) granted a last minute extension for filing the Annual Enrollment and Contributions Submission Form as part of the Affordable Care Act’s Transitional Reinsurance Program. On Friday, November 14th, CMS announced that the reporting deadline of November 15th is extended until 11:59 pm on December 5, 2014. This extension gives health insurance issuers and certain self-funded group health plans a little more time to complete the Submission Form which can be found on the Pay.gov website. The payment deadlines are unchanged. The deadlines for payment of the transitional reinsurance fee remain as January 15, 2015 and November 15, 2015.

The CMS announcement as well as the revised reinsurance contribution deadlines for the 2014 benefit year can be viewed here.

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EEOC Files Lawsuit Against Employee Wellness Program

Brian Jones:

Another great health insurance update from our colleagues at the Bose Employee Benefits Blog. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Bose Employee Benefits Blog:

On August 20, 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed suit in Wisconsin federal court challenging an employee wellness program’s legality under the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”). As noted in a press release, this lawsuit is the EEOC’s first to directly challenge a wellness program under the ADA.

Orion Energy Systems (“Orion”) implemented a wellness program that included health screenings and disability related inquiries. The ADA prohibits medical examinations and inquires unrelated to employment, unless they are voluntary. The EEOC alleges that Orion’s wellness program did not qualify as voluntary under the ADA because one employee who refused to participate was forced to bear the entire cost of her health coverage premium and was ultimately terminated. “Employers certainly may have voluntary wellness programs,” stated John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the EEOC Chicago district. “But they have to actually be voluntary. They can’t compel participation by imposing…

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Auto Body Shop Antitrust Cases Consolidated in Florida

On Friday, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered five antitrust cases brought by numerous auto body shops in five separate federal districts—including the Southern District of Indiana—consolidated in the Orlando Division of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. (Full disclosure: The Bose McKinney & Evans team of Brian Jones, Curtis Jones, and Joel Nagle represents one of the defendants in the Indiana antitrust case.) The order is attached below.

As the Panel noted, the plaintiffs in the cases are “principally individual collision repair shops in five states. They allege a conspiracy in the automobile insurance industry to suppress the reimbursement rates for automobile collision repairs, in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act and various state laws.” Further,

This litigation involves allegations of a complex anticompetitive conspiracy among the nation’s leading insurance carriers and dozens of regional companies, as well as allegations that the databases of three third-party information services companies—ADP, CCC, and Mitchell—played a substantial role in facilitating the alleged scheme.

Collectively, the plaintiffs sued over 80 insurers. In response to the plaintiffs’ motion to consolidate all pending cases in the Southern District of Mississippi, the insurers’ universally opposed consolidation in Mississippi, but varied as to where the cases should be consolidated, if at all.

Ultimately, the Panel found that consolidation “will offer the benefit of placing all related actions before a single judge who can structure pretrial proceedings to accommodate all parties’ legitimate discovery needs while ensuring that common witnesses are not subjected to duplicative discovery demands.” Because the five cases involved common questions of fact, “centralization of the actions on the motion in the Middle District of Florida will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation.”

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