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School Union's Suit for Indemnity Against its Insurer, Plus Criminal Law Matters

By FindLaw Staff on August 20, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Verdugo, 08-2175, concerned a challenge to the convictions of defendants for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.  In affirming the convictions, the court held that the district court did not err in denying defendants' motions to suppress.  The court found that defendant waived his right to object to witness's interpretative testimony, and that the district court properly excluded defendant's videotaped statement.  Lastly, the court held that the district court's mere presence instruction was a suitable substitute for co-defendant's proposed instruction on the subject.


Sch. Union No. 37 v. United Nat'l Ins. Co., 09-2040, involved plaintiff-school administrative union's suit against its insurer, claiming that it had a duty to indemnify plaintiff for the costs incurred in defending a claim for reimbursement of non-tuition expenses under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and that insurer unreasonably failed to timely settle plaintiff's claim for coverage in violation of Maine's Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act (UCSPA).

The court reversed the dismissal of plaintiff's claim for coverage under the Policy as, in light of the fact that the Policy lacks a definition of the term "money damages" and given that in at least one of its relevant provisions the Policy construes "damages" in the context of one form of equitable monetary relief, it is unlikely that an ordinary insured would interpret damages as excluding monetary compensation in the form of reimbursement.  The court also held that because defendant failed to object to the magistrate's recommendation regarding the existence of a wrongful act, this argument is deemed forfeited.  Lastly, the court affirmed the  dismissal of plaintiff's claim for relief under UCSPA as plaintiff has failed to show that defendant lacked any legitimate or reasonable basis to deny coverage.

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