SIZE OF TOP 10 JURY AWARDS RISES AGAIN
The size of the top 10 jury awards rose for a third consecutive year in 2010, according to the latest report from Lawyers USA. The 10 largest jury verdicts in 2010 totaled $1.6 billion, an increase of 4 percent from $1.5 billion in 2009. Lawyers USA observed that the average award for 2010 increased less than in 2009, rising to just under $157 million, from nearly $145 million the prior year.
MARITIME PIRACY AT RECORD LEVELS
The number of people taken hostage at sea and the number of vessels taken in 2010 rose to record levels, according toannualdatafrom the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre. Pirates captured 1,181 seafarers in 2010, up 12.5 percent from 1,050 in 2009, while a total of 53 ships were hijacked in 2010, of which all but four occurred off the coast of Somalia. Eight crew members died in these incidents. Overall, ships reported 445 pirate attacks in 2010, up 10 percent from 2009, the IMB said.
HIGH COURT RULING FAVORS EMPLOYEES
The U.S. Supreme Court bolstered the ability of employees to sue for retaliation, ruling in favor of a man who was fired after his fiancée complained about alleged sex discrimination. The justices said that Title VII, the federal law that covers gender and racial discrimination in the workplace, protects third parties from retaliation. The ruling lets engineer Eric L. Thompson press ahead with a lawsuit against North American Stainless L.P. Thompson was fired in 2003, three weeks after the company learned that his fiancée had filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming her supervisor discriminated against her.
MINING FIRMS EXPECT COMPLEX FLOOD CLAIMS
Mining companies with operations in flood-stricken Queensland, Australia, expect that losses arising from floods may be complex to adjust and may be counted as multiple losses potentially spanning more than one policy year, according to Bowring Marsh's global mining practice head in London. Clients, who suffered flooded pits, pit-wall failure and damage to access roads, have implemented business continuity and supply chain management plans, said Andrew Chester, head of Bowring Marsh U.K. & Ireland.
PRESIDENT AGREES TO TAKE ON MED MAL
President Barack Obama in January said his administration would look at reform of the medical malpractice system as a means to bring down costs and rein in frivolous lawsuits. Medical malpractice liability was not addressed in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law in 2010. The American Medical Association said it welcomed the move as "every American" pays the price for high medical liability costs.
HISCOX: RE/INSURANCE RATES FALL AT JAN. 1
Insurance and reinsurance rates fell at the Jan. 1 renewal, Bermuda-based Hiscox Ltd. said.
In its London market division, which underwrites insurance and reinsurance business, rates fell by an average of 1.5 percent, the company said. The company's Bermuda-based reinsurance operations saw average rate decreases of 7.5 percent on renewal business.
--Compiled by staff from news and wire reports
February 17, 2011
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