June 29, 2009

Nevada Supreme Court: Self Insured Employers are not "Insurers"

From the sound of the facts, it could be an important holding in dire economic times for insurance companies. MGM Mirage v. Nevada Insurance Guaranty Association, __ P.3d __ (Nev. June 25, 2009). 

MGM is a self-insured workers' comp employer, but it was required to obtain excess coverage through insurance companies. It did so, but that insurance company went insolvent.  So, by statute, that put the NIGA agency on the hook for certain "covered claims."  But, NIGA took the position that MGM was an "insurer" in terms of the applicable statute, and so it didn't have to cover the excess claims, even though MGM clearly was not an "insurer" under definitions in the various related statutes.  It's the right result, it seems, but boy do they have to spend the ink to get there.

One thing that will relate to an upcoming post was the court's statement that it follows plain meaning unless it wold violate the "spirit" of the statute.

June 29, 2009 in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 26, 2009

Empathy, Strict Construction, and Sotomayor

I don't normally make this a focus on SCOTUS, for the obvious reason that about 9,000 other blogs focus on what it does, but I do feel the need to say a word about the nomination and this hubub over "empathy" and courts making "policy."

It seems to me utter stupidity to suggest that judges do not experience empathy, or make policy, every day when interpreting statutes. Indeed, the choice of what approach to interpretation to take (textualism, etc.) is itself a policy choice that furthers certain policies while frustrating others.  Words must be read in context, and context is influenced by our upbringing and backgrounds -- empathy, as I understand how the word is being tossed around. I personally might feel more empathy toward a criminal with a horrible childhood than someone else might, and that might cause me to read a statute more narrowly than someone else might. To pretend that these things do not occur, however, is idiotic.

Anyhow, maybe we can just come up with word processors for Justices, and they can just examine the text based on some boolean search strings, and decide meaning, and we'll be done. Who needs a judge if that's all it is.

May 26, 2009 in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack