July 1, 2019

Needless Catastrophe

“The lack of effective safety management at this well resulted in a needless catastrophe.”

— Kristen Kulinowski, interim executive of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, comments after the release of a report on the board’s investigation into an explosion at an Oklahoma natural gas drilling rig that killed five workers last year. The report cited inadequate training and faulty equipment and called for new regulations. The well was operated by Red Mountain Energy LLC. Workers were employed by drilling contractor Patterson-UTI Energy Inc.

Noneconomic Damage Caps

“Allowing this [damage cap] substitutes the Legislature’s nonspecific judgment for the jury’s specific judgment. The people deprived the Legislature of that power when they made the right to trial by jury inviolate.”

— Kansas Supreme Court Justice Carol Beier, writing in the court’s opinion, after it found the state’s cap on damages for noneconomic injuries in personal injury lawsuits is unconstitutional. The court ruled 4-2 that capping damages an injured person is able to recover in a lawsuit violates that person’s right to a jury trial.

Open-Door Policy

“With this bill, Florida officially has an open-door policy to autonomous vehicle companies, and I encourage them to relocate from California to Florida.”

— Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said before signing legislation allowing self-driving vehicles to operate in Florida once the industry comes out of the testing stage. The new law takes effect July 1 and gives ridesharing companies the ability to deploy fleets of autonomous vehicles in the state.

Oh Deer

“Deer Valley simply has no place in this litigation.”

— A Utah ski resort where Gwyneth Paltrow is accused of crashing into and injuring a skier wants to be dismissed from a lawsuit, contending the dispute should be settled between the Oscar-winning actress and the alleged victim.

Helping Business Owners

“This significant cut continues several years of reductions, further helping business owners create good-paying jobs in Pennsylvania.”

— Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman said in a press release issued by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department announcing the approval of a loss-cost filing, including a 12.95% reduction in loss-costs. The reduction is expected to lead to lower workers’ compensation premiums for many Pennsylvania businesses.

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Insurance Journal West July 1, 2019
July 1, 2019
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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