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The Supreme Court recently granted a petition for writ of certiorari for a case originating in the Eighth Circuit. The case is a classic example of a circuit split.

Essentially, the question before the Court is: What is sufficient notice of a rescission request under the Truth in Lending Act? That is, whether a borrower who intends to rescind a loan under the Truth in Lending Act must file a suit in federal court, or whether a letter to the lender is sufficient.

Postnup Does Not Waive Spousal Rights to 401(k), 8th Cir. Says

When you sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in which you agree not to be the beneficiary of a 401(k) retirement plan, does that extinguish your spousal rights to it?

To the surprise of divorced couples and family law attorneys alike, the Eighth Circuit has ruled that no, it does not extinguish your rights. You still may have a right to the 401(k).

In its decision, the appeals court ruled that a postnuptial agreement in which each party expressed "irrevocable consent" to a change of beneficiary of the other's retirement plan did not constitute a waiver of the spousal right to benefit from such plans.

Natasha Dallas made multiple mistakes when filling out the auto-draft payment form for an American General life insurance policy for her father. Alas, the insurance company never received her initial premium. Her father passed away a couple of weeks later. Dallas, who is also an insurance agent for American General, tried to retroactively make the premium payments. Her efforts were rebuffed and her claims denied.

Though we sympathize with her, Dallas' legal case is pretty clear-cut. Basic contract law requires consideration. Insurance policies are contracts. If consideration is never received, there is no contract. Case closed.

Of course, this is an appeals case. No appeals case can be that simple, right?

Pizza delivery is a fun gig, especially for those of us who love to drive while bumping hot jams. ("I [Drove] Myself Crazy" - don't judge). Unfortunately for drivers, many pizza places now tack on a "delivery charge" of a buck or two, which some customers mistake for an automatically-included gratuity. For those restaurants that do not split that fee with the drivers, that means the drivers get shafted.

Matt Luiken was one of those drivers. He worked for Domino's, which -- at the time -- charged a $1 per delivery fee. He sued on behalf of all similarly-situated pizza boys, claiming that the big D withheld these fees from the drivers illegally, as per Minnesota law, they are tips.

In 2002, Hallmark Cards, Inc. and Janet Murley parted ways. She had served as the vice-president of marketing and was responsible for product and business development, advertising, and research, and by extension, had access to confidential business plans, market research, and other internal information.

When she was let go, she was paid a severance of $735,000, 18 months of paid COBRA insurance, paid tax preparation for 2 years, and was given executive outplacement services. In exchange, she agreed to not work in the greeting card industry for 18 months, solicit Hallmark employees, disclose or use any propriety or confidential Hallmark information, or retain any Hallmark records or documents. She also waived any claims against Hallmark arising from her termination.

Res Judicata Can Be Raised in Motion to Dismiss

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals offered two important lessons for contract disputes this week.

First, choice of venue clauses are sometimes mere suggestions.

Second, res judicata can be raised in a motion to dismiss.

Insurer Must Cover Junk Fax Settlement

We get a fair number of junk faxes at our office. Our fax machine is next to the paper recycling bin, so it’s easy to toss them and forget about them. Because that’s what most people do.

Most people are tossing out a veritable gold mine; under the Junk Fax Act, they could be suing and collecting damages for those unwanted faxes.

Before you shudder at the thousands of dollars you’re losing by simply ignoring your in-house money press fax machine, just think about the money you’re saving insurance companies. Yes, insurers have to indemnify those overly-aggressive-faxers under advertising injury provisions.

Eighth Circuit Sides with Insurer in 'Overriding Cause' Dispute

Diversity actions force federal courts to beef up on state laws. This week, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals got a crash course in Minnesota insurance law, thanks to a homeowner's insurance dispute.

Joseph and Carolyn Friedberg sought coverage from their insurer, Chubb & Son Inc. (Chubb), for damage sustained to their home. After Chubb denied their claim, the Friedbergs sued for declaratory relief. The district court granted Chubb's motion for summary judgment, and the Friedbergs appealed.

Trademark or Title? The Difference Can Affect Duty to Defend

What's in a name?

That which we call a "trademark" will not -- in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals -- be automatically deemed a "title or slogan."

When we're talking about an insurer's duty to defend, the distinction is critical.

Show Me the Note: Borrower Loses Note Possession Foreclosure Challenge

Possession may be nine-tenths of the law, but it’s unnecessary for a bank in Minnesota to possess a promissory note when it commences foreclosure.

Kenath Stein challenged the validity of both the foreclosure of his home by Chase Home Finance (Chase), and the redemption of his home by National City Bank (National), a junior lienholder. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the banks this week.