The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 123 Number 11

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

Texas small claims court is now called "justice court." Most of the rules of the court are the same, and you still can sue for up to $10,000. One difference is you also may have the right to a non-lawyer friend or family member assist you. 


Microsoft, Facebook to Lay Massive Undersea Cable

The demand for more bandwith has started a new trend. In the past five years, demand for bandwidth has shifted from traditional telecom companies to large content providers, becuase content providers' need for bandwidth is growing so rapidly that it makes economic sense for them to invest in their own infrastructure. A prime example is Microsoft and Facebook's announcement to build a 4,000 mile trans-oceanic cable. The two companies plan to build a cable that will run from Virginia Beach, Va. to a data hub in Bilbao, Spain. Click here for more.


Your Money

A letter in the mail with this opening line: “We are writing to let you know how you can get help paying your Medicare costs” is not a scam! More than 2 million seniors are receiving letters this month from the Social Security Administration (SSA) telling them that they could be eligible for Extra Help, a program that often covers up to 75 percent of prescription drug costs. Others may be eligible for a partial subsidy on drugs, or for a Medicare Savings Program in their states, which help pay Medicare Part B costs. Click here for more.


For the Lawyers

No indemnification by insurer for settlement reached without notice. In a blow to policyholders, the Colorado Supreme Court determined that an insured could not be indemnified for a settlement agreement reached without providing notice of the claim to the insurer, upholding the validity of the policy's "no-voluntary-payments" clause. Insured reached a deal with its contractor over a construction accident before litigation was initiated—and before notifying Travelers Property Casualty Company about the claim. When Travelers refused to indemnify the settlement agreement, relying upon a no-voluntary-payments clause in the policy, Stresscon sued. The Colorado Supreme Court noted the policy provision unambiguously excluded any payments made or obligations assumed without the insurer's consent regardless of whether or not the insurer could demonstrate prejudice and, therefore, Stresscon's deal with the contractor fell outside the scope of coverage. Three members of the court dissented, writing that the state's existing rule requiring insurers to demonstrate prejudice from a failure to comply with a notice requirement should be extended to no-voluntary-payments provisions, a standard clause in commercial general liability policies. Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. v. Stresscon Co Click here for more.

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