AUSTIN, Texas - A special deputy receiver on Sept. 28 asked a Texas court to approve a settlement agreement under which an insurer's rehabilitation estate will pay the U.S. government $33 million regarding certain customs bonds (State of Texas v. Highlands Insurance Company, No. D-1-GV-03-004537, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 affirmed a district court's dismissal of claims asserted by property owners against a bank, finding that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) was not in effect at the relevant time and that the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) does not impose a legal duty of care on lender (Roderick Ray, et al. v. U.S. Bank National Association, Successor Trustee to Bank of America, Successor by Merger to LaSalle Bank, N.A., No. 15-1241, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17220).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge on Sept. 29 awarded $3 million in a take-home asbestos case after finding that Alabama law imposes a duty on employers to protect household members from asbestos exposure and applying substantial factor causation (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 12-S-1930, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130741).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 28 found that a borrower failed to submit evidence to support his claim for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) but allowed his claims against a loan servicer for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and another claim to proceed (Alex Rodriguez v. Seterus Inc., No. 15-61253, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130172).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge held on Sept. 24 that an insurer has a duty to defend or indemnify its insured against underlying claims that its insured misused and misappropriated funds involving real estate closing, loan closing and title and escrow services (Title Industry Assurance Co. v. Chicago Abstract Title Agency, et al., No. 14-1906, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128096).
MIAMI - A lawyer's expertise in insurance law does not match the type of expertise needed to render an expert opinion on the internal standards for handling an insurance claim, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 23, excluding the lawyer's testimony in an insurance bad faith lawsuit (Frank Lopez, as personal representative of the Estate of Giraldo Lopez, and Magaly Nunez Delgado, individually and as assignee of Michelle Soto v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-20654, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127495).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Sept. 22 declined to exclude an expert's testimony that brake dust causes mesothelioma in a wrongful death lawsuit (Deste C. Relyea, as Executor of the Estate of Jo Ann Relyea v. Borg Warner Corp., et al., No. 12-3564, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126895).
MIAMI - A jury in Florida on Sept. 22 delivered a defense verdict in a lawsuit brought by a woman who contended that the manufacturers of cigarettes were liable for her husband's death from lung cancer, which she said was caused by his addiction to smoking. The plaintiff had sought between $34,737,000 and $50,676,600 in damages (Teresa Suarez, as the representative of the Estate of Pio Suarez, v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 2009-79584-CA-01, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).
NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia - Damages awarded for the inability to provide services do not arise from the same injury and are not offset by damages for a widow's loss of services, an Australian court held Sept. 17 (Dionisatos (for the estate of the late George Dionysatos) v. Acrow Formwork & Scaffolding Pty Ltd., No  NSWCA 281, New South Wales App.).
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A widow's evidence that her husband worked with radio and television heat shields during the time manufacturers used asbestos and that the work created dust overcomes summary judgment, a Kentucky appeals court panel held Sept. 11 (Thelma B. Anderson, as administratrix of the estate of Kenneth W. Anderson v. Motorola Solutions Inc. and Zenith Electronics LLC, No. 2013-CA-001350, Ky. App.; 2015 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 659).
CITY ISLAND, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Aug. 31 awarded $750,000 to a man who sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) alleging that the company was liable for the death of his wife because her addiction to cigarettes made by the company was the cause of her lung cancer. The jury found the company 25 percent liable (James Lewis, as the representative of the Estate of Rosemary Lewis v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2009 30058 CIC, Fla. Cir., 7th Jud. Cir.).
HARTFORD, Conn. - An executrix's four-year delay in substituting herself as a plaintiff in an asbestos action prejudiced defendants and warranted dismissal for failure to prosecute, a Connecticut appeals court held Sept. 2 (Adrienne Brochu, executrix of the estate of Adrien Brochu v. Aesys Technologies, et al., No. AC36483, Conn. App.; 2015 Conn. App. LEXIS 314).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In a majority ruling, a Florida appeals court on Aug. 28 granted a psychiatric hospital's petition for writ of certiorari of a trial court's decision to dismiss an estate's case against it, finding that the estate's allegations, which were related to the death of a patient, constituted an ordinary negligence claim (Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinics Inc., d/b/a Shands Vista v. The Estate of Ashley Lawson, by and through John Mark Lawson, No. 1D14-4675, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 12951).
BENTON, Ill. - A medical doctor's certifications and experience qualify him to testify as an expert, and his testimony accounts for levels of exposure and thus goes beyond "every exposure" testimony, a federal judge in Illinois held Aug. 31 (Mrs. Sharon Bell, executor of the estate of Mr. Richard Bell v. ABB Group Inc., et al., No. 13-1338, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115341).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge held Aug. 28 that a primary insurer is liable under the principles of equity to reimburse an excess insurer for the $7,996,655.57 in defense costs it was ordered to pay to their insured in connection with an underlying lawsuit arising from a failed real estate project in Orlando, Fla. (IMG Worldwide Inc., et al. v. Westchester Fire Insurance Co., No. 11-1594, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114659).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Aug. 26 denied a loan servicing company's request to transfer a borrower's lawsuit, which asserts a cause of action for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), to a bankruptcy court, finding that its arguments were moot or inappropriate (Christine Warren v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, No. 14-cv-02241, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114978).