MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Vermont Supreme Court on Jan. 23 reversed a trial court's establishment of a final bar date because an insurer's liquidation estate has ample assets and the final bar date would be unfair to insureds and others with long-tail asbestos-related claims (In re Ambassador Insurance Company, Inc., No. 2013-184, Vt. Sup.).
PRESCOTT, Ariz. - An Arizona federal judge on Jan. 16 dismissed a self-funded employee welfare benefit plan's subrogation lawsuit against the estate of a plan participant regarding settlement proceeds in an underlying wrongful death action because the participant's children did not incur health care expenses for which another party is responsible (MedCath Incorporated Employee Health Care Plan v. Dustin Stratton, et al., No. 14-08099, D. Ariz.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5514).
SEATTLE - Pfizer Inc.'s relationship with Quigley Co. Inc. did not make it liable for the latter company's asbestos-containing products, a federal judge in Washington held Jan. 12 (Shareleen Sprague, personal representative of the estate of James Olson v. Pfizer Inc., No. 14-5084, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3236).
BALTIMORE - After finding that claims for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) were barred, a Maryland federal judge on Jan. 13 granted judgment for a mortgage servicer and bank and remanded several remaining claims asserted by a former homeowner to state court (Henri Jean Baptiste v. Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc., et al., No. 13-2829, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3787).
SALEM, Ore. - Attorneys who successfully represented the estate of a man in a wrongful death action against a tobacco manufacturer are entitled to recover additional fees for work done in subsequent litigation related to the wrongful death action, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in a split decision Dec. 31 (Mayola Williams v. William A. Gaylord, et al., No. A153249, Ore. App.; 2014 Ore. App. LEXIS 1839).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A judge must instruct a jury on the intended-user doctrine and conduct a new trial absent "each and every" exposure to asbestos testimony, a divided en banc Pennsylvania appeals court held Dec. 23 in vacating a $14.5 million verdict and ordering a new trial (Darlene Nelson, executrix of the estate of James Nelson v. Airco Welders Supply, et al., Nos. 864 EDA 2011, 866 EDA 2011, 867 EDA 2011, Pa. Super.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in Florida's 15th Judicial Circuit Court for Palm Beach County on Dec. 19 returned a defense verdict in a suit alleging that a longtime smoker's death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was caused by his addiction to cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Dorothy Haliburton, as personal representative of the estate of Andrew Haliburton v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 502008CA000703, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
NEW YORK - Although claimants asserted non-bankruptcy claims for violation of the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, a New York federal judge on Dec. 18 found that proofs of claim asserted against a bankruptcy entity should be decided by a bankruptcy court (Ronald A. Eriksen, et al. v. Residential Capital LLC, et al., No. 14-CV-7205, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175001).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 16 affirmed the dismissal of a property owner's complaint against a bank, but reversed the dismissal of his claim for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) (Steven Thomason v. One West Bank, et al., No. 13-11987, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23565).
PALM BEACH, Fla. - Two pulmonologists presented opposing views of the medical history of a smoker who died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to a Florida jury in a suit brought by his widow against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., one saying that his death was caused by addiction to nicotine and the other saying that his suit is time-barred because his disease manifested years before it was diagnosed (Dorothy Haliburton, as personal representative of the estate of Andrew Haliburton v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 502008CA000703, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
ST. LOUIS - After finding that a claimant failed to properly assert his cause of action against a bank for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), a federal judge on Dec. 15 refused the plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissed the case (Moreh J. Buchanan v. EMC Mortgage, et al., No. 4:14CV2002, E.D. Mo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172583).
NEW YORK - A New York City jury on Dec. 12 found that a boiler maker failed to warn about the hazards of asbestos and awarded a man's estate $20 million while holding the defendant 30 percent liable (Charlene Hillyer, as executrix for the estate of Charles F. Hillyer v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190132/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri appeals court on Dec. 9 found that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether mold exposure exacerbated tenants' respiratory issues and remanded the case for further proceedings (Shannon Brown, as successor personal representative for the Estate of Daniel Kruse v. Seven Trails Investors LLC, et al., No. ED100593, Mo. App., Div. 4; 2014 Mo. App. LEXIS 1383).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Answering three certified questions from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in the affirmative, the Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 4 found that although the estate of a deceased employee of an insured has standing to bring a breach of contract lawsuit against the insured's employer's workers' compensation and employer liability insurer, a workers' compensation exclusion and release prevent the estate from collecting a $9.5 million wrongful death judgment from the insurer (Leticia Morales, et al. v. Zenith Insurance Co., No. SC13-696, Fla. Sup.; 2014 Fla. LEXIS 3555).