Mealey's Insurance - Summary Judgment Not Proper In Insurance Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules

PHOENIX - Partial summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit is not warranted because an insurer failed to show that it was prejudiced and because a jury "could reasonably find that [the insurer] acted unreasonably and knew it," a federal judge in Nevada ruled in an opinion made available on Aug. 18 (Michael Trudel, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 12-1208, D. Ariz.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113642).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer's Refusal To Settle Does Not Constitute Bad Faith, Judge Rules

LAS VEGAS - An insurer did not act in bad faith by failing to accept a settlement offer within the limits of an insured's bodily injury provision for her automobile insurance policy for another driver injured in an auto accident, a federal judge in Nevada ruled Aug. 19, granting summary judgment (Jesse Kalberer v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-2278, D. Nev.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115047).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Tobacco Companies Outline Case In Florida Suit Alleging Smoking-Related Death

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Counsel for tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group on Aug. 8 laid out their defense of a suit by the family of a longtime smoker alleging that his death in March 2013 was caused by smoking cigarettes (Heather Irimi, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-026337, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Plaintiffs Outline Case In Florida Suit Alleging Smoking-Related Death

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Trial got under way Aug. 8 before Judge John Murphy of the Florida 17th Judicial Circuit Court for Broward County with the plaintiff's opening statement in a suit by the family of a longtime smoker alleging that his death in March 2013 was caused by smoking cigarettes (Heather Irimi, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-026337, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Upholds Garnishment Judgment Against Insurer Over Construction Defects

SALEM, Ore. - A trial judge correctly entered a garnishment judgment of $433,958.16 against a commercial general liability insurer for the unpaid amount of a homeowners association's judgment against an insured in an underlying construction defects case, an Oregon appeals panel affirmed Aug. 6; however, the panel reversed the attorney fee award (FountainCourt Homeowners' Association and FountainCourt Condominium Owners' Association v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. A147420, Ore. App.; 2014 Ore. App. LEXIS 1062).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 10th Circuit Won't Undo Doubled Damages In Trademark Case

DENVER - Although reversing a Utah federal judge's determination that a defendant forfeited his license to distribute "Sycamore" bread products in Arizona and Nevada, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 25 left intact that judge's holding that the same defendant's infringement of the mark was willful (EarthGrains Baking Companies Inc. v. Leland Sycamore and Sycamore Family Bakery Inc., No. 12-4146, 10th Cir.).

Mealey"s Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Awards $23 Billion In Punitives To Smoker"s Family

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on July 18 ordered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to pay more than $23.6 billion in punitive damages to the family of a man who alleged that his death from lung cancer was caused by smoking (Cynthia Robinson, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-98, Fla. 1st Cir., Escambia Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Awards $23 Billion In Punitives To Smoker's Family

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on July 18 ordered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to pay more than $23.6 billion in punitive damages to the family of a man who alleged that his death from lung cancer was caused by smoking (Cynthia Robinson, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-98, Fla. 1st Cir., Escambia Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Awards Smoker's Family $16.8M In Engle Case

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A Florida state court jury July 17 awarded $16.8 million to the family of a man who alleged that his death from lung cancer was caused by smoking (Cynthia Robinson, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-98, Fla. 1st Cir. Court, Escambia Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Awards Smoker's Family $16.8M In Engle Case

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A Florida state court jury July 17 awarded $16.8 million to the family of a man who alleged that his death from lung cancer was caused by smoking (Cynthia Robinson, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-98, Fla. 1st Cir. Court, Escambia Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Tenants' Contamination Case Regarding Military Housing Partially Dismissed

HONOLULU - A federal judge in Hawaii on July 15 partially granted and partially denied dismissal of claims filed by families living in military housing who argued that the premises were contaminated with pesticides and were therefore uninhabitable (Cara Baker, et al. v. Ohana Military Communities LLC, No. 14-000217, D. Hawaii; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96218).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - California Federal Judge Refuses To Remand Chuck E. Cheese Wage Suit

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on July 10 ruled that the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) $5 million amount-in-controversy requirement was met and denied a motion requesting that he remand a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by employees of a family restaurant and fun center chain (Franchesca Ford, et al. v. CEC Entertainment, Inc., et al., No. 14-1420, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94059).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - California Federal Judge Refuses To Remand Chuck E. Cheese Wage Suit

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on July 10 ruled that the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) $5 million amount-in-controversy requirement was met and denied a motion requesting that he remand a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by employees of a family restaurant and fun center chain (Franchesca Ford, et al. v. CEC Entertainment, Inc., et al., No. 14-1420, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94059).

Mealey's Insurance - Disputed Issues Preclude Summary Judgment Ruling In Flood Dispute, Judge Says

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Finding that there are disputed issues of material fact as to what loan documentation a federal flood insurer and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had to review, an Arkansas federal judge on July 8 denied motions for summary judgment in a coverage dispute over flood damage to a family-owned motel (M&K Restaurant LLC, et al. v. Farmers Insurance Co. Inc., et al., No. 4:12-cv-00783 KGB, E.D. Ark., Western Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92396).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Fire Investigator Deemed Qualified To Testify On Design In Dryer Fire Cases

MADISON, Wis. - Denying in part a clothes dryer manufacturer's motion to exclude the testimony of the plaintiff insurers' expert witnesses, a Wisconsin federal magistrate judge on June 26 concluded that an arson expert and certified fire investigator was qualified to testify as to the purported defective designs of dryers that allegedly caused fires, while precluding his testimony related to the effectiveness of manufacturer warnings to consumers (American Family Mutual Insurance Co., et al. v. Electrolux Home Products Inc., No. 3:11-cv-00678, W.D. Wis.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86880).

Mealey's Insurance - Fire Investigator Deemed Qualified To Testify On Design In Dryer Fire Cases

MADISON, Wis. - Denying in part a clothes dryer manufacturer's motion to exclude the testimony of the plaintiff insurers' expert witnesses, a Wisconsin federal magistrate judge on June 26 concluded that an arson expert and certified fire investigator was qualified to testify as to the purported defective designs of dryers that allegedly caused fires, while precluding his testimony related to the effectiveness of manufacturer warnings to consumers (American Family Mutual Insurance Co., et al. v. Electrolux Home Products Inc., No. 3:11-cv-00678, W.D. Wis.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86880).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Fire Investigator Deemed Qualified To Testify On Design In Dryer Fire Cases

MADISON, Wis. - Denying in part a clothes dryer manufacturer's motion to exclude the testimony of the plaintiff insurers' expert witnesses, a Wisconsin federal magistrate judge on June 26 concluded that an arson expert and certified fire investigator was qualified to testify as to the purported defective designs of dryers that allegedly caused fires, while precluding his testimony related to the effectiveness of manufacturer warnings to consumers (American Family Mutual Insurance Co., et al. v. Electrolux Home Products Inc., No. 3:11-cv-00678, W.D. Wis.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86880).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer's Negligence Case Was Not Equitably Tolled, Illinois Appeals Panel Says

CHICAGO - The statute of limitations was not equitably tolled for an insurer, as a subrogee to its insured, to file a negligence lawsuit against contractors over water damage to the insured's home, an Illinois appeals panel ruled June 27, finding that the insurer's failure to obtain an executed assignment was not an extraordinary circumstance (American Family Mutual Insurance Co., as subrogee of Michael P. McGrath Jr. v. Patrick Plunkett and Patrick Plunkett Architectural Design Ltd., No. 1-13-1631, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 5th Div.; 2014 Ill. App. LEXIS 447).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Texas Judge Denies Company's Motion To Reverse $2.9M Hydraulic Fracturing Award

DALLAS - The Texas judge presiding over a case in which $2.9 million was awarded to a family for injuries related to hydraulic fracturing on June 19 denied the company's motion seeking judgment as a matter of law reversing the award (Lisa Parr, et al. v. Aruba Petroleum Inc., No. 11-1650, Texas Law No. 5, Dallas Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - U.S. Labor Secretary Announces Proposed Expansion Of Family And Medical Leave Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez on June 20 announced a proposed ruled expanding the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages regardless of where they reside. The expansion was proposed in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in United States v. Windsor (133 S. Ct. 2675, 186 L. Ed. 2d 808 [2013]), in which the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted "marriage" and "spouse" to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law.

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Earth Movement Precludes Coverage For Insured's Water Damage

DENVER - An earth movement exclusion bars coverage for an insured's water damage in her home, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held June 19, affirming dismissal of breach of contract and statutory and common law bad faith claims against an insurer (Shannon Wagner v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-1438, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11526).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Former Los Angeles Clippers Intern Files Class Complaint Seeking Unpaid Wages

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Clippers (LAC Basketball Club Inc.) and The Sterling Family Trust violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the California unfair competition law by failing to pay interns, a former intern alleges in his class complaint filed June 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Frank Cooper, et al. v. LAC Basketball Club, Inc., et al., No. 14-4445, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Former Los Angeles Clippers Intern Files Class Complaint Seeking Unpaid Wages

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Clippers (LAC Basketball Club Inc.) and The Sterling Family Trust violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the California unfair competition law by failing to pay interns, a former intern alleges in his class complaint filed June 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Frank Cooper, et al. v. LAC Basketball Club, Inc., et al., No. 14-4445, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Former Los Angeles Clippers Intern Files Class Complaint Seeking Unpaid Wages

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Clippers (LAC Basketball Club Inc.) and The Sterling Family Trust violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the California unfair competition law by failing to pay interns, a former intern alleges in his class complaint filed June 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Frank Cooper, et al. v. LAC Basketball Club, Inc., et al., No. 14-4445, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - GM Starts Ignition Switch Injury Compensation Program Run By Kenneth Feinberg

DETROIT - General Motors Co. (GM) on June 5 announced a program to compensate people who lost family members or who suffered serious physical injuries as the result of ignition switch failures in GM vehicles.