Judge: Class Action Suit Over Handling Of Modification Request Can Proceed

CHICAGO - A class action suit accusing OneWest Bank FSB of mishandling applications for loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) can proceed, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Oct. 22, after finding that the lead plaintiff had standing and sufficiently alleged claims for breach of contract, promissory estoppel and violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act (ICFA) (Stacey Fletcher, et al. v. OneWest Bank FSB,  No. 10-cv-4682, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151541).

Illinois Federal Judge Approves Settlement Amount For Unpaid Overtime Claims

CHICAGO - While an Illinois federal judge on Oct. 19 approved the total dollar amount of a $49,000 settlement of class action wage-and-hour claims by employees of a nonprofit social services company, he denied a request to keep the settlement confidential and found that the agreement's release of claims is too broad (Barbara Otto, et al., v. South-East Asia Center, et al.,  No. 12-203, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150508).

Illinois Supreme Court: Summary Judgment Proper In Bridge Collapse Injury Case

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Supreme Court on Oct. 18 reinstated a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment to a defendant in a construction accident action, ruling that a general contractor did not have a duty to preserve evidence following a bridge collapse (Terry Martin, et al. v. Keeley & Sons Inc.  No. 113270, Ill. Sup.; 2012 Ill. LEXIS 1501).

Federal Judge Says Collection Claims Against Verizon Can Proceed

CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Oct. 18 denied a cellular phone company's motion to dismiss a complaint alleging that its bill collection efforts violated theTelephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C.S. § 227, disagreeing with Verizon that a Federal Communications Commission statement regarding the TCPA does not apply to the suit (Nicholas M. Martin v. Cellco Partnership, et al.,  No. 12-05147, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149891).

Landscaping Workers Win Summary Judgment On Employer's Liability

CHICAGO - A landscaping company violated federal and state law by not paying several employees overtime, the minimum wage or the prevailing wage for public works projects, an Illinois federal judge held Oct. 19 in granting the workers summary judgment on the issue of liability (Jose Guzman, et al., v. Laredo Systems, Inc., et al.,  No. 10-1499, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150447).

7th Circuit Says Motion To Consolidate Depakote Suits Triggers CAFA Jurisdiction

CHICAGO - Resolving a split between two district courts, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 16 ruled that plaintiffs' motions to consolidate 10 Illinois state court cases involving Abbott Laboratories' anti-seizure drug Depakote were sufficient to create a mass action that makes them subject to removal to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 USCS § 1711. (In Re: Abbott Laboratories, Inc., Nos. 12-8020, 12-8021, 12-8022, 12-8023, 12-8024, 12-8025 and 12-8026; In Re: Abbott Laboratories, Inc., No. 12-8027, 7th Cir.).

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2 Illinois Prisoners Allege Class Was Tortured, Forced To Confess To Crimes

CHICAGO - Two Illinois prisoners filed a class action petition for relief under the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act on Oct. 16 in the Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that they and others were coerced through physical abuse into confessing to serious crimes (People of the State of Illinois v. Johnnie Plummer, et al., Nos. 91 CR 21451, 84 C 01010801, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.). View related prior history, 2011 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3089.

Illinois Federal Judge Declines Class Certification In Unfair Trade Practices Case

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on Oct. 15 declined to grant class certification in an unfair trade practice case against a health insurance company (Charlotte Phillips, et al. v. WellPoint Inc., et al.,  No. 10-357, S.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147736).

Judge Rules On Summary Judgment, Class Certification Motions In Reimbursement Suit

CHICAGO - In separate opinions issued Oct. 12, an Illinois federal judge issued rulings on motions for summary judgment and for judgment on the pleadings and declined to grant class certification to 32 proposed classes in a wrongful reimbursement suit brought by chiropractors (Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, et al.,  No. 09-5619, N.D. Ill; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147026; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146955).

Panel Rules Policy Was Not 'Other Insurance' To Insolvent Insurance Policy

CHICAGO - An employer's insurance policy was not "other insurance" to a policy issued by an insolvent insurance company because it did not cover the same facts, injury or loss that gave rise to the covered claim submitted by an injured leased employee, an Illinois appeals panel held Oct. 12 (Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund v. Virginia Surety Company Inc. and MGM Company Inc.,  No. 1-11-3758, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 5th Div.; 2012 Ill. App. LEXIS 840).

Copyright Claims Against Heavy Metal Band Dismissed

CHICAGO - Despite numerous performances in the State of Illinois and ongoing relationships with Illinois vendors, the heavy metal band Motley Crue won dismissal Oct. 9 of copyright infringement claims levied there on jurisdiction grounds (Ron Toma v. Motley Crue Inc.,  No. 11-6766, N.D. Ill.).

Judge Finds Allegations In Complaints Insufficient For Notice Of Removability

BALTIMORE - Three complaints indicating occupation and times and locations of employment fall short of putting a defendant on notice that the actions were removable, which occurred only after the plaintiffs listed specific ships on which they worked, a federal judge in Maryland held Oct. 5 in denying remand (Lisa Covington, et al. v. Owens Illinois Glass Co., et al., Linda Bing, et al. v. Alltite Gaskets, et al.,  Ronald P. Hursley, et al. v. Alltite Gaskets, et al., Nos. 12-461, 12-458, D. Md.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144562, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144560, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144561).

$32 Million Judgment Upset By Illinois Appellate Panel In Diacetyl Exposure Action

CHICAGO - The $32 million personal injury verdict awarded in August 2010 to a flavor-industry employee stricken with bronchiolitis obliterans was overturned Oct. 4 by a unanimous First District Fourth Division Illinois Appellate Court panel, which held that the trial court erred in directing a verdict on the statute of limitations defense (Gerardo Solis v. BASF Corp., No. 11-875, Ill. App., 4th Div.). A complimentary copy of the opinion is available in the attached pdf.

Illinois Federal Judge Denies Dismissal Of Medicaid, Disability Discrimination Suit

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Springfield Division, on Oct. 3 denied an Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services motion to dismiss an injunctive and declaratory relief action filed under the Medicaid, Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act statutes, saying the plaintiff properly stated claims against the state in her challenge to a decision denying her residential psychiatric treatment (S.B., et al. v. Julie Hamos, in her Official Capacity as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services,  No. 3:12cv03077, C.D. Ill., Springfield Div.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142851).

Illinois Federal Judge Allows Insurers' Suit Against Defense Firm To Continue

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on Oct. 2 denied a motion to dismiss a legal malpractice and subrogation lawsuit against a defense law firm that two insurance companies say botched their defense of a police officer's suit against the manufacturer of a ballistic shield (ACE American Insurance Co., et al. v. Sandberg, Phoenix & Von Gontard, et al.,  No. 3:12-cv-242, S.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141931).

Claim Over Denial Of ESOP Benefits Will Continue To Trial

CHICAGO - A participant in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) may proceed with his claim that his former employer violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq., by failing to pay him benefits because a factual issue existed as to the company's financial condition, but the participant's breach of fiduciary duty claim failed, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Sept. 27 (Paul Crane v. Charlotte Sartain, et al.,  No. 11 C 1743, N.D. Ill.).

Pradaxa MDL Judge Names Plaintiff, Defense Leadership

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - The Illinois federal judge overseeing the new Pradaxa multidistrict litigation on Sept. 27 appointed leadership for the plaintiffs and defendant Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. (In Re:  Pradaxa [Dabigatran Extexilate] Products Liability Litigation,  MDL Docket No. 2385, No. 3:12-md-2385, S.D. Ill.).

Federal Judge's Dismissal Ruling Leaves 2 Claims In Unfair Trade Practice Case

BENTON, Ill. - In ruling on a motion to dismiss, an Illinois federal judge dismissed on Sept. 27 all but breach of contract and unfair conduct claims from a class action unfair trade practices cases (Charlotte Phillips, et al. v. WellPoint Inc., et al.,  No. 10-357, S.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139623).

Federal Judge Grants Class Certification To Some ERISA Fiduciary Duty Claims

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 24 granted class certification on breach of fiduciary duty claims by participants in retirement plans sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMC) related to excessive fees and company stock funds (CSFs) but denied certification on claims related to a stable value fund (SVF) (Anthony Abbott, et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, et al.,  No. 06-cv-0701-MJR, S.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135848).

Federal Judge Grants Summary Judgment To Bank In Loan Action

CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 26 granted summary judgment to FirstMerit Bank NA, which sued guarantors who defaulted on a loan FirstMerit acquired from a failed bank, dismissing the guarantors' argument that FirstMerit failed to authenticate business records on which it relies (FirstMerit Bank NA v. Mervyn Dukatt, et al.,  No. 11-08903, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137710).

Federal Judge Allows Action Against Collection Agency To Continue

CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 24 denied a collection agency's motion for summary judgment in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) 15 U.S.C.S. §§1692 et seq. suit, ruling that the plaintiff consumers have raised genuine issues of material fact regarding the collection agency's alleged violations (Gordon Swearingen, et al. v. Portfolio Recovery,  No. 11-01051, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136434).

Court Affirms Ruling Denying Reconsideration Of Action Over Unpaid Assessment

CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals court on Sept. 24 affirmed a trial court's decision refusing to grant a motion for reconsideration for a new trial filed by a cooperative tenant, who alleged that her unit contained water damage and mold growth, finding that she was given numerous opportunities to raise affirmative defenses to a builder's case and failed to do so (Tudor Gables Building Corp. v. Antoinette Wells,  No. 1-11-3145, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1; 2012 IL App. [1st] 113145U).

Watson Pain Patch MDL Judge Names Plaintiff, Defense Lead Counsel, Alternates

CHICAGO - The Illinois federal judge overseeing the new Watson Pharmaceutical Inc. fentanyl patch multidistrict litigation on Sept. 24 appointed lead and alternative lead counsel for the litigation (In Re: Watson Fentanyl Patch Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2372, No. 1:12-cv-6296, N.D. Ill., E. Div.).

Illinois Court Finds Coverage In Trademark Case Was Excluded Under Policy

ELGIN, Ill. - An Illinois appeals court on Sept. 21 found that a trial court properly entered summary judgment in favor of an insurer, finding that coverage was excluded and that the insurer had no duty to defend a poultry-packaging company in relation to a civil contempt motion filed against it in a trademark and patent dispute (TNI Packaging Inc. v. Hanover Insurance Company,  No. 2-12-0145, Ill. App., 2nd. Dist.; 2012 IL App. [2d] 120145U).

Judge: Reinsurer Must Pay Reinsured $230,527 To Cover Underlying Settlement

CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois granted summary judgment to an insurer on Sept. 19, finding that a follow-the-settlements clause of a reinsurance agreement covered an insurer's settlement of an underlying dispute (Arrowood Indemnity Company, et al v. Assurecare Corporation,  No. 11-cv-05206, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134368).