BILLINGS, Mont. - A retailer's insurers were not obligated to provide a defense in two underlying lawsuits related to the retailer's installation of spyware on computers it sold to customers, a Montana federal judge found in a pair of Sept. 25 rulings granting the insurers' summary judgment motions, finding that policy exclusions for the recording or distribution of private material precluded coverage (American Economy Insurance Co., et al. v. Aspen Way Enterprises Inc., et al., No. 1:14-cv-00009, D. Mont.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129274).
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).
SHREVEPORT, La. - Questions of material fact exist as to whether an insurer may be sued under the direct action statute without its insured being named in the lawsuit, which seeks costs for the insured's defective work on a highway, a Louisiana federal judge ruled Sept. 28 (JB James Construction LLC v. River Cities Sawing LLC, et al., No. 13-2490, W.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131074).
SILVER SPRING, Md. - The Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 28 issued a safety communication after receiving more than 300 medical device reports of incidents in which cranial perforators with automatic clutches failed to disengage, resulting in 200 head injuries.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Efforts by a plaintiff to obtain dismissal of patent and copyright infringement counterclaims were unsuccessful Sept. 28, when a California federal judge instead ruled that the case - which involves hardware and software used in the dairy industry - should proceed (BECO Dairy Automation Inc. v. Global Tech Systems Inc., No. 12-1310, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130503).
ST. LOUIS - A Minnesota federal judge overseeing an automobile product liability case erred in admitting evidence of other, similar incidents when there was no evidence that the other incidents were caused by the same defect, Toyota Motor Corp. argues in a Sept. 25 brief filed with the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Jassmine D. Adams, et al. v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al., Nos. 15-2507, -2511, -2516, -2635, -2636, -2637, -2638, 8th Cir.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy Corp., which had initially appealed a $25,116,883.61 fine levied by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for groundwater contamination resulting from its operation of a coal-generating plant, on Sept. 29 agreed to settle the claims brought by the DENR for $7 million.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Insureds sufficiently assert claims for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing against their homeowners insurer for its denial of coverage for damages sustained by cracking in their basement wall, a Connecticut federal judge held Sept. 28 (Raymond G. Gabriel and Kimberly A. Gabriel v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-01435, D. Conn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129952).
SAN DIEGO - A California appeals court on Sept. 28 affirmed its decision that the only measure of restitution in a products action under California's unfair competition law (UCL) is the measure established in In re Vioxx Class of Cases ( 180 Cal.App.4th 116, 131 [103 Cal. Rptr. 3d 83]), affirming a trial court's decision refusing to award tobacco plaintiffs restitution (In re Tobacco Cases II, No. D065165, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 834).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on Sept. 28, on remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, affirmed use of a pro rata approach to calculating damages for apportioning liability in a groundwater contamination case, ruling that it was equitable (AmeriPride Services Inc. v. Texas Eastern Overseas Inc., No. 00-090113, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130592).
TRENTON, N.J. - Shingle manufacturer Maibec Inc. says in an opposition brief filed Sept. 29 in New Jersey federal court that a request to certify two discovery rulings for appeal filed by plaintiffs who claim the shingles are defective is frivolous and worthy of sanctions because the decisions did not absolve the company from producing electronically stored information (ESI) and allow discovery from a retained expert (Ilene Stern, et al. v. Maibec Inc., No. 11-3951, D. N.J.).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A ruling on allocation and an insured's duty to indemnify two of its insurers cannot be made until all of the parties who are potentially obligated to pay for underlying asbestos claims are identified, a New York federal judge said Sept. 29 in denying both the insured's and insurers' motions for summary judgment (Pacific Employers Insurance Co. v. Troy Belting & Supply Co., et al., No. 11-912, N.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130681).
MADISON, Wis. - Finding that reasonable jurors could conclude that processors fabricated in Texas but completed overseas and never sold in or imported into the United States after completion could nonetheless be capable of infringement at the point of manufacture, a Wisconsin federal judge on Sept. 29 reserved a motion by Apple Inc. to limit the royalty base in an upcoming patent trial (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Apple Inc., No. 14-62, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130906).
BOSTON - A commercial general liability insurance policy's residential construction work exclusion precludes coverage to an additional insured for underlying lawsuits alleging property damage sustained from negligent supervision that resulted in flooding, a Massachusetts federal judge ruled Sept. 28 (CWC Builders, Inc. v. United Specialty Insurance Co., No. 13-11576, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130335).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 30 declined the opportunity to weigh in on a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to institute inter partes review (IPR) proceedings in response to a petition by Apple Inc. (Achates Reference Publishing Inc. v. Apple Inc., No. 14-1788, Fed. Cir.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge held Sept. 28 that because any lost earnings stemming from a Ponzi scheme perpetuated by an insured's investment advisers were not "owned" by the insured pursuant to a blanket crime policy, the insurer has no duty to indemnify its insured (3M Company, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa, et al., No. 14-CV-1058 (PJS/JSM), D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131197).
DENVER - A former plant employee who was fired for performance-related issues failed to establish under the "cat's paw" theory of recovery that his supervisor discriminated against him because of his race and then influenced the decision to terminate his employment, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 25 (Karry L. Thomas v. Berry Plastics Corporation, No. 14-3100, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17013).
CINCINNATI - A Michigan state prison inmate is not entitled to reimbursement of the portion of his pension benefits garnered by the State of Michigan to offset the costs of his incarceration because Michigan prisoners ordered by a state court to redirect pension benefits are not entitled to seek reimbursement of those benefits in federal court, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Sept. 25 (Stuart Robbennolt v. Heidi Washington, No. 14-2433, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17038).
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).
PHILADELPHIA - After deliberating for less than a day, a Pennsylvania federal jury on Sept. 29 returned a defense verdict for Johnson & Johnson in a Children's Motrin Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) case (Kristin L. Brown, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 12-4929, E.D. Pa.).
PASADENA, Calif. - A waiver of a plaintiff's representative Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim is unenforceable, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 28 and remanded the matter for the parties to decide in the first instance where the claim should be resolved (Shukri Sakkab, et al. v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc., No. 13-55184, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17071).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 determined that a district court erred in granting a disability insurer's motion for summary judgment because it is not clear if the insurer properly denied a long-term disability (LTD) claim (Vicki Koning v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. No. 14-2188, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17022).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 25 granted approval of a $2.8 million settlement in a class complaint brought by independent contractors who deliver furniture and provide installation services in New Jersey for Macy's Inc. and HomeDeliveryLink Inc. (Henry Badia, et al. v. HomeDeliveryLink, Inc., et al., Nos. 12-6920 and 12-7097, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129033).
TRENTON, N.J. - After finding that a borrower failed to provide any evidence that she entered into a loan modification, a New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 28 granted summary judgment on her claims in favor of a loan servicing company (Mary Angers v. Pennymac Loan Services LLC, No. 14-4701, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129752).
NEW YORK - Myriad default defendants were ordered Sept. 28 to pay $100,000 in statutory damages for infringing a copyrighted image of multi-sport athlete Bo Jackson (Richard Noble v. Crazetees.com, et al., No. 13-5086, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130391).