BOULDER, Colo. - Colorado residents that sued the state, its governor and an oil and gas exploration company seeking to enforce a charter amendment that the residents of the City of Lafayette, Colo., passed to ban hydraulic fracturing on Aug. 19 moved in state court for preliminary injunctive relief declaring their right to govern the local community in which they reside (Cliff Willmeng, et al. v. State of Colorado, et al., No. 2014CV30718, Colo. Dist., Boulder Co.).
PASADENA, Calif. - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 20 affirmed a lower court's ruling that the emission of diesel particulate matter into the air did not constitute "disposal" under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company, et al., No. 12-56086, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 16065).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two patents owned by The Mathilda and Terrance Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Trust (Kennedy) were properly invalidated by a New York federal judge, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 21 (AbbVie Inc. v. The Mathilda and Terrance Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Trust, No. 13-1545, Fed. Cir.).
ATLANTA - After finding that a homeowner failed to state a claim in relation to her action to enjoin lenders from foreclosing on a property, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 21 affirmed the dismissal of the case (Linda Stabb v. GMAC Mortgage LLC, et al., No. 13-15900, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 16081).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The daughter of a deceased smoker testified in a wrongful death action in Florida's 17th Judicial Court for Broward County Florida on Aug. 20 that her father was unable to quit smoking because he was addicted to cigarettes (Heather Irimi, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-026337, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Google Inc. was awarded sanctions by a California federal magistrate judge on Aug. 19 after it was discovered that the plaintiff firm in a patent lawsuit suit against it failed to timely adopt and enforce a companywide email retention system when litigation was reasonably foreseeable (PersonalWeb Technologies LLC, et al. v. Google Inc., et al., No. 5:13-cv-01317, N.D. Calif.).
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Aug. 19 determined that claims for breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment against a disability insurer must be dismissed for failure to state a claim (Douglas Esposito v. Wal Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 13-98, W.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115114).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Bank of America Corp. will pay nearly $17 billion to settle claims that it and its current and former subsidiaries, Countrywide Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch, engaged in fraudulent activity with regard to their origination, underwriting and sale of subprime mortgages and mortgage-backed securities leading up to the financial crisis, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Associate Attorney General Tony West announced Aug. 21 in a press conference.
LOS ANGELES - Blue Cross of California misrepresented which providers its plans covered while transferring subscribers into limited-access Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) "skinny networks" consisting of the cheapest medical services providers in an effort to save money, an Aug. 19 class action alleges (Jonathan Brown, et al. v. Blue Cross of California, dba Anthem Blue Cross and DOES 1 through 100 inclusive, No. BC554949, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
NEW YORK - Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on Aug. 19 for limited relief from the automatic stay in the General Motors Corp. bankruptcy proceedings to allow him to seek remand of his California suit against the automaker to state court (In re: Chapter 11 Motors Liquidation Co., et al., f/k/a General Motors Corp., et al., No. 09-50026, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK - A group of 156 plaintiffs may file an omnibus complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against General Motions LLC for deaths and injuries that occurred prior to the sale of General Motors Corp., the judge overseeing the GM ignition-switch multidistrict litigation ruled Aug. 19 (In re General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-MD-2543 [JMF]; Pamela Edwards, et al. v. General Motors LLC, S.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 19 dismissed with prejudice an insurance company's unjust enrichment claim against a physician-owned surgical facility and its management companies after finding that it failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, but also allowed the company to pursue claims of insurance fraud against the defendants based on their billing and referral practices (Aetna Life Insurance Co. v. Huntington Valley Surgery Center, et al., No. 13-cv-3101-WY, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115688).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Supreme Court will address whether household members can bring suit for take-home exposure to asbestos after granting two petitions for review on Aug. 20, according to its docket (Haver v. BNSF Railway Co., No. S219919, Kesner v. Superior Court [Pneumo Abex LLC], No. S219534, Calif. Sup.).
DENVER - The government's promise that amended rules are forthcoming does not alleviate the ongoing harm imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate, the law's challengers argue in telling the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 19 that they would continue with their appeal (Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, Denver Colorado, et al. v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 13-1540, 10th Cir.).
PITTSBURGH - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate places a substantial burden on nonprofit plaintiffs' religious practices, and they are likely to succeed in their challenge to it, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Aug. 20 (Most Reverend Lawrence E. Brandt, et al. v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 14-681, W.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A bankruptcy court correctly held that changes made by Plant Insulation Co. to its Chapter 11 plan of reorganization on remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals are sufficient to satisfy a U.S. Bankruptcy Code requirement that the asbestos trust established by the plan has the ability to take control over the reorganized debtor's future operations, a California federal judge ruled Aug. 18 in denying an appeal by insurers and affirming the plan confirmation (OneBeacon Insurance Company, et al. v. Plant Insulation Company, et al., No. 14-1200, N.D. Calif.).
DETROIT - A disability insurer's denial of long-term disability benefits was not arbitrary or capricious because the insurer properly relied on the available medical evidence in reaching its decision, a Michigan federal judge said Aug. 18 (Mae-Lyn DeBoard v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 13-12838, E.D. Mich.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114233).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 19 denied a disability insurer's motion to dismiss a claimant's suit on the basis that the claimant adequately pleaded facts in support of her claims against the insurer (Karen Alberts v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 14-01587, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115530).
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on Aug. 20 issued an official judgment enforcing a jury verdict in favor of popcorn manufacturers and determined that they were not liable for injuries that a couple claimed were caused by exposure to diacetyl and pentanedione, which are chemicals used to make artificial butter flavoring in popcorn (David Stults, et al. v. American Pop Corn Company, et al., No. 11-4077, N.D. Iowa).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 20 held that insureds failed to present any evidence rebutting the presumed prejudice their insurer suffered as a result of their untimely proof of loss of their Hurricane Wilma damage, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer (Lloyd Oliver Hunt, et al. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 4D13-272, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 12810).