ROANOKE, Va. - Finding that multiple fact issues exist in a negligence lawsuit against the manufacturers of a pain medication analgesia pump, a Virginia federal judge on Dec. 19 declined to grant summary judgment to the defendants, while partly granting and partly denying their motions to exclude the testimony of plaintiffs' expert witnesses related to the adequacy of the pump's warnings and instructions (Deirdre Williamson Jain, et al. v. Abbott Laboratories Inc., et al., No. 7:13-cv-00551, W.D. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175242).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on Dec. 17 granted class action status to a case accusing J.C. Penney Corp. Inc. of violating state law, including the unfair competition law (UCL), by failing to pay vacation benefits as required (Raymond Tschudy v. J.C. Penney Corporation Inc., No. 11-1011, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174382).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) products litigation on Dec. 18 ruled that, despite her reservations about a plaintiff expert's plume model, dismissal of the expert at this stage of the case was "premature" (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, Orange County Water District v. Unocal Corporation, No. 04-4968, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK - A reinsurer in liquidation told the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 19 that a trial court judge erred when considering a motion to dismiss because the judge allegedly made inferences in favor of the defendant/reinsureds instead of the plaintiff/reinsurer (Mariah Re Ltd. [In Liquidation], acting by and through Geoffrey Varga and Jess Shakespeare, in their capacities as Liquidators thereof v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-4062, 2nd Cir.).
SEATTLE - After finding that a tenant failed to show that a housing authority did not remedy a mold and water damage issue in his apartment, a Washington federal judge on Dec. 19 dismissed his claims for constructive eviction (Bobby Tucker v. Seattle Housing Authority, et al., No. 13-1566, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175658).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on Dec. 19 denied a request for attorney fees in a trademark case she said has been "fraught with unnecessary difficulty" (AFD USA, et al. v. AFD China Intellectual Property Law Office, et al., No. 09-1509, D. Ore.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175434).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 17 ordered the further reduction of a jury's punitive damages award in an employment bias and racial harassment suit that was already reduced to $5 million by the federal judge from the original $24 million (Elijah Turley v. ISG Lackawanna, Inc., No. 13-561, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23705).
PHILADELPHIA - A doctor may present his report and testimony as to the purported intoxication of the plaintiff in a police excessive force lawsuit, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Dec. 17, finding that the report met the criteria of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and denying the plaintiff's motion in limine to preclude (Hibah Muhammad v. Police Officer James Bolognone, No. 2:13-cv-06440, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173997).
NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for personal injuries caused by the company's oil operations in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador filed a reply brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 18, contending that Chevron's fraud action against the attorney should be dismissed in its entirety. Moreover, the attorney says that remand for further proceedings is unnecessary but that in the event of remand, the case should be reassigned to a different district judge (Chevron Corporation v. Steven R. Donziger, et al., No. 14-826, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Symantec Corp. saw its motions to quash and for a protective order denied Dec. 19, with a California federal judge finding that the cyber-security firm had "not meaningfully disputed the relevance sought by the subpoena" in an underlying consumer class action against Target Corp. related to a 2013 data breach (In Re: Target Corporation Consumer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 3:14-mc-80302, N.D. Calif.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 19 upheld a jury's verdict finding a dermatologist guilty of 13 counts of health care fraud and affirmed a judge's sentencing of the defendant, holding that the evidence presented during the trial supported the jury's decision (United States of America v. Allen G. Saoud, No. 14-4288, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 24002).
BOSTON - An employer that offered to eliminate swing shifts to an employee seeking a medical accommodation, but denied a request to provide only daytime hours, engaged in an interactive process with the employee, a divided First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 19 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Kohl's Department Stores, Inc., No. 14-1268, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 24043).
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.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 16 withdrew its prior opinion that a pension plan participant who challenged the termination of benefits following the plan's rediscovery that he had not met the plan's vesting requirements failed to demonstrate that he was entitled to any equitable remedies under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(3), and the appeals panel filed a superseding opinion remanding to the district court to consider whether the participant was entitled to surcharge (Gregory R. Gabriel v. Alaska Electrical Pension Fund, et al., No. 12-35458, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10553).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel announced Dec. 19 that it has filed multiple consolidated complaints against McDonald's USA LLC and the company's franchisees, as joint employers, alleging violations of employees' rights.
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).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Participants in two of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s 401(k) plans reached a provisional settlement on their claims that the plans' fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by causing the plans to pay excessive administrative expenses, by investing in a stable-value fund (SVF) that did not result in a rate of return that was sufficient for a retirement asset and by mismanaging the plan's company stock funds (CSFs), a Dec. 16 notice issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois indicated (Anthony Abbott, et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 06-cv-701, S.D. Ill.).
CHICAGO - A federal magistrate judge erred in striking the testimony of an accident reconstructionist in a product liability lawsuit over a purportedly defective ladder, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found Dec. 17, finding that it was for the jury to decide whether the expert's causation theory was correct (Kurt Stuhlmacher, et al. v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., et al., No. 14-2018, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23757).
LONDON - Imperial Tobacco Canada, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, will pay $575 million to settle asbestos-related litigation involving The Flintkote Co., the company announced Dec. 16 in a news release.
TAMPA, Fla. - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate infringes on religious beliefs, a Christian retirement community argues in a Dec. 18 reply filed in Florida federal court (Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation Inc., et al. v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 14-580, M.D. Fla.).