NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 5 reversed and remanded a bankruptcy case, holding that a district court abused its discretion in finding that Wells Fargo Bank adopted inconsistent positions in two bankruptcies filed by a man who defaulted on his mortgage (Wells Fargo Bank v. Titus Chinedu Oparaji [In Re: Titus Cinedu Oparaji], No. 11-20871, Chapter 7, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20827).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Because an insured reasonably expected that an environmental cost-cap policy accurately listed the agreed-upon starting date and term length, an insurer cannot deny a claim that occurred after the agreed-upon starting date but before the effective date incorrectly listed on the policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Oct. 5 (Austin James Associates Inc., v. American International Specialty Lines Insurance Co., No. 12-1125, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144449).
NEW YORK - A medical service provider's claim based on a health insurer's denial of coverage because an assistant surgeon was not "medically necessary," which was a term defined by the plan, is a right-to-payment claim that is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq., a federal judge in New York ruled Oct. 4 (Neuroaxis Neurosurgical Associates, PC, v. CIGNA Healthcare of New York, Inc., No. 11 Civ. 8517, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144921).
NEW YORK - A federal judge on Oct. 5 held that creditor Sapere Wealth Management LLC could not appeal a ruling by the bankruptcy judge presiding over the Chapter 11 proceeding of MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MFGH) because it failed to raise "genuine doubt" regarding the standard the bankruptcy judge used when he ruled that Sapere did not have authority to direct the administration of MFGH's estate (Sapere Wealth Management LLC v. Statutory Creditors' Committee of MF Global Holdings Ltd. [In Re: MF Global Holdings Ltd.], No. 11-15059, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Merit Systems Protection Board had no jurisdiction over a U.S. Department of the Army probationary employee's claim that he was improperly terminated, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 5 (Shikik T. Johnson v. Merit Systems Protection Board, No. 2012-3096, Fed. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20796).
SAN DIEGO - A woman's unfair competition law class action claims involving the alleged failure to disclose defects in heating pads involve common questions of functionality that differences in sizes and settings do not overcome, a federal judge held Oct. 5 in granting class certification for California consumers (Beverly Beck-Ellman, et al. v. Kaz USA Inc. and Kaz Inc., No. 10-2134, S.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full article.
DES MOINES, Iowa - Although a Hungarian corporation and two Hungarian residents do not have sufficient minimum contacts with Iowa to permit jurisdiction there in a copyright and trademark infringement case, an Iowa federal judge on Oct. 5 granted an alternative request for jurisdictional discovery (Fraserside IP LLC v. Netvertising Ltd. et al., No. 11-3034, N.D. Iowa). Subscribers may view the decision available within the full article.
OMAHA, Neb. - Two railworkers' joint federal asbestos action will proceed in Nebraska until discovery reveals evidence warranting separate trials or a different venue, a federal magistrate judge held Oct. 5 (Gary L. Blessing, Conrad E. Lindquist v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., No. 12-251, D. Neb.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144367).
HOUSTON - An offshore well operator's failure to procure the correct amount of operator's extra expense (OEE) insurance coverage did not substantially impair the other owners' interests to justify no payment from the other owners for damages sustained to the well as a result of Hurricane Ike, a Texas federal judge said Oct.5 (SM Energy Co. v. Smacko Ltd. et al., No. 11-3028, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144533).
DETROIT - The owner and operator of a Citgo gas station in Detroit on Oct. 5 failed to obtain dismissal of trademark claims levied by Coach Inc. in connection with counterfeit bags sold there (Coach Inc. v. Younes Corp. Inc., et al., No. 11-11559, E.D. Mich.). Subscribers may view the decision available within the full article.
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on October 4 declined to dismiss allegations by a developer of technology used to locate mobile handsets against a standard-setting organization (SSO), concluding that the developer plausibly alleged that the SSO, acting through three of its corporate members as its agents, joined in a conspiracy to exclude the developer's technology from the SSO's standard (TruePosition, Inc. v. LM Ericsson Telephone Company, et al., No. 11-4574, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143611).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 9 invited the solicitor general to file a brief expressing the views of the United States in a suit over the workplace rights of employees of a contractor under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) before the high court justices decide whether they will hear the case (Jackie Hosang Lawson, et al. v. FMR LLC, et al., No. 12-3, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Because a Wisconsin federal judge erroneously construed two limitations and a claim term found in a series of patents relating to flash memory data management, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 9 vacated a judgment of noninfringement in favor of a defendant (SanDisk Corporation v. Kingston Technology Inc., No. 11-1346, Fed. Cir.). See related prior history, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 19428.
ATWATER, Calif. - An official in the City of Atwater, Calif., on Oct. 8 confirmed that the City Council has declared a fiscal emergency, which is seen as the first step toward officially filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The question of the best forum - state or federal court - for legal malpractice claims stemming from underlying patent litigation will be addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which granted certiorari on Oct. 5 (Jerry W. Gunn v. Vernon F. Minton, No. 11-1118, U.S. Sup.).
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Oct. 5 to weigh in on what a petition for certiorari called a dispute of "core practical importance to agriculture and of vital interest in patent law" (Vernon Hugh Bowman v. Monsanto Co., No. 11-796, U.S. Sup.).
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NEW YORK - One day after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint in New York federal court alleging that the operator of certain pop star "fansites" was violating the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) and the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C.S. §45, by improperly collecting minors' personal information, the operator signed a consent decree on Oct. 3, agreeing to comply with the statutes (United States of America v. Artist Arena LLC, No. 1:12-cv-07386, S.D. N.Y.). Subscribers may view the consent decree available within the full article.
NEW ORLEANS - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq., does not preempt a third-party medical device provider's state law claims for negligent misrepresentation, promissory estoppel and violations of the Texas Insurance Code that alleged that the ERISA plan administrator misled it regarding plan beneficiaries' coverage, the en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 5 (Access Mediquip v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., No. 10-20868, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20809).
ST. LOUIS - An employee who was terminated six months after he engaged in alleged protected activity failed to make out a prima facie case of retaliation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq., or the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 203, the Eight Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Oct. 3 (Donald Shrable v. Eaton Corporation, No. 12-1404, 8th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20591).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 4 affirmed the dismissal of a challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), 111 P.L. 148, for lack of standing (Peter Kinder, et al. v. Timothy Geithner, et al., No. 11-1973, 8th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20686).
SEATTLE - An all-risks clause in a standard shipbuilder's risk insurance policy does not cover the cost of repairing an insured's faulty welds in barges, a Washington federal judge ruled Oct. 3, finding that insurance companies did not breach their policy or act in bad faith (Alaska Village Electric Cooperative Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., et al., No. 11-1375, W.D. Wash.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144003).
LAFAYETTE, La. - A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana on Oct. 3 granted MidSouth Bank NA's motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings in a putative class action alleging that the bank's overdraft fees violated the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), 15 U.S.C.S. § 1601, (Umeki Harding v. MidSouth Bank NA, No. 12-1562, W.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143984).
LINCOLN, Neb. - The Nebraska Supreme Court on Oct. 5 affirmed summary judgment to the defendants in a medical malpractice case, holding that a doctor did not owe a duty of care to an organ donor during her post-transplant treatment of the kidney recipient (Sean M. Olson, et al. v. Lucile Wrenshall, M.D., et al., No. S-11-1030, Neb. Sup.; 2012 Neb. LEXIS 112).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Bankrupt AFA Investment Inc., the maker of the ground beef additive known as "pink slime," on Oct. 5 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, objecting to a motion filed by former employees who seek to convert the case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (In Re: AFA Investment Inc., No. 12-11127, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.). Subscribers may view the brief available within the full article.
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Oct. 4 ruled that a complaint filed by Conoco Phillips against the Securities Investor Protection Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 78aaa, trustee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of MF Global Inc. (MFGI) should be removed to district court, holding that it is the proper venue to resolve a dispute pertaining to regulations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) (ConocoPhillips v. James W. Giddens [In Re: MF Global Inc.], No. 12-06014, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y.).