Morgan Stanley Hit With Lawsuit Over Sale Of Mortgage-Backed Securities

    NEW YORK - The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) filed a securities lawsuit against Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. and one of its subsidiaries on Sept. 23, alleging that the defendants misrepresented the investment quality of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) it sold to the credit unions in violation of state and federal securities law (National Credit Union Administration v. Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., No. 13-6705, S.D. N.Y.).

    Federal Law Preempts Insurance Award But Permits Workers' Compensation Award

    LOS ANGELES - Truck drivers' claims arising from the charging and markup of liability insurance are preempted, but they may recover under the California unfair competition law (UCL) based on a motor carriers' charging of workers' compensation fees, an appeals court held in an opinion published Sept. 20 (Salvador Rodriguez, et al. v. RWA Trucking Co. Inc., No. B241727, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4).

    Bad Faith, Emotional Distress Claims Barred By State Law, Mich. Federal Judge Says

    DETROIT - In the second dispute between a policyholder and his disability insurance provider, a Michigan federal judge on Sept. 20 again found that state law did not permit the insured to bring a bad faith claim related to the alleged denial of benefits (Joseph L. Burns v. Unum Group, No. 2:13-cv-11040, E.D. Mich.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134654).

    Alabama Federal Judge: Dukes Tolling Cannot Save Untimely Gender Bias Suit

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Sept. 23 agreed to dismiss a retired Walmart Stores Inc. employee's gender bias suit, finding that she could not "piggyback" her untimely Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint on an employee's complaint or rely on the tolling provided during the pendency of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (131 S. Ct. 2541 $(2011$)) (Mary Cooks v. Walmart Stores, Inc., No. 13-526, N.D. Ala.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135502).

    Federal Judge Dismisses DMCA Claims In Copyright Dispute

    CHICAGO - A dispute over copyrighted poems will proceed, but without allegations that a defendant violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), thanks to a Sept. 24 ruling by an Illinois federal judge (Personal Keepsakes Inc. v. Techny Advisors LLC, No. 11-5177, N.D. Ill.).

    Hotel Owner Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Cites 'Significant Reduction' In Revenue

    TRENTON, N.J. - The chairwoman of the Lafayette Yard Community Development Corp. (LYCDC) on Sept. 23 filed a declaration in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, saying the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition was filed with the goal of selling a hotel, which is the company's main asset (In Re: Lafayette Yard Community Development Corporation, No. 13-30752, Chapter 11, D. N.J. Bkcy.).

    Woman Seeks Stay Relief To Pursue $900,000 Claim Against ResCap Affiliate

    NEW YORK - A tenant who lived in a property owned and managed by GMAC Mortgage LLC (GMACM) moved in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York for relief from the automatic stay in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding of Residential Capital LLC (ResCap), GMACM's parent company, to pursue a lawsuit for $900,000 against GMACM (In Re: Residential Capital LLC, No. 12-12020, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).

    Virgin Islands High Court Upholds Conviction, Sentence Against Insurance Broker

    ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - The Virgin Islands Supreme Court on Sept. 20 affirmed convictions against an insurance broker for violating the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 14 Virgin Islands Code Section 600, et seq. (CICO), and obtaining money by false pretenses (John J. Gumbs v. People of the Virgin Islands, No. 2010-0034, Virgin Islands Sup.; 2013 V.I. Supreme LEXIS 61).

    Panel Finds Drainage Defects Claims Are Covered Under Contractor's Insurance Policy

    SAN DIEGO - Allegations that homes had drainage defects that resulted in damage to the homes and their component parts are covered under a contractor's insurance policy, a California appeals panel held Sept. 20, finding that an insurer owed a duty to defend an insured (McMillin Management Services LP, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Co., No. D062178, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6727).

    Federal Judge Strikes Expert Testimony On Family's Mold Exposure

    SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on Sept. 24 granted motions to strike filed by various entities related to the management and operation of an air force base, finding that an expert declaration made on behalf of a family, who alleged that they sustained injuries caused by mold in military housing, contained opinions that were not previously provided in the case (Benjamin L. Pratt Jr., et al. v. Landings at Barksdale, et al., No. 09-1734, W.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136817).

    Loan Servicer's Motion For Summary Judgment In Loan Modification Suit Denied

    WORCESTER, Mass. - A loan servicer's motion for summary judgment was denied by a federal judge in Massachusetts on Sept. 24, who found that a man could pursue a breach of contract claim based on the defendant's failure to offer him a permanent loan modification despite his compliance with the terms of the trial period plan (TPP) (John Stagikas v. Saxon Mortgage Services Inc., No. 10-40164-TSH, D. Mass.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136462).

    Borrower's Counterclaim Over Wells Fargo's Failure To Submit Affirmation Dismissed

    HONOLULU - A federal judge in Hawaii on Sept. 23 dismissed a woman's counterclaim against Wells Fargo Bank N.A. that the lender violated Hawaii Revised Statute (HRS) Section 667-17 by failing to submit an affirmation that requires an attorney to submit verification of the accuracy of the documents submitted in support of a foreclosure action, after ruling that Section 667-17 was enacted the day after the lender filed suit and that the section does not state when the affirmation needs to be filed (Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Kimberly L. Burger, et al., No. 12-cv-00585-JMS-KSC, D. Hawaii; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135554).

    La. Federal Judge Dismisses Denial Of Benefits Case, Allows Amendment

    LAFAYETTE, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on Sept. 23 adopted the findings of a magistrate judge in dismissing a wrongful denial of health benefits case, but allowed the plaintiff time to amend her complaint to assert violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Amelia Simon v. Express Scripts Inc., et al., No. 13-187, W.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136090).

    Rival May Continue With Claims Arising From Exclusive Agreements, Judge Rules

    WILMINGTON, Del. - A manufacturer who claimed that its rival violated federal antitrust law by prohibiting its distributors from marketing competitor's products sufficiently alleged antitrust injury to survive a motion to dismiss, a federal judge in Delaware ruled Sept. 23 (GN Netcom, Inc. v. Plantronics, Inc., No. 12-1318, D. Del.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135252).

    California Judge Rules 'Light' Cigarette Smokers Suffered No Economic Loss

    SAN DIEGO - Smokers of Marlboro Lights in California suffered no economic loss and are entitled to no compensation under the state's unfair competition law and false advertising law, a California Superior Court judge said in a Sept. 24 final decision in a 16-year-old class action, according to an Altria Group Inc. press release issued the same day (Willard R. Brown, et al. v. The American Tobacco Co., Inc. et al., No. 711400, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).

    Federal Judge Declines To Dismiss Fraudulent Health Care Billing Claims

    NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 24 declined to dismiss a fraudulent health care billing suit, finding that the plaintiff health insurer properly supported its claims against the health care provider (Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. v. Roseland Ambulatory, No. 12-5941, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136374).

    8th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Former NFL Players' Claims Over Benefits

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 23 upheld the dismissal of a class complaint filed by former professional football players alleging that current players wrongfully negotiated benefits for retirees without the proper authority to do so (Carl Lee Eller, et al. v. National Football League Players Association, et al., No. 12-2487, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19440).

    Maryland Court Affirms Ruling Excluding Testimony On Mold/Causation

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 affirmed a decision that a circuit court erred when it applied the improper test in determining whether an expert's methodologies and theories in relation to mold exposure and illness are generally accepted in the relevant scientific community, finding that his testimony must be excluded (Montgomery Mutual Insurance Co. v. Josephine Chesson, et al., No. 97, September Term 2012, Md. App.).

    Federal Judge Dismisses Students' Fraud Suit Against Sallie Mae

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Sept. 24 dismissed a putative class action alleging that SLM Corp. and Sallie Mae Inc. issued high-interest loans to California Culinary Academy (CCA) students without regard to the students' repayment ability, finding that there is no cause of action for aiding and abetting fraud (Andrew Bradshaw, et al., v. SLM Corp., et al., No. 12-6376, N.D. Calif.).

    Policy Limits Coverage To $1M For Insured's Settlement Of Claim, Panel Affirms

    ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 23 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a professional liability insurance policy provides a $1 million per-claim limit to cover an underlying settlement regarding an insured's negligence in tax preparations because the underlying complaint asserts only one claim (Camico Mutual Insurance Co. v. Abraham Rogozinski, et al., No. 12-15291, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19460).

    Calif. Coordination Petition Doesn't Trigger CAFA, 9th Circuit Says In Drug Cases

    SAN FRANCISCO - A petition to coordinate Darvon/Darvocet/propoxyphene cases in California state court is not a request for a joint trial that triggers "joint trial" removal to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 24 in a 2-1 decision (Judith Romo, et al. v Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., No. 13-56310, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19527).

    Kan. Federal Judge Denies Motion To Acquit Defendant Convicted Of Medicaid Fraud

    TOPEKA, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Sept. 20 denied a defendant's motion for acquittal or, in the alternative, a new trial following her conviction for 12 counts of health care benefit fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud in violation of Medicaid laws (United States of America v. Caela M. White-Kinchion, No. 11-40023, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134516).

    Lightsquared Seeks OK Of At Least $315,000 Payment For Special Committee Members

    NEW YORK - Bankrupt technology company Lightsquared Inc. on Sept. 23 filed an emergency motion in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York seeking at least $315,000 in compensation for three members of a special committee that has played "a significant role" in selling the company's assets and helping it restructure. The compensation could increase depending on how long Lightsquared determines the special committee is needed (In Re: Lightsquared Inc., No.12-12080, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).

    Judge Won't Dismiss Federal Claims In Securities Class Action Lawsuit

    CHICAGO - In an opinion made available on Sept. 23, a federal judge in Illinois denied motions to dismiss filed by defendants in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that the lead plaintiff in the action has properly pleaded his federal securities law claims (In re Groupon Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 12-2450, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135191).

    Florida Jury Awards $3.8 Million To Widow Of Long-Time Smoker

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida state court jury ordered two tobacco companies to pay $3.8 million to the widow of a man who died of lung cancer (Kathleen Gafney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. et al., No. 50-2007-CA-020540, Fla. 15th Judicial Cir., Palm Beach Co.).