SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 24 stayed for six months a civil suit against individuals also facing criminal charges for their alleged perpetration of a Ponzi scheme, stating that forcing the defendants to make a choice between preserving their privilege against self-incrimination, thereby exposing themselves to a "one-sided discovery process," would impinge on their Fifth Amendment rights (Lynn Bridges, et al. v. John A. Geringer, et al., No. 13-1290, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103852).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on July 25 affirmed judgment with regard to claims for negligence and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) against a surplus lines retail agent and a surplus lines managing general agent and rendered that an insured take nothing on its claims (Brannan Paving GP LLC d/b/a Brannan Paving Co. v. Pavement Markings Inc., et al., Nos. 13-11-00005-CV & 13-11-00013-CV, Texas App., 13th Dist.; 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 9211).
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 25 vacated and remanded a bankruptcy case, ruling that a creditor couple should not have been permitted to file an adversary complaint objecting to the discharge of the bankruptcy because the couple failed to explain why they were unable to meet the deadline for filing the complaint in the first place (Hank Willms, et al. v. Rowe Sanderson III, No. 12-35135, Chapter 7, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 15187).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 26 affirmed a $104.6 million methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) contamination verdict for New York City against Exxon Mobil Corp., finding in part that the state tort verdict is not preempted by the Clean Air Act (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether $(MTBE$) Products Liability Litigation, Nos. 10-4135 and 10-4329, 2nd Cir.).
PITTSBURGH - An appeal of confirmation of Pittsburgh Corning Corp.'s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization by fellow asbestos bankruptcy debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC was rejected July 23 by a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge, who found the appeal to be a "nullity" pending a motion by two insurers to reconsider the plan confirmation (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania jury on July 24 rejected a cigarette smoker's asbestos claim, finding the man 85 percent liable for his lung cancer, sources told Mealey Publications (Lorainne J. Liptak v. Crane Co., No. 1111-02145, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice announced on July 25 that Halliburton Energy Services Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence related to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010, pay the maximum statutory fine and be subject to three years of probation.
NEW ORLEANS - An insured's negligence claim against an insurance agent regarding failure to procure property insurance is barred by the one-year statute of limitations, a Louisiana federal judge held July 24 (Tyrone Walton v. E S & H Inc., No. 11-1819, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103450).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge properly enjoined a maker of skin care and anti-aging products from using the "ARena" trademark, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 24 (American Rena International Company v. Sis-Joyce International Co., No. 12-57169, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK - The private company that owns and operates the tunnel between the City of Detroit and Windsor, Ontario - as well as other toll roads in the United States - filed a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 25 under which the debtor would emerge from bankruptcy under the ownership of Syncora Holdings Inc. with no outstanding debt (In Re: American Rodes LLC, No. 13-12412, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on July 23 compelled insureds to arbitration with their insurers regarding coverage for a construction defect lawsuit and dismissed claims that the insurers breached their duty to settle (Swinerton Builders and Swinerton Inc. v. American Home Assurance Co., et al., No. 12-4350, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103005).
CHICAGO - A medical imaging firm's Internet activity directed at Illinois and its contractual relationship with an Illinois radiology firm constitute sufficient minimum contacts with the state to establish jurisdiction, an Illinois federal judge ruled July 22, denying a motion to dismiss (Stat Imaging LLC v. Medical Specialists Inc., P.C., et al., No. 1:13-cv-01921, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101758).
DETROIT - The federal bankruptcy judge presiding over the Chapter 9 case of the City of Detroit on July 25 granted the city's request and ordered all lawsuits pending against the city stayed (In Re: City of Detroit, No. 13-53846, Chapter 9, E.D. Mich. Bkcy.).
GREENBELT, Md. - A Maryland federal judge on July 22 granted preliminary approval to a $68,055.75 settlement that will end a complaint seeking unpaid overtime wages for a class of HVAC technicians (Christopher Edelen v. American Residential Services, LLC, et al., No. 11-2744, D. Md.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102373).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Judgment was entered against a directors and officers liability insurer on July 23 after a New York federal judge found that the insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify its community center insured against an underlying lawsuit alleging that the insured condoned and ratified the acts of sexual abuse committed by its assistant executive director of health/physical education (Jewish Community Center of Staten Island v. Trumbull Insurance Co., No. 09-CV-02028 $(ENV$) $(JMA$), E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102063).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on July 24 found that the consolidation of three class actions filed in relation to defects with front-loading washing machines would be inappropriate, but he ordered the consolidation of two cases, which both assert a common mold-related defect (Robert N. Durso, et al. v. Samsung Electronics America, et al., Nos. 2:12-cv-5352, 2:12-cv-5412 and 2:12-cv-5440, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103403).
HOUSTON - Differences between a Texas action alleging tortious acts and a now-closed New York case that resulted in the settlement of asbestos claims against Pneumo Abex LLC make comity principles irrelevant, a Texas court held on July 25 in denying a writ petition seeking dismissal of the case (In re: Cooper Industries LLC and Cooper US Inc., No. 14-13-00500-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri appeals panel on July 23 said that the former Monsanto Co. owed a duty to people who were exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and that the plaintiffs' exposure to the potentially cancer-causing chemical was foreseeable (Sanford Clair, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. ED99246, Mo. App., Eastern Dist., Div. 3; 2013 Mo. App. LEXIS 854).
BALTIMORE - Expert testimony that each exposure to chrysotile asbestos increased a woman's risk of mesothelioma is not a novel scientific theory given the levels of exposure at issue, Maryland's top court held July 25 (Bernard Dixon, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., No. 82 September Term 2012, Md. App.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A group of shareholders asked a California federal court on July 22 to preliminarily approve a settlement with directors and officers of a company agreeing to implement certain corporate governance changes (Ian Cassiman, Derivatively on Behalf of OCZ Technology Group Inc. v. Ryan Petersen, et al., No. 12-cv-05556, C.D. Calif.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A federal judge in Minnesota on July 23 granted a preliminary injunction in a dispute between an attorney and a car dealership that led to allegations of copyright and trademark infringement (Nadia Wood v. Sergey Kapustin et al., No. 13-1495, D. Minn.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Eleven days after issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) against 64 defendants accused of selling counterfeit Tiffany (NJ) LLC merchandise, a Florida federal judge on July 22 granted the luxury goods company's motion to temporarily enjoin the defendants that are accused of Lanham Act violations (Tiffany (NJ), LLC v. Gu Jianfang d/b/a AAA909.com, et al., No. 0:13-cv-61470, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102006).
MACON, Ga. - Insurers would not have issued commercial general liability and workers' compensation insurance policies under their underwriting guidelines if they had known that an Internet cafe insured participated in sweepstakes games, a Georgia federal judge ruled July 23, granting the insurers' motion for summary judgment in their rescission lawsuit (Sentinel Insurance Company Ltd., et al. v. Action Stop LLC, et al., No. 5:11-CV-488 $(CAR$), M.D. Ga.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102534).
TRENTON - A New Jersey court on July 24 dismissed an appeal filed by homeowners who claimed that they stopped paying their mortgage after a mold infestation made the house uninhabitable, on the grounds of collateral estoppel and entire controversy (Edgar and Elvin Chua v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., et al., No. 5998-11T1, N.J. Super, App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1859).
LOS ANGELES - A class that won a judgment worth more than $1.55 million against now-bankrupt GGW Brands LLC, the producer of adult videos that carry the name "Girls Gone Wild," on July 24 filed an adversary complaint in bankruptcy court seeking payment of the award, which the class has never been able to collect (Judgment Creditors In 'In Re: Girls Gone Wild Class Action Litigation' v. GGW Brands LLC, et al. $(In Re: GGW Brands LLC, et al.$), No. 13-15130, Adv. No. 13-01746, Chapter 11, C.D. Calif. Bkcy.).