PHILADELPHIA - The parties involved in the National Football League concussion injury multidistrict litigation filed a motion in a Pennsylvania federal court on Jan. 6 seeking preliminary approval of a previously announced, proposed $764 million class action settlement (In re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 12-2323, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Dec. 30 found that an appeals court decision that awarded an international franchise store and others attorney fees and granted sanctions was appropriate, ordering that the plaintiffs in the case pay $23,512 (Panayota Bletas, et al. v. Frederick Deluca, et al., No. 11-1777, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182267).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Jan. 3 granted a motion to withdraw counsel filed by parties named in a lawsuit by the special deputy receiver (SDR) of three insolvent insurers alleging a fraudulent scheme (Jo Ann Howard & Associates P.C., et al. v. J. Douglas Cassity, et al., No. 09-01252, E.D. Mo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 521).
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Jan. 3 increased a jury's award of $48.5 million to Enzo Biochem Inc. and Yale University (Enzo, collectively) by $12.4 million, granting the plaintiffs' request for prejudgment interest (Enzo Biochem Inc., et al. v. Applera Corp., et al., No. 04-929, D. Conn.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana federal judge overseeing the Vioxx multidistrict litigation on Jan. 3 allocated the negotiated $15 million in attorney fees and costs for the settlement of third-party payer claims against defendant Merck & Co. Inc. (In Re: Vioxx Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1657, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 397).
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Jan. 3 denied motions for summary judgment filed by two coal company defendants in a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit, ruling that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits they obtained do not shield them from liability under the act for discharges that allegedly contained higher amounts of contaminants than allowed (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Elk Run Coal Company Inc., et al., No. 12-0785, S.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 509).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 6 affirmed denial of a plaintiff's claim that her use of the Pondimin diet drug in 2002 caused her to suffer compensable heart valve damage (In Re: Diet Drugs $(Phentermine/Fenfluramine/Dexfenfluramine$) Products Liability Litigation, No. 12-4491, 3rd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A divided District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 31 granted an emergency motion for injunction pending appeal in a nonprofit religious organization's case challenging the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). By its own motion, the court consolidated the case with a similar case (Priests for Life, et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 13-1261, D.C. Cir.).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 31 granted an injunction pending appeal in favor of two Catholic institutions after a Michigan federal judge on Dec. 27 declined to grant a preliminary injunction in favor of the plaintiffs in their suit seeking to keep the government from implementing the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) against them and their health plans (Michigan Conference, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13-2723, 6th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 31, in an order addressing two cases, certified three questions concerning the proper interpretation of two California wage orders regarding an employer's obligation to provide an employee with a seat (Nykeya Kilby, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 12-56130, Kemah Henderson, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, No. 13-56095, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25862).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and state Department of Environmental Protection filed an application on Jan. 2 in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for reconsideration of the Dec. 19 opinion granting local governments standing to seek redress for violations of their constitutional mandate to preserve the environment included in the Pennsylvania Constitution declaration of rights and declaring the amendments to the state gas and oil regulations, known as Act 13 of 2012, in violation of Pennsylvanians' constitutional right to a clean environment (Robinson Township, et al. v. Pennsylvania, et al., No. 63 MAP 2012 $(consolidated$), Pa. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was not required to produce an advisory counsel opinion related to its information-gathering techniques from telephone companies in response to a civil liberties organization's request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 3, finding that the document was exempt from disclosure under the act's "deliberative process privilege" (Electronic Frontier Foundation v. United States Department of Justice, No. 12-5363, D.C. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 70).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - An umbrella insurer and its insured failed to assert a breach of fiduciary duty claim against insurance brokers, a California federal judge held Dec. 31, dismissing the claim with leave to amend (Motorist Commercial Mutual Insurance Co. f/k/a American Hardware Mutual Insurance Co., et al. v. Kevin Anthony Soltis and MCM Insurance Agency Inc., No. 13-01647, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181871).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A 2002 consent order entered into between a company and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) precludes that state from taking any further action against the company for groundwater and soil conditions known to exist at the time of the agreement, a federal magistrate judge in New York ruled Jan. 2 in grating in part the company's motion to enforce the settlement (State of New York v. PVS Chemicals Inc., No. 97-0596Sr, W.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 225).
SAN FRANCISCO - Two defendants accused of infringing Oracle America Inc.'s copyrighted "Solaris" operating system failed to obtain dismissal of the claims Jan. 3, when a California federal judge rejected their claim that they possessed a license (Oracle America Inc. v. TERiX Computer Company Inc. et al., No. 13-3385, N.D. Calif.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Bankrupt Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. (OSG) on Jan. 3 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware objecting to asbestos claims filed against the bankruptcy estate on grounds that they were dismissed prior to when OSG filed its bankruptcy petition (In Re: Overseas Shipholding Group Inc., No. 12-20000, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.).
MILWAUKEE - An insulator's work with asbestos-containing insulation does not exempt the premises owner from liability under the state's Safe Place statute, a Wisconsin appeals court held Dec. 27 (Anthony Viola, et al. v. Wisconsin Electric Power Co., et al., No. 2013AP22, Wis. App., Dist. 1; 2013 Wisc. App. LEXIS 1066).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The First District Florida Court of Appeal on Jan. 3 affirmed all aspects of a $730,000 tobacco wrongful death verdict but certified to the state's Supreme Court conflict with another district on a jury instruction regarding the statute of repose (R.J. Reynolds v. Carolyn Hiott, Nos. 1D12-5956 and 1D12-6008, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 100).
BEAUMONT, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 2 granted a permanent injunction to halt the implementation of the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) against the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont and Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas Inc. but dismissed a claim for violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (Catholic Diocese of Beaumont, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13-709, E.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 467).
CINCINNATI - A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 3 affirmed a district court ruling that the City of Flint, Mich., and its emergency manager did not violate the U.S. Constitution when it moved to modify health care benefits contracts with retired city employees because Michigan state law gave the city that power to avoid filing for bankruptcy (John Welch v. Michael Brown, No. 13-1476, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 131).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 31 partially reinstated a former Utah county employee's suit alleging that she lost her job after complaining that the judge she worked for was sexually harassing her (Marcia Eisenhour v. Weber County, et al., No. 12-4190, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25856).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 2 filed an amended opinion vacating injunctions entered by a lower court prohibiting the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) from demanding "up front" reimbursement for secondary payments from beneficiaries who have appealed a Medicare reimbursement determination and remanded the class action case with instructions for the lower court to consider the merits of the plaintiffs' due process claim (Patricia Haro, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, No. 11-16606, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 61).
ATLANTA - A federal judge in Georgia on Jan. 3 ordered a borrower and guarantors to pay back more than $2 million on a loan, granting summary judgment to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which sued them as the receiver for a failed bank, finding that the evidence is undisputed that the borrower is in default and the guarantors are each liable under loan agreements (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Douglas R. Adams, et al., No. 12-3983, N.D. Ga.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 345).
LAKELAND, Fla. - The Second District Florida Court of Appeal on Jan. 3 overturned summary judgment for two defendants in a medical malpractice action, concluding that the plaintiffs' claims were not time-barred (Frances Young, et al. v. Naples Community Hospital Inc., et al., No. 2D12-3679, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 71).
SAN DIEGO - The Fourth District California Court of Appeal on Jan. 3 affirmed a defense verdict in a medical malpractice action filed by a widower, concluding that the defendant's expert properly defined the standard of care for the jury (Brandon Nguyen v. Richard A. Guerrero, No. G047892, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 15).