WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 3 heard testimony from lawyers, a former judge and the wife a former congressman who died of mesothelioma during hearings on legislation addressing the need for transparency in asbestos trusts.
TULSA, Okla. - A federal magistrate judge in Oklahoma on Feb. 4 quashed a subpoena served on an officer of a Native American tribe by a bank seeking evidence in an underlying payday lending dispute after finding that, even though the tribal officer had sworn to declarations in the dispute, the tribe had not waived its sovereign immunity with respect to the loan agreements at issue (James Dillon v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A., et al., No. 16-mc-5, N.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13433).
FORT WORTH, Texas - An insured's counterclaims for violation of the Texas Insurance Code, bad faith and declaratory judgment fail against its insurer for denied coverage following a storm to property the insurer says was never repaired from a previous storm, a Texas federal judge ruled Feb. 5, dismissing the claims (Columbia Mutual Insurance Co. v. Trewitt-Reed Funeral Home, Inc. d/b/a Lacy Funeral Home, Inc., et al., No. 15-568, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14037).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Feb. 4 granted a law school insured's motion to transfer a coverage dispute over claims that the insured unlawfully terminated a tenured professor (Catlin Indemnity Co. v New England Law/Boston, No. 15-4836, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13607).
CHICAGO - A month after certifying a class action against Yahoo! Inc. for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) via unsolicited text messages, an Illinois federal judge on Feb. 4 granted a motion to compel cellular service provider Sprint to provide subscriber information for purposes of class notification (Rachel Johnson v. Yahoo! Inc., No. 1:14-cv-02028, and Zenaida Calderin v. Yahoo! Inc., No. 1:14-cv-02753, N.D. Ill.).
PITTSBURGH - Damages from an insured's alleged faulty construction did not arise during an insurance policy's period and thus did not trigger the insurer's duty to defend, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled Feb. 5, dismissing the insured's breach of contract and bad faith claims (Reginella Construction Co., Inc. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. and State Farm General Insurance Co., No. 15-989, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14213).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 5 dismissed an insurer's appeal and an underlying claimant's cross-appeal in a coverage dispute over unsolicited fax ads, finding that the lower court's ruling failed to resolve all of the insurer's rights and liabilities under the insurance policy's excess liability provision (Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. All Plumbing, Inc. Service, Parts, Installation, et al., No. 14-7140 consolidated with No. 14-7151, D. C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1941).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice on Feb. 5 announced that it has reached a $470 million settlement with HSBC Bank USA NA, addressing mortgage origination, servicing and foreclosure abuses.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board erred in part when it failed to address the lawfulness of a confidential settlement agreement between an employer and union based on unfair labor practices committed the very next day, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 5 (Raymond Interior Systems, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 12-1011, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1997).
MARSHALL, Texas - A telecommunications plaintiff's expert in a patent infringement lawsuit does not rely on a previously rejected doctrine of equivalents theory, a Texas federal magistrate judge held Feb. 5, refusing to strike paragraphs from the expert's report (Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, LLC v. LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc., No. 13-947, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13881).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals court panel on Feb. 4 reversed a trial court and said a plaintiffs' law firm can compel a former associate to arbitrate his claim that the firm owes him bonuses from the firm's master settlement agreement for Avandia lawsuits (The Branch Law Firm L.L.P., et al. v. W. Shane Osborn, No. 14-14-00892-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 1163).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A lawsuit seeking a correction of patent inventorship was erroneously dismissed for lack of standing, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 5 (TriReme Medical LLC v. AngioScore Inc., No. 15-1504, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1948).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A challenge to a judgment by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that various claims of a stent patent were not proven invalid as obvious will stand, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 5 (TriVascular Inc. v. Dr. Shaun L.W. Samuels, No. 15-1631, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1949).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge did not err in rejecting efforts by an Ohio company to reduce its $1.7 million withdrawal liability following a union-mandated withdrawal from a multiemployer pension plan, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 4 (United Food and Commercial Workers Union-Employer Pension Fund, et al. v. Rubber Associates Inc., No. 15-3434, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1873).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 5 announced that it has approved a more than $8.08 million settlement agreement between Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co. and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO-CLC (Steelworkers), ending a strike dispute (Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co., No. 19-CA-147090, NLRB, Region 19; Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co., No. 21-CA-146968, NLRB, Region 21).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on Feb. 4 remanded the state attorney general's action involving generic Flonase to state court, finding that that state's claims are based on violations of Louisiana state laws and not on federal regulation of the brand-name drug as claimed by defendant GlaxoSmithKline PLC (State of Louisiana v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation, No. 15-55, M.D. La.).
SEATTLE - Amazon.com Inc. filed a motion Feb. 2 for partial summary judgment of a request for injunctive relief by the Federal Trade Commission in a lawsuit over the online retailer's billing practices for purchases associated with certain apps and games (in-app purchases), with Amazon arguing that no such relief is needed for practices that it ceased prior to the lawsuit's filing (Federal Trade Commission v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 2:14-cv-01038, W.D. Wash.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 2 granted preliminary approval of a $3 million settlement between shareholders and a pharmaceutical company and certain of its current and former officers and directors who are alleged to have misrepresented several stock transactions and "improper practices" in violation of federal securities law (In re Retrophin Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-8376, S.D. N.Y.).
COLUMBUS, Ga. - A federal judge in Georgia on Feb. 2 denied motions by Volkswagen Group of America Inc. and Honeywell International for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) or a new trial in a case in which a couple was awarded $4.8 million for injuries the woman sustained when her Volkswagen Passat crashed and turned over after suddenly accelerating (Cheryl Bullock and Kevin Bullock v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al., No 4:13-CV-37 [CDL], M.D. Ga., Columbus Div.).
SAN DIEGO - Allegations that Nike Inc. violated the Lanham Act and California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 by selling apparel bearing registered trademarks for "Don't Tread on Me" and "DTOM" will proceed, thanks to a California federal judge's Feb. 3 denial of Nike's motion for summary judgment (Bauer Bros. LLC v. Nike Inc., No. 09-500, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13012.).
DENVER - An orthopedic surgeon may give an analysis on the risks and benefits of a device in a design defects lawsuit, a Colorado federal judge ruled Feb. 4, finding that the expert may testify about whether the device was a "last resort" (Alfonso A. Alarid v. Biomet, Inc., et al., No. 14-02667, D. Colo.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 2 denied an amended motion for class certification filed in in a lawsuit brought by consumers who allege that deceptive advertising by a maker of electronic cigarettes led them to believe that they were safer than smoking traditional cigarettes (In Re: NJOY Inc. Consumer Class Action Litigation, No. 14-00428, C.D. Calif.).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas judge on Feb. 2 enjoined certain parties' access to the assets of an insolvent title insurer before the parties were notified that the special deputy receiver (SDR) of the insolvent title insurer had moved for a temporary restraining order (The State of Texas v. Millennium Closing Services LLC d/b/a Millennium Title, No. D-1-GN-16-000360, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).