3rd Circuit Reinstates Jury's Ruling For Employee On Perceived Disability Claim

PHILADELPHIA - A New Jersey federal judge erred when she granted an employer's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict setting aside a jury's ruling for a former employee on his perceived disability claim, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 17 (Russell P. Swiatek, et al. v. Bemis Company, Inc., et al., No. 11-4333, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 21024).

Avandia Refund Class Dismissed With Prejudice By MDL Judge

PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania federal judge overseeing the Avandia multidistrict litigation on Oct. 15 dismissed with prejudice a purported refund class action, saying that most claims are not allowed under New Jersey law and that the warranty claim is not supported by evidence (In Re: Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1871, No. 07-md-1871, Richard V. D'Apuzzo, et al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation, et al., No. 07-4963, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149057).

Federal Judge Rejects Discovery Rule In New Jersey Asbestos Action, Dismisses Case

NEWARK, N.J. - New Jersey courts strictly apply the two-year limit on wrongful death claims and would not make an exception under the discovery rule, a federal judge held Oct. 15 in granting judgment in an asbestos action (Sandra Bogerman v. Union Carbide Corp., No. 13-5247, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148552).

N.J. Magistrate Judge Refuses To Bar Production Of Wage Compliance Reports

CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Oct. 11 denied a motion by a glass manufacturer seeking a protective order regarding its wage-and-hour compliance reports (Cindy Bobryk, et al. v. Durand Glass Manufacturing Company, Inc., No. 12-5360, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147564).

Bankrupt Hotel: Auctioneer Is Disinterested Person Under Bankruptcy Code

TRENTON, N.J. - Bankrupt hotel Lafayette Yard Community Development Corp. (LYCDC) on Oct. 14 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey arguing that its arrangement with the man it proposes to handle the auctioning of the bankruptcy estate is appropriate because he is a disinterested person as defined by the Bankruptcy Code (In Re: Lafayette Yard Community Development Corporation, No. 13-30752, Chapter 11, D. N.J. Bkcy.).

New Jersey Panel Upholds Decision For Golf Course In Injury Case

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on Oct. 9 affirmed summary judgment for the defendants in a premises liability action, agreeing that the plaintiff's claims were barred under the Landowner's Liability Act (LLA) (Joseph Lareau v. Somerset County Park Commission, et al., No. A-1227-12T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2437).

New Jersey Appeals Panel: Water Treatment Plant Defects Case Filed Too Late

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on Oct. 7 affirmed dismissal of a construction defects action filed by a water commission, agreeing that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations (Passaic Valley Water Commission v. Prismatic Development Corporation Inc., et al., No. A-5125-11T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2423).

N.J. Federal Judge Remands Health Care Reimbursement Suit To State Court

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Oct.7 remanded a health care reimbursement suit to state court, finding that the defendant failed to show that federal preemption existed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Medwell v. CIGNA Healthcare of New Jersey Inc., No. 13-3998, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144577).

New Jersey Federal Judge Dismisses In Part Claims In Paulsboro Derailment Suits

CAMDEN, N.J. - A judge in related orders issued Oct. 4 dismissed in part the claims against railroad defendants accused of releasing vinyl chloride in a November 2012 train derailment in Paulsboro, N.J.; the claims are consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).

No-Causation Judgment Entered Against New Jersey Parents Alleging Solvent Exposure

CAMDEN, N.J. - Lockheed Martin Corp. was granted no-evidence summary judgment Sept. 30 against New Jersey parents alleging that their children sustained chlorinated-solvent exposure injuries and their residential property lost value because of groundwater contamination in their Moorestown, N.J., neighborhood; the plaintiffs were granted 30 days to supplement the summary judgment record with respect to the property damage claim only (Michael Leese, et al. v. Lockheed Martin, No. 115091, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140566).

Judge Grants Final Approval Of $688M Settlement In 2 Securities Class Actions

NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Oct. 1 granted final approval of a $688 million settlement in two securities class action lawsuits alleging that Merck and Co. Inc. and others failed to disclose adverse results of a clinical trial for two cholesterol drugs Merck was developing (In Re: Merck & Co., Vytorin/Zetia Securities Litigation, No. 2:08-CV-2177, D. N.J.; In Re: Schering-Plough Corp./ENHANCE Securities Litigation, 08-397, D. N.J.).

Class Certification Denied In ERISA Coordination-Of-Benefits Action

CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 26 denied class certification of claims that United Healthcare, as the claims administrator for thousands of health insurance plans, violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by using a method for estimating what Medicare would have paid for services that resulted in underpayment for insureds under the plans' coordination-of-benefits provisions (Mark Lipstein, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group, et al., No. 11-1185, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138045).

Undisclosed Securities Class Action Settlement Reached In Suit Against Siemens

NEWARK, N.J. - Without providing any detail, a federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 26 issued a one-page order dismissing a securities class action lawsuit against Siemens Hearing Instruments Inc. (SHI) for alleged violations of federal securities law in order to allow for a settlement agreement to be finalized (MTB Investment Partners LP v. Siemens Hearing Instruments Inc., No. 12-0340, D. N.J.).

Judge Denies Argument That Negligent Misrepresentation Claim Is Federally Preempted

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 25 refused to dismiss an insured's negligent misrepresentation claim against her insurance broker in a Hurricane Sandy coverage dispute, rejecting the broker's argument that the claim is federally preempted (Widad Danho v. Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:13-CV-04547 $(JLL$)$(JAD$), D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138609).

New Jersey Plaintiffs Permitted To Claim Wrongful Death In Chemical Exposure Suit

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey residents suing Bristol-Myers Squibb were granted leave on Sept. 25 to file a fourth amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to plead wrongful death claims for exposure to fugitive chemicals from the New Brunswick, N.J., pharmaceutical plant (Dyshelle Harris v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., et al., No. 11-6004 $(consolidated$), D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137335).

Asbestos Claims Arise From 1 'Occurrence' Under Insolvent Policies, Panel Says

TRENTON, N.J. - A trust's claims, including its products claims and nonproducts claims, arise from the same occurrence under an insolvent insurer's excess policies, a New Jersey appeals panel held Sept. 26, affirming a liquidator's denial of asbestos-related nonproducts bodily injury claims (Commissioner of Insurance of the State of New Jersey v. Integrity Insurance Co., et al., No. A-1606-11T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2347).

N.J. High Court: Insurance Guaranty Is Not Liable Until Policy Limits Are Exhausted

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (NJPLIGA) acting on behalf of an insolvent insurer is not responsible for reimbursement payments for environmental claims unless a solvent carrier's policy limits are first exhausted, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Sept. 24 (Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Salem v. New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association as administrator of claims against Newark Insurance Co., No. 068824, N.J. Sup.; 2013 N.J. LEXIS 902).

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.).

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).

1st C.R. Bard Pelvic Mesh Bellwether Case Settles Before Sept. 23 Trial

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - New Jersey's first bellwether trial involving a C.R. Bard pelvic mesh device, scheduled to start Sept. 23, is off after the case resolved, a source told Mealey Publications Sept. 18 (Melanie L. Vigil v. C.R. Bard Inc., No. ATL-L6917-10, N.J. Super., Atlantic Co.).

Company Says Shareholder's Claims In Derivative Suit Are Without Merit

TRENTON, N.J. - A company told a New Jersey federal court on Sept. 16 that it had an independent investigation of a shareholder's allegations performed and that the allegations were found to be without merit (The George Leaon Family Trust, derivatively on behalf of Johnson & Johnson, v. Mary Sue Coleman, PH.D., et al., No. 12-cv-04401, D. N.J.).

Putative Class Seeks Damages For Unrefunded Losses From Bankrupt Revel Casino

TRENTON, N.J. - A group of casino customers filed a putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on Sept. 13, alleging violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, among others, against bankrupt casino Revel Entertainment Group LLC and its affiliate Chatham Asset Management LLC related to slot machine losses the customers say the casino promised to refund (Margaret Peragine, et al. v. Revel Entertainment Group, et al., No. 13-05451, D. N.J.).

New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Co-Insurer's Claim For Contribution Of Costs

TRENTON, N.J. - An insurer with an obligation to indemnify and defend an insured can bring a direct claim for contribution against its co-insurer for defense costs arising from a continuous property damage lawsuit, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Sept. 16, finding that the claim was not extinguished when the insured settled with the co-insurer (Potomac Insurance Company of Illinois, by its transferee, OneBeacon Insurance Co. v. Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Co., et al., No. 070756, N.J. Sup.; 2013 N.J. LEXIS 847).

New Jersey Judges Uphold Decision In Escalator Injury Case

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on Sept. 6 affirmed summary judgment for the defendants in a premises liability action, agreeing that the plaintiffs could not rely on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor (Alin Espinoza, et al. v. General Growth Properties Inc., et al., No. A-6070-11T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2225).

New Jersey Appeals Court Affirms Termination Of Medicaid Beneficiaries

NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished, consolidated opinion, a New Jersey appeals court on Sept. 9 affirmed four financial agency decisions of the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) terminating appellants from the New Jersey Family Care Medicaid Program (NJFC) (B.D. v. New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, No. A-2456-11T3; M.M., et al. v. New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, No. A-4744-11T2; T.J. v. New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services; No. A-5761-11T1, G.G. v. New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, No. A-0109-12T1, N.J. Sup. Ct., App. Div.).