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.).

New Jersey Panel Says Drug Company 'Watchdog' Covered By Whistle-Blower Law

TRENTON, N.J. - A Johnson & Johnson "watchdog" employee who was fired can sue the company for retaliation under the state's whistle-blower protection law, a state appeals court panel said Sept. 4 in reversing summary judgment and remanding the case to the trial court with new criteria (Joel S. Lippman, M.D., v. Ethicon, Inc., et al., No. A-4318-10T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.).

New Jersey Court Finds Statute Of Repose Covers Warranty Repair Work

TRENTON, N.J. - Work on asbestos-containing insulation necessary to bring a boiler up its promised specifications constitutes a continuation of construction of an improvement to real property, and the New Jersey statute of repose bars resulting claims, a state appeals court held Sept. 4 (Mary O. Barile, et al. v. 3M Co. Inc., et al., Nos. A-0092-11T2, A-0141-11T2, N.J. App.).

Panel Upholds Arbitration Award To Insurer In Coverage Dispute With Another Insurer

TRENTON, N.J. - An insurer failed to timely file defenses in an arbitration proceeding with another insurer regarding coverage of underlying property damage claims against a shared insured, a New Jersey appeals panel affirmed Sept. 3, confirming an arbitration award (Excelsior Insurance Co. v One Beacon Insurance Co., No. A-1439-12T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2180).

Bayer Faces Kickback, Retaliation Claims Related To Trasylol, Avelox, Judge Says

NEWARK, N.J. - Bayer Corp. must face a whistle-blower's allegations that it paid kickbacks for two of its drugs and retaliated against an employee who objected to the practice, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Aug. 30 (United States of America, et al., ex rel. Laurie Simpson v. Bayer Corporation, et al., No. 05-3895, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124928).

N.J. Appeals Panel Permits Questions Over Insured's Knowledge Of Settlement Offers

TRENTON, N.J. - In pursuing a bad faith claim against an insurer, a claimant "implicitly waived" any privilege in communications regarding her knowledge of settlement offers and demands, a New Jersey appeals panel ruled Aug. 26, holding that the insurer has a "need" to discover this information to defend itself against the bad faith claim (V.K., et al. v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., No. A-4681-11T4 and A-4682-11T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2111).

Judge Finds Injury, But Dismisses Some Of Consumers' Formula Advertising Claims

NEWARK, N.J. - Consumers who claim that they paid a premium based on representations about the benefits of probiotics in formula and baby cereals adequately allege injury, but sufficiently alleged causation only in regard to product labeling, not the advertising campaign as a whole, a New Jersey federal judge held Aug. 23 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) and other states' consumer protection law claims (In re: Gerber Probiotic Sales Practices Litigation, No. 12-835, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121192).

New Jersey Panel: Arbitrator's Award Proper In Construction Defects Case

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on Aug. 27 affirmed an award to the plaintiff in a construction defect case decided by an arbitrator, finding no error by the trial court in confirming the more than $2 million award (Observer Plaza Condominium Association Inc. v. Observer Highway Plaza LLC, et al., No. A-3151-11T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2120).

Claims For Repayment Under ERISA Plan Seek Legal Relief, Federal Judge Rules

NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 22 dismissed claims by a multiemployer health fund seeking to recover from insurers amounts the fund allegedly overpaid to its beneficiaries under the fund's coordination of benefits (COB) provision, finding that the claims did not seek equitable relief under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(3) (Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Health and Welfare Fund, et al. v. Bollinger, Inc., et al., No. 13-2760, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119295).

Health Plan Administrator Granted Summary Judgment In Payment Dispute

NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished decision, a New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 21 granted summary judgment in favor of a health plan administrator in a reimbursement suit, saying the claims at issue were properly processed (Montvale Surgical Center v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, et al., No. 12-2378, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119630).

3rd Circuit Panel Reverses In Part Summary Judgment In Toluene Exposure Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A unanimous Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel issued an opinion Aug. 14 overturning in part an order granting summary judgment to a print shop accused by an industrial laundry truck driver of exposing him to toluene in print shop towels; negligence and loss-of-consortium claims against the print shop for causing kidney failure were revived and remanded to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Brian Steele, et uxor v. Aramark Corp., et al., No. 12-3942, 3d Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16989).

Federal Judge Stays Action Seeking $25 Million, Finds Case Must Be Arbitrated

NEW YORK - After finding that claims related to an underlying financing contract and for fraudulent inducement are arbitrable, a New York federal judge on Aug. 15 stayed an action filed by a New Jersey corporation that seeks $25 million in damages and compelled arbitration of the dispute (MidOil USA LLC v. Astra Project Finance Pty Ltd., No. 12-8484, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115678).

New Jersey May Deny Medicaid Benefits To Legal Aliens Due To Budget Issues

TRENTON, N.J. - A majority of the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on Aug. 13 held that the state may deny Medicaid benefits to a certain class of legal aliens saying the U.S. Congress has provided leeway to states in funding its Medicaid programs by the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) (Manuel Guaman, et al. v. Jennifer Velez, Commissioner of New Jersey Department of Human Services, et al., No. A-1870-10T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. LEXIS 120).