Mealey's Health Law - N.J. Federal Judge Grants Final Approval In Class Action Reimbursement Suit

NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished opinion, a New Jersey federal judge on July 9 granted final approval of a class action settlement over wrongful reimbursements for out-of-network health care services (Cathleen McDonough v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, No. 09-571, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93559).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - N.J. Appeals Court: Expert Had Adequate Time To Develop Warranty Opinion

TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division panel on July 11 upheld a trial judge's ruling barring a woman's expert from testifying about how a homebuilder allegedly breached its warranty in the construction of her home and dismissing her lawsuit, finding that the expert had sufficient time to develop an opinion in support of her claim (Ellen Nevins v. Toll Brothers Inc., et al., No. A-2344-11T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1686).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Tracy Morgan Sues Wal-Mart Over N.J. Truck Accident

TRENTON, N.J. - Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan filed suit in federal court in New Jersey on July 10, alleging that negligence on the part of a truck driver employed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. caused an accident that left him and two others seriously injured and caused the death of a fourth person (Tracy Morgan, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-04388, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: No Private Right Of Action Exists On State-Law Claim In Bad Faith Suit

NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on July 8 granted partial summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that a plaintiff has failed to show that a private right of action exists to support her New Jersey statute claim against an insurer (Mary Smith v. Conseco Life Insurance Co., No. 13-5253, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92123).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Privacy Class Claims Against Viacom, Google Dismissed In Nickelodeon Website Case

NEWARK, N.J. - The plaintiffs in a putative privacy class action against Viacom Inc. and Google Inc. related to collection of minors' information via Nickelodeon's websites was dismissed July 2, with a New Jersey federal judge finding claims brought under federal and state laws to be unsupported and improperly pleaded (In Re: Nickelodeon Consumer Privacy Litigation, MDL No. 2443, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91286).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Privacy Class Claims Against Viacom, Google Dismissed In Nickelodeon Website Case

NEWARK, N.J. - The plaintiffs in a putative privacy class action against Viacom Inc. and Google Inc. related to collection of minors' information via Nickelodeon's websites was dismissed July 2, with a New Jersey federal judge finding claims brought under federal and state laws to be unsupported and improperly pleaded (In Re: Nickelodeon Consumer Privacy Litigation, MDL No. 2443, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91286).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Upholds Judgment In Favor Of Subrogated Insurer For Leaking Roof

TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals panel on July 3 affirmed a $27,975.58 judgment in favor of a subrogated insurer against a contractor that failed to repair a leaking roof it installed at a condominium building (Quincy Mutual Insurance Co. a/s/o Clipper Condo v. Union Roofing, No. A-5286-11T4, N.J. Super. App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1606).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - N.J. Judge Awards $90.5M After Default In 11 Cases Against International Companies

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A New Jersey judge on July 2 awarded $90.5 million in asbestos-related damages against Eternit successors Anova Holding AG and Becon AG after awarding default judgments against the international companies, sources told Mealey Publications (Tuturice v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-2030-10AS, DiTolvo v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-0464-10AS, Durlester v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-9677-08AS, Greene v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-8113-09AS, Ketchem v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-10217-08AS, Koshinsky v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-4059-08AS, Lindsay v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-6858-09AS, Slepokura v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-7717-09AS, Tafil v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-215-09AS, Troth v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-9794-09AS, Upshaw v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-7638-11AS, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - N.J. Judge Awards $90.5M After Default In 11 Cases Against International Companies

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A New Jersey judge on July 2 awarded $90.5 million in asbestos-related damages against Eternit successors Anova Holding AG and Becon AG after awarding default judgments against the international companies, sources told Mealey Publications (Tuturice v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-2030-10AS, DiTolvo v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-0464-10AS, Durlester v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-9677-08AS, Greene v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-8113-09AS, Ketchem v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-10217-08AS, Koshinsky v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-4059-08AS, Lindsay v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-6858-09AS, Slepokura v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-7717-09AS, Tafil v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-215-09AS, Troth v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-9794-09AS, Upshaw v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-7638-11AS, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Judge Denies Motion To Compel Discovery In Raritan Contamination Case

TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on July 1 denied a motion to compel discovery in a groundwater contamination case filed by the environmental group Raritan Baykeeper Inc. and granted the defendant, NL Industries Inc., a protective order barring Raritan Baykeeper from conducting more discovery (Raritan Baykeeper Inc. v. NL Industries Inc., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89078).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New Jersey Bill Banning Disposal Of Fracking Waste Heads To Gov. Chris Christie

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey State Assembly on June 26 passed a bill that would prohibit the treatment, discharge, disposal or storage of wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts resulting from hydraulic fracturing. The bill now heads to Gov. Chris Christie.

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - New Jersey Federal Judge: Skinnygirl Margarita Class Is Not Ascertainable

CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on June 27 denied certification to a class of consumers suing the makers of Skinnygirl Margarita for failing to live up to its claims of being an "all natural," low-calorie, premixed alcoholic beverage (Maureen Stewart, et al. v. Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., et al., No. 11-5149, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87487).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Rules In Favor Of Insurer On Duty To Defend, Denies On Reimbursement

CAMDEN, N.J. - A commercial general liability insurer did not have a duty to defend its insured in an underlying negligence lawsuit regarding an insured's mechanical services, a New Jersey federal judge ruled June 27; however, the judge found that a genuine issue of fact exists as to whether insurer has a duty to reimburse (Surety Mechanical Services Inc. v. The Phoenix Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-3242, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87665).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Defendants Engaging In 'Undue Harassment' In Chemical Spill Case, Attorney Says

CAMDEN, N.J. - The attorney representing the class action plaintiffs in consolidated Paulsboro, N.J., train derailment litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on June 25 filed a letter with the District Court declaring that "repeated demands" made by the defendants insisting that the plaintiffs provide "more detailed information" in response to the companies' interrogatories constitute "undue harassment" (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Defendants Engaging In 'Undue Harassment' In Chemical Spill Case, Attorney Says

CAMDEN, N.J. - The attorney representing the class action plaintiffs in consolidated Paulsboro, N.J., train derailment litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on June 25 filed a letter with the District Court declaring that "repeated demands" made by the defendants insisting that the plaintiffs provide "more detailed information" in response to the companies' interrogatories constitute "undue harassment" (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Denies Motion To Disqualify Counsel, Finds No Conflict Of Interest Exists

NEWARK, N.J. - A professional liability insurer's mere agreement to pay some of a law firm's fees for representing its insured did not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the insurer, a New Jersey federal judge ruled June 17, refusing to disqualify the law firm as independent counsel for the insured (YA Global Investments, L.P., et al. v. Mandelbaum, Salsburg, Gold, Lazris & Discenza, et al., No. 2:12-cv-219 (WJM), D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81966).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Motion To Disqualify Counsel, Finds No Conflict Of Interest Exists

NEWARK, N.J. - A professional liability insurer's mere agreement to pay some of a law firm's fees for representing its insured did not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the insurer, a New Jersey federal judge ruled June 17, refusing to disqualify the law firm as independent counsel for the insured (YA Global Investments, L.P., et al. v. Mandelbaum, Salsburg, Gold, Lazris & Discenza, et al., No. 2:12-cv-219 (WJM), D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81966).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Fosamax Femur MDL Judge Grants Summary Judgment In 1st 'Post-Label' Bellwether

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey federal judge overseeing the Fosamax femur multidistrict litigation on June 17 granted summary judgment in the first post-label-change bellwether case, agreeing with defendant Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. that the drug's label adequately warned about leg fractures and that the plaintiffs' claims are preempted by federal law (In Re: Fosamax $(Alendronate Sodium$) Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2243, No. 08-md-00008, Barbara Gaynor, et al. v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., No. 12-1492, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - N.J. Federal Magistrate Judge Partially Grants Settlement In Debt Collection Suit

CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on June 12 partially granted a motion for preliminary approval of a classwide settlement in a lawsuit accusing a debt collector of sending communications that violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA); however, the judge ordered the parties to revise and resubmit its notice of proposed class action settlement and proposed settlement agreement by June 27 (Albert Gregory, et al. v. McCabe, Weisberg & Conway, P.C., No. 13-6962, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79795).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Federal Judge Dismisses 1 Claim In Fraudulent Billing Case; 2 Remain

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on June 11 declined to dismiss two counterclaims filed in a fraudulent billing dispute but dismissed a counterclaim for common law fraud, saying that the claim failed to meet pleading requirements (Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. v. Roseland Ambulatory, No. 12-5941, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79189).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Citing 'Incomplete Record,' Judge Denies $23.25 Million MTBE Settlement

NEW YORK - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 11 denied a motion by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for approval of a $23.25 million settlement with Citgo Petroleum Corp. in litigation concerning the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on grounds she could not tell if it was "fair and reasonable" (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, New Jersey Dep't of Envtl. Prot. v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 08 Civ. 0312 S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80361).

Mealey's Health Law - Federal Judge Dismisses 1 Claim In Fraudulent Billing Case; 2 Remain

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on June 11 declined to dismiss two counterclaims filed in a fraudulent billing dispute but dismissed a counterclaim for common-law fraud, saying that the claim failed to meet pleading requirements (Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. v. Roseland Ambulatory, No. 12-5941, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79189).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - MTBE MDL Judge Denies New Jersey Agency's Request To Approve $23M Settlement

NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York overseeing the multidistrict litigation for lawsuits stemming from alleged groundwater contamination caused by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on June 11 denied a motion to approve a $23.25 million settlement between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and Citgo Petroleum Corp., ruling that the agency acted arbitrarily when reaching its figure (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, Case No. 00-1898, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Atlantic Richfield Inc., No. 08 Civ. 312, S.D. N.Y.)

Mealey's Banking & Finance - N.J. Panel Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Suit Over Failed Mortgage Deal

TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals panel on June 6 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an insured failed to provide timely notice of an underlying breach of contract claim stemming from a failed real estate transaction and, therefore, coverage is barred (Templo Feunte De Vida Corp., et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, P.A., No., A-4516-12T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1303).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Upholds Dismissal Of Complaint Against New Jersey Insurance Guaranty

TRENTON, N.J. - An insurer provided proper notice of cancellation of an automobile insurance policy, a New Jersey appeals panel ruled June 5, also affirming dismissal of a complaint against New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (NJPLIGA) (Wilkie D. Bowen v. New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association, et al., No. A-2517-12T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1294).