PHILADELPHIA - A hospital lacked standing as a participant or a beneficiary to bring a claim for benefits under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a); therefore, the hospital's breach of contract claim against the sponsor and third-party claims administrator of a medical plan for failure to pay for medical services rendered on behalf of a plan participant were not completely preempted, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled May 2 in remanding the case to state court (Tenet Health System Philadelphia, Inc. v. Diversified Administration Corporation, et al., No. 07-4948, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61395).
SCRANTON, Pa. - Susquehanna County, Pa., residents seeking to recover for alleged contamination of their residential well water with hydraulic fracturing chemicals in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania were granted leave to file a third amended complaint to add four defendants in an order entered May 3 (Susan Berish, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Production Co., et al., No. 10-1981, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61943).
PHILADELPHIA - A trial court properly allowed a police chief to testify that drugs sought during a robbery, carjacking and home-invasion spree in Pennsylvania originated out of state, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 1 (United States of America v. Chance D. Bonner, No. 11-1050, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 8823).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 26 denied two excess insurers' motion to reconsider his Jan. 27 ruling refusing to allow the insurers to reform their policies to add an exclusion for asbestos-related claims (General Refractories Company v. First State Insurance Co., et al., No. 04-3509, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59171).
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 25 ruled that pharmacies and pharmacy trade groups challenging the consummated $29 billion merger of pharmaceutical benefit management companies Express Scripts Inc. (ESI) and Medco Health Solutions Inc. were not entitled to a preliminary injunction because they failed to establish the likelihood of immediate, irreparable harm that could be alleviated by the issuance of a preliminary injunction (National Association of Chain Drug Stores, et al. v. Express Scripts, Inc., et al., No. 2:12-cv-00395-CB, W.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57884).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - The judge presiding over a lawsuit brought in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania by a Tioga County, Pa., landowner against natural gas extraction companies issued an order April 27 adopting in part the findings and recommendations of the magistrate judge; negligence, strict liability and ultrahazardous activity claims survive defense motions to dismiss for failing to state a claim (Edward E. Kamuck v. Shell Energy Holdings, et al., No. 11-1425, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59113).-->
PHILADELPHIA - Indirect purchasers' Sherman Act conspiracy claims against several egg producers were dismissed without prejudice because the purchasers' allegations did not directly connect the producers to a price-fixing conspiracy, but federal conspiracy claims against other producers and state antitrust, consumer protection and unjust enrichment claims can continue, the federal judge in Pennsylvania who is overseeing the multidistrict litigation ruled April 24 (In re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation (All Indirect Purchaser Plaintiff Actions), MDL No. 2002, No. 08-md-02002, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57846).
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Citizens Financial Group Inc., RBS Citizens N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania (collectively, Citizens), in an April 25 joint notice of settlement filed in Florida federal court, have agreed to pay $137.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit in which it was accused of manipulating its customers' transactions to generate excess overdraft fee revenues (In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, No. 09-2036, S.D. Fla.). Subscribers may view the joint notice of settlement available within the full update.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A disability discrimination claim by a former auto dealership worker that was remanded by the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which had overturned a Pennsylvania federal judge's grant of summary judgment on the claim, still fails because the employee did not prove that he has a disability, the same judge held April 23 (Stephen Corey James v. Sutliff Saturn, Inc., No. 1:09-cv-1081, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56870).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A debt collector's use of the phrase "refuse to pay" in a debt collection letter did not violate provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. §§1692 et seq., because the consumer failed to communicate with the debt collector as to whether she intended to pay the debt, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled April 20 (Jennifer Croftcheck v. Accounts Recovery Bureau, Inc., No. 11-1220, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56423).
PHILADELPHIA - For the second time this month, a Pennsylvania federal judge on April 19 denied a set of insurers' motion for reconsideration of a Feb. 21 ruling that found that fact issues exist as to whether enforcement of asbestos products liability policy exclusions would violate important public policies expressed in or underlying Pennsylvania insurance laws when the policies were sold to the insured (General Refractories Co. v. First State Insurance Co., et al., No. 04-3509, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55644).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The choice by policyholders to use their insurer's direct repair program for their damaged vehicle did not eliminate the insurer's "statutory and contractual obligations to act in good faith throughout the claim program," a Pennsylvania appeals panel ruled April 17, reversing a trial court's directed verdict in the insurer's favor (Daniel Berg, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. Inc., No. 12 MDA 2008, Pa. Super.; 2012 PA Super 88; 2012 Pa. Super. LEXIS 169).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 17 granted in part an insurer's motion to dismiss a claim against it for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and another seeking declaratory relief of indemnity, finding both to be duplicative of, and therefore precluded by, a corresponding breach of contract claim (Nova Financial Holdings Inc., et al. v. BancInsure Inc., No. 2:11-cv-07840, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53800).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals panel on April 13 affirmed a judgment of $84,618.76 to reimburse a commercial general liability insurer for another insurer's share of defense costs in an underlying negligence action regarding allegations of construction defects; however, the panel reversed a judgment of $74,308.97 for counsel fees (Potomac Insurance Company of Illinois, by its transferee, OneBeacon Insurance Co. v. Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Co., et al., No. A-3164-09T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2012 N.J. Super. LEXIS 52).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 92 federal lawsuits alleging birth defects caused by the antidepressant Zoloft and its generic version sertraline were centralized April 17 before Judge Cynthia M. Rufe in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (In Re: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2342, JPMDL). Subscribers may view the order available within the full update.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania court on April 13 affirmed a decision made by a workers' compensation board to reverse a judge's ruling granting a woman's claim for compensation for injuries caused by mold exposure at work, finding that her claim was time-barred (Robyn Kochan v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board $(Keystone Automotive Operations$), No. 1456 C.D. 2011, Pa. Cmwlth.; 2012 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 257).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 13 rejected insurers' argument that he erred by giving weight to a former deputy insurance commissioner's affidavit in finding that a manufacturer insured satisfied its burden to oppose their summary judgment motion, denying the insurers' motion to reconsider a Feb. 21 finding that fact issues exist as to whether enforcement of asbestos products liability policy exclusions would violate important public policies expressed in or underlying Pennsylvania insurance laws when the policies were sold to the insured (General Refractories Co. v. First State Insurance Co., et al., No. 04-3509, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52467).
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin federal judge on April 13 denied an outplacement and employment consulting service's motion for summary judgment in a insurance coverage dispute, saying that the plaintiff was not entitled to recover the cost of its replacement business' personal property and improvements under the policy (Manpower Inc. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, No. 08-85, E.D. Wis.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
PHILADELPHIA - Approximately 2 million nonbasic cable television customers in the Philadelphia market may proceed to trial against Comcast on the class's Sherman Act Section 1 rule-of-reason claim and certain of its Section 2 monopolization and attempted monopolization claims related to the company's swap agreements, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled April 12 (Caroline Behrend, et al. v. Comcast Corporation, et al., No. 03-6604, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51889).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge has denied an injunction based on infringement claims brought by a national seller of frozen sandwich steak and hamburger products against a South Philadelphia pizza shop and corner grocery, saying in an April 11 opinion that the plaintiff had presented no evidence of brand confusion (The Steak Umm Company v. Steak 'Em Up, No. 5:09-cv-2857 E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51549).
PHILADELPHIA - Saying the plaintiff failed to marshal sufficient facts to support her consumer fraud claims, a Pennsylvania federal judge dismissed a putative class action over flaming box fans on April 10, but granted the plaintiff leave to refile (Deborah Osness, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. Lasko Products Inc., No. 11-3846, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 504200).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - An insurance broker's breach of contract lawsuit against an insurer regarding a program manager agreement is based upon the same cause of action as an arbitration proceeding in which the insurer was awarded a judgment, a Pennsylvania federal judge held April 9 (GGIS Insurance Services Inc. d/b/a Guardian General Insurance Services v. Lincoln General Insurance Co., et al., No. 10-1000, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49348).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 9 refused to reconsider her order granting certification of a class of indirect purchasers who are suing the producers and distributors of Wellbutrin XL for illegally conspiring to prevent generic versions of the drug from entering the American market (In re: Wellbutrin XL Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-2431 (indirect), E.D. Pa.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full update.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Finding that a patent infringement plaintiff has failed to meet the three requirements for specific jurisdiction set forth in Zippo Mfg. Co. v. Zippo Dot Com (952 F. Supp. 1119, 1122-23 $(W.D. Pa. 1997$)), a Pennsylvania federal judge on April 10 dismissed the case (Surface Preparation Technologies v. Jamaco Industries LLC et al., No. 11-1978, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50146).
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 4 dismissed a plaintiff company's claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) seeking contribution toward and recovery of response costs related to remediating contamination from an industrial site but allowed the plaintiff company to pursue claims under the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) in state court (Trinity Industries Inc., et al. v. Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, No. 08-1709, W.D. Pa.).