GREENSBORO, N.C. - Although a North Carolina federal judge found evidence that an insurer acted unreasonably in part of its handling of an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim, the judge held Oct. 18 that genuine disputes of material fact mostly precluded him from granting the parties' competing motions for partial summary judgment on the deceptive trade practices and bad faith claims against the insurer (Lawrence D. Guessford Jr. v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co., No. 1:12-cv-260, M.D. N.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150070).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 17 denied a borrower's motion to dismiss a suit arising from a mortgage loan involving the failed Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu), disagreeing with her assertion that Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., as trustee for the loan, lacks standing to bring the action (Deutsche Bank National Trust Company v. Lucille Adragna, No. 13-1050, M.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149632).
CHICAGO - A plaintiff's expert who used a reliable and accepted methodology for calculating business interruption damages cannot be excluded because of his choice of data to input, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 16 (Manpower, Inc. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, No. 12-2688, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20959).
PHILADELPHIA - A grocery store chain violated its collective bargaining agreement when it gave wage increases and higher starting wages to certain employees in one of its Pennsylvania stores without first obtaining consent from the union, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 16 (Giant Eagle, Inc. v. United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 23, No. 12-4588, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20917).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Finding "potentially unacceptable delays" in an insurer's handling of its policyholders' underinsured motorist (UIM) claim, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 15 said it was "premature to dismiss" the insureds' bad faith claim and denied the insurer's motion to that end (Barry Shaffer, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 1:13-cv-01837, M.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147875).
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Oct. 16 denied drug manufacturer Wyeth's petition to appeal a $10.5 million hormone replacement therapy verdict in favor of a breast cancer plaintiff (Connie J. Barton v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., Nos. 176 EAL 2012 and 177 EAL 2012, Pa. Sup., Eastern Dist.).
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).
PHILADELPHIA - Allegations that a textbook maker infringed a photography agency's copyrights will proceed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a judge in that court ruled Oct. 16 (Jon Feingersh Photography Inc. v. Pearson Education Inc., No. 13-78, E.D. Pa.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A unanimous Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on Oct. 15 affirmed denial of workers' compensation survivor benefits to the widow of a Rohm & Haas Co. research scientist who died of brain cancer because the claim is barred by the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act statute of repose (Kuo-Hom Hsu v. Rohm & Haas Co., No. 328 CD 2013, Pa. Cmwlth; 2013 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 758).
PHILADELPHIA - A trial in which a woman alleges that the epilepsy drug Topamax caused her daughter's birth defect began Oct. 15 in the Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court (April Czimmer, et al. v. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceutica, No. 1105-03459, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 10 held that because the website of a helicopter helmet maker allowed for sales to Pennsylvania customers and specifically referenced the plaintiff's trademarks, there were sufficient contacts to establish jurisdiction over the defendant, denying a motion to dismiss (Gentex Corp. v. Ronald Abbott, et al., No. 3:12-cv-02549, M.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146662).
PHILADELPHIA - A consumer sued three banks in Pennsylvania federal court on Oct. 14, alleging that the banks engaged in a payday lending scheme in states where such loans are illegal in violation of state and federal law (Patricia Booth v. BMO Harris Bank N.A., et al., No. 13-5968, E.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - An excess insurance policy binds the excess insurer and its insured to arbitrate a patent infringement coverage dispute in London pursuant to a condition in the insured's primary policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Oct. 11 (Illinois Union Insurance Co. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., et al., No. 13-3869, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147247).
SCRANTON, Pa. - Susquehanna County, Pa., residents seeking to recover in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania for alleged contamination of their residential well water with hydraulic fracturing chemicals were granted access on Oct. 11 to seismic data and open hole logs from a natural gas extraction company defendant and a contractor for the defendant that is a nonparty in the litigation (Susan Berish, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Production Co., et al., No. 10-1981, M.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147318).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Oct. 10 denied a petition for appeal challenging a lower court's admission of "each and every" exposure testimony in a welding rod case when other evidence of causation also exists (Michelle Wolfinger, administratrix of the estate of Robert Wolfinger v. 20th Century Glove Corp. of Texas, et al., No. 283 EAL 2013, Pa. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - Despite prevailing on infringement and dilution claims surrounding the "Crab Fries" trademark, a plaintiff was denied an award of damages and attorney fees by a Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 9 (CPC Properties Inc. v. Dominic Inc., No. 12-4405, E.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania confirmed a final arbitration award in an arbitration between a corporation and its former captive reinsurer on Oct. 3 (Fencourt Reinsurance Company Ltd. v. ITT Industries Inc., No. 06-cv-04786, E.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 7 affirmed dismissal of a Pennsylvania inmate's medical negligence action, concluding that he failed to show that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs (Michael Bearam v. George C. Wigen, et al., No. 13-2167, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20400).
PHILADELPHIA - A former Pennsylvania state purchasing agent failed to prove that he was the victim of racial discrimination when his probationary period was extended and he was ultimately terminated, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 2, upholding a trial court's rulings (Ed Collins v. Daniel Boyd, et al., No. 13-1739, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20111).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A plaintiff in an uninsured motorist (UM) dispute sufficiently alleged that his insurer failed to properly investigate his claim prior to denying it, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Sept. 26, denying the insurer's motion to dismiss the insured's bad faith claim (Patrick D. Pauling v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 1:13-cv-01348, M.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137950).
BOISE, Idaho - Dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit is necessary, a federal judge in Idaho ruled Sept. 26, because lead plaintiffs in the action have failed to plead scienter (Bricklayers of Western Pennsylvania Pension Plan v. Hecla Mining Co., et al., No. 12-0042, D. Idaho; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139869).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania judge overseeing state court cases involving Topamax on Sept. 26 denied for now motions by the plaintiffs to exclude two defense expert witnesses (In Re: Topamax Litigation, No. 110602131, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - A recent federal appeals court ruling that GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) is a citizen of Delaware for purposes of diversity of citizenship cannot be retroactively applied to a Paxil birth defect case that was remanded to state court more than a year before the appellate court ruling, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 26 (Madison Powell, et al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation, et al., No. 13-3693, E.D. Pa.).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 25 said he cannot reconsider his confirmation of the Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) reorganization plan until he learns when the issue of the exclusion of limited partnerships was first raised by another judge (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Both parties in a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case challenging the causation standard in an asbestos action now agree that the plaintiffs lack evidence of regular and frequent exposure given the court's rejection of the "each and every" exposure theory, the court held Sept. 26 (Margaret Howard, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., Nos. 48 EAP 2012, 49 EAP 2012, 50 EAP 2012, Pa. Sup.).