PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge declined on Sept. 5 to alter or amend judgment dismissing breach of fiduciary duty and bad faith claims against a surety over payment for construction projects (Reginella Construction Company Ltd. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 12- 01047, W.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126575).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Pennsylvania federal judge erred in concluding that a jury verdict confirming the validity of a computer drive bay cooling patent lacked substantial evidence, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 6 (Comaper Corporation v. Antec Inc., No. 13-1147, Fed. Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - An asbestos expert's testimony that "there are no innocent exposures" mirrors the "every exposure" testimony previously rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, a divided state Superior Court panel held Sept. 5 (Darlene Nelson executrix of the estate of James Nelson v. Airco Welders Supply, et al., Nos. 865 EDA 2011, 866 EDA 2011, 867 EDA 2011, 889 EDA 2011, Pa. Super.).
PHILADELPHIA - A welding rod defendant mischaracterizes an expert's careful consideration of the potential causes of a man's lung cancer and resulting conclusion that it arose from asbestos exposures as the "any exposure" theory, a Pennsylvania appeals court held Sept. 5 (Helen Campbell, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Inc., Hobart Brothers Co., No. 2005 EDA 2012).
LOS ANGELES - A "wrongful acts" exclusion in a city's insurance policy eliminated any duty to defend an appointed city official against allegations of waste and misappropriation of funds and related claims, a California federal judge ruled Aug. 30, granting the insurer's motion to dismiss a bad faith and declaratory action against it (Robert A. Rizzo v. The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 2:12-cv-04347, C.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126255).
PHILADELPHIA - Homeowners in three putative class actions may proceed with their claims for violations of federal racketeering laws against three title insurers with regard to allegations of misrepresentation of costs in a fraudulent scheme, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 30 (Stephanie Coleman and Janelle Bowmer v. Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co., No. 09-679; Mitchell and Randi Schwartz, et al. v. Lawyers Title Insurance Co., No. 09-841; Bruce Levine and Daniel McCorkle, et al. v. First American Title Insurance Co., No. 09-842, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124313).
PHILADELPHIA - In an Aug. 29 order, a Pennsylvania federal judge announced that the National Football League and players have reached a $765 million settlement in the concussion injury multidistrict litigation (In re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 12-2323, E.D. Pa.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - An insured is entitled to the return of any identified collateral funds or any portion thereof that remained in an insolvent insurer's accounts at the time the liquidator took possession of the assets, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled Aug. 27 (Tenco Excavating Inc. v. First Sealord Surety Inc. $(in Liquidation$(, No. 20 FSS 2012, Pa. Cmwlth.; 2013 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 343).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A conservation group seeking to enforce a conservation easement and prevent surface activities to extract natural gas from the Marcellus shale was granted summary judgment on Aug. 27 in a declaratory judgment action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Stockport Mountain Corp. v. Norcross Wildlife Foundation Inc., No. 11-514, M.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121321).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 19 vacated the dismissal of a class complaint filed by public transportation drivers seeking wages for work performed each morning prior to driving (David Bell, et al. v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, No. 12-4031, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17166).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 20 found that a federal judge in Pennsylvania did not err in imposing monetary sanctions against a plaintiff for his failure to timely comply with discovery requests and later dismissing the suit with prejudice as a result of the plaintiff's refusal to pay (Percy Hogan Jr. v. Raymond Corporation, et al., No. 12-4052, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17282).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A unanimous Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on Aug. 20 affirmed judgment for a natural gas extraction company and construction contractor hired to build an 11-acre impoundment for hydraulic fracturing water over the objections of the landowners on the grounds the mineral estate owners have the right under the lease and Pennsylvania law to use the surface as necessary to develop the Marcellus shale gas (Paul F. Humberston, et al. v. Chevron USA, et al., No. 12-1270, Pa. Super.; 2013 Pa. Super. 2638).
PHILADELPHIA - In an opinion of first impression, a unanimous Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 20 that the property damage claims of a western Pennsylvania class against the owner of a coal-fired electricity generation plant are not barred by the Clean Air Act (Kristie Bell, et al. v. Cheswick Generating Station, GenOn Power Midwest, No. 12-4216, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17283).
PHILADELPHIA - A prior publication policy exclusion prevents an insurer from having to defend or indemnify Urban Outfitters against an underlying advertising injury lawsuit, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 19 (The Hanover Insurance Co. v. Urban Outfitters, et al., No. 12-cv-3961, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116889).
ERIE, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 16 denied a plaintiff's motion for spoliation sanctions after finding that there was no evidence to support her claims that a defendant destroyed the hard drives of two laptop computers and deleted emails from a school district's central servers (Maryann Anderson v. Susan Sullivan, et al., No. 07-cv-111-SJM, W.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116086).
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 14 affirmed an award of $14,761,238 to a group of former railroad employees who said they were owed benefits as a result of an agreement that they entered with the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. prior to the merger that created the Penn Central Transportation Co. (PCTC) (In The Matter of: Penn Central Transportation Company, No. 12-3807, Chapter 11, 3rd Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania's decision to deny final approval of a settlement for a class of African-American and Hispanic borrowers who were allegedly charged higher fees and costs when obtaining a mortgage loan was affirmed Aug. 12 by a panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that said that the judge did not err in finding that the settlement class lacked commonality and typicality following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Wal-Mart v. Dukes (131 S. Ct. 2541 $(2011$)) (John Rodriguez, et al. v. National City Bank, et al., No. 11-8079, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16615).
WASHINGTON, Pa. - A confidential $750,000 settlement agreement concluded in June 2011 between a Washington County, Pa., family and natural gas extraction companies was filed Aug. 12 in the Washington County, Pa., Court of Common Pleas, 27th Judicial District; the case records were unsealed in March, but the settlement agreement was missing from the case file when it was delivered to the Washington County prothonotary in August 2011 (Stephanie Hallowich, et vir v. Range Resources Corp., et al., No. 10-3954, Pa. Comm. Pls., 27th Dist., Washington Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 7 ruled that a debtor's appeal regarding the dischargeability of his medical student loans lacked merit and said that nothing deprived him of a right to a jury trial (D. Erik Von Kiel v. Department of Health and Human Services $(In Re: D. Erik Von Kiel$), No. 12-4345, Chapter 7, E.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - About 45 federal lawsuits alleging that the antidepressant drug Effexor caused birth defects were centralized Aug. 6 before U.S. Judge Cynthia M. Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by a federal judicial panel (In Re: Effexor $(Venlafaxine Hydrochloride$) Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2458, JMPDL).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 31 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment only on the limited issue of whether the insurer acted in bad faith by seeking an examination under oath from the insured's son (Jeanette Hudgins v. Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co., No. 11-00882, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107775).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 2 denied a motion for summary judgment made by a health insurer and plan provider in a care denial of benefits suit (Debra L. Rubin v. AmeriHealth Administrators Inc., et al., No. 12-3719, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108579).
SCRANTON, Pa. - Determining that "genuine issues of material fact remain as to the ultimate cause of" damage to policyholders' business, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 1 declined to grant summary judgment to their insurer on that count (Jeffery Dunn, et al. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 3:11-cv-00976, M.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107984).
PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional requires recognition of a valid Canadian same-sex marriage for purposes of determining the proper distribution of survivor benefits under a profit-sharing plan that is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled July 29 (Cozen O'Connor, P.C. v. Jennifer J. Tobits, et al., No. 11-00045, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105507).
PHILADELPHIA - On 2-1 votes in four related cases, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on July 29 largely affirmed that many claims involving Reglan and its generic version metoclopramide are not preempted by federal law (Paul E. Hassett v. Donald Dafoe, M.D., et al., No. 81 EDA 2012, In Re: Reglan/Metoclopramide Litigation, Nos. 82 EDA 2012, 83 EDA 2012 and 84 EDA 2012, Pa. Super.).