LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Oil Company: Order Regarding Cleanup Of Tainted Groundwater 'Arbitrary'

HARRISBURG, Pa. - An oil and gas exploration company on Sept. 3 appealed an order issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that found the company liable for contaminating groundwater as a result of its drilling operations. The company argues that the order is "arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, not in accordance with law, and violates [the company's] constitutional rights" (Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. v. Department of Environmental Protection, No. 2015-131, Pa. EHB).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Denies Cosby's Discovery Motion Over Release Of Sealed Deposition

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 4 denied a motion by comedian William H. "Bill" Cosby Jr. to take discovery to determine if the counsel and plaintiff from a prior sexual assault case violated a court order by releasing a confidential transcript from that case to the media (Tamara Green, et al. v. William H. Cosby Jr., No. 2:15-cv-00144, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118216).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Allows Expert To Testify On Syndrome In Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - The U.S. government's expert can testify on child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome (CSAAS) in a sexual abuse case, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 8, finding the expert credible and her report reliable (United States of America v. Joseph D. Maurizio, Jr., No. 14-23, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119204).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer's Denial Of Defense, Indemnification Was Not In Bad Faith

PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 3 granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insurer is entitled to summary judgment on the bad faith claim because a third-party beneficiary has failed to show that the insurer acted in bad faith in denying a defense or indemnification to an attorney in a malpractice case (Zhong Zhuang v. The Hanover Insurance Co., No. 15-0481, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118047).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 3rd Circuit: Dismissal Of False Advertising Claims Was Not Error

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge's finding that standing is lacking in a false advertising case pursuant to Conte Bros. Auto. Inc. v. Quaker-State Slick 50 Inc. (165 F.3d 221 [3rd Cir. 1998]) was affirmed Sept. 2 by the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, albeit under a newer standard from the Supreme Court (The Knit With v. Knitting Fever Inc., et al., No. 12-3219, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15575).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith; Conversion Claim Is Not Covered, Judge Holds

WAYCROSS, Ga. - An insurer did not act in bad faith by denying coverage because its policy does not cover a conversion claim whether it was "willful and malicious" or "negligent," a Georgia federal judge ruled Sept. 1, finding that the claim is not an "accident" (Mary Jean Spivey and Douglas Asphalt Paving, Inc., as assignees of Dixie Roadbuilders, Inc. v. American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania, No. 15-004, S.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116407).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Finds Taiwanese Enforcement Order Is A Recognizable Judgment

PHILADELPHIA - After finding that a Pennsylvania corporation failed to show why a $6.57 million arbitration award issued in Taiwan should not be recognized, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 27 granted summary judgment and found that a Taiwanese enforcement order was a recognizable judgment under the Pennsylvania Uniform Foreign Money Judgment Recognition Act (UFMJRA) (Clientron Corp. v. Devon IT Inc., No. 13-05634, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114304).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge OKs $7.8M Commutation Of Reinsurers' Obligations To Insolvent Insurer

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on Aug. 26 approved a commutation, settlement agreement and release between an insolvent insurer and a pair of reinsurers (In re: Reliance Insurance Co. in liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 3 Gas Exploration Companies Fined A Combined $374,481 For Contaminating Groundwater

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Aug. 21 announced that it had fined three companies involved in natural gas exploration a combined $374,481 for contaminating private drinking water supplies. The fines have all been paid, the DEP said.

Mealey's IP/Tech - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Won't Reconsider Dismissal Of Monopolization Claim

PHILADELPHIA - Efforts by the Federal Trade Commission to persuade a Pennsylvania federal judge to reconsider his earlier dismissal of monopolization and unlawful restraint of trade claims in light of the recent Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in King Drug Co. of Florence Inc. v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. (791 F.3d 388 [3rd Cir. 2015]) failed Aug. 25 (Federal Trade Commission v. AbbVie Inc. et al., No. 14-5151, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112135).

Mealey's Insurance - Delaware Judge Finds Insurer Has A Duty To Defend Asbestos Suits

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware state judge on Aug. 21 determined that an insurer has a duty to defend its insured against underlying asbestos suits, but deferred ruling on whether the insured provided timely notice of the underlying claims (CNH Industrial America LLC v. American Casualty Company of Pennsylvania et al., No. N12C-07-108, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2015 Del. Super. LEXIS 418; Del. Super. LEXIS 419; Del. Super. LEXIS 420).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Morcellator Lawsuit Settled For $800,000, According To Motion For Approval

PHILADELPHIA - A morcellator wrongful death lawsuit was settled for $800,000, according to a motion for court approval filed Aug. 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Scott Burkhart, et al. v. Lina Medical USA Inc., et al., No. 14-1557, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Coverage Suit In Light Of Parallel One Over Negligent Work Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 19 dismissed an insurer's coverage lawsuit because there is an underlying parallel lawsuit involving the same parties and issues with regard to an insured's alleged negligent construction work that caused water damage in an apartment complex (American Home Assurance Co. v. Global Construction Company LLC, et al., No. 14-07319, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110378).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pennsylvania Appeals Court Affirms $4.2M Topamax Birth Defect Verdict

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on Aug. 20 affirmed a $4.2 million Topamax birth defect verdict, a ruling that turned on whether the trial judge violated Virginia law in his instructions on the causation standard (April Czimmer v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 459 EDA 2014, Pa. Super.).

Mealey's Insurance - Liquidator Asks Court To OK $15.9 Million Reinsurance Commutation Agreement

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer on Aug. 18 asked a Pennsylvania court to approve a nearly $16 million commutation payment from a reinsurer of certain workers' compensation, general liability and automobile liability policies (In re: Reliance Insurance Co. in liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Insurers' Bid For Relief From Pittsburgh Corning's Plan Approval

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 12 denied a request by two insurance companies for relief from the judgment approving Pittsburgh Corning Corp.'s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, finding that she lacks authority to grant the request and that new evidence relied on by the insurers of alleged fraud in the asbestos trust system does not show that the plan approval was procured by fraud. The next day, the insurers appealed the ruling (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy. [Mt. McKinley Insurance Company, et al. v. Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, Nos. 13-01639, 14-0144, 14-0182, W.D. Pa.]; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105890).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Denies Electric Supplier's Motion To Transfer Class Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 13 denied an electricity supplier's motion to transfer a class complaint alleging misrepresentation of energy rates to a New York federal court, where three other similar class cases are pending (Michael Kantor, et al. v. Hiko Energy, LLC, No. 14-5585, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106448).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Attempt To Depose Unretained Expert Over 2009 Conduct Is Burdensome

RALEIGH, N.C. - A motion seeking documents and deposition from an unretained plaintiffs' asbestos expert about his role in a 2009 statement on asbestos disease in mechanics seeks evidence already in the company's possession and is unduly burdensome, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Aug. 13 (Arthur L. Frank, M.D., Ph.D., v. Honeywell International Inc., f/k/a Allied Signal Inc., successor to Bendix Corp., and Ford Motor Co., No. 15-172, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106453).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: Attempt To Depose Unretained Expert Over 2009 Conduct Is Burdensome

RALEIGH, N.C. - A motion seeking documents and deposition from an unretained plaintiffs' asbestos expert about his role in a 2009 statement on asbestos disease in mechanics seeks evidence already in the company's possession and is unduly burdensome, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Aug. 13 (Arthur L. Frank, M.D., Ph.D., v. Honeywell International Inc., f/k/a Allied Signal Inc., successor to Bendix Corp., and Ford Motor Co., No. 15-172, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106453).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Attempt To Depose Unretained Expert Over 2009 Conduct Is Burdensome

RALEIGH, N.C. - A motion seeking documents and deposition from an unretained plaintiffs' asbestos expert about his role in a 2009 statement on asbestos disease in mechanics seeks evidence already in the company's possession and is unduly burdensome, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Aug. 13 (Arthur L. Frank, M.D., Ph.D., v. Honeywell International Inc., f/k/a Allied Signal Inc., successor to Bendix Corp., and Ford Motor Co., No. 15-172, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106453).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Denies Electric Supplier's Motion To Transfer Class Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 13 denied an electricity supplier's motion to transfer a class complaint alleging misrepresentation of energy rates to a New York federal court, where three other similar class cases are pending (Michael Kantor, et al. v. Hiko Energy, LLC, No. 14-5585, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106448).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Judge Denies Insurers' Bid For Relief From Pittsburgh Corning's Plan Approval

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 12 denied a request by two insurance companies for relief from the judgment approving Pittsburgh Corning Corp.'s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, finding that she lacks authority to grant the request and that new evidence relied on by the insurers of alleged fraud in the asbestos trust system does not show that the plan approval was procured by fraud. The next day, the insurers appealed the ruling (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy. [Mt. McKinley Insurance Company, et al. v. Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, Nos. 13-01639, 14-0144, 14-0182, W.D. Pa.]; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105890).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Law Firm Has No Standing To Force FDA To Act On Risperdal Petition, Judge Says

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 11 dismissed a lawsuit filed by a plaintiffs' law firm challenging the Food and Drug Administration's denial of a citizen petition seeking restrictions on the atypical antipsychotic drug Risperdal, its generic versions and Invega because of their alleged risks to children (Sheller, P.C. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 15-440, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Arch Coal, Subsidiaries To Pay $2M, Upgrade System To Prevent Illegal Discharges

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Arch Coal Inc. and 14 of its subsidiaries agreed Aug. 6 to pay a $2 million civil penalty and conduct numerous system upgrades at their coal mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia to resolve allegations from the federal government and states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia for hundreds of violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (United States of America, et al. v. Arch Coal Inc., et al., No. 15-11838, S.D. W.Va.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Utility Company Urges Pennsylvania High Court To Affirm Ruling Vacating Verdict

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A utility company told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Aug. 7 that an intermediate appeals court properly concluded that a contractor was not under its supervision when he was injured in a fall from a pole owned by the utility (Vincent P. Nertavich Jr. v. PPL Electric Utilities Corp., et al., No. 21 EAP 2015, Pa. Sup.).