MELBOURNE, Australia - After finding that a local municipal council was partially liable for causing a woman's mesothelioma, which she contracted as a direct result of exposure to asbestos brought home on her husband's work clothes, an Australian justice on Oct. 24 ordered the council to pay a portion of a settlement that she had previously reached with an asbestos product manufacturer (Jones v Southern Grampians Shire Council & Anor, No.  VSC 485, Victoria Sup.). Subscribers may view the judgment available within the full article.
TACOMA, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 24 dismissed with prejudice a suit in which a borrower asserts breach of contract, predatory lending and other claims against Union Bank N.A., which acquired his loans from Frontier Bank after Frontier Bank's failure, because the agreements on which the borrower bases his claims are not in writing (Robert Kanany v. Union Bank N.A., No.11-06062, W.D. Wash.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152941).
ORLANDO, Fla. - An insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify its insureds in an underlying wrongful death suit alleging that an individual contracted Legionnaires' disease while a guest at an insured hotel because the bacteria that caused the disease are not considered a pollutant under the policy's pollution exclusion and the bacteria or fungi exclusion does not apply to bar coverage, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal said Oct. 25 (Westport Insurance Corp. v. VN Hotel Group LLC, et al., No. 11-14883, 11th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 22187 ).
LOS ANGELES - Citing "numerous instances of material representations and several inconsistencies" by the owners of a vehicle at the center of an auto insurance coverage dispute, a California appeals panel on Oct. 19 affirmed summary judgment to the insurer on breach of contract and bad faith claims against it (Allen Hodjat, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. B233996, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7557).
CHICAGO - A class action suit accusing OneWest Bank FSB of mishandling applications for loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) can proceed, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Oct. 22, after finding that the lead plaintiff had standing and sufficiently alleged claims for breach of contract, promissory estoppel and violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act (ICFA) (Stacey Fletcher, et al. v. OneWest Bank FSB, No. 10-cv-4682, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151541).
JACKSON, Miss. - An insurance agent's representations over a purported bonus associated with four life insurance policies cannot support an insured's lawsuit against his insurer, a Mississippi federal judge ruled Oct. 17, because the policy clearly stated that the contract could not be modified by the agent (William E. Birdsong, et al. v. The Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 3:10-cv-00699, S.D. Miss.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149320).
BOSTON - A homeowner's allegations of bad faith do not correspond with the purposes of a state law claim for the breach of good faith and fair dealing, a Massachusetts federal judge ruled Oct. 15, granting an insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings on that claim and an accompanying breach of contract count (Glenn E. Shealey v. Federal Insurance Co., et al., No. 1:12-cv-10723, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147883).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An insurance broker may enforce the noncompete agreements as if it had stepped into the shoes of the original contracting companies, provided that the noncompete agreements are reasonable, a majority of the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Oct. 11, reversing the judgment of the appeals court and remanding to the trial court so that it may determine the reasonableness of the noncompete agreements (Acordia of Ohio LLC v. Michael Fishel, et al., No. 2012-Ohio-4648, Ohio Sup.; 2012 Ohio LEXIS 2454).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A bankruptcy judge in Delaware on Oct. 4 dismissed an insurance claims breach of contract case, saying the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the dispute (In re Washington Mutual Inc., et al., No. 08-12229, D. Del. Bkcy.; 2012 Bankr. LEXIS 4673).
GREENBELT, Md. - A Maryland federal judge on Oct. 3 dismissed a general contractor from a subrogated insurance company's negligence and breach of contract lawsuit in favor of arbitration of the claims against the contractor and stayed proceedings against a subcontractor pending resolution of the arbitration (Allstate Insurance Co. v. Hemingway Homes LLC, et al., No. 12-00744, D. Md.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143132).
SAN DIEGO - A health-care provider's claims against insurers alleging that the insurers misappropriated his name and made misrepresentations to his patients by holding him out as a contracted provider, which negatively impacted his ability to recover additional amounts owed under his contracts with his patients, are not completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq., a federal judge in California ruled Oct. 2 in remanding the case to state court (Sanjay Ghosh, M.D., v. Aetna Health of California, Inc., et al., No. 3:12-CV-1557-JM (BGS), S.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142673).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 2 granted a cruise line's motion to compel arbitration of a seaman's injury-related claims, finding that the worker failed to show that an arbitration clause in his employment contract was against public policy (Aleixo Estibeiro v. Carnival Corp., No. 12-22713, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143058).
TACOMA, Wash. - The Division II Washington Court of Appeals on Oct. 2 upheld the dismissal of counterclaims brought by a condominium owner in a construction contract payment dispute, agreeing that the man's attempt to receive a declaratory judgment against the condo association failed (Thomas Lowry et al. v. Allenmore Ridge Condominium Association No. 41571-2-II, Wash. App., Div. 2; 2012 Wash. App. LEXIS 2372).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on Sept. 28 denied prejudgment interest to an insurer following a determination that the evidence in a defective window coverage case supports a jury's finding on a breach of contract claim (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. and Employers Insurance of Wausau v. J.T. Walker Industries Inc. f/k/a Metal Industries Inc., et al., No. 08-2043, D. S.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141200).
NEW YORK - Ally Financial Inc. filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on Sept. 28, objecting to bankrupt Residential Capital's plan to assign certain executor contracts to Nationstar Mortgage LLC (In Re: Residential Capital LLC, No. 12-12020, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.). Subscribers may view the brief available within the full article.
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 ruled 2-1 that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to have concluded that a rival manufacturer violated federal antitrust law by entering into long-term agreements (LTAs) with customers, affirming the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware's denial of the defendant's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial (ZF Meritor, LLC, et al. v. Eaton Corporation, Nos. 11-3301, 11-3426, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20342).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal magistrate judge on Oct. 1 ordered Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and two nonparty hospitals to produce documents to the U.S. Department of Justice and the state in an action seeking to enjoin Blue Cross from including "most favored nation" (MFN) clauses in its contracts with hospitals in Michigan (United States of America and the State of Michigan v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 10-14155, E.D. Mich.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141355).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana appeals court on Sept. 28 reversed a trial court's decision upholding the validity of a contract awarded by the state for health benefit plans for state employees, dependents and retirees (United Healthcare Insurance Co. v. State of Louisiana, et al., No. 2011 CA 1398, La. App., 1st. Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 1237).
BENTON, Ill. - In ruling on a motion to dismiss, an Illinois federal judge dismissed on Sept. 27 all but breach of contract and unfair conduct claims from a class action unfair trade practices cases (Charlotte Phillips, et al. v. WellPoint Inc., et al., No. 10-357, S.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139623).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Foreign representatives for bankrupt Japanese computer chip computer manufacturer Elpida Memory Inc. on Sept. 28 moved in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware for approval of a plan to sell 259 patents to Apple Inc.to honor a $51 million contract that Elpida contends is essential to continuing its business and reorganizing (In Re: Elpida Memory Inc., No. 12-10947, Chapter 15, D. Del. Bkcy.). Subscribers may view the motion available within the full article.
MINNEAPOLIS - A professional liability policy's customer funds exclusion clearly precluded coverage for two title insurance employees accused of misuse of customer funds, a Minnesota federal judge ruled Sept. 25, granting judgment in the liability insurer's favor on bad faith and breach of contract claims against it (Charles E. Bethel II, et al. v. Darwin Select Insurance, No. 0:11-cv-02242, D. Minn.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136558).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Sept. 25 held that a couple can pursue a breach of contract claim against CitiMortgage Inc. for freezing an account held by the plaintiffs when they attempted to refinance their mortgage in 2011, but dismissed the remainder of their claims (Seth A. Nichamoff, et al. v. CitiMortgage Inc., No. H-12-1039, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137270).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The trustee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding of Filene's Basement LLC on Sept. 24 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, arguing that the ground lease between Filene's affiliate Syms Corp. and its landlord required Syms to pay $3.47 million in rent (In Re: Filene's Basement LLC, No. 11-13511, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.).
SAN DIEGO - A vessel owner cannot pursue restitution under the California unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, because adequate remedy exists through a breach of contract claim and the policy's expiration moots his injunctive relief claim, a federal judge held Sept. 24 (Robert McAdam v. State National Insurance Co. Inc. and ROES 1 through 23, inclusive, No. 12-1333, S.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136444).
SEATTLE - Finding misrepresentations on an errors and omissions (E&O) policy application to be material and made with an intent to deceive, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 21 held that an insurer was within its rights to rescind the policy, affirming summary judgment to the insurer on bad faith and breach of contract counterclaims against it (Tudor Insurance Co. v. Hellickson Real Estate, No. 11-35753, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 19904).