NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge properly entered judgment as a matter of law for Toyota Motor Manufacturing & Engineering North America Inc. because the widower of a woman killed in an accident involving a Toyota vehicle did not present sufficient evidence of manufacturing and design defect claims, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 20 (Scott E. Casey, et al. v. Toyota Motor Manufacturing & Engineering North America Inc., et al., No. 13-11119, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20088).
HOUSTON - A jury in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Oct. 20 found that the president of the Riverside General Hospital, his son and two other individuals were guilty of being involved in a $158 million Medicare fraud scheme (United States of America v. Earnest Gibson III, et al. No. 12-cr-00600, S.D. Texas).
GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas judge on Oct. 16 entered a final judgment in favor of an insurer in a Hurricane Ike coverage dispute, ordering the insured to take nothing against the insurer and taxing $39,901.95 in court costs against the insured (League City v. TWIA, No. 12-0053, Texas Dist., 10th Jud., Galveston Co.).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Oct. 17 remanded an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court, ruling that defendants in the action have failed to show that a claims adjuster was improperly joined in the action (Gilbert Saenz v. IDS Property Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-338, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148103).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Oct. 16 held that an insurer has satisfied its burden to obtain mandamus relief in a lawsuit challenging its insurance practices, directing a lower court to grant the insurer's motion to dismiss based on the policy's forum-selection clause (In Re Prime Insurance Co., No. 13-14-00490-CV, Texas App., 13th Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 11502).
HOUSTON - The owners of two diagnostic centers in Texas on Oct. 16 agreed to pay a combined $2.6 million to resolve claims from three whistle-blowers alleging that the owners violated the False Claims Act and Stark statute, according to filings in Texas federal court (United States, ex rel. Maribeth Holderith v. One Step Diagnostics Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-2988, S.D. Texas).
HOUSTON - A trial judge erred in submitting a charge of general negligence, rather than a charge of premises liability, against an electricity carrier to a jury, the Texas First District Court of Appeal ruled Oct. 16 (Oncor Electric Delivery Co. v. Marco Murillo, No. 01-10-01123-CV, Tex. App., 1st Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 11479).
DALLAS - A dispute between former business partners was remanded Oct. 15 to Texas state court because any copyright or trademark issues raised in a defendant's answer to the complaint would not raise "a substantial federal issue," according to a Texas federal judge (Jennifer Duncan v. James Freeman et al., No. 14-1827, N.D. Texas).
HOUSTON - A Texas oil company on Oct. 10 announced that it has commenced international arbitration against Venezuela's state oil company.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Several petitions for writs of mandamus were granted Oct. 9 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which directed U.S. Judge J. Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas to stay five separate patent lawsuits in favor of a declaratory judgment action filed by Google Inc. in California federal court (In re: Google Inc. et al., No. 14-147, Fed. Cir.).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 6 granted a motion to dismiss filed by Bank of America N.A. (BOA) and a Texas firm, finding that claims asserted by property owners in relation to the alleged wrongful foreclosure of their house failed (Johnny Whiting, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 14-905, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142327).
GALVESTON, Texas - A federal appeals court judge sitting by designation over an insurance dispute in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on Oct. 6 ruled that a man's misrepresentation on an insurance policy application about the purchase price of a boat that was destroyed by a fire voided the policy because New York law applied to the contract (Marine Insurance Company Ltd. v. Joel Cron, et al., No. 13-CV-00437, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141704).
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas' top court on Oct. 3 denied a petition for review in a case alleging that missed settlements in an asbestos case supported a malpractice action, according to its docket (Charlotte Hearn v. Kathryn Snapka, No. 13-0112, Texas Sup.).
DALLAS - A Texas state court judge on Oct. 2 reduced a $73.46 million compensatory/punitive damage verdict in a Boston Scientific Corp. pelvic mesh case to $34.64 million after applying state law limits and caps, according to a final judgment (Martha Salazar, et al. v. Boston Scientific Corporation, No. DC-12-14349-D, Texas Dist., 95th Jud. Dist., Dallas Co.).
DALLAS - On Sept. 30, a federal judge in Texas granted in part and denied in part a health insurer's motion to dismiss reimbursement claims, finding that some of the claims were subject to arbitration or that the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Claims for breach of the patients member benefit plans not subject to arbitration remain under the ruling (Infectious Disease Doctors v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, No. 13-2920, N.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137561).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 26 issued an order adopting a magistrate judge's report and recommendation partially granting summary judgment for a property owner, but finding that a motion to expunge notice lis pendens should be denied because the related wrongful foreclosure action is still pending (Jean Lombardi v. Bank of America, et al., No. 3:13-cv-1464, N.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135935).
BEAUMONT, Texas - A Ninth District Texas Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 25 found that a trial court judge's refusal to allow a developer to identify the contractor who installed stucco on the home a couple purchased as a third-party defendant was prejudicial and warrants holding a new trial (Sun Development L.C. v. Larry Hughes, et al., No. 09-12-00524-CV, Texas App., 9th Dist.; 2014 Texas App. LEXIS 10762).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Sept. 22 ruled that an insurance company had no duty to defend a company sued in an underlying case brought by ExxonMobil Corp. related to drinking water contamination that was caused by an oil spill (Federal Insurance Company v. Northfield Insurance Company, No. 14-262, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132404).
TEXARKANA, Texas - The Sixth District Texas Court of Appeals on Sept. 19 reversed a trial court's ruling against the insureds after determining that the monetary sanctions against the insureds were excessive and the conduct by the insureds was not so egregious as to warrant the "death penalty" sanctions (William R. and Susan M. Knoderer v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 06-13-00027, Texas App., 6th Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 10538).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 19 granted summary judgment on the remaining claim in a Zometa jaw injury case after finding that they all relate to failure-to-warn claims that were dismissed as preempted by a multidistrict litigation court pretrial order (Jean Massey, et al. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, No. 12-1054, W.D. Texas, Austin Div.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 19 certified questions to the Texas Supreme Court after finding that there is no controlling Texas Supreme Court precedent interpreting the policy terms "physical injury" or "replacement" within common business risk exclusions of commercial general liability insurance policies (U.S. Metals Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Group Inc., No. 13-20433, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17966).