NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 11 certified a question to the Texas Supreme Court to determine if, under Texas law, an administrative action initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency constitutes a lawsuit as that term is defined under the policies at issue (McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp. v. The Phoenix Insurance Co. et al., No. 13-20360, 5th Cir.).
SAN ANTONIO - A federal judge in Texas on June 11 dismissed a suit alleging breach of contract and other claims against the failed First National Bank,as the manager of an apartment complex, finding that the plaintiffs' failure to file a claim with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. bars the court's jurisdiction over the case (Jimmy Mack, et al. v. First National Bank, et al., No. 13-1104, W.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79583).
DALLAS - The foreign representative of bankrupt bitcoin exchange operator MtGox Co. Ltd. and creditor CoinLab Inc. on June 9 reached a stipulated agreement under which CoinLab agrees that it will not object to MtGox's Chapter 15 bankruptcy status or its choice of venue (In Re: MtGox Co. Ltd., No. 14-31229, Chapter 15, N.D. Texas Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 6 upheld a federal judge in Texas' decision to award summary judgment to Bank of America N.A. in a wrongful foreclosure suit after finding that a plaintiff couple could not challenge the transfer of their mortgage to the lender (John Svboda, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 13-50818, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10598).
HOUSTON - Because Google Inc. was not a party in an underlying attorney discipline lawsuit, a Texas appeals panel on June 5 held that a trial court's expunction order requiring removal of all records of the suit from its search engine violated the Internet giant's due process rights (Google Inc. v. Expunction Order, No. 01-13-00228-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on June 5 reversed a trial court's impairment rating on a workers' compensation claim with an insolvent insurer and rendered judgment that the injured employee's impairment rating is 10 percent (Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Co. v. Noe Portillo, No. 13-13-00219, Texas App., 13th Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 5977).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 4 affirmed the dismissal of a False Claims Act (FCA) case accusing a Texas Planned Parenthood organization of submitting fraudulent claims to Medicaid for lack of subject matter (United States of America; the State of Texas, ex rel, Abby Kristen Johnson v. Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas Inc., No. 13-20206, 5th Cir.).
FORT WORTH, Texas - Two insurers have no duty to defend an insured against an underlying wrongful death suit; however, a question of fact exists regarding whether the insurers owe a duty to indemnify the insured and whether the pollution exclusion bars that duty, a Texas federal judge said May 28 (Acadia Insurance Co., et al. v. Jacob and Martin Ltd., et al., No. 13-798, N.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72901).
NEW ORLEANS - A former Verizon Wireless supervisor failed to show that there was any link between her termination and her complaint of gender discrimination, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 28, upholding a trial court's ruling in favor of the employer (Amy R. Gorman v. Verizon Wireless Texas, L.L.C., et al., No. 13-20562, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 9870).
DALLAS - Determining that an independent insurance adjuster can be held liable under the Texas Insurance Code and that an insured sufficiently stated claims against him, a Texas federal judge on May 22 concluded that the adjuster was properly joined to a coverage dispute, defeating diversity jurisdiction in the matter and leading the judge to grant the insured's motion to remand to state court (Sara Esteban v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 3:13-cv-03501, N.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70220).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 27 affirmed a federal judge in Texas' ruling to award summary judgment to defendants in a wrongful foreclosure lawsuit but overturned her sua sponte ruling imposing sanctions against the plaintiffs and their counsel, finding that although the judge was correct in dismissing the couple's claims, she failed to articulate why she ordered them to pay attorney fees (Ward Arnold, et al. v. Federal National Mortgage Association, et al., No. 13-40649, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 9711).
DALLAS - A Texas appeals court on May 23 rejected payday lending companies' challenge to restrictions the City of Dallas placed on credit access businesses' (CABs) short-term loans, finding that a trial court did not err in holding that it did not have equity jurisdiction or subject matter jurisdiction over the claims (Consumer Service Alliance of Texas Inc., et al. v. City of Dallas, Texas, No. 05-13-00255, Texas App., 5th Dist.).
DALLAS - Representatives of the class of investors suing bankrupt bitcoin exchange operator MtGox Inc. on May 24 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas contending that objections filed by creditor CoinLab Inc. in opposition to a portion of the company's proposed reorganization plan "are seriously misplaced" (In Re: MtGox Co. Ltd., No. 14-31229, Chapter 15, N.D. Texas Bkcy.).
AUSTIN, Texas - A professional organization of oncologists on May 23 sued a health insurance company in Texas federal court for allegedly wrongfully reduce the rates it paid to the plaintiff for services covered under the defendants' health plans as a result of the federal government's decreasing payments it made to Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs) and other managed care organizations (Texas Oncology v. Humana Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-476, W.D. Texas).
NEW ORLEANS - Residents of a polluted Corpus Christi, Texas, neighborhood seeking $55 million in restitution as part of CITGO Petroleum Corp.'s and a subsidiary's sentencing for criminal violations were denied a writ of mandamus in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 23 (United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., et al., No. 14-4-5-5, 5th Cir.).
FORT WORTH, Texas - An insured is to take nothing for actual present cash value for each item of personal property that in dispute in the appraisal process of smoke damages sustained in her home and nothing for loss of fair market value of the residence, a Texas appeals panel held May 22, reversing in part a trial judge's judgment (Farmers Group Insurance Inc. d/b/a Farmers Group Insurance, et al. v. Tammy Poteet, No. 02-11-00159, Texas App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 5524).
AUSTIN, Texas - General Motors LLC (GM) and auto parts manufacturer Delphi Automotive Systems PLC on May 20 filed a motion with the Multi District Litigation Panel of Texas on, seeking to consolidate four Texas state court personal injury actions involving vehicles with faulty ignition switches (In re: General Motors Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-0399, MDLP Texas).
SAN ANTONIO - A unanimous Fourth District Texas Court of Appeals panel issued an opinion May 21 overturning summary judgment for property owners seeking a declaratory judgment that an oil and natural gas lease cannot be extended by shut-in royalty payments for nonproducing wells; the panel ruled that failure to consider a third-party motion to reconsider violated the third parties' due process rights (PNP Petroleum, et al. v. Edna Earnest Taylor, et al, No. 13-445, Texas App., 4th Dist.).
AMARILLO, Texas - A unanimous Seventh District Texas Court of Appeals panel overturned a trial court ruling on May 19 in an oil, natural gas and mineral lease declaratory judgment lawsuit filed by a leaseholder to quiet title to designate a proration unit as required to obtain a production permit (Unit Petroleum Co. v. David Pond Well Service Inc. dba D.W.P. Production, No. 12-359), Texas App., 7th Dist.).
DALLAS - The Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals on May 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to deny a hospital's motion to dismiss a woman's personal injury action, agreeing that the claims are not for health care liability (Methodist Hospitals of Dallas v. Diana Garcia, No. 05-13-01307-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 5251).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on May 14 partially denied a defendant's request to dismiss a False Claims Act (FCA) case against it, saying that the plaintiff adequately provided factual content allowing the court to reasonably infer that the defendant knowingly submitted false claims for Medicaid reimbursement (United States of America and the State of Texas ex rel Patricia M. Carroll v. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast Inc., No. 12-3505, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66385).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on May 12 declined to reconsider approval of a settlement in two cases that are part of a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas alleging that Wachovia Corp., Wachovia Mortgage Corp. and World Mortgage Co. - collectively, Wachovia - and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank - collectively, Wells Fargo - misclassified mortgage workers to avoid paying them overtime wages (In re: Wells Fargo Wage and Hour Employment Practices Litigation [No. III], No. 11-2266, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64843).