HOUSTON - A jury in Texas on Dec. 13 found that a natural gas plant operator was not negligent regarding a fire that destroyed the natural gas plant and, therefore, did not have to reimburse a group of insurers that paid for the fire's damage (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London and Companies Subscribing to Policy Nos. JHB2M070079 (A) & (B) and MRS10710262 v. Southern Union Gas Services, et al., No. 2010-34902, Texas Dist., Harris Co., 61st Jud. Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The terms of a cross-licensing agreement, while not "explicitly" discussing reissue patents, are nonetheless "without limitation and without reference to any specific claims," the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 17, affirming a Texas federal judge's grant of summary judgment on behalf of a patent infringement defendant (Negotiated Data Solution Inc. v. Intel Corp., No. 11-1448, Fed. Cir.).
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 13 granted a motion to strike class allegations brought by three Texas counties claiming that Bank of America N.A. and Merscorp Inc. conspired to avoid recording transfers and assignments of mortgages, thereby corrupting the public records system, after finding that the counties were precluded from seeking class certification (Dallas County, Texas, et al. v. Merscorp. Inc., et al., No. 11-cv-02733-O, N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176533).
DALLAS - The Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals on Dec. 12 affirmed summary judgment for property owners named as defendants in a workplace accident action, ruling that the plaintiff failed to show that the defendants had notice of a potentially dangerous condition on the premises (Jerold Rodenberg v. Granite Park III Ltd., et al., No. 05-11-01476-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 10276).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion Dec. 14 vacating a $1.8 million judgment for diminution of property values alleged by landowners because of the noise and odors from a natural gas pipeline and remanded the case for a new trial on liability and damages, after finding that the evidence of reduced property values presented to the jury is insufficient under Texas Rule of Evidence 701 (Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America v. William Justiss, et al., No. 10-451, Texas Sup.).
HOUSTON - Defendants in a shareholder's purported class action suit alleged in a Texas federal court on Dec. 12 that the case should be dismissed because the shareholder should have brought his claims derivatively and not directly (Merle R. Mills, On Behalf of Himself and All Others Similarly Situated v. Thomas P. Loftis, et al., No. 12-cv-02962, S.D. Texas).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A consumer has failed to show that a debt collector violated provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.S. §§1692 et seq. when it sent two letters to the consumer referencing its debt-collection efforts, a federal judge in Texas ruled Dec. 12 (Roy Lindley v. TRS Recovery Associates Inc., No. 12-109, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175935). View a complimentary copy of the opinion in the pdf attached below.
MARSHALL, Texas - An effort by Apple Inc. to shake patent infringement claims levied in a Texas federal court was unsuccessful Dec. 11, when a federal judge found that the software giant has been properly joined (Negotiated Data Solutions Inc. v. Apple Inc. et al., No. 11-390, E.D. Texas.).
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 7 denied retirees' motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to enjoin Verizon Communications Inc. from removing them from the company's pension plan and funding their benefits through the purchase of a group annuity contract (William Lee, et al. v. Verizon Communications Inc., et al., No. 3:12-CV-4834-D, N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173559).
DALLAS - A patent and copyright dispute over semiconductor masks and wafer repair should be heard in California, a Texas federal judge ruled Dec. 10 (Terraspan LLC v. Rave LLC, No. 12-816, N.D. Texas).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Finding that an out-of-state defendant's website does not contain even the "minimal interaction" necessary to make it sufficiently interactive to establish jurisdiction under the state's long-arm statute, a Kansas federal judge on Dec. 10 granted the defendant's motion to dismiss a declaratory patent lawsuit against it (Gunze Plastics Engineering Corporation of America v. Landmark Technology LLC, No. 2:12-cv-02297, D. Kan.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174477).
DALLAS - Fastbucks Holding Corp., a provider of payday loans and other forms of "fast cash," on Dec. 10 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, listing debts between $10 million and $50 million (In Re: Fastbucks Holding Corporation, No. 12-37793, Chapter 11, N.D. Texas Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge did not err in permanently enjoining a trademark infringement defendant from certain future sales despite a jury verdict that the defendant established laches by the trademark owners, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 6 (Thomas Kenneth Abraham d/b/a Paddle Tramps Manufacturing Co. v. Alpha Chi Omega et al., No. 12-10525, 5th Cir.).
HOUSTON - French multinational food services corporation Sodexo Inc. on Dec. 5 lost its bid to dismiss in a Texas federal court a claim by its former human resources director that the company retaliated against him for taking a medical leave due to work-related stress by firing him (Vince Goodwine v. Sodexo, Inc., et al., No. 12-1910, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172348).
LAS VEGAS - The Nevada Supreme Court on Dec. 6 adopted the frequency, regularity, proximity causation test in asbestos cases, saying the stricter standard adopted by Texas "overburdens the claimant" (Tamara Holcomb, et al. v. Georgia Pacific LLC, et al., No. 56510, Nev. Sup.).
DALLAS - A federal bankruptcy judge in Texas on Dec. 4 ruled that 10 affiliates of bankrupt Mexican glassmaker Vitro Asset Corp. could be forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy involuntarily because all affiliates of the company are jointly and severally liable for the debts created when the parent company defaulted (In Re: Vitro Asset Corp., No. 11-32600, Chapter 11, N.D. Texas Bkcy.).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 30 denied an assisted living center's motion to dismiss wrongful death claims involving injuries and an alleged lack of care for a severely disabled man, disagreeing that the plaintiff failed to state a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Larry Paul Taylor v. Richmond State Supported Living Center, No. 11-3740, S.D. Texas).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Dec. 3 granted a motion to confirm an arbitration award that fell under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and was issued in an asset dispute, finding that the arbitrator did not exceed his authority or that a party was not bound by the award (Jay Nanda v. Atul Nanda, et al., No. 3:12-CV-0011, N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171228).
HOUSTON - Finding "that substantial rights will be lost without a severance of the extra-contractual claims from the insured's contractual claim," a panel in the 14th Court of Appeals of Texas on Nov. 29 granted mandamus relief to an insurer and ordered a lower court to sever and abate the extracontractual claims in an underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits dispute (In Re Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-12-00867-cv, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 9776).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Nov. 30 reversed a Court of Appeals decision in a medical malpractice action involving an injury suffered during a chiropractic procedure, ruling that a health care provider can be liable for failing to disclose to a patient the risks involved in undergoing treatment (Aaron Felton v. Brock Lovett, D.C., No. 11-0252, Texas Sup.; 2012 Tex. LEXIS 1012).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals court on Nov. 29 reversed a decision that denied summary judgment for a homeowners association, finding that a trial court erred when it denied claims that sought an order that a resident be required to remove mold from his property and that a foreclosure of a vendor's lien be entered (Greatwood Community Association Inc. v. Prince David Ofor, No. 01-11-00509, Texas App.; 1st Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 9863).
HOUSTON - Remanding a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. lawsuit against Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC to state court is proper under the equitable remand provision of 28 U.S. Code Section 1452(b), a federal judge in Texas ruled in a Nov. 27 opinion (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as receiver for Franklin Bank S.S.B., v. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, f/k/a Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., No. 12-1777, S.D. Texas).
NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 28 ruled that a Texas bankruptcy court properly denied the enforcement of the reorganization plan filed by Mexican glassmaker Vitro SAB de CV on grounds that creditors were not scheduled to receive a distribution close to what they were owed (Ad Hoc Group of Vitro Noteholders v. Vitro SAB de CV [In the Matter of: Vitro SAB de CV], No. 12-10542, Chapter 11, 5th Cir.).
DALLAS - Rolex Watch U.S.A. Inc. won permanent injunctive relief and a $100,000 default judgment Nov. 26 when a Texas federal judge agreed that two defendants are cybersquatters (Rolex Watch U.S.A. Inc. v. James Warren Mills et al., No. 12-61, N.D. Texas).
HOUSTON - A shareholder told a Texas federal court on Nov. 27 that presuit demand upon a board of directors was excused because certain directors and officers of a company are not disinterested (E. Howard King, Jr., Derivatively on Behalf of Houston American Energy Corp., v. John F. Terwilliger, et al., No. 12-cv-02182, S.D. Texas).