HOUSTON - A putative class action filed in Texas is more appropriately litigated in Louisiana, where related claims have been filed and where the well blowout giving rise to the claims for personal injury medical monitoring occurred, a unanimous Texas First District Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 25 (In re Mantle Oil & Gas, No. 12-437, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 8898).
NEW ORLEANS - A former university financial aid director failed to show that statements to an auditor regarding that she had with the university's comp time policy constituted a complaint under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 203, or led to her termination, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 24, upholding a trial court ruling (Delinda "Dolly" Lasater v. Texas A&M University-Commerce, et al., No. 11-11068, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 22118).
DALLAS - The Texas Supreme Court on Oct. 26 declined to hear a case involving the issue of causation in asbestos cases (Susan Elaine Bostic, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., No. 10-0775, Texas Sup.).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Oct. 19 ruled that a couple failed to state a claim against JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.S. §§1692 et seq. because the lender is not a debt collector under the statute and ordered the plaintiffs to submit an amended complaint to cure deficiencies in their pleadings (April D. Dagley, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. H-12-1080, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150782).
NEW ORLEANS - For "essentially the same reasons" given by a Texas federal judge in a July 2011 ruling, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed Oct. 17 that a plaintiff's trade dress is not entitled to protection (Poly-America LP v. Stego Industries LLC, No. 11-887, 5th Cir.).
TYLER, Texas - A unanimous 12th District Texas Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 17 overturned a plaintiff judgment against a natural gas pipeline company for bulldozing an easement for construction of a pipeline because the trial court failed to determine if the property damage was permanent or temporary (Enbridge Pipelines (East Texas) v. Gilbert Wheeler Inc., No. 11-303, Texas App., 12th Dist.).
DALLAS - Class action claims and the lead named plaintiff's individual claims in a gender discrimination suit that was filed against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, (131 S. Ct. 2541 ; 2011 U.S. LEXIS 4567) are time-barred, a Texas federal judge ruled Oct. 15 (Stephanie Odle, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 11-2954, N.D. Texas). A complimentary copy of the order is available in the attachment below.
HOUSTON - A Texas Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 16 affirmed a trial court's decision to confirm an arbitration award to homeowners who experienced significant construction defects in their newly built home, agreeing that there is no chance the plaintiffs will benefit from double recovery if they come to future settlements with subcontractors (Byer Custom Builders v. Steven Franks, et al., No. 14-11-00906-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 8617).
DALLAS - Disability discrimination claims by a former employee of a company that administers the Medicare program fail because the employee did not file an administrative charge on time and did not prove that she was denied a reasonable accommodation, a Texas federal judge held Oct. 15 (Karla Fallon v. TrailBlazer Health Enterprises, LLC. No. 3:11-cv-1449, N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148015).
HOUSTON - An insurer has no duty to defend or reimburse an insured city or its public officials because the underlying claims that are based on the city's refusal to approve a permit for development are precluded by the policy's inverse condemnation or eminent domain exclusion, a Texas federal judge said Oct. 12 (The City of College Station, Texas, v. Star Insurance Co., No. 11-2023, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147295).
GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 11 conditionally certified a class of salespersons of new homes for their unpaid overtime claim against a national homebuilding company but declined to certify a class for their minimum wage claim (Margery McCarragher, et al., v. The Ryland Group, Inc., et al., No. 11-55, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146464).
HOUSTON - A safety company's claim that a purchaser's alert containing misrepresentations damaged its reputation and sales sufficiently pleads a California unfair competition law (UCL) Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, claim at the pleading stage, a Texas federal judge held Oct. 10 (Diamond Offshore Co. v. Survival Systems International Inc., No. 11-1701, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145962).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A California court's ruling that Texas provided a better forum for an asbestos case based on docket congestion and the plaintiff's contacts with the state does not bar the man from filing elsewhere, a Delaware judge held Oct. 8 (Charles Williams v. PACCAR, Inc. No. 11C-09-129 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
HOUSTON - An offshore well operator's failure to procure the correct amount of operator's extra expense (OEE) insurance coverage did not substantially impair the other owners' interests to justify no payment from the other owners for damages sustained to the well as a result of Hurricane Ike, a Texas federal judge said Oct.5 (SM Energy Co. v. Smacko Ltd. et al., No. 11-3028, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144533).
NEW ORLEANS - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq., does not preempt a third-party medical device provider's state law claims for negligent misrepresentation, promissory estoppel and violations of the Texas Insurance Code that alleged that the ERISA plan administrator misled it regarding plan beneficiaries' coverage, the en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 5 (Access Mediquip v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., No. 10-20868, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20809).
FORT WORTH, Texas - The Second District Texas Court of Appeals on Oct. 4 affirmed summary judgment for the defendant in a construction defect case, agreeing that the plaintiffs should have discovered issues with their home that later caused water damage before the statute of limitations lapsed (Jim Brown, et al. v. Caldwell & Family Custom Homes Inc., No. 02-11-00490-CV, Texas App., 2nd Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 8370).
LOS ANGELES - After "careful consideration," a California federal judge on Oct. 1 found that two defendants were improperly joined to a patent infringement action under the heightened standard established by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (Mednovus Inc. and First Texas Holdings Corp. v. QuinetiQ Group PLC et al., No. 12-3487, C.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the decision available within the full article.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Finding no error in a Texas federal judge's determination that three patents related to a method for treating migraine headaches are not invalid as obvious, a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 left in place a preliminary injunction entered in the case (Pozen Inc. v. Par Pharmaceutical Inc. et al., Nos. 11-1584, 1585, 1586, Fed. Cir.).
ABILENE, Texas - A group of companies that distribute gas and oil on Sept. 28 moved in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to remove a state court lawsuit brought by two companies that seek recovery of as much as $600 million for oil they provided to now-bankrupt SemGroup LP. The oil distributing companies contend that the producer's attempt to collect its money should be heard in Texas federal court (Star Production Inc., et al. v. J. Aron & Company, et al., No. 12-00175, N.D. Texas).
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).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Residents of Corpus Christi's Hillcrest neighborhood have 40 days to submit a victim impact statement for consideration at the sentencing of CITGO Petroleum Corp. on charges that it polluted the area by illegally leaving two oil/water separators uncovered, a Texas federal judge held Sept. 25 (United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., et al., No. CR-06-563, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Div.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133103.
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania federal judge overseeing the budeprion XL multidistrict litigation on Sept. 20 denied a motion by the Texas attorney general to intervene in an approved class settlement of litigation involving the generic version of Wellbutrin XL antidepressant (In Re: Budeprion XL Marketing & Sales Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2107, No. 09-md-2107, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135313).
SAN ANTONIO - A federal judge in Texas on Sept. 24 refused to remand a man's suit seeking to prevent him from being evicted from his home following foreclosure after finding that the court retained subject matter jurisdiction over the action despite the entry of an order in state court allowing Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. to initiate foreclosure proceedings (Javier Reyna v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, No. 11-CV-1053-FB, W.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135882).
HOUSTON - A divided Texas appeals court on Sept. 20 declined en banc rehearing of a panel ruling, finding that federal law preempts medical reporting requirements in asbestos cases (The Kansas City Southern Railway Co. v. Ronald K. Oney, et al., No. 14-11-815-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
VICTORIA, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 18 granted a South Korean company's motion to remand its suit against a Texas corporation to state court, finding that the dispute was in no way related to an arbitration clause in an agreement between separate parties to the case and, therefore, the case lacked federal jurisdiction (HSC Holdings, fka GE&F Co. Ltd., v. Cary Hughes, et al., No. 6-12-18, S.D. Texas, Vic.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133114).