DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on May 18 conditionally certified a wage-and-hour action filed against an oil and gas pumping company by employees who claim that they were not properly compensated for hours worked in excess of 40 per week (Nicole Olibas, et al. v. Leslie Kreis, et al., No. 11-2388, N.D. Texas). Subscribers may view the order available within the full update.
DALLAS - In a suit in which plaintiffs contended that Citibank NA is not the holder of the note evidencing their loan that was originally held by Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu) and asserted counts for violations of the Texas Constitution, a federal judge in Texas on May 21 granted Citibank's motion for summary judgment on all of the plaintiffs' claims (Lance Puig, et al. v. Citibank, NA, No. 11-00270, N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70398).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on May 18 said that because the Texas Department of Insurance did not clearly err in its contention that stop-loss insurance is direct insurance and not reinsurance, it was reversing a lower court's ruling that stop-loss insurance is reinsurance (Texas Department of Insurance, et al. v. American National Insurance Company, et al., No. 10-0374, Texas Sup.; 2012 Tex. LEXIS 420).
HOUSTON - Efforts by the famed King Ranch in Texas to stop a Colorado builder from identifying a residential development as the "King Ranch Estates" failed May 16 when a Texas federal judge refused to enter preliminary or permanent injunctive relief in a trademark infringement case (King Ranch Inc. v. D.R. Horton Inc., No. 12-797, S.D. Texas.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68230).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on May 8 granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer, finding that it had no duty to defend a developer in an underlying lawsuit because there was no allegation against him of an occurrence that resulted in property damage under the policy period (Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Co. v. Sam Boyd, No. H-11-3785, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64472).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division panel on May 9 agreed that a Celgene Corp. sales manager's claim of retaliation under New Jersey law was barred by the statute of limitations and was not tolled by an almost identical lawsuit pending in a Texas state court (David Schmidt v. Celgene Corporation, et al., No. A-2685-10T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on May 7 declined to dismiss a reimbursement suit brought by a provider of mobile cardiopulmonary diagnostic tests against a health insurer, saying the plaintiff pleaded sufficient allegations to support its causes of action (Team Healthcare/Diagnostic Corp. v. BlueCross and Blue Shield, No. 10-1441, N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63760).
NEW CASTLE, Del. - The New Castle County, Del., Superior Court judge presiding over a lawsuit alleging that occupational exposure to chemicals in a Texas clean room caused a worker's child to be born with birth defects entered an order on May 7 denying a motion to reconsider dismissal of the claim as a matter of law (Christopher Peters, et al. v. Texas Instruments Inc., No. 10C-06-043, Del. Super.; 2012 Del. Super. LEXIS 196).
HOUSTON - Although a Texas federal judge on May 3 dismissed breach of contract and prompt payment claims as unripe without a judicial determination of an insurer's liability to pay its policyholders' uninsured motorist (UM) claim, the judge found that case law permitted a bad faith claim to survive prior to a liability determination (Carl and Salena Accardo v. America First Lloyds Insurance Co, et al., No. 4:11-cv-00008, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62181).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on May 7 found that insureds have sufficiently pleaded a claim for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing against their homeowners insurer, allowing the bad faith claim, as well as two claims under the Texas Insurance Code, to proceed against the insurer in a coverage dispute prompted by Hurricane Ike damage (Sher Khan, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. H-11-2693, S.D. Texas, Houston Div.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63842).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Eight patent infringement defendants saw their petition for a writ of mandamus granted May 4 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which directed a Texas federal court on remand to determine whether the claims arise "out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences" pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a) (In re: EMC Corporation, Misc. No. 100, Fed. Cir.). Subscribers may view the decision available within the full update.
HOUSTON - A shareholder bringing a derivative suit against a Bermuda corporation argues in an April 30 brief that a Texas federal court has subject matter jurisdiction because the shareholder's claims are the exact type of claims a Bermuda court would agree to hear (Erie County Employees Retirement System v. Eugene M. Isenberg, No. 11-cv-04052, S.D. Texas). Subscribers may view the response available within the full update.
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York overseeing the electronic books antitrust multidistrict litigation on May 1stayed the actions against Hachette Book Group Inc. and Hachette Digital Inc. (collectively, Hachette) and HarperCollins Publishers, following the publishers' tentative settlement with 15 states and Puerto Rico (In re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation $(All Actions$), No. 11-md-02293, S.D. N.Y.; United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12-md-02826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-03394, S.D. N.Y.) Subscribers may view the stay order available within the full update.
FORT WORTH, Texas - An insurer's consent was not required for the modification of a quota-share and reinsurance agreement and general agency agreement entered into by the insurer, its reinsurer and an insurance agent, a Texas appeals panel ruled April 26, affirming summary judgment to the agent on its fraud claim (Arch Reinsurance Co. v. Underwriters Service Agency Inc., No. 02-10-00365, Texas App., 2nd Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 3304).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Texas federal judge properly acquitted Apple Inc. of patent infringement allegations levied by a patent holder in connection with the iTunes website and iPod listening device, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 25 (ZapMedia Services Inc. v. Apple Inc., No. 11-1546, Fed. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 8273).
SAN ANTONIO - There is a material issue of fact regarding which hailstorm caused property damage to two Austin, Texas, apartment complexes owned by an insured, a Texas appeals panel held April 25, reversing and remanding a trial court's final judgment as to the insured's breach of contract claims against its primary and excess insurers (United States Fire Insurance Company v. The Lynd Company, No. 04-11-00347-CV, Texas App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 3206).
HOUSTON - Insureds' losses did not result "directly" from their employees' misconduct but were the result of the insureds' contractual liability to third-party financial institutions, a Texas federal judge ruled April 23, finding that a commercial crime insurance policy does not provide coverage for the losses (BJ Services S.R.L., et al. v. Great American Insurance Co. No. H-11-2448, S.D. Texas). Subscribers may view the memorandum and order available within the full update.
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on April 23 dismissed a majority of claims asserted by a couple who claim that Bank of America N.A. and its servicing arm BAC Home Loans Servicing LP wrongfully foreclosed on their property during the loan modification process and only allowed the plaintiffs to amend two of their dismissed claims (Rachelle Casey, et al. v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Association, et al., No. H-11-3830, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57316).
DALLAS - A Texas Court of Appeals panel on April 24 upheld a defense verdict in an auto accident action, concluding that the "trial court did not err in refusing to submit an additional instruction on a different standard-of-care instruction for a 'professional' tow truck driver" (Melody Townsel v. Dadash Inc., No. 05-10-01482-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 3185).
HOUSTON - Even though a mortgagee is the sole named insured on a force-placed homeowners insurance policy, a Texas appeals panel majority on April 19 found that a policy endorsement "includes provisions directly benefitting" the homeowner, which conferred third-party beneficiary status on him and gave him standing to directly pursue claims against the insurer (Javier Alvarado v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 01-10-00740-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 3024).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Supreme Court of Texas on April 20 affirmed an appeals court's decision to uphold a judgment that awarded the purchaser of a home nothing on his claim under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act (DTPA) but reversed a decision in relation to an insurer and remanded the case so that a trial court could consider the insurer's challenges to the factual sufficiency of the evidence that supported the jury's findings (Dr. Erwin Cruz v. Andrews Restoration Inc., d/b/a Protech Services and Rudy Martinez, No. 10-0995, Texas Sup.; 2012 Tex. LEXIS 341).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 23 denied a petition to review a state appeals court's vacating of a $26.1 million Vioxx award in the first Vioxx case to go to trial nationwide (Carol A. Ernst, et al. v. Merck & Co., Inc., No. 11-1144, U.S. Sup.).
EL PASO, Texas - Citing the bright-line rule established in Excess Underwriters at Lloyd's, London v. Frank's Casing Crew & Rental Tools Inc. (246 S.W. 3d 42 $(Tex. 2008$)), which disallows reimbursement on theories of equitable unjust enrichment, a divided Texas appellate court on April 18 reversed a grant of summary judgment on behalf of an insured (Warren E&P Inc. v. Gotham Insurance Co., No. 08-10-00198, Tex. App., 8th Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 3006).
HOUSTON - A life insurance provider has sufficiently asserted facts to establish that its agent breached his fiduciary duty, a Texas federal judge ruled April 18, denying the agent's motion to dismiss (American General Life Insurance Co. v. David F. Mickelson, No. 4:11-cv-03421, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54481).
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on April 17 partially granted a motion to dismiss a suit filed against defendants including Bank of America NA alleging breach of contract, violations of a state debt collection practices act and other claims arising from the foreclosure sale of the plaintiff's property (Woods v. Bank of America, NA, et al., No. 11-01116 N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54449).