DALLAS - A Texas company has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $97,500 for violating the Clean Air Act and invest more than $650,000 to reduce flaring and improve operational reliability at its facility, a regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Aug. 29.
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association (TPCIGA), acting on behalf of an insolvent insurer, is not obligated to reimburse another insurer for workers' compensation benefits the insurer paid on behalf of two injured workers, a Texas appeals panel affirmed Aug. 28 (National American Insurance Co., et al. v. Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association for Paula Insurance Co., an impaired carrier, No. 03-09-00680-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 10865).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 30 granted a motion to intervene in a case challenging the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) made by a graduate theological seminary (East Texas Baptist University, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 12-3009, S.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124347).
GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on Aug. 27 dismissed an insured's lawsuit seeking additional coverage for Hurricane Ike damage, finding that her failure to submit an additional proof of loss is fatal to her claim (Susan Mardis v. Fidelity National Property, et al., No. 10-7037, S.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121552).
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal magistrate judge erred in awarding chicken growers $25 million following a chicken processor's decision to close plants in order to raise prices, a two-member Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 27 (In the Matter of: Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, No. 12-40085, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17921).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 withdrew its opinion regarding the additional insured status of BP Exploration & Production Inc. and its related entities under policies issued to Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc. and certified questions to the Texas Supreme Court regarding whether BP and its related entities are entitled to coverage as additional insureds for claims related to the Deepwater Horizon incident (In Re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, No. 12-30230, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 18087).
NEW YORK - A widow's action alleging that her husband suffered lifelong exposure to asbestos in Texas interrupted by four months of exposure in New York belongs in Texas, a New York federal judge held Aug. 27 (Mary Hulen, as personal representative of the heirs and estate of Donald Hulen v. Crane Co., et al., No. 12-7614, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121957).
SAN ANTONIO - A defendant willfully infringed copyrighted test questions in the course of conducting test preparation courses, a Texas federal judge ruled Aug. 26 (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists v. Diane Bennett, No. 12-109, W.D. Texas).
DALLAS - The Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals on Aug. 23 affirmed summary judgment for a construction firm named as the defendant in a workplace accident case, concluding that a general contractor did not owe a duty to an independent contractor who fell down an elevator shaft on a construction site (Raymond F. Herrmann, et al. v. Goff Custom Homes L.P., No. 05-12-00318-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 10717).
AUSTIN, Texas - A commercial umbrella insurer is responsible for costs incurred to determine property damage as well as to repair it and costs to remediate the damage that began before and continued after the policy period, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Aug. 23, reversing an appeals court's judgment and reinstating a trial court's judgment (Lennar Corp., et al. v. Markel American Insurance Co., No. 11-0394, Texas Sup.; 2013 Tex. LEXIS 597).
NEW ORLEANS - A former police lieutenant who ultimately resigned after several transfers failed to show that he was subjected to discrimination or retaliation, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 19, upholding the dismissal of his lawsuit (Marlon Waters v. City of Dallas, Texas, No. 12-11127, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17176).
FORT WORTH, Texas - Despite having previously been ordered to amend his complaint to comply with federal pleadings standards, a plaintiff failed to do so, a Texas federal judge found Aug. 16, granting the plaintiff's insurer's motion to dismiss without leave to amend (Phillip N. Radenbaugh v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 4:13-cv-00339, N.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116759).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 16 denied an insurer's request to offset a jury's award in favor of an insured because the jury heard evidence regarding the insured's other insurance policies and payments made for the cleanup of an oil spill under those policies (Cox Operating LLC v. St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Co., No. 07-2724, S.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116098).
HOUSTON - A Texas state appeals court on Aug. 20 reversed summary judgment potentially worth millions of dollars for more than 600 plaintiffs against their fen-phen attorney, finding that the trial court must allow the parties to litigate the question of whether the attorney breached his fiduciary duty by charging them all for the costs of a mass screening program and, if so, whether it is reasonable to order a disgorgement of attorney fees and costs (George Fleming, et al. v. Tammylern Curry, et al., No. 14-11-01093-CV, George Fleming, et al. v. Carolyn B. Alvarez, et al., No. 14-12-00300-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.).
MARSHALL, Texas - Citing a plaintiff's recent addition of 27 new co-defendants to a patent infringement case, a Texas federal judge on Aug. 19 denied the original defendant's motion to transfer the litigation from Texas to California (RPost Holdings Inc. v. StrongMail Systems Inc., No. 12-515, E.D. Texas).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Aug. 15 dismissed personal injury claims brought against a university, concluding that the plaintiff's deposition testimony established that her injuries were caused by another student's actions, not by a premises defect (The University of Texas-Pan American v. Orissa K. Gonzalez, No. 13-13-00153-CV, Texas App., 13th Dist.; 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 10170).
SILVER SPRING, Md. - A regulatory dispute between the Food and Drug Administration and a Texas compounding pharmacy escalated Aug. 16 when the agency publicly disclosed that the compounder refused a request to recall all of its sterile products because of what the agency called poor quality conditions.
NEW ORLEANS - A unanimous Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel entered a per curiam opinion Aug. 12 affirming an order dismissing a putative evacuation damages class action for failing to state a claim under the Texas economic loss rule (Edward Hall, et al. v. El Dorado Chemical Co. Inc., No. 12-20651, 5th Cir.).
SILVER SPRING, Md. - Specialty Compounding LLC of Cedar Park, Texas, has voluntarily recalled all of its sterile compounded drugs after 15 patients in two Texas hospital developed bacterial blood infections after receiving the products, the Food and Drug Administration announced Aug. 11.
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Texas' ruling awarding summary judgment to Wells Fargo Bank N.A. in a woman's wrongful foreclosure lawsuit was affirmed Aug. 7 by a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel, which found that the lender was not precluded from foreclosing on the plaintiff's property because a loan modification offer it provided her had expired (Pamela Richardson v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., et al., No. 12-10920, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16445).
SAN ANTONIO - Removal to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas of personal injury and property damage claims alleged by a Texas couple against the operators of a Karnes County, Texas, oil field was affirmed Aug. 6 on the grounds that allegations in support of a negligence cause of action implicate the U.S. Clean Air Act and implementing regulations (Michael A. Cerny, et uxor v. Marathon Oil Corp., et al., No. 13-562, W.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109993).
HOUSTON - The 14th District Texas Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 affirmed summary judgment for a hospital named as the defendant in a medical malpractice action, concluding that the plaintiff lacked proper expert testimony regarding his alleged injuries (Michael Kimbrell v. Memorial Hermann Hospital System, et al., No. 14-12-00108-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 9591).
NEW YORK - The United States and the 33 states that prevailed in federal district court in New York on their claims that Apple Inc. conspired with five publishers to fix prices of electronic books submitted their proposed remedy on Aug.2 (United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 2826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on July 31 dismissed a Medicare Act claim against Specialty Select Hospital Houston (Select), saying the Medicare beneficiary plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The judge concluded that the beneficiary has not completed the administrative review process and that the court, therefore, lacks jurisdiction because a final administrative decision has not been made (Catalina Blanco v. Select Specialty Hospital, Houston L.P., No. H-13-1591, S.D. Texas, Houston Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107525).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 29 reversed 20-year-old unpaid mediation awards to four Dow Corning silicone breast implant claimants, agreeing with the company that the awards cannot be enforced because the parties failed to commit them to writing under Texas state court rules (In Re: Dow Corning Corporation, Dow Corning Corporation v. Sheila Caffrey, et al., No. 12-1253, 6th Cir.).