Reconsideration Of Summary Judgment In Patent Case Denied

BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on March 20 rejected efforts by a patent infringement plaintiff to obtain reconsideration of an adverse summary judgment ruling (Millipore Corporation v. W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., No. 09-10765, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37211).

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Mass. Federal Judge Grants Dismissal Of Cartoon Copyright Case

BOSTON - A dispute over the treatment for an animated television series was dismissed March 20 by a Massachusetts federal judge, who found no probative similarity between an idea pitched to The Cartoon Network and the series that ultimately aired on television 10 years later (Timothy McGee v. Andre Benjamin, The Cartoon Network and Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc., No. 08-11818, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37210).

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11th Circuit Affirms Verdict For Cruise Line; Woman's Alcohol Test Admissible

ATLANTA - A trial court did not err in admitting evidence that a one-time-use blood-alcohol test showed a cruise ship passenger was intoxicated when she fell in an elevator and injured her shoulders, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held March 20 (Ada Mae Rutledge v. NCL Bahamas, No. 10-15554, 11th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5766).

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Judge: Denial Of Credit Too Speculative An Injury To Support Claim

LAS VEGAS - A federal judge in Nevada on March 20 dismissed a man's lawsuit alleging that Bank of America N.A. and its subsidiaries' violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) caused him to suffer denial of credit and damage to his credit score, after finding that the alleged injuries were too speculative to support his claims (Gregory LaPorta v. Bank of America, et al., No. 11-CV-01094-KJD-CWH, D. Nev.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37287).

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Louisiana Appeals Court: Homeowner's Award For Emotional Distress Too High

BATON ROUGE, La. - The First Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal on March 19 reduced damages awarded to the plaintiffs in a construction defects action, calling a trial court's award for nonpecuniary damages "abusively high" (Michael Matherne, et al. v. Mayhew Barnum, et al., No. 2011 CA 0827, La. App., 1st Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 356).

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Panel: Insurer Has No Duty To Defend Against Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuit

ELGIN, Ill. - An Illinois panel on March 16 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurer had no duty to defend against underlying breach of fiduciary claims, finding that the underlying allegations do not fall under the policy's advertising or personal injury coverage (Pekin Insurance Company v. Precision Dose Inc., et al., No. 2-11-0195, Ill. App., 2nd Dist.; 2012 Ill. App. LEXIS 184).

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Panel: Employee Failed To Show Injuries Were Caused By Insurance Broker's Actions

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 20 affirmed summary judgment to an insurance broker on negligence, tortious interference, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims because an employee who was assigned an insured's claims against the broker failed to establish that the broker's actions were the proximate cause of his work-related injuries (Jerimah Merritt v. HUB International Southwest Agency Ltd., No. 11-14729, 11th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5740).

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Federal Judge Certifies 2 Classes In Ponzi Suit Against Investment Firms

PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on March 20 certified two classes in a suit in which plaintiffs say the attorneys for two financial companies participated in a Ponzi scheme (Facciola, et al. v. Greenberg Traurig, LLP, et al., No. 10-01025, D. Ariz.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37133).

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Judge Dismisses Action Against Asbestos Experts, Testing Service

JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on March 19 dismissed an action against various asbestos experts and a testing service, finding that the plaintiff failed to pursue the case (National Service Industries Inc., f/d/b/a North Brothers Inc. v. Jay T. Segarra, M.D., et al., No. 09-83, S.D Miss.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36337).

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9th Circuit Reverses Ruling Finding Cell Service Arbitration Agreement Invalid

SEATTLE - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 16 reversed a trial court ruling rejecting an arbitration agreement between cell service providers and their customers in a breach of contract and unjust enrichment class suit and remanded, ordering that Washington choice-of-law rules be applied to the customers' procedural unconscionability arguments (Marygrace Coneff, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. 09-35563, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5520).

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3rd Circuit Upholds Ruling That State Court Foreclosure Action Barred Woman's Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A foreclosure action brought against a woman in Pennsylvania state court precluded her from filing a lawsuit challenging the foreclosure and asserting other claims because the allegations in the suits were inextricably intertwined, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 20 in affirming dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint (Agnes Manu v. National City Bank of Indiana, et al., No. 11-1705, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5755).

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Texas Panel Affirms Conviction For Sexual Assault Of Teen At Religious Ranch

AUSTIN, Texas - A psychologist was qualified to testify about how polygamy in a religious cult affects women and children, a Third District Texas Court of Appeals panel held March 16 in affirming a man's conviction for sexual assault of his 15-year-old "wife" (Allan Eugene Keate v. State of Texas, No. 03-10-00077-CR, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 2117).

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Judge: Lead Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Materiality In Making Securities Claims

NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 16 granted two motions to dismiss a shareholder class action lawsuit alleging that Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and others misrepresented the investment quality of securities it sold to the shareholders in violation of federal securities law, ruling that the lead plaintiffs have failed to plead any materially false and misleading statements (NECA-IBEW Pension Trust Fund, et al. v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 10-0440, S.D. N.Y.).

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Panel: Debt Collector Not A Creditor Under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

MIAMI - A law firm violated provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by falsely representing that a debt collector was a "creditor" in a debt collection notice for a loan on which the consumer defaulted, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled in an opinion made available on March 19 (Michael Bourff v. Rubin Lublin LLC, No. 10-14618, 11th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5613).

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Judge: Physical Evidence 'Overwhelmingly' Proves Barge Did Not Cause Breaches

NEW ORLEANS - The physical evidence "overwhelmingly" shows that Barge ING 4727 did not and could not have caused the north and south breaches of the eastern flood wall along the Inner-Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) that resulted in the inundation of New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward during Hurricane Katrina, a Louisiana federal judge ruled March 20 (In Re: Katrina Canal Breaches consolidated litigation pertains to Boutte v. Lafarge Mumford, No. 05-4182 SECTION "K"(2), E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37234).

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9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Ponzi Class Actions Against JP Morgan

SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 20 affirmed the dismissals of two Ponzi scheme class actions filed against JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. as the successor to Washington Mutual Inc. (WaMu) (Benson, et al., v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 10-17402; Lowell v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 10-17404, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5752).

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1st Circuit Remands 'Loss Of Use' Issue In Defective Product Coverage Suit

BOSTON - A federal court reference to "emergency repairs" in its jury instruction on a manufacturer insured's "loss of use" damages was a prejudicial error, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 16, vacating and remanding the $13.3 million judgment in favor of the insured in a coverage dispute stemming from defective power converters used in cell phone stations (Vicor Corp. v. Vigilant Insurance Co., et al., Nos. 09-1470; 09-1494; 09-1589, 1st Cir.).

Madoff Trustee Agrees To $162M Settlement With New York Mets' Owners

NEW YORK - The owners of Major League Baseball's New York Mets and the liquidation trustee of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) agreed on March 19 to a $162 million settlement of claims relating to the defendants' alleged profiting from Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme (Irving H. Picard v. Saul B. Katz, et al., No. 11-3605, S.D. N.Y.).

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Bankruptcy Court Approves Ambac Financial Group's Chapter 11 Reorganization Plan

NEW YORK - The federal bankruptcy judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York presiding over the Chapter 11 proceeding of Ambac Financial Group Inc. on March 14 ordered that the reorganization plan satisfied the Bankruptcy Code, clearing the way for Ambac to emerge from bankruptcy (In Re: Ambac Financial Group Inc., No. 10-15973, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).