GRETNA, La. - A Louisiana appeals court on Nov. 25 vacated a trial court's decision granting a hospital summary judgment and denying class certification in a wrongful billing suit, saying a recent state Supreme Court decision established that the plaintiffs had a private right of action under the state's Billing Act (Nell Ladieu, et al. v. Jefferson Parish Hospital Service District No. 2 d/b/a East Jefferson General Hospital, No. 14-CA-449, La. App., 5th Dist.; 2014 La. App. LEXIS 2824).
PHILADELPHIA - The judge overseeing the federal maritime asbestos docket included punitive damages in a Nov. 24 order remanding 50 asbestos claims. Sources said it is believed to be the first time the judge has remanded punitive damage claims (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI] Various -plaintiffs v. Various defendants, No. MDL 02-875, E.D. Pa.).
ATLANTA - Crane Co. cannot be liable under Georgia law for asbestos-containing replacement parts on its valves because the state's laws implicitly accept the bare metal defense, a federal judge in Georgia held Nov. 21 (Mike Thurmon, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Inc., et al., No. 11-1407, N.D. Ga.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164136).
NEW ORLEANS - Attending safety meetings and knowing about the dangers of asbestos fall short of the type of control required for a strict liability claim under pre-1996 Louisiana law, a federal judge held Nov. 21 (Michael Comardelle v. Pennsylvania General Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-6555, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163205).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A divided New York Court of Appeals on Nov. 25 affirmed a lower court ruling that additional payments were not available on an insurance policy for injuries suffered as a result of exposure to lead-based paint because the policy limits were not increased when the policy was renewed (Jannie Nesmith v. Allstate Insurance Company, No. 187, N.Y. App.; 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 3350).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of Reliance Insurance Co. applied with a Pennsylvania court on Nov. 24 for approval of a settlement and commutation agreement with an excess workers' compensation reinsurer (In re: Reliance Insurance Co. in liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
BALTIMORE - District judges retain the power to issue sanctions in remanded cases, including vacating remand, a divided en banc Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 25 in an asbestos-tainted talc action (Joyce Barlow v. Colgate Palmolive Co. and John Crane-Houdille Inc., et al., Clara Mosko v. Colgate Palmolive Co. and John Crane-Houdaille Inc., et al., Nos. 13-1839, 13-1840, 4th Cir.).
McALLEN, Texas - Summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit is proper, a federal judge in Texas ruled Nov. 24, because an insured failed to raise any issue of material fact with regard to "her common law and statutory bad faith claims" (Norma Nino v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 13-318, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163993).
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on Nov. 24 denied motions for acquittal and a new trial filed by a woman found guilty of arson, ruling that there was sufficient evidence to support the verdict and that the government was allowed under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b)(1) to submit evidence regarding an unindicted co-conspirator (United States of America v. Latasha Curtis, No. 14CR0110, N.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164421).
NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for personal injuries caused by the company's oil operations in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador filed a brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 25, contending that Chevron's lawsuit against him should be dismissed in its entirety (Chevron Corporation v. Steven R. Donziger, et al., No. 14-826, 2nd Cir.).
ATLANTA - A federal district court did not err in determining that a professional liability insurer did not act in bad faith in seeking reimbursement for a portion of a settlement agreement it paid due to an exclusion clause in the policy, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 24 (Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. Alabama Mutual Insurance Corp., No. 13-15438, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22181).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Nov. 25 reversed a ruling that concluded that a veteran's injuries were not caused by exposure to Agent Orange, determining that the examiner who reached that conclusion did so "without any supporting rationale" (Robert E. Kring v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 12-3235, Vet. Clms. App.; 2014 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1959).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - There is a genuine dispute of fact as to whether a self-insured retention (SIR) was satisfied for purposes of coverage for an additional insured in an underlying construction defects action, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 24, denying partial summary judgment to a commercial general liability insurer (Centex Homes v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 13-00998, C.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164472).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 25 agreed to review a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not exceed its authority when enacting a rule limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-47, State of Michigan v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-46, National Mining Association v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-49, U.S. Sup.).
TACOMA, Wash. - Based upon the abstention doctrine, a Washington federal judge on Nov. 24 dismissed a coverage lawsuit filed by two commercial general liability insurers in favor of the underlying action involving the same issues concerning an insured's improper work on a rehabilitation project (The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co., et al. v. Conway Construction Co., et al., No. 14-5646, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164301).
HOUSTON - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to indemnify an underlying default judgment against an insured because property damage in the form of cracks in a home occurred outside the policy period, a Texas federal judge ruled Nov. 24, applying the "injury-in-fact" approach (James Feaster, et al. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 13-3220, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164457).