GALVESTON, Texas - Allegations that a defendant willfully infringed two patents will proceed, thanks to a Dec. 17 ruling by a Texas federal judge (RLIS Inc. v. Cerner Corporation, No. 12-209, S.D. Texas).
TAMPA, Fla. - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate infringes on religious beliefs, a Christian retirement community argues in a Dec. 18 reply filed in Florida federal court (Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation Inc., et al. v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 14-580, M.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel announced Dec. 19 that it has filed multiple consolidated complaints against McDonald's USA LLC and the company's franchisees, as joint employers, alleging violations of employees' rights.
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 18 affirmed a court's dismissal of a wrongful foreclosure action, finding that the former property owner failed to state a claim under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) (Rodolfo Velasquez v. Chase Home Financial LLC, et al., No. 12-16845, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23893).
NEW YORK - Although claimants asserted non-bankruptcy claims for violation of the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, a New York federal judge on Dec. 18 found that proofs of claim asserted against a bankruptcy entity should be decided by a bankruptcy court (Ronald A. Eriksen, et al. v. Residential Capital LLC, et al., No. 14-CV-7205, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175001).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Defendants Amazon Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc. on Dec. 18 won summary judgment that two patents relating to electronic document access and distribution are invalid under 35 U.S. Code Section 101 (Cloud Satchel LLC v. Amazon Inc. et al., Nos. 13-941, -942, D. Del.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Dec. 17 dismissed a lawsuit brought by residents who contended that their drinking wells were contaminated by the activities of an oil and gas exploration company, ruling that the plaintiffs' expert should be stricken because he did not review isotopic tests of the allegedly contaminated areas (Jason Baker, et al. v. Anschutz Exploration Corporation, No 11-6119, W.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174442).
WHEELING, W.Va. - Remand of an insurance bad faith lawsuit to state court is warranted, a federal judge in West Virginia ruled Dec. 16, because an insurer has failed to show that the amount in controversy would exceed statutory limits (James Breen v. Motorists Mutual Insurance Companies, d.b.a. Motorists Insurance Group, No. 14-148, N.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174129).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Participants in two of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s 401(k) plans reached a provisional settlement on their claims that the plans' fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by causing the plans to pay excessive administrative expenses, by investing in a stable-value fund (SVF) that did not result in a rate of return that was sufficient for a retirement asset and by mismanaging the plan's company stock funds (CSFs), a Dec. 16 notice issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois indicated (Anthony Abbott, et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 06-cv-701, S.D. Ill.).
DENVER - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend a construction defects lawsuit arising from an insured's alleged negligent work in a home, a Colorado federal judge ruled Dec. 17, finding that there was no "property damage" and, alternatively, that the "your work" exclusion applied (Cool Sunshine Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-1637, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174818).
CHICAGO - A federal magistrate judge erred in striking the testimony of an accident reconstructionist in a product liability lawsuit over a purportedly defective ladder, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found Dec. 17, finding that it was for the jury to decide whether the expert's causation theory was correct (Kurt Stuhlmacher, et al. v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., et al., No. 14-2018, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23757).
LONDON - Imperial Tobacco Canada, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, will pay $575 million to settle asbestos-related litigation involving The Flintkote Co., the company announced Dec. 16 in a news release.
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 17 awarded judgment to ExxonMobil Corp. after finding that the company did not violate the Clean Air Act (CAA) when emissions from its Baytown, Texas, refinery exceeded permitted levels and that the company properly investigated and remedied the problems (Environment Texas Citizen Lobby Inc., et al. v. ExxonMobil Corporation, et al., No. 10-cv-4969, S.D. Texas).
CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals court panel on Dec. 16 released a published version of an opinion previously released as an unpublished opinion in which it affirms a lower court decision that a reinsurer's certificates clearly provide a limit of coverage that includes both losses and expenses (Continental Casualty Co. v. MidStates Reinsurance Corp., No. 1-13-3090, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2nd Div.).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - An appraisal panel did not err in determining for purposes of insurance coverage that the replacement of an insured's damaged siding panels with siding of comparable material and quality required replacement of all of the siding on the insured's buildings to achieve a reasonable color match, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed Dec. 17 (Cedar Bluff Townhome Condominium Association Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. A13-0124, Minn. Sup.; 2014 Minn. LEXIS 661).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - In answering a question from the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 15 held that an insured may, under state law, assign the ability to assert damages against an insurer to an injured plaintiff deriving from the insurer's bad faith toward the insured (Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co. v. Jared Wolfe, No. 39 MAP 2014, Pa. Sup.; 2014 Pa. LEXIS 3309).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Dec. 15 denied a motion for reconsideration filed by defendants in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that they have failed to show how two Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decisions would change the outcome in the instant action (In re Intuitive Surgical Securities Litigation, No. 13-1920, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173088).
CHICAGO - The federal judge overseeing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) concussion litigation on Dec. 17 rejected a $75 million settlement of the class action, expressing concerns about the adequacy of the fund and other details of the agreement (In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2492, Master Docket No. 1:13-cv-09116, N.D. Ill.).
ST. LOUIS - After finding that statements allegedly made by a homeowner in relation to mold and water damage to her property were not admissible, a Missouri federal judge on Dec. 16 denied an insurer's request to amend its counterclaim to include a cause of action for fraudulent misrepresentation (Victoria Cento v. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 12-85, E.D. Mo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173170).
MIAMI - In a Dec. 15 ruling, a Florida federal judge denied a series of expert testimony challenges under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) in a copyright infringement lawsuit over a Spanish-language soap opera, finding that the parties' objections went to the weight of the experts' testimony and not to its admissibility (LaTele Television C.A. v. Telemundo Communications Group LLC, et al., No. 1:12-cv-22539, S.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172864).
PHILADELPHIA - A medical expert opined that a woman's fatal disease arose from take-home exposures, but he never linked her specific exposures to the disease as required by the asbestos multidistrict litigation guidelines, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held in affirming dismissal of the case on Dec. 17 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI], Angie Smiddy, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., No. 13-4423, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23735).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A woman's request for a new trial fails because she made a tactical decision to forgo such relief after a defendant violated an evidence order, an Illinois appeals court held Dec. 16 (Carol Holloway v. Sprinkmann Sons Corp. of Illinois, No. 4-13-1118, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).