Coverage Owed For Subsidiaries Of Insured, Missouri Appeals Panel Finds

ST. LOUIS - Subsidiaries of an insured which operated a lead smelter plant are owed coverage under the insured's policies because the policies clearly state that coverage is afforded to "all affiliated or subsidiary companies as they are now or may hereafter be constituted," the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals said March 20. (The Renco Group Inc. et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London et al.,  No. ED96801, Mo. App., E.D., Div. 3; 2012 Mo. App. LEXIS 339).

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5th Circuit Reverses; Law Was Wrongly Applied To Debtor's Recovery Claim

NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 20 reversed and remanded a lawsuit filed by a debtor seeking to recover funds it paid to a lender, ruling that the district court erroneously applied Georgia law when New York law should have been used (MC Asset Recovery LLC v. Commerzbank AG (In the Matter of: Mirant Corporation), No. 11-10070, Chapter 11, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5773).

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3rd Circuit Upholds Settlement Between Indirect Purchasers And Cadbury

PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 20 in an unpublished opinion ruled that, despite objections, the federal trial court properly approved an antitrust settlement between Cadbury and a subclass of indirect end-user (IEU) purchasers on allegations that chocolate manufacturers conspired to fix for chocolate candy in the United States (In re: Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Litigation, Clyde F. Padgett, Appellant, No. 12-1151, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5755).

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Class Certification Denied For Claims Of California Female Prison Workers

OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 20 denied class certification in a lawsuit filed by 10 female prison employees alleging sex discrimination based on a policy at all California state prisons that condones and accepts inmate exhibitionist (IEX) behavior directed at female staff (Martha Berndt, et al. v. California Department of Corrections, et al., No. 03-3174, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37755).

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Federal Judge: Potential For Coverage Exists Under Policy's Definition Of 'Injury'

SAN FRANCISCO - A former employee's allegations against his employer insured raise the potential for coverage under an insurance policy's definition of "injury" that includes "common law claims for invasion of the right of privacy," a California federal judge ruled March 20, denying the insurer's motion for summary judgment in part (Twin Star Ventures Inc., et al. v. Universal Underwriters Insurance Co.,  No. 10-04284, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37628).

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Judge Again Finds For Insurers In Coverage Suit Stemming From $2.6M Kickback Scheme

SCRANTON, Pa. - For the second time this month, a Pennsylvania federal judge on March 19 found that insurers have no duty to defend or indemnify against underlying lawsuits alleging that their insureds participated in a $2.6 million kickback scheme with two Pennsylvania judges (Alea London, et al. v. Pa Child Care LLC, et al.,  No. 3:09-CV-2256, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36987).

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Stanford Argues He Was Deprived Of 6th Amendment Right To Fair Trial

HOUSTON - Convicted multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford sought a new trial in Texas federal court on March 20, arguing that he was deprived of his right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (United States of America v. Robert Allen StanfordNo. 09-342, S.D. Texas).

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11th Circuit: Arbitrator Must Decide Whether Overdraft Claims Are Arbitrable

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 ruled that an arbitrator should decide whether a putative class action against M&T Bank Corp. regarding checking account overdraft fees goes to arbitration, reversing the decision of a federal court (In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation,  (Maxine Aarons Given, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. M&T Bank Corp., et al.), No. 11-14282, 11th Cir.).

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High Court Says Couple Can Seek Review Of EPA's Compliance Order

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 21 unanimously found that an Idaho couple could file a lawsuit challenging a compliance order issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act (CWA) because the order was a final agency action that could be reviewed under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) (Chantell Sackett, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,  No. 10-1062, U.S. Sup.; 2012 U.S. LEXIS 2320).

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Judge Dismisses Petition To Confirm London Award For Lack Of Jurisdiction

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge granted a Chinese shipping company's motion to dismiss a petition to confirm an arbitration award issued in favor of several companies that contracted with it to build four vessels, finding that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the company (In the Matter of the Arbitration Act of 1996 and in the Matter of an Arbitration Between; Covington Marine Corp., et al. v. Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co. Ltd., et al No. 09-7041, E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33867).

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Missouri Appeals Judges: Man Improperly Filed Medical Negligence Affidavits

ST. LOUIS - The Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals on March 20 upheld the dismissal of a man's medical negligence case, agreeing that he untimely filed his health care affidavits (James Howard v. SSM St. Charles Clinic Medical Group Inc., et al., No. ED97312, Mo. App., E.D.; 2012 Mo. App. LEXIS 344).

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Florida Federal Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Qui Tam Action; Dismissal Premature

ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on March 19 denied a hospital's motion to dismiss a qui tam action against it and a staffing organization filed under the False Claims Act and the Stark Amendment to the Medicare statute, saying the arguments in support of the motion are premature or are not questions for jurisdiction but affirmative defenses best presented in an answer to the complaint (United States of America, et rel. Elin Baklid-Kunz v. Halifax Hospital Medical Center, d/b/a Halifax Health, a/k/a Halifax Community Health System, a/k/a Halifax Medical Center, et al., No. 6:09cv1002, M.D. Fla., Orlando Div.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36304).

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Federal Judge Refuses To Reconsider Ruling On Insurance Broker

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An Arkansas federal judge on March 20 declined to reconsider her ruling that a wholesale insurance broker breached its contract with an insurance company when it failed to meet the underwriting guidelines regarding an application submitted on behalf of homeowners (GeoVera Specialty Insurance Co. v. Graham Rogers, et al., No. 08-00163, E.D. Ark.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37169).

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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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