BESSEMER, Ala. - A state court jury on Oct. 20 awarded a total of $9.9 million in damages in a suit alleging that the defective design of a Mazda 3 sedan resulted in a post-crash fire that killed a passenger and seriously injured the driver (Jon Hurst, et al. v. Mazda Motor Corp, et al., No. CV-2012-900498.00, Ala. Cir., Jefferson Co., Bessemer Div.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on Oct. 22 awarded a smoker $25.3 million in punitive damages after finding that cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. caused his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Kenneth Kerrivan, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-cv-13703, M.D. Fla.).
DALLAS - Parties challenging Texas' stance on a premises owner's liability for allegedly contemporaneous negligent activities recently filed letter briefs addressing a recent en banc decision from an appeals court. The plaintiffs' letter was filed Oct. 21 (Magdalena Adrienna Abutahoun, et al. v. The Dow Chemical Co., No. 13-0175, Texas Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Four generic drug manufacturer defendants on Oct. 22 lost on appeal to the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found that a New Jersey federal judge properly rejected allegations that nine claims of a disputed patent are invalid for obviousness (Warner Chilcott Company LLC v. Lupin Ltd., et al., Nos. 14-1262, -1273, Fed. Cir.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 20 granted summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that insureds failed provide "clear and convincing evidence" that their insurer acted in bad faith (Barry Shaffer, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 13-1837, M.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149095).
DENVER - A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 20 ruled that two insurance companies did not owe coverage to a company that was sued for contaminating drinking water with what is called "fly ash" during the construction of a golf course because a pollution exclusion in the policy barred coverage (Headwaters Resources Inc. v. Illinois Union Insurance Company, et al., No. 13-4035, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20060).
MINNEAPOLIS - Plaintiffs in the National Hockey League concussion multidistrict litigation filed their master administrative long-form and class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota on Oct. 20 (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
CHICAGO - A jury in federal court in Illinois found a dermatologist guilty of submitting false claims for more than 800 patients resulting in $2.6 million in unnecessary payments from Medicare and other private health insurers (United States of America v. Robert Kolbusz, No. 12-cr-00782, N.D. Ill.).
HOUSTON - A jury in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Oct. 20 found that the president of the Riverside General Hospital, his son and two other individuals were guilty of being involved in a $158 million Medicare fraud scheme (United States of America v. Earnest Gibson III, et al. No. 12-cr-00600, S.D. Texas).
BATON ROUGE, La. - Even though a retirement benefits expert's report was submitted after a court-mandated deadline, a Louisiana federal judge on Oct. 21 found that the filing was permissible because it corrected an identified error and did not prejudice the defendant in an employment discrimination lawsuit brought under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) (Paul B. Deal v. State of Louisiana, No. 3:11-cv-00743, M.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149193).
PASADENA, Calif. - A class representative in a wage-and-hour lawsuit who essentially settled his individual claims, but failed to include any language in the agreement preserving his right to appeal the denial of class certification, may not proceed with the class action, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 20 (Jonathan Sultan, et al. v. Medtronic, Inc., No. 12-57072, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20021).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - For legal and public policy reasons, California should side with the majority of other states and reject liability for take-home asbestos exposures, Pneumo Abex LLC told the California Supreme Court on Oct. 17 (Johnny Blaine Kesner v. Superior Court of California for the County of Alameda, No. S219534, Calif. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An anti-abortion group and its employees lack standing and miscast the standard for review in a futile effort to save a doomed case, the government told a District of Columbia federal judge on Oct. 21 (March for Life, Jeanne F. Monahan and Bethany A. Goodman v. Sylvia M. Burwell, et al., No. 14-1149, D. D.C.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Peter J. Walsh of the District of Delaware on Oct. 21 approved the disclosure statement for Chapter 11 debtor Specialty Products Holding Corp.'s plan of reorganization, which includes establishment of two asbestos personal injury trust accounts totaling nearly $800 million to settle all outstanding disputes with asbestos claimants, including the debtor's appeal of a billion-dollar asbestos liability estimation ruling and the claimants' pending fraudulent transfer claims against Specialty Products (In re: Specialty Products Holding Corp., et al., No. 10-11780, D. Del. Bkcy.).
SAN DIEGO - California homeowners cannot pursue a claim for injunctive relief under the state's unfair competition law in a breach of policy action against their insurer but can proceed with their restitution claim under the UCL, even though other legal remedies may be available should they prevail, a federal judge held Oct. 20 in partially dismissing the homeowners' complaint (William Eastman and Patricia Eastman v. Allstate Insurance Company, No. 14-703, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149017).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Inspector General for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 20 released his response to an inquiry from a federal legislator, concluding that the EPA will proceed with a review of the agency's ability - as well as the ability of states - to manage potential threats to water resources posed by hydraulic fracturing.
ATLANTA - Finding no reversible error, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 21 upheld a trial court's denial of an employee's motion to vacate and/or modify an arbitration award that denied her claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related claims brought against her former employer (Ludema Cruz Dorward v. Macy's Inc., d.b.a. Macy's Florida Stores, LLC, No. 13-14783, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20097).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Oct. 17 dismissed a shareholder derivative lawsuit, ruling that a company's board of directors did not act in bad faith or fail to properly investigate claims made when it denied an investor's demand letter (Dennis Palkon v. Stephen P. Holmes, et al., No. 14-1234, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148799).
DALLAS - Jurors in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on Oct. 21 began deliberating in the first DePuy Pinnacle hip bellwether case after 28 days of testimony (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2244, No. 3:11-md-2244, Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 12-2975, N.D. Texas).