CHICAGO - Laboratory testing of asbestos-containing joint compound necessarily differs from real world conditions, an Illinois federal judge held March 7 in allowing expert testimony from Dr. James Millette (Marilyn F. Quirin, et al. v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-2633, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29431).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on March 7 dismissed a woman's lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and HSBC Bank USA, finding that she lacked standing to challenge the assignment of her mortgage loan in 2007 and that she was unable to show how Wells Fargo's alleged violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) caused her to suffer an injury (Marialuz A. Barnares v. wells Fargo Bank N.A., et al., No. C-13-4896, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29909).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - In a matter of first impression, a New York appeals court on March 5 affirmed that the state's prompt-pay law affords claimants a private right of action to recover payment for health care services provided based on a violation of the law (Maimonides Medical Center v. First United American Life Insurance Co., No. 2012-03138, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept.; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1409).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on March 6 denied a motion to dismiss claims asserted against ambulatory surgical centers and billing companies for allegedly fraudulently billing for chiropractic services, saying that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not preempt the claims (United Healthcare Services Inc., et al. v. Sanctuary Surgical Inc., et al., No. 10-81589, S.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28824).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 10 agreed to hear an appeal in a lawsuit seeking a determination as to the reach of the American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah rule in securities class action lawsuits (Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi v. IndyMac BBS Inc., et. al., No. 13-640, U.S. Sup.).
PITTSBURGH - The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania judge presiding over consolidated lawsuits alleging personal injury and property damage claims against the operator of a coal-fired electricity plant in western Pennsylvania entered an order March 7 granting in part defense motions to limit expert opinions with respect to the distribution of heavy metals near the power plant, cleanup efforts by the defendant and the persistence of compounds in the soil in a thallium exposure lawsuit (Michael Hartle, et uxor v. FirstEnergy Generation Corp., No. 08-1019, W.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29419).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 10 invited the solicitor general to file a brief addressing whether Congress' removal of a private right of action from the Truth in Savings Act (TISA) bars consumers' California unfair competition law (UCL) claim (Bank of America N.A. v. Harold C. Rose, et al., No. 13-662, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES - A California court on March 6 affirmed a trial court's decision in favor of various owners of a commercial property, finding that building employees failed to present expert evidence in support of their claims that Legionella bacteria and mold in the water system made them sick (Carol Harris, et al. v. 3075 Wilshire LLC, et al., No. B223826, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1629).
ATLANTA - A long-term disability insurer did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in denying benefits to a participant in the absence of objective evidence that she suffered from seizures, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed March 5 in an unpublished opinion (Melissa R. Bloom v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company, No. 13-10827, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4081).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Finding no indication that a determination of coverage was ever made in a dispute over insurance benefits from an auto accident, a Florida federal judge on March 5 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss bad faith claims against it (France Cabrera, et al. v. MGA Insurance Company Inc., No. 2:13-cv-00666, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28102).
SCRANTON, Pa. - An insurance company failed to assert a fraud claim against insurance producers based upon a refusal to pay under a producers agreement for a settlement the insurer paid that occurred due to the producers' error, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 5, dismissing the claim based upon the "gist of the action" doctrine (United Financial Casualty Co. v. A.M. Skier Agency Inc., et al., No. 13-1291, M.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29111).
ROANOKE, Va. - After finding that a tenant's complaint against an apartment management company and its employees, which alleged that they discriminated against her by failing to remediate mold, failed to state a claim, a Virginia federal judge on March 7 dismissed the case (Yvonne Reeves v. Gem Management LLC, et al., No. 7:14cv0088, W.D. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30020).
PHILADELPHIA - An employer's knowledge of the potential for asbestos exposure to give rise to mesothelioma differs from the type of inevitable result required for an intentional tort claim, a Louisiana federal judge held March 7 (Sally Gros Vedros, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 11-67281, E.D. Pa.).
LOS ANGELES - The California Department of Transportation's waiver of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims in settling an administrative action against outdoor advertising companies does not bar the state's UCL action against the same companies, a state appeals court held March 5 (The People, et al. v. World Wide Mediacom, et al., No. B241365, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1599).
SAN FRANCISCO - The termination of three employees at an Arizona rental truck facility did not constitute age discrimination or intentional infliction of emotional distress despite the firings being broadcast over closed circuit televisions, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 6 (John Howard, et al. v. Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., AKA Ryder System, Inc., AKA Ryder Transportation Services, No. 12-15530, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4210).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 10 declined to hear the appeal of a June 2013 decision by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding the rejection of two cases by pilots challenging the nonretroactivity provision of a federal rule that extended the maximum age for piloting commercial flights by five years (George Emory, et al. v. United Air Lines, Inc., et al., No. 13-826, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 1870).
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 7 ruled that a Bankruptcy Court correctly held that a debtor's second Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition was filed "in bad faith" and a sanctions ruling against him was appropriate based on evidence that "there was no legitimate purpose for his bankruptcy filing" (In Re: Victor Mondelli, No. 13-2171, Chapter 13, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4277).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on March 7 partially granted an umbrella liability insurer's summary judgment motion after determining that costs related to an environmental remediation investigation should be classified as defense costs and not indemnity costs by the primary insurer (Siltronic Corp. v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau et al., No. 11-1493, D. Ore.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29399).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on March 7 ordered stricken from the record a petition for writ of mandamus in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of GGW Brands LLC, the parent company for makers of adult videos that carry the name "Girls Gone Wild" on grounds that the petition was not properly filed (GGW Global Brands LLC v. GGW Marketing LLC $(In Re: GGW Brands LLC$), No. 13-08255, Chapter 11, C.D. Calif.).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 5 affirmed the exclusion of a damages expert and the partial denial of relief to a supermarket chain that alleged that it suffered $90 million in losses from violation of restrictive covenants that limited grocery sales by other shopping center tenants (Winn-Dixie Stores, et al. v. Dolgencorp, et al., Nos. 12-14527; 12-14742; 12-14825; 13-10891; 13-12735; 13-12736, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4143).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California appeals court on March 7 affirmed the issuance of preliminary injunctions enjoining three Internet cafes from offering "sweepstakes" on computers in their shops, finding that the district attorney will likely prevail on her claim under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) (The People v. Kirnpal Grewal, et al., Nos. F065450, F065451, F065689, Calif. App., 5th Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 214).