NEW ORLEANS - A trial court did not err in excluding testimony regarding a man's mental capacity, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 19, affirming the man's convictions of drug charges for distribution of heroin (United States of America v. Armando Bardales, No. 15-40013, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20246).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board erred in deeming various claims of a patent application barred as untimely, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 20 (In re: Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization, No. 14-1710, Fed. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Nov. 20 granted a Canadian gold mining company's petition to confirm a $740.3 million arbitration award issued in its favor and against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, finding that the award did not violate public policy and that all of the relevant factors weighed in favor of confirmation (Gold Reserve Inc. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, No. 1:14-cv-2014, D. D.C.).
ATLANTA - An insurer on Nov. 17 moved in Georgia federal court to bifurcate a global bitcoin processor's bad faith claim against it from a breach of contract claim, asserting that "under Georgia law, a bad faith claim . . . cannot proceed unless coverage under an insurance policy is found" (Bitpay Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 1:15-cv-03238, N.D. Ga.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 19 certified a question for the Texas Supreme Court as to whether an insured can pursue a private cause of action under Texas Insurance Code Chapter 541 if it is denied coverage by an insurer, holding that decisions from the state Supreme Court and its appellate courts have cast doubt on the vitality of the ruling in Vail v. Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. (754 S.W. 2d 129 [Texas Sup. 1988]) (In re Deepwater Horizon; Cameron International Corporation v. Liberty Insurance Underwriters Inc., No. 14-31321, 5th Cir.).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court denied an insurer's emergency motion to rehear its petition for writ of mandamus challenging a lower court's grant of an ex parte temporary restraining order (TRO) that compelled the production of class-based discovery, according to a Nov. 18 pronounced order on the high court's website (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Nos. 15-0867, Texas Sup.).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Manufacturers of Navy equipment are not liable for asbestos-containing replacement parts they neither manufactured nor supplied, and a widow lacks evidence her decedent came into contact with original parts more than a decade after the ship's commission, a federal judge held Nov. 17 (Carol Lee Stallings, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., et al., No. 12-724, W.D. Ky.).
TRENTON, N.J. - The Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) focuses on the equipment and preempts state law asbestos claims regardless of the operator, a New Jersey appellate court held in affirming summary judgment for five companies Nov. 19 (Estate of Sandra Brust and Philip Brust, et al. v. ACF Industries LLC, f/k/a American Care & Foundry Co., et al., No. A-3431-13T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 18 dismissed a consumer's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other California laws, finding that he failed to show that he relied on a representation that tortilla chips contained no trans-fat when he purchased the product (Victor Guttmann v. La Tapatia Tortilleria Inc., No. 15-cv-02042, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156800).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on Nov. 18 granted a bank's motion to dismiss a complaint filed against it, finding that a borrower's claims for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) failed and that his claim for violation of the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) was time-barred (Rashad Hasan v. Bank of America N.A., et al. v. Bank of America N.A., et al., No. 15-3037, D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156491).
SAN DIEGO - CoreLogic Inc. is unable to argue that its removal of copyright management information (CMI) from various photographs was a fair use, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 17; the defendant was given leave to amend its affirmative defenses, however (Robert Stevens, et al. v. CoreLogic Inc., No. 14-1158, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156161).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Nov. 17 vacated a ruling denying a veteran's widow benefits for his exposure to Agent Orange and remanded the case to the Board of Veterans Appeals for it to consider additional evidence and arguments (Irma Griffin v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 14-2354, Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1554).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - An insurer told a federal court in Connecticut on Nov. 19 that it anticipates that its alleged reinsurer will not honor a $127,067.15 reinsurance billing in a timely manner (The Travelers Indemnity Company v. Excalibur Reinsurance Corporation, No. 15-cv-01697, D. Conn.).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on Nov. 17 reversed a New York County Supreme Court ruling that tossed a real estate agent and her agency as third-party defendants in an injury suit, finding that the third parties failed to demonstrate that there were no triable issues of fact (Barbara Stimmel, et al. v. Julianne Osherow, et al., No. 15781, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8450).
PHOENIX - A trial judge did not err in allowing a forensic sexual assault nurse examiner who examined victims following sexual assaults to testify "that strangulation interferes with a person's ability to remember certain things that occur during traumatic situations, but that memory may return over time," an Arizona appeals panel affirmed Nov. 17 (State of Arizona v. Gregory Harry Woody, Jr., No. 1 CA-CR 14-0851, Ariz. App., Div. 1; 2015 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1389).
AMARILLO, Texas - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper, a federal judge in Texas ruled Nov. 19, because an insured has shown that two claims adjusters were properly joined and that the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction (Royal Architectural Products Ltd. v. Acadia Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-0265, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156625).
DALLAS - Although a Texas federal judge on Nov. 18 found that Yahoo! Inc. was entitled to summary judgment and a partial refund of a promotional fee paid over an abandoned online NCAA tournament, the judge ruled in the plaintiff promotions firm's favor on Yahoo's contractual and trade secrets counterclaims (SCA Promotions Inc. v. Yahoo! Inc., No. 3:14-cv-00957, N.D. Texas).
NEW YORK - A trial court did not err in excluding expert testimony addressing drug traffickers' use of "blind mules," the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 17, affirming the conviction on drug trafficking charges against a truck driver (United States of America v. Osborne Young, No. 14-1285, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19886).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - In a sexual assault criminal case, a law enforcement professional was allowed to testify on the issue of Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) intoxication, a majority of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals held Nov. 18 (State of West Virginia v. Richard Wakefield, No. 14-0968, W.Va. Sup. App.; 2015 W. Va. LEXIS 1116).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 19 dismissed an insured's bad faith claims and other claims against her insurer, ruling that the insured failed to properly state a claim for relief in making the bad faith claim (Tracey T. Ridolfi v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-0859, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156687).
NEW ORLEANS - A divided Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 denied a rehearing en banc in a Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. employee's age bias suit in which it reversed a district court's injunctive relief award, finding that the employee waived his right to seek such relief (David O. Peterson v. Bell Helicopter Textron, Incorporated, No. 14-10249, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19937).