SAN FRANCISCO - A bankruptcy court correctly held that changes made by Plant Insulation Co. to its Chapter 11 plan of reorganization on remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals are sufficient to satisfy a U.S. Bankruptcy Code requirement that the asbestos trust established by the plan has the ability to take control over the reorganized debtor's future operations, a California federal judge ruled Aug. 18 in denying an appeal by insurers and affirming the plan confirmation (OneBeacon Insurance Company, et al. v. Plant Insulation Company, et al., No. 14-1200, N.D. Calif.).
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Aug. 19 determined that claims for breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment against a disability insurer must be dismissed for failure to state a claim (Douglas Esposito v. Wal Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 13-98, W.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115114).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Google Inc. was awarded sanctions by a California federal magistrate judge on Aug. 19 after it was discovered that the plaintiff firm in a patent lawsuit suit against it failed to timely adopt and enforce a companywide email retention system when litigation was reasonably foreseeable (PersonalWeb Technologies LLC, et al. v. Google Inc., et al., No. 5:13-cv-01317, N.D. Calif.).
DETROIT - A disability insurer's denial of long-term disability benefits was not arbitrary or capricious because the insurer properly relied on the available medical evidence in reaching its decision, a Michigan federal judge said Aug. 18 (Mae-Lyn DeBoard v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 13-12838, E.D. Mich.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114233).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 19 denied a disability insurer's motion to dismiss a claimant's suit on the basis that the claimant adequately pleaded facts in support of her claims against the insurer (Karen Alberts v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 14-01587, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115530).
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on Aug. 20 issued an official judgment enforcing a jury verdict in favor of popcorn manufacturers and determined that they were not liable for injuries that a couple claimed were caused by exposure to diacetyl and pentanedione, which are chemicals used to make artificial butter flavoring in popcorn (David Stults, et al. v. American Pop Corn Company, et al., No. 11-4077, N.D. Iowa).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 20 held that insureds failed to present any evidence rebutting the presumed prejudice their insurer suffered as a result of their untimely proof of loss of their Hurricane Wilma damage, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer (Lloyd Oliver Hunt, et al. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 4D13-272, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 12810).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Fourth District Florida Court of Appeal on Aug. 20 denied an insured's motion to reconsider and reiterated that an insurer owes no additional coverage for damages sustained to the insured's condominium by leaking fluids from a decomposing body because the insured failed to prove that the explosive expansion of a decomposing body constituted an explosion, a covered peril under the policy (Judy Rodrigo v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 4D12-3410, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 12805).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 20 found that a lower court erred when it required an insurer to pay for an insured's subsurface repairs before he contracted for those repairs, further finding that the court improperly awarded prejudgment interest on the subsurface damage award (Tower Hill Select Insurance Co. v. Andrew McKee, No. 2D13-2076, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 12784).
TRENTON, N.J. - Although two defendants "persuasively" argued that a method patent is patent-ineligible, a New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 19 nonetheless denied their motion to dismiss without prejudice (Data Distribution Technologies LLC v. BRER Affiliates Inc. et al., No. 12-4878, D. N.J.).
NEW YORK - Nine nonresponsive defendants responsible for issuing "Coinye West" and similarly named bitcoins were hit with default judgments and permanent injunctions on Aug. 20 by a New York federal judge who granted judgment to musician Kanye West in his trademark infringement claims against the defendants (Kanye West, et al. v. David P. McEnery Jr., et al., No. 1:14-c-00250, S.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES - Blue Cross of California misrepresented which providers its plans covered while transferring subscribers into limited-access Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) "skinny networks" consisting of the cheapest medical services providers in an effort to save money, an Aug. 19 class action alleges (Jonathan Brown, et al. v. Blue Cross of California, dba Anthem Blue Cross and DOES 1 through 100 inclusive, No. BC554949, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 19 dismissed with prejudice an insurance company's unjust enrichment claim against a physician-owned surgical facility and its management companies after finding that it failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, but also allowed the company to pursue claims of insurance fraud against the defendants based on their billing and referral practices (Aetna Life Insurance Co. v. Huntington Valley Surgery Center, et al., No. 13-cv-3101-WY, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115688).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 18 affirmed a court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a bank in relation to the foreclosure of a property, finding that a homeowner's claims for violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and other claims should be dismissed (Saad Khadher v. PNC Bank N.A., et al., No. 13-2708, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15973).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla - The daughter of a deceased smoker testified in a wrongful death action in state court Aug. 19 that her father "was always smoking" and "was always trying to quit" (Heather Irimi, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-026337, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order on Aug. 19 transferring to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota three suits filed against the National Hockey League (NHL) by former players (In re: National Hockey League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, D. Minn., MDL No. 2551).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Bank of America Corp. will pay nearly $17 billion to settle claims that it and its current and former subsidiaries, Countrywide Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch, engaged in fraudulent activity with regard to their origination, underwriting and sale of subprime mortgages and mortgage-backed securities leading up to the financial crisis, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Associate Attorney General Tony West announced Aug. 21 in a press conference.
NEW YORK - A group of 156 plaintiffs may file an omnibus complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against General Motions LLC for deaths and injuries that occurred prior to the sale of General Motors Corp., the judge overseeing the GM ignition-switch multidistrict litigation ruled Aug. 19 (In re General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-MD-2543 [JMF]; Pamela Edwards, et al. v. General Motors LLC, S.D. N.Y.).
PHOENIX - Partial summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit is not warranted because an insurer failed to show that it was prejudiced and because a jury "could reasonably find that [the insurer] acted unreasonably and knew it," a federal judge in Nevada ruled in an opinion made available on Aug. 18 (Michael Trudel, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 12-1208, D. Ariz.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113642).
PITTSBURGH - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate places a substantial burden on nonprofit plaintiffs' religious practices, and they are likely to succeed in their challenge to it, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Aug. 20 (Most Reverend Lawrence E. Brandt, et al. v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 14-681, W.D. Pa.).
DENVER - The government's promise that amended rules are forthcoming does not alleviate the ongoing harm imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate, the law's challengers argue in telling the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 19 that they would continue with their appeal (Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, Denver Colorado, et al. v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 13-1540, 10th Cir.).
NEW YORK - Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on Aug. 19 for limited relief from the automatic stay in the General Motors Corp. bankruptcy proceedings to allow him to seek remand of his California suit against the automaker to state court (In re: Chapter 11 Motors Liquidation Co., et al., f/k/a General Motors Corp., et al., No. 09-50026, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Supreme Court will address whether household members can bring suit for take-home exposure to asbestos after granting two petitions for review on Aug. 20, according to its docket (Haver v. BNSF Railway Co., No. S219919, Kesner v. Superior Court [Pneumo Abex LLC], No. S219534, Calif. Sup.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A group of 405 health professionals on Aug. 19 sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and other state officials calling for reform at the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) based on allegations that the employees of the DOH were instructed not to respond to health complaints regarding hydraulic fracturing.