ZUG, Switzerland - Transocean Ltd. on May 20 announced that it has reached settlements with BP Exploration and Production Inc. and plaintiffs who allegedly suffered economic losses as a result of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, which would substantially end all claims against it arising from the incident (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Although a California federal magistrate judge abused his discretion by "categorically" denying a prevailing copyright infringement plaintiff her full request for attorney fees, he properly denied a motion for sanctions by the plaintiff in connection with alleged evidence spoliation, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 19 (Victoria Ryan v. Editions Limited West, et al., Nos. 12-17810, 13-15061, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 8199).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on May 18 found that an insurer has no duty to defend its interstate motor carrier insured against an underlying suit brought by one of its independent truck drivers because the directors and officers and company coverage is barred by the policy's unpaid compensation and breach of contract exclusions (Altom Transport Inc. v. Westchester Fire Ins., et al., No. 14-cv-9547, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64397).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on May 19 dismissed as untimely a couple's claim contending that Pella Corp. breach the implied warranty of its Designer Series window, after finding that the doctrine of equitable tolling did not apply to the plaintiffs' allegations (In re: Pella Corporation Architect and Designer Series Windows Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2514, 14-mn-1, Brian Walters, et al. v. Pella Corporation, No. 14-cv00544, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65032).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The federal judge in South Carolina overseeing litigation claiming that Pella Corp.'s Architect and Designer series windows are defective on May 19 dismissed without prejudice portions of a class action lawsuit seeking relief for breach of implied warranty, negligence, declaratory judgment and violation of the Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act (WDTPA) (In re: Pella Corporation Architect and Designer Series Windows Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2514, 14-mn-1, Ted Naparala Sr., et al. v. Pella Corp., et al., No. 14-cv-03465, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65025).
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A Tennessee federal judge on May 18 declined to strike or exclude testimony of three experts for a couple alleging medical malpractice in the death of their 11-year-old son but ruled that testimony by a fourth expert for the plaintiffs should be excluded from trial based on state law geographic requirements and the relevancy of the testimony (Thomas G. Hensley, et al. v. Methodist Healthcare Memphis Hospitals, et al., No. 2:13-cv-02436, W.D. Tenn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64518).
ST. LOUIS - Allegations that a woman suffered take-home asbestos exposures arising from her father's work with military equipment put a manufacturer on notice that it could remove the action, regardless of the source of other alleged exposures, a federal judge held May 12 in remanding the case (Shandi L. Speedy and Billy Speedy v. 3M Co., et al., No. 15-391, S.D. Ill.).
CHICAGO - Notre Dame is not entitled to a preliminary injunction while it challenges the opt-out provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate, a divided Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 19 (University of Notre Dame v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13-3853, 7th Cir.).
BOSTON - An insurer told a federal court in Massachusetts on May 15 that its reinsurer's motion to amend its answer should not be allowed because certain court-mandated deadlines have passed and will not allow the insurer to seek discovery of information related to the proposed amended answer (OneBeacon America Insurance Company v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-14067, D. Mass.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. - A North Carolina federal magistrate judge on May 19 granted Allergan Inc. and Duke University leave to amend to remove all allegations of infringement of one patent while narrowing their infringement allegations as they relate to another (Allergan Inc. and Duke University v. Apotex Inc., et al., No. 14-1028, M.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64973).
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on May 18 ordered parties in an insurance bad faith lawsuit to meet and confer and file a stipulation to stay arbitration pending the outcome of an insured's declaratory relief claim and severed and stayed the insured's breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim pending resolution of the declaratory relief claim (Martha Castro v. Lincoln General Insurance Co., No. 15-0331, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64851).
PHILADELPHIA - Finding that there is a disputed issue of fact as to whether a public accounting firm's employee had reason to know, before an accountant's professional liability insurance policy became effective, that a claim could be reasonably anticipated, a Pennsylvania federal judge on May 18 concluded that the insurer has a duty to defend but does not have to indemnify the firm against an underlying lawsuit alleging that the firm and its employee breached their professional duty of confidentiality (Navigators Insurance Co. v. Resnick Amsterdam Leshner, et al., No. 14-5158, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64385).
TOLEDO, Ohio - Marathon Petroleum Corp. on May 19 entered into a settlement agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency in which the company agreed to pay $5.7 million to resolve Clean Air Act (CAA) violations that included excessive emissions of air pollutants and failure to perform required recordkeeping and testing (United States of America v. Marathon Petroleum Corporation, No. 15-00994, N.D. Ohio).
HELENA, Mont. - A trial judge erred in applying the public-duty doctrine to a suit alleging that improper design of a paved walking path caused a man to suffer fatal head injuries in a fall while skateboarding in a residential development, the Montana Supreme Court ruled in a split decision May 19 (Sara Kent, et al. v. City of Columbia Falls, No. DA 14-0309, Mont. Sup.; 2015 Mont. LEXIS 201).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Insureds fail to show that an insurer acted in bad faith when it denied coverage for additional replacement costs from a house fire, a South Carolina federal judge ruled May 19, dismissing the claim but allowing the insureds' breach of contract claim to proceed (Franklin Dash and Debbie Dash v. Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina, No. 12-02732, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65026).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - An insurance policy's language referring to the limits of coverage and the replacement cost of the dwelling is ambiguous, a Missouri appeals panel ruled May 19, reversing and remanding for a new trial to determine whether insureds are entitled to the full replacement cost of their destroyed home (Derek Wilson and Jennifer Wilson v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. WD77396, Mo. App., Western Dist.; 2015 Mo. App. LEXIS 552).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Saying bellwether cases are not effective, the West Virginia federal judge overseeing the Cook Medical Inc. pelvic mesh multidistrict litigation ordered the parties to get 253 of the remaining 381 cases ready for transfer and trial by the end of the year (In Re: Cook Medical, Inc. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2440, No. 2:13-md-2440, S.D. W.Va., Charleston Div.).