New Jersey Federal Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction In Denial Of Benefits Suit

    NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished opinion, a New Jersey federal judge on June 8 declined to grant a plaintiff a preliminary injunction in a wrongful denial of benefits suit (Anonymous Oxford Health Plan Member v. Oxford Health Insurance Inc., et al., No. 12-2367, D. N.J.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80117).

    Judge Finds Indemnity Agreement Waived Accountant-Client Privilege

    ERIE, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 8 ordered the managing members of a Pennsylvania-based oil company to produce records and notes from their accountant to the insurance commissioner of the State of Connecticut after finding that the records were not protected from disclosure by the accountant-client privilege (The Insurance Commission of the State of Connecticut, as liquidator of the Connecticut Surety Company v. Rudolph Novotny, et al., No. 07-262, W.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79699).

    Panel: Insolvent Insurer's Policy's Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Liability

    TRENTON, N.J. - A pollution exclusion in an insolvent insurer's policy precludes coverage for an insured's liability for contamination because the insured had "already" and "finally" delivered oil before the contamination occurred, a New Jersey appeals panel ruled June 8 (Spartan Oil Co. v. New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association, et al., No. A-5156-10T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2012 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1290).

    Maryland Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal Of Balance-Billing Dispute

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A Maryland appeals court on June 7 affirmed the dismissal of a complaint brought against a health care provider for balanced billing (David Scull, et al. v. Doctors Groover, Christie & Merritt, No. 332, Md. Spec. App.; 2012 Md. App. LEXIS 69).

    District Of Columbia Appeals Court Reverses Dismissal Of Medicaid Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals on June 8 reversed the dismissal of a class action case alleging that the District of Columbia systematically denies Medicaid coverage of prescription drugs, saying the plaintiffs have standing (NB, by her parent and next friend, Michelle Peacock, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al., No. 11-7084, D.C. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11606).

    California Federal Judge Denies Request To Hold Attorney In Contempt

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge presiding over a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act class suit on June 7 denied a request to hold an attorney in contempt of court for continuing to represent class members in a bankruptcy action after being barred from representing members of the class in the present suit (Christina Smith, et al. v. Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, Inc., et al., No. 10-10, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79346).

    9th Circuit: District Court Review In Benefit Denial Case Was Insufficient

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal district court erred in granting a long-term disability plan summary judgment under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in a wrongful denial of benefits case, a majority of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 8 in an unpublished opinion granting summary judgment to the claimant (Pamela Jackson, et al. v. Wilson, Jackson, Goodrich & Sonsini, et al., No. 10-17112, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11641).

    New York Federal Judge Allows Protestors' Class Claims To Proceed Against Officers

    NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on June 7 refused to dismiss a class complaint accusing New York City police officers of illegally arresting "Occupy Wall Street" protestors but agreed to dismiss Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city and Commissioner of the New York City Police Department Raymond Kelly as defendants (Karina Garcia, et al. v. Michael R. Bloomberg, et al., No. 11-6957, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79296).

    11th Circuit Sides With Artist In University's Trademark Case

    ATLANTA - In a partial reversal, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 11 found that First Amendment interests in artistic expression "clearly" outweigh any consumer confusion that might result from an artist's renderings of legendary college football plays by the University of Alabama football team (The University of Alabama Board of Trustees v. New Life Art and Daniel A. Moore, No. 09-16412, 11th Cir.).

    2nd Circuit Affirms Estoppel Finding In Case Against Microsoft

    NEW YORK - A New York federal judge properly acquitted Microsoft Corp. of claims that it fraudulently induced three people and their joint venture to transfer the rights to certain digital video recording and personal video recording patents, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 11 (Intellivision, et al. v. Microsoft Corp., No. 11-1657, 2nd Cir.).

    Miss. High Court: Silica Plaintiff Can Add New Parties Despite Other Settlements

    JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi Supreme Court on June 7 reconsidered an earlier opinion and ruled that a silica plaintiff could add additional defendants to his complaint even after he agreed to settle with the original defendants (Lone Star Industries, Inc., et al. v. Charles Larry McGraw, et al., No. 2010-IA-01005-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2012 Miss. LEXIS 276).

    Delaware Judge Denies Dismissal Of $600 Million Shareholder Derivative Suit

    WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware Chancery Court vice chancellor held June 11 that a shareholder was not in privity with a shareholder in a dismissed California federal case and that, therefore, the dismissal did not have a preclusive effect on the Delaware case (Louisiana Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System v. David Pyott, et al., No. 5795-VCL, Del. Chanc.).

    10th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Suit Alleging Wrongful Foreclosure

    DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 11 affirmed the dismissal of a suit in which a plaintiff accused OneWest Bank, which had acquired his loan after the failure of IndyMac Bank, of wrongfully foreclosing on his home, ruling that OneWest was "a holder of an evidence of debt" under Colorado law (Bruce C. McDonald v. OneWest Bank, No. 11-1071, 10th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11801).

    Insured's Claims Against Insurers, Agent Are Time- Barred, Louisiana Panel Affirms

    NEW ORLEANS - An insured's claims against his homeowners insurer, his agent and the agent's errors and omissions insurer stemming from Hurricane Katrina damage and a fire are perempted under Louisiana Revised Statute 9:5606, a Louisiana appeals panel found June 8, affirming a lower court's ruling against the insured (Stephen J. Halmekangas v. ANPAC Louisiana Insurance Company, et al., No. 2011-CA-1293, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 830).

    Justiciable Controversy Exists, Texas Panel Finds, Reversing Lower Court's Ruling

    DALLAS - Comprehensive general liability insurers' request for a ruling on whether they had a duty to defend and indemnify a dry cleaner insured in an underlying environmental cleanup lawsuit was a justiciable issue, a Texas appeals panel found June 7, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling granting the insured's plea to the jurisdiction (Transportation Insurance Company, et al. v. WH Cleaners Inc., No. 05-10-00654-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 4508).

    County Fails To Raise Fact Issue As To Damages, 9th Circuit Rules

    SEATTLE - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 11 found that Clackamas County, Ore., failed to raise a material issue of fact as to damages arising from an underlying civil rights lawsuit, affirming a lower federal court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the county's employers' liability insurer (Clackamas County v. Midwest Employers Casualty Co., No. 11-35063, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11771).

    Delaware Federal Judge Amends Ruling But Still Confirms Grace's Chapter 11 Plan

    WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on June 11 granted requests to rehear arguments and alter his opinion confirming W.R. Grace & Co.'s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization and then filed an amended 228-page confirmation decision that also includes changes to reflect two recent federal circuit court rulings (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al. $(Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al. v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al.$), No. 11-199, D. Del.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80461).

    Former Bear Stearns Auditor To Pay Nearly $20M To Settle Securities Law Claims

    NEW YORK - The former independent outside auditor for The Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. agreed June 11 to pay nearly $20 million to settle shareholder claims that it failed to accurately monitor the financial giant's internal controls with regard to Bear Stearns' issuance of risky subprime mortgage-backed securities in violation of federal securities law (In re Bear Stearns Companies Inc. Securities, Derivative, and ERISA Litigation, MDL No. 08-md-1963, No. 08-2793, S.D. N.Y.).

    Wells Fargo, BNY Mellon To Pay $106M In MedCap Ponzi Settlement

    SANTA ANA, Calif. - The receiver for Medical Capital Holdings Inc. (MedCap) said June 11 that he had reached a $106 million settlement with Wells Fargo Bank NA and Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), resolving allegations that the banks were complicit in MedCap's alleged Ponzi scheme (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Medical Capital Holdings Inc., et al., No. 09-00818, C.D. Calif.).

    Panel: Investors Failed To Plead Scienter In Securities Class Action Lawsuit

    BOSTON - Dismissal of a shareholder class action lawsuit against Textron Inc. and certain of its executive officers was proper because the shareholders failed to plead a material misrepresentation or scienter in claiming that the defendants violated federal securities law, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 7 (Automotive Industries Pension Trust Fund v. Textron Inc., et al., No. 11-2106, 1st Cir.).

    Court: Medical Evidence, Cigarette Smoking Support Denial Of Spouse's Claim

    NEW YORK - Medical evidence suggesting a man did not suffer asbestos exposure combined with expert testimony that cigarette smoking more likely contributed to his lung cancer sufficiently support a judge's denial of workers' compensation benefits, a New York appeals court held June 7 (In the Matter of the claim of Paula Connolly, et al. v. Hubert's Service Inc., et al., Workers' Compensation Board, No. 512610, N.Y. Sup., App. Div. 3rd Dept.; 2012 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 4352).

    Abuse Claims Facing Milwaukee Archdiocese 'Core' Bankruptcy Issue, Committee Says

    MILWAUKEE - The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee on June 8 filed a supplemental brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin opposing the archdiocese's motion to withdraw certain claims (In Re: Archdiocese of Milwaukee, No. 11-20059, Chapter 11, E.D. Wis. Bkcy.).

    Shareholder Says That Presuit Demand Would Have Been Futile In Merger Dispute

    WILMINGTON, Del. - A shareholder argues in a June 8 filing in a Delaware court that presuit demand to a board of directors would have been futile because a majority of the board is allegedly not disinterested (Joel A. Gerber v. EPE Holdings, LLC n/k/a Enterprise Products Holdings, LLC, et al., No. 3543-VCN, Del. Chanc.).

    Judge Finds No Interest Due On Homeowner's Claim, Dismisses Class Complaint

    CHARLESTON, S.C. - A policyholder "fail$(ed$) to state a plausible claim for relief" in his claims for breach of contract and bad faith against his homeowners insurer because he did not establish that the insurer had a duty to pay a disputed claim within 60 days or to pay any related interest amounts, a South Carolina federal judge ruled June 6, granting the insurer's dismissal motion (Brent J. Griffith v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 2:12-cv-00239, D. S.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78184).

    Theft, Not Pregnancy, Prompted Firing, Florida Federal Judge Finds

    TAMPA, Fla. - Although a former 7-Eleven Inc. employee established a prima facie case of pregnancy discrimination by her employer, the company provided a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for firing her, a Florida federal judge held June 7 in granting 7-Eleven summary judgment on all of the woman's claims (Katie M. Selkow v. 7-Eleven, Inc., No. 8:11-cv-456, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79265).