SAN FRANCISCO - In a Medicaid reimbursement case, a California appeals court on Feb. 28 affirmed a demurrer in favor of the defendant, saying that based on changes in law, states are not required to consider provider costs in setting reimbursement rates (Tim Keffeler, et al. v. Partnership Healthplan of California, No. A135536, Calif. App., 1st. Dist., Div.1; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 200).
SALT LAKE CITY - An expert's testimony that each specific exposure to asbestos a man described could have led to his disease differs from the type of general "every exposure" testimony that falls short of admissibility, a federal judge held Feb. 28 (Arva Anderson v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 06-741, D. Utah; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88457).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A California federal judge's construction of the term "program" as limited to application programs was erroneous, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 3 in reversing an award of summary judgment in favor of defendant Apple Inc. (Ancora Technologies Inc. v. Apple Inc., Nos. 13-1378, -1414, Fed. Cir.).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Feb. 28 partially dismissed as time-barred a class complaint filed by former employees of two now-defunct companies alleging they were denied pay and benefits owed under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1988 (Gregory Cleary, et al. v. American Capital, Ltd., No. 13-12652, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25990).
CINCINNATI - In an unpublished opinion, a panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 27 affirmed a denial of benefits, saying Medicare did not provide coverage for the equipment sought (Mary K. Woodfill v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, No. 13-3729, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3874).
PASADENA, Calif. - Extrinsic witness statements related to an alleged assault and battery case indicated that a claimant's "injuries might have been caused by events that would not fall under" an insurance policy's exception, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority held March 3, concluding, therefore, that the insurer's duty to defend was triggered because of the "possibility that the claim may be covered by the policy" (The Burlington Insurance Co. v. CHWC Inc. d/b/a Crazy Horse Restaurant and Nightclub, et al., No. 12-55285, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3941).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Feb. 28 severed and dismissed professional liability insurers' affirmative defenses based upon dishonest acts and public policy exclusions in a dispute seeking coverage for an insured's monetary settlement of underlying administrative proceedings by the Securities and Exchange Commission and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) arising from claims of illegal mutual-fund-trading practices (J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., et al. v. Vigilant Insurance Co., et al., No. 600979/09, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2014 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 796).
DETROIT - The bankrupt City of Detroit moved in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on March 3 for approval of an agreement with lenders UBS AG and Merrill Lynch Capital Services Inc. under which the city would pay an aggregate sum of $85 million in cash to satisfy the lenders' claims related to swap agreements valued at $288 million (In Re: City of Detroit, No. 13-53846, Chapter 9, E.D. Mich. Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS - A 2-1 panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 3 held that business and economic loss (BEL) class members seeking payouts under the $9.2 billion settlement for claims arising from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico do not need to submit evidence of causation based on the language in the settlement agreement (In re Deepwater Horizon, Nos. 13-30315, 13-30329, 13-31220, 13-31316, 5th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 4 reversed a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling and held that a bankruptcy court exceeded the limits of its authority when it ruled that $75,000 that was protected under the homestead exemption in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy should be used to pay the trustee's attorney fees (Stephen Law v. Alfred Siegel, No. 12-5196, Chapter 7, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The whistle-blower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) protects "employees of private contractors and subcontractors, just as it shelters employees of the public company served by the contractors and subcontractors," a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 4 (Jackie Hosang Lawson, et al. v. FMR LLC, et al., No. 12-3, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 1783).
LOS ANGELES - A California state court erred in granting summary judgment to a condominium developer on claims by condo unit owners that they were exposed to potential liability for a mechanics lien due to the developer's unfair conduct, a state appeals panel held Feb. 26 in reinstating unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Isak Beraze, et al. v. Wilshire Landmark, LLC, et al., No. B243782, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1354).
SAN FRANCISCO - The First District California Court of Appeal on Feb. 28 revived a wrongful death case involving a man who was killed in a tree-trimming accident, concluding that the trial court erred in determining that it did not have jurisdiction over the action (Amparo Rivera Mata v. Pacific Gas and Electric Co., et al., No. A138568, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 199).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A Kentucky appeals court panel on Feb. 28 refused to prohibit a trial court from allowing the state attorney general to use deemed admissions of liability against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma L.P. in a state court cost-recovery action (Purdue Pharma L.P., et al. v. Honorable Steven D. Combs, ex rel. Jack Conway, et al., No. 2013-CA-001941-OA, Ky. App.; 2014 Ky. App. LEXIS 35).
MIAMI - A man's successful settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit against his employer was nullified when his daughter's social network posting revealed that the man had violated the settlement's nondisclosure agreement, a Florida appeals panel ruled Feb. 26, declining to enforce the agreement (Gulliver Schools Inc., et al. v. Patrick Snay, No. 3D13-1952, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 2595).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 3 agreed to hear an appeal in a securities class action lawsuit, challenging whether a shareholder may allege only that a statement of opinion was objectively wrong under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933 or must the shareholder also allege that the statement at issue was subjectively false (Omnicare Inc., et al. v. The Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund and The Cement Masons Local 526 Combined Funds, No. 13-435, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 26 that a 401(k) plan participant's breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of the inclusion of proprietary mutual funds in the defined-contribution plan are barred by the six-year limitations period in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 413 (Barbara J. Fuller, et al. v. SunTrust Banks, Inc., et al., No. 12-16217, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3610).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Feb. 27 rejected a motion to reconsider certifying a class of employees suing Jenny Craig Inc. for federal and state wage violations after opining that the lead named plaintiff failed to successfully argue that there was new controlling law (Nashonna Coleman v. Jenny Craig, Inc., No. 11-1301, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26260).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Feb. 28 approved a $170,000 settlement of the overtime claims filed by firefighters against their employer (Kenneth Camp, et al. v. The City of Pelham, No. 10-1270, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25864).
PORTLAND, Maine - A woman need not isolate a manufacturer as the sole cause of injuries in an asbestos action nor describe alternative warnings that might have been available to it, a Maine federal judge held Feb. 27 (Tammie D. Soucy, et al. v. Briggs & Stratton Corp., et al., No. 13-68, D. Maine; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24958).
CHICAGO - An expert's testimony that every significant exposure to asbestos should be considered a cause differs significantly from the type of "each and every" testimony a defendant seeks to exclude from an asbestos case, an Illinois federal judge held Feb. 28 in permitting testimony from two experts (Marilyn F. Quirin, et al. v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-2633, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26218).
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - A Madison County jury on Feb. 28 returned a defense verdict for Crane Co., rejecting two brothers' contention that their father died after exposure to asbestos in the U.S. Navy, sources told Mealey Publications (Brian King, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 13-L-0031, Ill. Cir., Madison Co.).
NEW YORK - Societe Generale has agreed to pay $122 million to settle claims that certain of its subsidiaries misrepresented the investment quality of certain residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) it and other financial institutions sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in violation of state and federal law, according to a press release issued on Feb. 27 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) (Federal Housing Finance Agency, as conservator for the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., v. SG Americas Inc., et al., No. 11-6203, S.D. N.Y.).
ST. LOUIS - The federal government on Feb. 27 filed a brief with the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, urging the court to affirm the denial of a preliminary injunction in a case brought by a Missouri family challenging the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (Paul Wieland, et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 13-3528, 8th Cir.).
AKRON, Ohio - A putative disgorgement class of Marlboro Lights cigarette smokers cannot show a common injury to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3)'s requirement of predominance, an Ohio federal judge said in a Feb. 28 opinion denying plaintiffs' motion for class certification (Eva Marie Phillips v. Philip Morris Companies Inc., nka Altria Group, Inc., et al., No. 5:10CV1741, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25980).