CHICAGO - Illinois law permits an insurer seeking declaratory judgment as to its coverage obligations to conduct discovery for evidence outside the underlying complaints as to whether a claimant qualifies as an insured, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 22, reversing a trial court's judgment in favor of the claimant (Landmark American Insurance Co. v. Peter Hilger, No. 15-2566, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17343).
OMAHA, Neb. - A toxicology expert may testify on his opinion regarding the alleged wrongful death of a woman as a result of negligent drug prescription care, a Nebraska federal magistrate judge held Sept. 22, refusing to exclude the testimony because it is not speculative (Brian Crawford as personal representative of the estate of Hilary Crawford, deceased v. Safeway Inc., No. 14-5001, D. Neb.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129674).
LOS ANGELES - Two Wells Fargo Bank employees filed a class complaint in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Sept. 22 accusing the banking giant's leaders of creating a fraudulent scheme that cheated customers and drove up the stock price and then firing the low-level employees who refused to participate in the scheme and seeking $2.6 billion in damages (Alexander Polonsky, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank & Company, et al., No. BC634475, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 23 granted final approval of a class settlement reached between Whirlpool and its consumers who allege that a defect caused mold and mildew to grow inside their front-load washing machines, which will provide consumers with the option of a cash payment, rebate or costs reimbursement (In re: Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation, No. 08-65000, N.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130467).
JACKSON, Miss. - A judge erred by relying on a previously reversed ruling in deciding to once again wipe out a $3,856,346.17 verdict in an asbestos drilling mud case, the Mississippi Supreme Court held Sept. 22 (Elsie Smith, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 2014-CA-01371-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2016 Miss. LEXIS 399).
NEW YORK - The assignee of certain reinsurance recoverables of an insolvent insurer told a federal court in Illinois on Sept. 22 that it is appealing to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals the court's holding that the assignee had not shown that leave to amend its complaint should be granted after a motion for summary judgment had been decided (Pine Top Receivables of Illinois, LLC v. Banco De Seguros Del Estado, No. 12-cv-06357, N.D. Ill.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In a Sept. 24 petition for post-grant review (PGR) filed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, a company specializing in shock absorbers for mountain bikes takes aim at a patent that discloses a solitary chainring of a front crankset of a bicycle drivetrain (FOX Factory Inc. v. SRAM LLC, No. PGR2016-00043, PTAB).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge held Sept. 23 that all claims in an underlying class action complaint alleging that an insured violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) fall under a TCPA policy exclusion, granting two insurers' motions for summary judgment (Regent Insurance Co., et al. v. Integrated Pain Management, S.C., et al., No. 14-1759, E.D. Mo., Eastern Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130291).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Sept. 26 refused to reconsider dismissal of an action in which borrowers failed to amend their claim for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) by the deadline set by the court, finding nothing that would warrant reconsideration (Mazen Shahin, et al. v. PNC Bank N.A., et al., No. 13-1404, D, Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131620).
DETROIT - After finding that a borrower had no right to rescission under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and that many of his claims lacked merit and detail, a Michigan federal judge on Sept. 26 granted a motion to dismiss his complaint (Dante K. Muhammad v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 16-11073, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130948).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California appellate panel on Sept. 23 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment to a hospital and an ambulance company after finding that the claims filed by a man who injured himself falling off of a gurney were filed beyond the statute of limitations (Manuel Nava v. Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, et al., No. G052218, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7003).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A trial judge did not err in excluding testimony of a victim's alleged prior acts of violence and sexual misconduct or by barring a psychologist's testimony regarding transgender identity transformation, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Sept. 22, upholding a murder conviction (Matthew Smith a/k/a Maddie Smith v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, No. 2015-SC000451-MR, Ky. Sup.; 2016 Ky. Unpub. LEXIS 73).
DETROIT - A Michigan appellate panel on Sept. 22 reversed a lower court's grant of summary judgment to a man who owns and operates a haunted maze after finding that the court improperly rejected evidence that shows that a man who broke his leg in the maze was not warned about a dangerous and slippery area of the maze (Michael Davis, et al. v. Jeffrey Lenhart, No. 329092, Mich. App.; 2016 Mich. App. LEXIS 1776).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Because sewage is not considered a pollutant under Alabama law, a pollution exclusion cannot be asserted as a bar to coverage for two underlying lawsuits alleging injuries from sewage exposure, an Alabama federal judge said Sept. 22 (Evanston Insurance Co. v. J&J Cable Construction LLC, et al., No. 15-506, M.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129371).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Sept. 22 denied an insurer's motion for interlocutory appeal on the issue of allocation in an asbestos coverage case after determining that an appeal would serve only to delay and not advance the case (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. The Fairbanks Co., Nos. 13-3755, 15-1141, S.D. N.Y.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California did not apply too narrow of a standard when denying an environmental group's request for $1.2 million in attorney fees and costs in a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit, another federal judge held Sept. 23 in denying the group's motion to reconsider the decision, holding that the group did not provide proper documentation to support the requested amount (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Chico Scrap Metal Inc., et al., No. 10-cv-01207-GEB-AC, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130807).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - No coverage is afforded for water and mold damages that occurred within a vacation home because the insureds did not have a water shut-off valve to turn off the home's main water supply while the home was unoccupied, a District of Columbia federal judge said Sept. 26, noting that the policy required the home's main water supply to be shut off while the home was unoccupied (Vasilli Katopothis, et al. v. Windsor-Mount Joy Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-380, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130907).
TYLER, Texas - A doctor who was recently resentenced to 135 months in prison for submitting false claims to Medicare and Medicaid was ordered by a federal judge in Texas on Sept. 26 to pay $1.3 million to the government for violations of the False Claims Act (FCA) (United States of America v. Tariq Mahmood, No. 15-cv-948, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141158).
CINCINNATI - A motion by Time Inc. to dismiss the appeal of a ruling in its favor in a privacy class action was denied Sept. 22, with a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel finding that the magazine publisher's arguments went to the jurisdiction of the trial court, not the appeals court (Rose Coulter-Owens, et al. v. Time, Inc., No. 16-1321, 6th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 22 vacated a trial court's partial dismissal and denial of class certification rulings issued in a lawsuit by foreign nationals who claim that attempts to deport them following criminal convictions are unconstitutional (Garfield Gayle, et al. v. Warden Monmouth County Correctional Institution, et al., No. 15-1785, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17321).