HOUSTON - A resolution extending benefits to optional employees is valid and places an asbestos case brought on behalf of a former judge under the exclusivity provision of the workers' compensation system, a government entity told a Texas appeals court on Nov. 15 (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
RICHMOND, Va. - Shareholders in a securities class action lawsuit against an energy provider and its CEO have failed to show that the CEO acted with the requisite scienter in misrepresenting to investors that the company had secured a contract renewal with a large customer because they have not shown that he knew his statements were misleading at the time he made them, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 15 in affirming a federal judge's dismissal of the action (Maguire Financial LP, et al. v. PowerSecure International Inc., et al., No. 16-2163, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22968).
SEATTLE - An employer's use of a workweek average to arrive at the appropriate pay rate for employees doesn't violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it provides employees with wages that meet the minimum wage, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 15, noting that whether the employees have a contract claim is beyond the scope of the interlocutory appeal (Kristy Douglas, et al. v. Xerox Business Services, LLC, et al., No. 16-35425, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22967).
CHICAGO - The owner of assisted living facilities violates the Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting biometric data, one former employee alleges in a class complaint filed Nov. 14 in the Cook County, Ill., Circuit Court (Jonnae Taylor, et al. v. Sunrise Senior Living Management, Inc., et al., No. 2017-CH-15152, Ill. Cir., Cook Co., Chancery Div.).
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Nov. 16 returned a verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson in the first ever cosmetic-talc asbestos case taken to trial against the company, while also handing a defense verdict to the company that mined the raw talc, sources told Mealey Publications (Tina Herford, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. BC646315, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
HOUSTON - A Texas oil and gas exploration and production company on Nov. 17 said that enforcement proceedings to confirm a $2,026,126.32 international arbitral award have been completed and that it will receive payment of the total award.
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 16 granted a disability insurer's motion to transfer a disability claimant's suit to New Jersey federal court after determining that New Jersey is the more convenient forum for the parties and for the witnesses (Ernest Tarasovsky v. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, No. 17-03464, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189926).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 15 dismissed a bad faith claim alleged against a homeowners insurer after determining that the insureds failed to prove that the insurer acted unreasonably by paying for only a portion of the insureds' kitchen floor following a flood at the insureds' home (Steven Barnwell et al. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-4739, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188427).
NEW YORK - The New York Department of Investigation (DOI) on Nov. 15 issued a report indicating that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) failed to conduct mandatory safety inspections for lead paint during a four-year period beginning in 2013 but falsified reports to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stating that the NYCHA was in compliance with federal laws pertaining to those inspections.
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 14 granted a Bulgarian machine-building company's petition to confirm a $2,119,167.79 international arbitral award issued against a California company, finding that enforcement of the award was not against public policy (TMCO Ltd. v. Green Light Energy Solutions R&D Corp., No. 4:17-cv-00997, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188362).
BEAUMONT, Texas - A panel of the Ninth District Texas Court of Appeals on Nov. 16 affirmed a verdict in favor of a hospital where a man was given an injection and developed severe pain in his leg following the injection after finding that the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence (Lonnie D. Rodgers Sr. v. The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, No. 09-16-00276-CV, Texas App., 9th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 10764).
LOS ANGELES - A homeowner "who is aware, long before a rainstorm occurs and causes damage, of possible leakage" caused by construction defects cannot reasonably expect an insurer to pay for repairs on the theory that rainwater, and not the defects, caused the damage, a California appeals panel affirmed Nov. 14 (Simon Cohen, et al. v. Pacific Specialty Insurance Co., No. B276060, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7779).
WICHITA, Kan. - A plaintiff in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit against its former employee and direct competitor has failed to show that expedited discovery is warranted in the action under Kansas' reasonableness or good cause test because, among other things, the plaintiff's discovery sought is overly broad, a federal magistrate judge in Kansas ruled Nov. 15 in denying the plaintiff's motion for expedited discovery (HydroChem LLC v. Loren Keating, et al., No. 17-1281, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188467).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on Nov. 15 affirmed a $500,000 verdict in a medical malpractice suit after finding that the trial court did not err by excluding the credibility evidence of the expert of a woman who claimed that a doctor breached the standard of care that caused her husband's death (Wynona Johnson v. Tyrone Tucker M.D., et al., No. 51,723-CA, La. App., 2nd Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 2056).
SAN DIEGO - A California appeals panel on Nov. 14 reversed an entry of summary judgment to an insurer on its duty to defend construction defect claims under subcontractors' policies but affirmed summary judgment to a second insurer, finding that it has no duty to defend (McMillin Management Services L.P., et al. v. Financial Pacific Insurance Co., et al., No. D069814, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 1000).
LOS ANGELES - A Santa Ana, Calif.-based business will pay $105,000 to end claims that it paid a female sales representative less than her male co-worker, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Nov. 15, one day after the consent decree of order was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Spec Formliners, Inc., et al., No. 16-2066, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Nov. 14 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss a bad faith claim alleged against an insurer by an insured in an auto coverage dispute suit after determining that questions of fact exists as to whether the insurer acted reasonably in handling the insured's claim for underinsured motorist benefits (Lika Oung v. Allstate Fire & Casualty Insurance Co., et al, No. 16-1200, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188393).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 15 found that the presence of an embezzlement counterclaim in a dispute between an employer insured and its former employee fails to generate a conflict of interest that entitles the insured to separate counsel to defend against an underlying wrongful termination lawsuit at its employment practices liability insurer's expense (Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Co. v. VisionAid Inc., 15-1351, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22906).
AMHERST, S.D. - TransCanada Corp. announced Nov. 16 that it shut down its Keystone pipeline after it experienced a leak in South Dakota that resulted in an oil spill of 210,000 gallons, or 5,000 barrels, of oil.
DALLAS - A Texas federal jury on Nov. 16 awarded six plaintiffs $247.49 million in the fourth multidistrict litigation bellwether trial involving the DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle hip (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 11-md-02244, Ramon Alicea, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics., Inc., et al., No. 15-03489, Uriel Barzel v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 16-1245, Karen Kirschner v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 16-1526, Hazel Miura v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-4119, Michael A. Stevens v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 14-1776, Eugene Stevens Jr. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, et al., No. 14-2341, N.D. Texas).