NEW YORK - A chemical company filed a brief in New York federal court on Jan. 16 arguing that the district court should reconsider its ruling that determined that personal injury claims related to chemical exposure allegedly suffered on banana plantations were not barred by the statute of limitations (Tobias Bermudez Chavez, et al. v. Occidental Chemical Corporation, No. 17-3459, S.D. N.Y.).
BAY CITY, Mich. - A Michigan Indian tribe that won an $8.4 million award for Blue Cross Blue Shield's charging of hidden administrative fees for the tribe's employee benefit program had its request for attorney fees drastically reduced Jan. 17 by a federal judge, who slashed the fees by 75 percent because the tribe won only one of its four causes of action (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 1:16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7005).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 18 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability claimant is entitled to disability benefits but vacated the lower court's calculation of attorney fees and prejudgment interest awarded to the claimant after determining that the court's downward adjustment in the attorney fee award was not appropriate (Diahann L. Gross v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Nos. 16-2002, 16-1958, 1st Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1190).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Jan. 17 granted a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) barring the defendants' counsel in a wage-and-hour suit from contacting potential class members, finding that there could be irreparable harm (Tyrell Glass, et al. v. FMM Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 17-563, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8364).
LOS ANGELES - A judge erroneously required a company to prove that it had a federal defense, rather than just a colorable one, and improperly focused on the fact that asbestos-containing insulation was commercially available rather than the fact that it was applied to a military nuclear propulsion prototype, CBS Corp. told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Jan. 16 (Wayne Yocum, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 17-56344, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A New York court on Jan. 18 affirmed imposition of an adverse jury instruction as a sanction for a company's "egregious" loss or destruction of between 37 and 77 boxes of potential evidence involving its asbestos-containing pipe (Richard Warren v. Amchem Products Inc., et al., No. 5493N 40000/88 190281/14, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 351).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A lawyer's breach of contract claims arise from his allegation that his employer-provided health plan improperly denied coverage for cancer treatments and is preempted, a federal judge in South Carolina held Jan. 16 while retaining jurisdiction over the remaining claims as well (Daniel E. Speights, et al. v. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, No. 17-594, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6379).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - West-Ward Pharmaceutical Co. on Jan. 17 took aim at a cancer treatment patent while also requesting joinder to an inter partes review (IPR) by Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Inc., in which the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Jan. 3 instituted trial (West-Ward Pharmaceutical Co. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, No. IPR2018-00507, PTAB).
SAN FRANCISCO - Hydraulic fracturing trade groups filed a brief in California federal court on Jan. 16 arguing that decision by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to amend the compliance deadlines for what is known as the methane waste prevention rule was valid. The groups oppose the motion for preliminary injunction sought by environmental advocacy groups on grounds that it is "an extraordinary remedy" (Sierra Club, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 17-7187, N.D. Calif.).
TAMPA, Fla. - After finding that mortgage-related documents showed that two people had an interest in a property, a Florida federal judge on Jan. 16 refused to dismiss a bank's foreclosure action against them (Centennial Bank v. Bakerfield Custom Homes Corp., et al., No. 8:17-cv-01721, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7467).
NEW YORK - An insurer failed to establish its negligence and breach of fiduciary counterclaims against a reinsurance broker, a New York federal judge ruled Jan. 17, finding no special relationship between the parties (Holborn Corp. v. Sawgrass Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-09147, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7848).
DETROIT - In two opinions issued Jan. 16, a Michigan federal judge affirmed an arbitration award entered in favor of retirees who alleged that the termination of their health care benefits was a breach of a collective bargaining agreement (TRW Automotive U.S. LLC v. International Union et al., No. 13-12160, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6468; International Union et al., v. TRW Automotive U.S. LLC, No. 11-14630, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6483).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge lacks the power to impose deadlines on a federal agency's rule-making process related to a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) rule governing employee wellness program disclosures and discounts, the agency argues in a Jan. 16 brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (AARP v. United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 16-2113, D. D.C.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court on Jan. 18 reversed a trial court's order to transfer a medical malpractice and wrongful death suit to a different venue after finding that the court abused its discretion because there is no evidence that a trial in the original court would be "vexatious" (Paige Moody, et al. v. Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, No. 3580 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 28).
HANNIBAL, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on Jan. 18 dismissed a supplier in a C.R. Bard/Davol Inc. PerFix Plus products liability lawsuit, saying the supplier is not a subsidiary of the main defendants as the plaintiff alleges (Jonathan Greenwood v. Davol, Inc., et al., No. 17-39, E.D. Mo., Northern Div., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7748).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Twenty-two states on Jan. 16 petitioned the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to review the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality (State of New York, et al. v. Federal Communications Commission, et al., No. 18-1013, D.C. Cir.).
MIAMI - The majority of a Florida appeals court on Jan. 17 found that the opinions of a plaintiff's expert did not have sufficient evidentiary weight to be submitted to the jury, affirming a lower court's judgment notwithstanding a jury verdict in a lawsuit against a nursing facility and its administrators (Robert Siegel, etc., v. Cross Senior Care, Inc., et al., No. 3D16-600, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 498).
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Court of Appeals on Jan. 16 reversed a trial court's ruling in favor of insurers on fraud and bad faith claims because the insured's claims are based on the behavior of the insurer defendants in a separate breach of contract lawsuit and were not filed in an attempt to impermissibly attack the judgment in the breach of contract lawsuit (Kimberly S. Earl,et al., v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 36A01-1703-CT-542, Ind. App., 2018 Ind. App. LEXIS 9).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on Jan. 16 reduced by $500,000 the amount a company owner can recover for cleaning up a former steel manufacturing site and ruled that the former owner and operator is liable for 75 percent of past and future response costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) because it has not taken any steps to remediate the contamination and has refused the plaintiff company's requests for assistance (Valbruna Slater Steel Corporation, et al. v. Joslyn Manufacturing Company, et al., No. 10-cv-44-JD, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7063).
SAN FRANCISCO - The prelitigation requirements established under California's Right to Repair Act apply to an economic loss and property damage lawsuit brought by homeowners against the builder of 37 homes, the California Supreme Court ruled Jan. 18 in affirming a ruling staying the suit subject to the builder's ability to remedy the alleged defects (McMillin Albany LLC v. Superior Court of Kern County, No. S229762, Calif. Sup., 2018 Calif. LEXIS 211).