SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on March 15 ruled that lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against BP PLC, one of its subsidiaries and two former executive officers have failed to properly plead scienter in making their claims that the defendants misrepresented the extent of two Alaskan oil spills in violation of federal securities law (Claude A. Reese, et al. v. John Browne, et al., No. 08-1008, W.D. Wash.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 16 reversed a district court ruling that an alleged discriminatory denial of severance benefits did not constitute an adverse employment action (Karla Gerner v. County of Chesterfield, Virginia, No. 11-1218, 4th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5559).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 14 reversed a trial court's denial of a motion to compel arbitration in a wage-and-hour collective action, finding that the district court erred when it found genuine disputes of material fact that might render the arbitration agreement unconscionable and unenforceable (Janice Quilloin, et al. v. Tenet HealthSystem Philadelphia, Inc., et al., No. 11-1393, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5353).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 16 affirmed the dismissal of claims against a law firm that was hired by Discover Bank to collect on a credit card debt (Heather Hemmingsen v. Messerli & Kramer, P.A., No. 11-2029, 8th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5502).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said in a ruling filed March 14 that a federal judge did not abuse her discretion in requiring a man to make monthly payments of $2,016.50 during an injunction period on the foreclosure of his home because the amount of the payments is close to that which was provided under a temporary loan modification agreement (Mohammad A. Mazed v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. 11-56647, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5309).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An "equally divided" en banc Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 15 affirmed findings of infringement relating to a naturally occurring polysaccharide polymer, reversing its position just six months after issuing an initial ruling in the dispute (Marine Polymer Technologies Inc. v. HemCon Inc., No. 10-1548, Fed. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5567).
MINNEAPOLIS - Citibank has agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle a proposed class action suit accusing the bank of charging excessive interest on student loans made to armed forces members in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), according to a document filed March 15 in a Minnesota federal court (Olson v. Citibank $(New York State$), et al., No. 12-02992).
SAN DIEGO - A consumer has failed to plead any of his state credit-reporting act and unfair competition law claims against his former lender and three credit-reporting agencies, a federal judge in California ruled March 14 in dismissing the consumer's amended complaint with prejudice (Ronnie Miller v. Bank of America, National Association, et al., No. 11-2588, S.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34412).
SCRANTON, Pa. - Because a plaintiff only stated a statutory bad faith claim and not a common law bad faith claim in her complaint, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on March 14 found that the claim was barred under a two-year statute of limitations (Monica Cozzone, D.O. v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Society of the United States, et al., No. 3:10-cv-2388, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34526).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In light of a motion by Google Inc. to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate and transfer 12 privacy cases against it to California federal court, a District of Columbia federal judge on March 15 granted a joint motion by Google and the plaintiff in one of those cases to stay the case pending a decision by the panel (Kevin Jacobsen v. Google Inc., No. 1:12-cv-00351, D. D.C.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on March 16 remanded to bankruptcy court a $40 million adversary proceeding brought by the Chapter 11 trustee of bankrupt law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt & Adler (RRA). The trustee alleges that hedge fund managers capitalized on a Ponzi scheme run by RRA partner Scott Rothstein (Herbert Stettin v. Regent Capital Partners LLC $(In Re: Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler$), No. 11-62612, Chapter 11, S.D. Fla.).
PORT HURON, Mich. - The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) does not preempt a Michigan woman's state law breach of contract claim because her allegations are based on Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc.'s alleged breach of a trial period plan (TPP) rather than a violation of the statute itself, a federal judge ruled March 14 in denying in part the defendants' motion for summary judgment (Patricia Bolone v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc., et al., No. 11-10663, E.D. Mich.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34272).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 15 affirmed a magistrate judge's decision to deny a hospital's request to vacate an arbitration award in a reimbursement dispute with a health insurer (Baylor Health Care System, et al. v. Equitable Plan Services Inc., No. 11-3023, N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35706).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on March 16 remanded a wage-and-hour class action complaint filed by pharmacy employees to state court because the employer failed to show that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million (David Romulus, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., et al., No. 11-11734, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35220).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on March 14 dismissed without prejudice putative class action claims that Motorola Mobility Inc. induced consumers to buy or keep a phone they otherwise would not have by misrepresenting plans to upgrade the phones' Android operating system (Elyse Wood, et al. v. Motorola Mobility Inc., No. 11-4409-YGR, N.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO - Although the insurers in an underlying lawsuit ultimately paid to settle a default judgment against one of the defendants, a panel in the Fourth District California Court of Appeal held that he did not provide the necessary "substantial evidence" to show that the insurers had assumed a duty to defend or that coverage had been determined by the court to support a bad faith claim (Donald DeWitt v. Monterey Insurance Co., et al., No. D057887, Calif. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 283).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Asserting his authorship and ownership of a legal document that he filed in a 2003 lawsuit, a lawyer on March 14 sued a legal research firm in Connecticut federal court, claiming that its online publication of the document constituted copyright infringement (David J. Heinlein v. West Publishing Corp., No. 3:12-cv-00386, D. Conn.).
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Court of Appeals on March 13 overturned summary judgment for the defendants in a premises liability action, ruling that a man injured as he was leaving the property remained an invitee (Ralph Winfrey v. NLMP Inc., et al., No. 06A01-1103-PL-132, Ind. App.; 2012 Ind. App. LEXIS 94).
GRETNA, La. - The Fifth Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal on March 13 reversed a summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer after determining that genuine issues of factual dispute exist regarding the cause of a sewage backup and bacterial contamination at the insureds' home (Matthew Mason, et al. v. Bankers Insurance Group, No. 11-CA-704, La. App., 5th Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 320).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A federal judge in Tennessee on March 13 granted summary judgment to a mobile home manufacturer and partially granted summary judgment to a company that sold the home to a couple who claim that the property was riddled with numerous construction defects (Dan Bennett, et al. v. CMH Homes Inc., et al., No. 3:08-cv-01212, M.D. Tenn.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33314).
SAN FRANCISCO - Although a California federal judge on March 13 held that a woman seeking long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not collaterally estopped from litigating contract claims against her insurer, the judge granted summary judgment to the insurer on her bad faith and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims against it (Wendy Collier v. Reliastar Life Insurance Co., No. 3:11-cv-01760, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33577).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on March 14 granted a motion to stay a case filed by Peruvian children who allege that they suffered injuries as a result of toxic exposures from a mine in Peru, pending appeal to a U.S. appeals court of the judge's previous decision to refuse their application to stay the case pending international arbitration and finding that the children were not bound by arbitration (A.O.A., et al. v. Doe Run Resources Corporation, et al., Nos. 4:11CV44 CDP,4:11CV45 CDP,4:11CV46 CDP,4:11CV47 CDP,4:11CV48 CDP,4:11CV49 CDP,4:11CV50 CDP,4:11CV52 CDP,4:11CV55 CDP,4:11CV56 CDP,4:11CV59 CDP, E.D. Mo.; 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140562).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A divided Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal panel ruled March 14 that certification of the class action claims of East Baton Rouge residents for exposure to sulfuric acid following a February 1999 refinery release was in error in part based on the record (Henry T. Stewart III, et al. v. Rhodia Inc., et al., No. 11-434 $(consolidated$), La. App., 1st Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 346).
NEW YORK - The Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. face a substantial likelihood of success in overturning a federal judge's denial of their $285 million settlement agreement, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 15 in a per curiam opinion (United States Securities & Exchange Commission v. Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Nos. 11-5227, 11-5375 and 11-5242, 2nd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 14 revisited and, acting sua sponte en banc, vacated its 2006 ruling in Zoltek Corp. v. United States (442 F.3d 1345 $(Fed. Cir. 2006$)) (Zoltek III), in what it deemed "the continuing saga" of an inventor's patent infringement case against the U.S. government (The Zoltek Corporation v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, No. 09-5135, Fed. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5361).