GULFPORT, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on June 15 denied an insurer's renewed motion to dismiss relators' False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit arising from Hurricane Katrina, rejecting the insurer's argument that the District Court should apply a per se rule that failure to follow the FCA seal requirements should result in dismissal (United States of America ex rel. Cori Rigsby and Kerri Rigsby v. State Farm, et al., No. 06-433, S.D. Miss., Southern Div.). Subscribers may view the memorandum opinion available within the full article.
BOSTON - The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will hire up to 30 female prison guards, set aside $736,000 for their back pay and develop a new physical abilities test to settle allegations by the United States that its physical testing discriminated against women applying for jobs in state prisons, according to a Massachusetts federal judge's June 18 order approving the settlement (United States of America v. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, et al., No. 09-11623, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83726).
NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 15 ruled that a personal injury judgment against the owner of a company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy was valid because the individual was the alter ego of the company (Abraham Flores v. Lorance W. Bodden, No. 11-40557, Chapter 11, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 12210).
ATLANTA - In a 4-3 decision reached June 18, the Georgia Supreme Court granted summary judgment for the defendant in a premises liability action, concluding that the record showed that a woman killed by an alligator on the defendant's property had knowledge of the threat of alligators within the community (The Landings Association Inc. v. Russell Williams, et al., No. S11G1263, Ga. Sup.; 2012 Ga. LEXIS 566).
PHOENIX - In an unpublished opinion, an Arizona appeals panel on June 14 reversed a decision in a consumer fraud case related to the purchase of health care insurance, saying the plaintiff had set forth sufficient allegations to support his claims (Alan Larkey v. Health Net Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 11-0523, Ariz. App., Div. 1; 2012 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 753).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 18 vacated and remanded the dismissal of a complaint alleging that state-created student loan corporations defrauded the U.S. Department of Education, explaining that a district court did not employ the proper analysis to determine whether each of the defendants is a state agency subject to suit under the False Claims Act (FCA) (United States of America ex rel. Jon H. Oberg v. Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corp., et al., No. 10-2320, 4th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 12290).
SAN DIEGO - The Fourth District California Court of Appeal on June 14 dismissed an appeal brought by a defendant in a construction defects action, ruling that "it is barred by the seller's post-judgment settlement with the buyers and satisfaction of judgment" (Christopher Smith, et al. v. The Walters Group, et al., No. D058693, Calif. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4461).
DENVER - Finding that "a trial-worthy dispute" exists as to whether an insurance policy was in effect at the time of a construction accident, a Colorado federal judge on June 14 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment on bad faith claims against it (Douglas Adams, et al. v. Cline Agency Inc., et al., No. 1:10-cv-02758, D. Colo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82306).
SAVANNAH, Ga. - An insurer must disclose four claims related to its handling of water leaks because the insureds' request for the information is not unreasonable and is related to the insureds' bad faith claim, a Georgia federal magistrate justice said June 14 (Ricky Southard, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 11-243, S.D. Ga.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83058).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - It makes no sense to apply California's unfair competition law (UCL) to homeowner association elections that involve no commercial activity, a state appeals court held June 15 (Dinh Ton That v. Alders Maintenance Association, No. G044799, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 708).
BOSTON - A federal magistrate judge in Massachusetts on June 15 dismissed a woman's wrongful foreclosure action after finding that she lacked standing to challenge the assignment of her mortgage loan and that under Massachusetts law, a loan servicer can initiate foreclosure proceedings without holding both the mortgage and promissory note (Marie Dumorne Armand v. Homecomings Financial Network, et al., No. 12-10457-LTS, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83220).
LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on June 14 announced that an English magistrates court fined a licensed asbestos removal contractor for putting workers at risk to exposure.
LOS ANGELES - The Second District California Court of Appeal on June 14 dismissed an appeal filed by a defendant in a construction defects action, ruling that the company attempted to appeal from a nonappealable order (Oak Springs Villas Homeowners Association v. Advanced Truss Systems Inc., et al., No. B234568, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 692).
SAN FRANCISCO - Citing evidence that a patent holder's expert witness had access to confidential information while serving as a consultant for a company now owned by the accused infringer, a California federal judge on June 15 granted in part a motion to disqualify (Oracle America Inc. et al. v. DrugLogic Inc., No. 11-910, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A pharmaceutical sales representative, or detailer, falls under the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) definition of an "outside salesman" and is not owed overtime compensation, a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 18, rejecting the DOL's interpretation of its own regulations (Michael Shane Christopher, et al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation, dba GlaxoSmithKline No. 11-204, U.S. Sup.).
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BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal judge in Louisiana on June 14 dismissed a suit seeking damages from the Educational Credit Management Corp. (ECM) arising from its actions in attempting to collect student loan debt because the ECM is not a "debt collector" as defined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.S. §§1692 et seq. (Harold Lasserre Jr. v. Educational Credit Management Corp., No. 12-0091, M.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83043).
NEW YORK - The federal bankruptcy judge in New York presiding over the Chapter 11 proceeding of the Eastman Kodak Co. on June 15 denied Kodak's motion seeking an order pursuant to 11 U.S. Code Section 105(a) approving the sale of certain patents related to digital cameras (In Re: Eastman Kodak Company, No. 12-10202, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full article.
WILMINGTON, Del. - Bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra LLC on June 15 moved the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to officially enter an order on extending and increasing its post-petition financing based on an agreement Solyndra had reached with the U.S. trustee and other parties (In Re: Solyndra LLC, No. 11-12799, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.). Subscribers may view the motion available within the full article.
NEW YORK - Bankrupt Residential Capital LLC (ResCap) on June 14 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York rebutting objections to its plan to sell assets, arguing that the sale it proposes will not "chill" the bidding by entities interested in being potential stalking horses (In Re: Residential Capital LLC, No. 12-12020, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.). Subscribers may view the brief available within the full article.
ASHLAND, Ky. - A motion to dismiss a failure-to-warn lawsuit filed by the manufacturers of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) compounds used to treat utility poles and cross-arms was denied June 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky (Lloyd McCarty, et uxor v. Arch Wood Protection Inc., et al., No. 11-109, E.D. Ky.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83150).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel on June 13 affirmed a lower court's ruling that two excess insurance policies unambiguously exclude coverage for a school board insured's flood losses and damage arising from Hurricane Katrina (Orleans Parish School Board v. Lexington Insurance Company, et al., No. 2011-CA-1753, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 855).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 15 reversed and remanded a lower federal court's ruling in favor of a professional liability insurer in a finance company insured's lawsuit seeking indemnification for an underlying $2.5 million class action settlement (Flagship Credit Corp. v. Indian Harbor Insurance Co., No. 11-20408, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 12201).
RALEIGH, N.C. - The North Carolina Supreme Court on June 14 held that a sexual abuse victim can testify, without supporting expert psychiatric testimony, that for some time he or she could not recall a memory or had no memory of an incident but that the witness cannot testify that the memories were repressed or recovered (State of North Carolina v. Melvin Charles King, No. 385A11, N.C. Sup.; 2012 N.C. LEXIS 418).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on June 14 certified a class of investors in a class action lawsuit against Regions Financial Corp. and certain current and former executive officers for alleged violations of federal securities law, ruling that the investors have met the statutory requirements for certification (Local 703, I.B. of T. Grocery and Food Employees Welfare Fund v. Regions Financial Corp., et al., No. 10-2847, N.D. Ala.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82135).
TEXARKANA, Texas - A trial court abused its discretion when it admitted a police officer's testimony that a swab test he conducted on a drug dealer defendant's clothing tested positive for cocaine, a Sixth District Texas Court of Appeal panel held June 13 (Aldrendo Gill v. State of Texas, No. 06-11-00213-CR, Texas App., 6th Dist.; 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 4662).