LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Issues Of Fact Exist On Insurer's Liability, New York Appellate Division Says

NEW YORK - The First Department New York Supreme Court Appellate Division on Nov. 28 reversed a trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss an insurer's claim seeking a declaration that no coverage is owed to its insured for an underlying contribution claim in an environmental contamination dispute because issues in the underlying suit must be litigated before the insurer's claim can be decided (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., v. Compaction Systems Corporation of New Jersey, et al., No. 5066, 107838/09, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8352).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Starbucks Meal Break Class Suit Survives Dismissal Motion Despite Delay In Service

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Nov. 21 declined to dismiss a class suit challenging Starbucks Corp.'s meal break practice despite a months-long delay in serving the summons on the defendant, finding that the delay was not so long as to warrant dismissal (Kileigh Carrington, et al. v. Starbucks Corporation, et al., No. 16-3074, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192892).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Patent Board Sides With Petitioner, Deems 10 Claims Unpatentable

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A challenge by EMC Corp. of a multiprocessor system patent was successful on Nov. 24, when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed in a final written decision that 10 claims would have been obvious to a person of skill in the art (EMC Corporation v. Intellectual Ventures II LLC, No. IPR2016-01106, PTAB).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Starbucks Meal Break Class Suit Survives Dismissal Motion Despite Delay In Service

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Nov. 21 declined to dismiss a class suit challenging Starbucks Corp.'s meal break practice despite a months-long delay in serving the summons on the defendant, finding that the delay was not so long as to warrant dismissal (Kileigh Carrington, et al. v. Starbucks Corporation, et al., No. 16-3074, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192892).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - U.S. High Court Won't Review Whether Bellwether Trials Of IVC Cases Trigger CAFA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 27 declined to review lower court rulings that the consolidation of inferior vena cava (IVC) filter cases for individual bellwether trials does not convert the cases into a mass action under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), (Cordis Corporation v. Jerry Dunson, et al., No. 17-257, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - U.S. High Court Won't Review Whether Bellwether Trials Of IVC Cases Trigger CAFA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 27 declined to review lower court rulings that the consolidation of inferior vena cava (IVC) filter cases for individual bellwether trials does not convert the cases into a mass action under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), (Cordis Corporation v. Jerry Dunson, et al., No. 17-257, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Dismisses UCL, HBOR Foreclosure Claims For Failure To Oppose

SAN DIEGO - After a borrower failed to respond to motions filed by lenders and loan servicers to dismiss claims related to an alleged wrongful foreclosure, a California federal judge on Nov. 20 dismissed his claims for violation of California's unfair competition law, negligence and other claims (Mark Burchard v. Quality Loan Service Corporation, et al., No. 17cv1780, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191737).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Insurer Owes Trustee $3.5M In Policy Limits, Attorney Fees For Coverage Dispute

OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 16 entered a judgment of more than $3.5 million against an insurance company in a dispute over the amount of coverage owed to a company's liquidating trust for asbestos personal injury claims, including attorney fees and a $60,000 penalty for the insurer's "vexatious and unreasonable conduct" in the case (In re CFB Liquidating Corporation, f/k/a Chicago Fire Brick Co., et al., No. 01-45483, [Barry A. Chatz, as Trustee for the CFB/WFB Liquidating Trust v. Continental Casualty Company, No. 15-4136] N.D. Calif. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 3938).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Remands Indefiniteness Holding By Delaware Federal Judge

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judgment of patent invalidity based upon findings that certain language in a patented catalytic conversion system is indefinite was reversed Nov. 20 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (BASF Corporation v. Johnson Matthey Inc., No. 16-1770, Fed. Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Class Certification Not 'Ripe' For Decision In Drinking Water Case, Judge Says

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on Nov. 16 ruled that a group of plaintiffs asserting claims of personal injury from exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), vinyl chloride, benzene and other chemicals is not entitled to class certification (Opal Millman v. United Technologies Corporation, et al., No. 16-312, N.D. Ind.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189638).

Mealey's IP/Tech - On Remand From Supreme Court, Federal Circuit Affirms Noninfringement Judgment

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a reversal of its previous findings, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 13 upheld a Wisconsin federal judge's decision to deny a new trial on damages and infringement of various genetic testing kit patents (Promega Corporation v. Life Technologies Corp., No. 13-1011, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22635).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 4th Circuit Upholds Employer's Right To Amend Deferred Pay Plan's Crediting Rate

RICHMOND, Va. - An employer acted within its rights and did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it amended a deferred compensation plan's applicable crediting rate, affecting all, even retired, plan participants, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 8 (Jeffrey Plotnick, et al. v. Computer Sciences Corporation Deferred Compensation Plan for Key Executives, et al., No. 16-1606, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22500).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Delaware Federal Magistrate Judge: Dismiss Patent Case Against Home Depot

WILMINGTON, Del. - Allegations that Home Depot U.S.A. Inc. directly infringed various method claims of two patents by providing installation guides and videos on its website for accused luxury vinyl tile and wood plastic composite flooring products should be dismissed, a Delaware federal magistrate judge ruled Nov. 9 (Valinge Innovation AB v. Halstead New England Corporation, et al., No. 16-1082, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185826).

Mealey's Insurance - California Panel: No Coverage Owed For Suits Alleging Liability For Opioid Epidemic

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California appeals panel on Nov. 6 affirmed a lower court's finding that commercial general liability insurers have no duty to defend pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors against two underling lawsuits alleging that they engaged in a fraudulent scheme to promote the use of opioids for long-term pain to increase corporate profits, finding that the underlying actions can be read only as being based on the insureds' deliberate and intentional conduct that produced injuries that were neither unexpected nor unforeseen (The Traveler's Property Casualty Company of America, et al. v. Actavis Inc., et al., No. G053749, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 976).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - ICSID To Hold Merits Hearing In Treaty Arbitration Commenced Against Uruguay

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Nov. 6 announced that a hearing on jurisdiction and the merits will soon be held in a dispute over an investment in a telecommunications enterprise between a corporation and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (Itabla Corp. v. Oriental Republic of Uruguay, No. ARB/16/9, ICSID).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Judge: Nonprofit Energy Companies Sufficiently Stated Claims Over Costs

BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana on Nov. 3 denied Louisiana Generating LLC's motion for a more definite statement, finding that two nonprofit energy cooperative corporations sufficiently stated claims that the defendant company may have violated power supply and service agreements by charging them for costs associated with the remediation of environmental conditions at the Big Cajun II generating plant (Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative, Inc., et al. v. Louisiana Generating, LLC, No. 17-405-JJB-RLB, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182387).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 6th Circuit: No CAFA Minimal Diversity In Pet Food Class Lawsuit

CINCINNATI - A pet food maker incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Tennessee failed to demonstrate minimal diversity required under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) in a class complaint brought on behalf of a Tennessee class, an Ohio federal judge ruled Nov. 2, opining that nothing in CAFA changes the rule established in 28 U.S. Code Section 1332(c)(1) that a corporation is a citizen of its state of incorporation and its principal place of business (Randy Roberts v. Mars Petcare US, Inc., No. 17-6122, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21926).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 2nd Circuit Affirms: Claimed Trade Dress Is Functional, Unprotectable

NEW YORK - A New York federal judge did not err in determining, following a bench trial, that a declaratory judgment plaintiff's bag closure products do not infringe or dilute a competitor's trade dress, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded Nov. 2 (Schutte Bagclosures Inc. and Schutte Bagclosures B.V. v. Kiwk Lok Corporation, No. 16-2767, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21864).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 9th Circuit: FedEx Must Pay Bonus Pilot Would Have Earned Without Military Service

PASADENA, Calif. - A Federal Express Corp. (FedEx) pilot, who served in the reserves, is owed the signing bonus he would have earned in a new position had his training not been delayed due to being called up for active duty, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 2, affirming a trial court judge's ruling (Dale Huhmann v. Federal Express Corporation, No. 15-56744, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21955).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Alternative Burden For Remediation Of MTBE-Tainted Water 'Not Supported'

TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Nov. 1 denied ExxonMobil Corp.'s and ExxonMobil Oil Corp.'s motion for partial summary judgment regarding damages associated with remediation costs pertaining to groundwater contamination caused by methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), concluding that the defendants' proposed alternative burden for determining proper remediation was "not supported by good cause" (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Amerada Hess Corporation, No. 15-6468, D. N.J.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180986).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Rejects Chevron's Request That Ecuadorian Claimants Post Security Costs

TORONTO - The Ontario Court of Appeals on Oct. 31 found that in the interests of justice, a group of Ecuadorian claimants, who are attempting to enforce a $9.5 billion environmental damage ruling in their favor, should not be required to post security costs and denied a request by Chevron Corp. and its subsidiary seeking costs (Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation, No. 2017 ONCA 827, Ontario App.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - California Appellate Court Affirms Defense Verdict In Cut Pinky Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES - In an unpublished opinion issued Oct. 31, a California appellate panel affirmed a defense verdict in favor of Target Corp. in a premises liability suit because the woman who cut herself on a price sign failed to file the complete record with her appeal (Mahnaz Sadanian v. Target Corporation, No. B268653, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7467).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Argentine Judge Refuses To Recognize Ecuadorian Award In Lago Agrio Case

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - A judge in Argentina on Oct. 31 rejected and refused to recognize a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for remediation damages, which was handed down in an Ecuadorian court in a case brought by an attorney representing a group of residents who contend that the company injured them while conducting oil operations in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador (Aguinda Salazar Maria, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 97260/2012, Nat. Civ. Ct. No. 61, Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Video Surveillance System Patent Is Obvious, Petitioners Tell Board

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Three petitioners, including Canon Inc., took aim on Oct. 31 at a patented video surveillance system that extracts "primitives" from a video, in a new petition for inter partes review before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Axis Communications AB, et al., v. Avigilon Fortress Corporation, No. IPR2018-00138, PTAB).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Georgia Appeals Court Finds Agreement Does Not Provide Indemnity For Negligence

ATLANTA - A Georgia appeals panel on Oct. 31 reversed a trial judge's ruling that the predecessors of a company that sold a contaminated site to U.S. Steel Corp. in 1968 should be required to provide indemnification for remediation costs that resulted from U.S. Steel's negligence, finding that the terms of the agreement do not hold the seller liable for environmental damages that took place after the sale (Viad Corp. v. United States Steel Corporation, No. A17A0937, Ga. App., 5th Div., 2017 Ga. App. LEXIS 541).