LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit Against Energy Company

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 11 granted a motion to dismiss a securities class action lawsuit filed against a solar energy company and certain of its executive officers after determining that the plaintiffs failed to adequately allege falsity and scienter (In re SolarCity Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 16-4686, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129137).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Wage Class Suit Parties Ordered To Accept Surveys Filed Up To 1 Month Late

CLEVELAND - The parties in a class suit over the misclassification of door-to-door salespeople that ended with a jury finding for the plaintiffs on the issue of liability for unpaid wages must accept surveys regarding the hours the affected employees worked during the overtime pay period that were filed up to a month after the April 4 deadline, an Ohio federal judge ruled Aug. 10 (Davina Hurt, et al. v. Commerce Energy, Inc., et al., No. 12-758, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128850).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Wage Class Suit Parties Ordered To Accept Surveys Filed Up To 1 Month Late

CLEVELAND - The parties in a class suit over the misclassification of door-to-door salespeople that ended with a jury finding for the plaintiffs on the issue of liability for unpaid wages must accept surveys regarding the hours the affected employees worked during the overtime pay period that were filed up to a month after the April 4 deadline, an Ohio federal judge ruled Aug. 10 (Davina Hurt, et al. v. Commerce Energy, Inc., et al., No. 12-758, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128850).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Asbestos Claimants Drop Appeal Due To Failure Of Energy Future's Plan

WILMINGTON, Del. - Four asbestos claimants battling Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) over its handling of asbestos claims in its plan to reorganize presented the Delaware federal court on July 21 with a proposed stipulation and order dismissing the claimants' appeal of the plan confirmation, due to EFH's inability to consummate the plan (Shirley Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 17-229, D. Del.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Dismisses Federal Claims Related To PACE Programs Against Governments

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - After finding that Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs are considered tax assessments and are not regulated by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and another federal law, a California federal judge on July 17 granted a motion filed by several government entities and a company to dismiss a case against them, but remanded claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) to state court (In re Hero Loan Litigation, No. 16-02478, No. 16-02491, No. 16-08943, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111771).

Mealey's Insurance - Professional Services Exclusion Bars Coverage For Pipeline Explosion, Panel Says

SAN FRANCISCO - The First District California Court of Appeal on July 11 affirmed a trial court's judgment in favor of an excess insurer after finding that its policy's professional services exclusion bars coverage for underlying claims arising from a deadly pipeline explosion (Energy Insurance Mutual Limited v. Ace American Insurance Co., No. A140656, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Delaware Federal Judge Won't Dismiss Patent Claim On Section 101 Grounds

WILMINGTON, Del. - An effort by a defendant to obtain dismissal of allegations that it infringed a patented invention that - among other things - would purportedly replace human meter readers was unsuccessful July 11, when a Delaware federal judge ruled that the case should proceed (Smart Meter Technologies Inc. v. Duke Energy Corporation, No. 16-208, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106493).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 4th Circuit: Judge Lacked Jurisdiction Over Coal Jobs Loss Suit

RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 29 ruled that a federal court in West Virginia lacked jurisdiction over a lawsuit brought by coal companies contending that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had failed to undertake a nondiscretionary duty under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to evaluate how the statute was affecting jobs in the industry, finding that a "court is ill-equipped to supervise this continuous, ongoing process" (Murray Energy Corp., et al. v. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-2432, 4th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal, State Agencies Sue Company For Emissions Of Volatile Organic Compounds

DENVER - The U.S. government and the state of Colorado filed a lawsuit in Colorado federal court on June 26, alleging that a power company is in violation the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401, and other statutes with regard to the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (United States of America, et al. v. PDC Energy, Inc., No. 17-1552, D. Colo.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Group: Company's Plan To Store Coal Ash Will Continue Groundwater Contamination

DURHAM, N.C. - An environmental advocacy group on June 20 filed a lawsuit in North Carolina federal court against Duke Energy Progress LLC, alleging that the company's plan to permanently store coal ash and "toxic pollutants" in unlined pits will lead to further contamination of local groundwater (Roanoke River Basin Association v. Duke Energy Progress LLC, No. 17-561, M.D. N.C.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Insurer, Reinsurer's Negligence Suit For Lack Of Jurisdiction

SCRANTON, Pa. - An insured's presence destroys complete diversity jurisdiction in a negligence lawsuit also involving its subrogated insurer and reinsurer, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled June 20, dismissing the lawsuit because it cannot proceed without the insured (RAD Manufacturing LLC f/k/a RAD Wood Work Co., et al. v. Advanced Fabrication Services Inc. t/d/b/a AFS Energy Systems, No. 16-2138, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94575).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - U.K. Firm Proceeds With PCA Arbitration Against India Tax Department

EDINBURGH, Scotland - A United Kingdom energy company on June 19 gave updates on a dispute with the Indian Income Tax Department, stating that an international arbitration over a tax assessment is progressing and that final hearings in the case will be held next year.

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Rejects Mesa Power's Petition To Vacate NAFTA Award For Canada

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on June 15 rejected an energy company's petition to vacate an international arbitral award in which a tribunal found that the Government of Canada did not violate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), finding nothing to show that the tribunal exceed its authority (Mesa Power Group LLC v. Government of Canada, No. 16-1101, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92037).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Constitutionality Of Inter Partes Review To Be Decided By Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari on June 12 in a dispute over the constitutionality of inter partes review (IPR) by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Oil States Energy Services LLC v. Greene's Energy Group LLC, No. 16-712, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appeals Panel Affirms Defense Verdict In Negligence Suit

HOUSTON - A Texas appellate panel on May 25 found that a trial court did not err by refusing to submit questions to the jury over negligence and the status of a man on a premises who injured himself while working on electrical lines (Shannon Newman v. CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric LLC, No. 14-16-00007-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 4772).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Solar Energy Firms Ask New York Federal Court To Confirm $143M ICSID Award

NEW YORK - A United Kingdom entity and a Luxembourg company on May 19 filed a petition in a New York federal court, seeking to confirm a $143,302,395 international arbitral award issued in their favor and against the Kingdom of Spain (Eiser Infrastructure Limited, et al. v. Kingdom of Spain, No. 1:17-cv-03808, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - ICSID Registers ECT Arbitration Against Italy Over Production Concession

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on May 19 registered a request by an English exploration entity, commencing arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) against the Republic of Italy (Rockhopper Italia S.p.A., Rockhopper Mediterranean Ltd, and Rockhopper Exploration Plc v. Italian Republic, No. ARB/17/14, ICSID).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 8th Circuit Reverses, Says Report On Spread Of Fracking Waste Is Reliable

ST. LOUIS - A federal court wrongly excluded an expert witness for an Arkansas couple accusing a hydraulic fracturing company of trespass and improperly awarded summary judgment to the company based on the couple's lack of sufficient evidence, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 22 in reversing and remanding (Robbie Hill, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Company, et al., No. 15-3458, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8862).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Company Says Plaintiffs May Not Depose Its CEO In Fracking Injury Lawsuit

OKLAHOMA CITY - A company sued in connection with injuries suffered by two workers when a lithium battery exploded during a hydraulic fracturing operation filed an additional brief in Oklahoma federal court on May 5 contending that the plaintiffs cannot designate the company's CEO as a specific witness under federal procedural rules (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al. and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Halliburton: Orders In Related Case Should Be Applied To Groundwater Lawsuit

OKLAHOMA CITY - Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) on May 8 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court arguing that 10 prior orders issued in a lawsuit brought against it by residents who argue that the company is liable for contaminating their drinking water should be adopted in another lawsuit that asserts the same causes of action (Albin Family Revocable Living Trust, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 16-910, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Finds No Support For Declaratory Relief Claim Against Solar Energy Firm

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on May 4 granted a partial motion to dismiss claims in an action filed by a solar energy company that alleges that a former employee violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and breached a confidentiality agreement when she began working for a competitor (SolarCity Corporation v. Sunpower Corporation, et al., No. 16-CV-05509, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68639).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Evidence Supports Insurer's Denial Of Disability Benefits Claim, 6th Circuit Panel Says

CINCINNATI - A district court did not err in finding that a disability insurer's denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was reasonable because the denial is supported by substantial evidence, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 2 (Stanley D. Rothe v. Duke Energy Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 16-4225, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7904).

Mealey's Insurance - Evidence Supports Insurer's Denial Of Disability Benefits Claim, 6th Circuit Panel Says

CINCINNATI - A district court did not err in finding that a disability insurer's denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was reasonable because the denial is supported by substantial evidence, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 2 (Stanley D. Rothe v. Duke Energy Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 16-4225, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7904).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Complaint Fails To Allege Disparagement Claim; No Coverage, Illinois Panel Affirms

CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on May 1 held that an underlying complaint did not contain allegations sufficient to constitute a claim of disparagement against an insured, affirming a lower court's ruling that the insurer has no duty to defend because coverage was not triggered (Green4all Energy Solutions, Inc. v. State Farm Insurance Co., No. 1-16-2499, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 1st Div., 2017 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 874).

Mealey's Insurance - Complaint Fails To Allege Disparagement Claim; No Coverage, Illinois Panel Affirms

CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on May 1 held that an underlying complaint did not contain allegations sufficient to constitute a claim of disparagement against an insured, affirming a lower court's ruling that the insurer has no duty to defend because coverage was not triggered (Green4all Energy Solutions, Inc. v. State Farm Insurance Co., No. 1-16-2499, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 1st Div., 2017 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 874).