LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pennsylvania Court Revives Jones Act Claims In Merchant Marine's Asbestos Action

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A trial court focused too intently on a decedent's testimony in finding insufficient evidence of exposure from two shipping companies in an asbestos action and applied the wrong causation standard for a Jones Act case, a Pennsylvania appeals panel held May 18 (Timothy Criswell, executor of the estate of Earl J. Criswell v. Atlantic Richfield Co. and Sunoco Inc., No. 2175 EDA 2014, Pa. Super.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Justice: Plaintiff Must Retry Damages Award Or Accept Reduction To $6M From $20M

NEW YORK - A $20 million asbestos award exceeds what New York courts consider reasonable, meaning a widow must retry the damages phase of her action or stipulate to a $6 million award, a New York justice held May 15 in otherwise affirming the verdict (Charlene Hillyer, as executrix for the estate of Charles F. Hillyer v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190132/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Justice: Plaintiff Must Retry Damages Award Or Accept Reduction To $6M From $20M

NEW YORK - A $20 million asbestos award exceeds what New York courts consider reasonable, meaning a widow must retry the damages phase of her action or stipulate to a $6 million award, a New York justice held May 15 in otherwise affirming the verdict (Charlene Hillyer, as executrix for the estate of Charles F. Hillyer v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190132/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Refuses To Grant Restraining Order Barring Property Foreclosure

GREENBELT, Md. - After finding that it was unlikely that a borrower will succeed on her claims for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), a Maryland federal judge on May 14 refused to grant her a temporary restraining order prohibiting the foreclosure of her property (Sandra Fowler v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc., et al., No. 15-1084, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63076).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Finds RESPA And HOEPA Claims Are Time-Barred

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on May 12 granted a motion to dismiss numerous claims asserted by a borrower attempting to avoid foreclosure, finding that his claims for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Home Ownership Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) were time-barred and that he failed to state a claim to support his other allegations (Benjamin Coleman v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, et al., No. 15-1080, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61875).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insured Had Subjective Knowledge Of Facts Giving Rise To Claim; No Coverage

BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge ruled May 7 that a professional liability insurer did not wrongfully deny coverage for a real estate developer's professional negligence claim against an architect insured (McDowell Building LLC v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 12-2876, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60350).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - 11th Circuit Finds Lenders Had Authority To Foreclose On Property

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 7 affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss a complaint filed by the administrator of an estate in relation to the foreclosure of his wife's property, finding that the defendants in the case had the authority to foreclose on the home (William B. Shannon, as Administrator of the Estate of Frankie Sue Shannon v. The Albertelli Firm P.C., dba Financial Freedom Acquisition LLC, dba Financial Freedom, One West Bank, FSB, No. 14-11832, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7552).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - No Settlement Where Plaintiffs Never Officially Accepted Offer, Magistrate Says

PHILADELPHIA - Plaintiffs never officially settled an asbestos action because they never provided an affirmative response to the offer, a federal magistrate judge held May 6 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Willard Bartel and David Peebles as co-administrators of the estate of Robert Young v. University of Miami, No. MDL 875, 11, 32162, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - No Settlement Where Plaintiffs Never Officially Accepted Offer, Magistrate Says

PHILADELPHIA - Plaintiffs never officially settled an asbestos action because they never provided an affirmative response to the offer, a federal magistrate judge held May 6 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Willard Bartel and David Peebles as co-administrators of the estate of Robert Young v. University of Miami, No. MDL 875, 11, 32162, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Plaintiff Firms Ask 11th Circuit To Reconsider Ruling On Engle Claim Preemption

ATLANTA - A group of firms that represent plaintiffs in litigation against the tobacco industry in Florida state court filed an amicus curiae brief with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 4 in support of a petition urging the court to reconsider its ruling that strict liability and negligence claims asserted in Engle progeny suit are preempted by federal law (Earl E. Graham, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Faye Dale Graham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-14590, 11th Cir.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Awards $6.3M To Family Of Smoker Who Died Of Lung Cancer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A state court jury awarded more than $6.3 million May 1 to the family of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer but declined to award punitive damages against defendant Philip Morris USA Inc. (Mary Brown, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Rayfield Brown, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2008-CA-015000, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Plaintiff Asks 11th Circuit To Reconsider Ruling On Preemption Of Engle Claims

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reconsider its ruling that strict liability and negligence claims asserted in an Engle progeny suit are preempted by federal law, the husband of a smoker who died of lung cancer argues in a petition for rehearing en banc April 28 (Earl E. Graham, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Faye Dale Graham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-14590, 11th Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - California Judge Approves Reinsurance Commutation Agreement

LOS ANGELES - A California judge on April 29 approved a $500,000 reinsurance commutation agreement between a reinsurer and an insolvent insurer's estate (Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. SeeChange Health Insurance Company, No. BS152302, Calif. Sup., Los Angeles Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Washington State Jury Awards $3.6 Million In 'Take-Home' Asbestos Case

SEATTLE - A Washington State jury on April 21 awarded a woman $3.6 million and held an insulation company liable for her exposure to asbestos while laundering her husband's work clothing (Estate of Barbara Brandes v. Brand Insulation Inc., No. 14-2-21662-9 SEA, Wash. Super., King Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Washington State Jury Awards $3.6 Million In 'Take-Home' Asbestos Case

SEATTLE - A Washington jury on April 21 awarded a woman $3.6 million and held an insulation company liable for her exposure to asbestos while laundering her husband's work clothing (Estate of Barbara Brandes v. Brand Insulation Inc., No. 14-2-21662-9 SEA, Wash. Super., King Co.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Finds RESPA Claim Can Proceed, Grants Partial Dismissal

DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on April 22 granted a motion filed by lenders to dismiss borrowers' claims for breach of contract and other claims, but found that their claims for violation of Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) can proceed (Martin White Jr. et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., AS, et al., No. 2:14-cv-12506, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52642).

Mealey's Insurance - Georgia High Court: Insured Cannot Pursue Bad Faith Action Against Excess Insurer

ATLANTA - The Georgia Supreme Court on April 20 found that a real estate investment trust insured cannot pursue a bad faith action against an excess insurer because the excess insurer did not consent to a $4.9 million securities class action settlement and the insured failed to satisfy the contractually agreed upon condition precedent to coverage (Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc., f/k/a Wells Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc. v. XL Specialty Insurance Company, No. S15Q0418, Ga. Sup.; 2015 Ga. LEXIS 247).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Finds TILA And RESPA Claims Are Time- Barred, Allows Amendments

FRESNO, Calif. - A California appeals court on April 14 dismissed numerous claims asserted by a property owner in relation to a default on her loan, including claims for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act (RESPA) as time-barred (Judy Burden v. California Reconveance Company, et al., No. 1:15-cv-00314, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49111).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Summary Judgment In Dispute Between Developer, Architect's Insurer

BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on April 13 denied dueling summary judgment motions in a coverage dispute between a real estate developer and its architect's professional liability insurer, finding that fact issues preclude summary judgment rulings (McDowell Building LLC v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 12-2876, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47904).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Real Estate Listing Service's Trade Secrets Suit Against Zillow Mostly Dismissed

OAKLAND, Calif. - A company that provides online listings to real estate agents failed to plead the existence of any protectable trade secrets, a California federal judge ruled April 13, mostly dismissing its complaint against leading online real estate marketplace Zillow Inc. (Top Agent Network Inc. v. Zillow Inc., No. 4:14-cv-04769, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Real Estate Listing Service's Trade Secrets Suit Against Zillow Mostly Dismissed

OAKLAND, Calif. - A company that provides online listings to real estate agents failed to plead the existence of any protectable trade secrets, a California federal judge ruled April 13, mostly dismissing its complaint against leading online real estate marketplace Zillow Inc. (Top Agent Network Inc. v. Zillow Inc., No. 4:14-cv-04769, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Dismisses RESPA And Negligence Claim Against Chase

HOUSTON - After finding that borrowers failed to state a plausible claim for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) in relation to a loan modification, a Texas federal judge on April 13 granted a bank's motion to dismiss the case against it (Juan M. Avila, et al. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., No. 14-3502, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47944).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Application Exclusion Bars Professional Liability Coverage, California Panel Says

LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on April 10 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a professional liability insurance policy's application exclusion precludes coverage for claims made against a securities broker-dealer insured involving an alleged real estate investment Ponzi scheme, finding that three undisclosed claims should have been disclosed to the insurer during the application process because they arose out of the same events as the one disclosed claim (Crown Capital Securities L.P. v. Endurance American Specialty Insurance, No. B256241, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5.; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 305).

Mealey's Insurance - Application Exclusion Bars Professional Liability Coverage, California Panel Says

LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on April 10 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a professional liability insurance policy's application exclusion precludes coverage for claims made against a securities broker-dealer insured involving an alleged real estate investment Ponzi scheme, finding that three undisclosed claims should have been disclosed to the insurer during the application process because they arose out of the same events as the one disclosed claim (Crown Capital Securities L.P. v. Endurance American Specialty Insurance, No. B256241, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5.; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 305).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - New Interest Rate Applies To $25 Million Judgment, Florida Appeals Court Rules

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An amendment to the Florida interest-rate statute is applicable to a $25 million award to the estate of a man who died of smoking-related lung cancer, the Florida First District Court of Appeal ruled April 9 (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Lyantie Townsend, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Frank Townsend, No. 1D14-4147, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 5131).