LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
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).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss RESPA And FCRA Claims

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on April 8 dismissed certain claims filed by a borrower against a mortgage company but allowed her claims for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to proceed (Gayle Helman v. Udren Law Office, P.C., No. 14-CV-60808, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45922).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - 11th Circuit Finds Strict Liability, Negligence Claims Preempted By Federal Law

ATLANTA - Strict liability and negligence claims asserted in an Engle progeny suit are preempted by federal law, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 8 (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.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5657).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Panel: Insurer Has No Duty To Defend 'Perpetrators' Of 'Mortgage Loan Fraud'

SAN DIEGO - A California appeals panel on March 27 affirmed a lower court's ruling that there is no coverage for an underlying claim that was either a real estate sales transaction or a "fraudulent scheme clothed as a mortgage transaction" (Angel Castrejon, et al., v. United States Liability Insurance Co., No. D064679, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2162).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Insurer Has No Duty To Defend 'Perpetrators' Of 'Mortgage Loan Fraud'

SAN DIEGO - A California appeals panel on March 27 affirmed a lower court's ruling that there is no coverage for an underlying claim that was either a real estate sales transaction or a "fraudulent scheme clothed as a mortgage transaction" (Angel Castrejon, et al. v. United States Liability Insurance Co., No. D064679, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2162).

Mealey's Insurance - $3.3M Default Judgment Unenforceable Against Insurer, 9th Circuit Affirms

SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 31 affirmed a lower court's finding that because claimants gained their right to sue a real estate errors and omissions liability insurer through an assignment in a fraudulent settlement agreement with the insured, a $3.3 million default judgment is unenforceable against the insurer (Ron Carlson, et al. v. Century Surety Co., Nos. 12-15964 and 12-16153, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5180).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Allows Plaintiffs To Reclassify TILA Claim Against Bank

CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on March 27 granted a bank's motion to dismiss certain claims against it but granted a request by homeowners to file an amended complaint to reclassify their claim for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) as a claim for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) (Douglas Belknap, et al. v. Bank of America Corp., No. 1:14-cv-1540, N.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39296).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Dismisses TILA And RESPA Claims As Time-Barred

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on March 25 granted a motion to dismiss claims asserted against various banks, finding that a property owner's claims for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) were time-barred (Harold J. Taylor v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., et al., No. 14-617, D. D.C.; 2015 U.S Dist. LEXIS 37127).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Finds Borrower Did Not Send Qualified Written Request Under RESPA

RICHMOND, Va. - A Virginia federal judge on March 18 found that a borrower failed to show that a loan-servicing company violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), granting summary judgment dismissing the claim (Rodney Peters v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 3:14-cv-513, E.D. Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33690).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Illinois Appeals Court Affirms $1.4M Asbestos Verdict Against Railroad

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - An Illinois appeals court on March 17 affirmed a $1.4 million asbestos verdict against a railroad for exposure arising from a property it leased, rejecting challenges to the verdict form, jury instructions and admission of evidence regarding the lease (In re: Estate of Lilienthal, No. 4-14-0280, Ill. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 514).