BALTIMORE - Pfizer Inc. cannot be held liable as the apparent manufacturer of a subsidiary's asbestos-containing insulation, regardless of the test applied, a Maryland appeals court held May 31 (Harriette Stein, personal representative of the estate of Carl Stein, et al. v. Pfizer Inc., No. 1231, Md. Sp. App.).
TROY, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on May 31 granted a motion for judgment in favor of a bank on certain claims related to an alleged wrongful foreclosure, but allowed claims for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to proceed (Charles J. Beard v. HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc., No. 1:15-CV-1232, W.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70489).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 31 said a federal district court erred by denying a 911 operator's motion for summary judgment in a suit brought by the family of a man who was shot and killed after being told by the operator to return to an area where he was attacked (Estate of Jimma Pal Reat, et al. v. Juan Jesus Rodriguez, No. 15-1001, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9788).
PADUCAH, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on May 20 excluded certain testimony from a medical expert in a wrongful death lawsuit, finding that the expert may not opine about the standard of care to which the law holds a reasonably prudent maritime outfit (Donna Tindle, as administrator of the Estate of Jimmie W. Tindle v. Hunter Marine Transport, Inc., No. 14-00110, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66418).
SANTA FE, N.M. - The New Mexico Supreme Court in what it said was an issue of first impression on May 19 held that the doctrine of fraudulent concealment "may apply to toll the statutory limitations period for a wrongful death claim if a defendant has fraudulently concealed a cause of action, thereby preventing that defendant from claiming the statute of limitations as a defense until the plaintiff learned or, through reasonable diligence, could have learned of the cause of action" (Estate of Alice C. Brice, by and through Personal Representative Tracy A., et al. v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al., No. S-1-SC-34873, N.M. Sup.; 2016 N.M. LEXIS 95).
BOSTON - A podiatry expert may not testify that a doctor's alleged negligence was a cause of a plaintiff's leg amputation and that the plaintiff would likely have been spared that outcome had the doctor complied with the governing standard of podiatric care, a Massachusetts justice ruled May 13 (Cheryl Lavina, individually and as administratrix of the estate of Paul Lavina v. Adam R. Satin, Esq., et al., No.: SUCV2013-01012-C, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.; 2016 Mass. Super. LEXIS 46).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 16 denied Philip Morris USA Inc.'s petition for certiorari to determine whether due process is violated when a jury is told about punitive damages that were previously vacated (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Paul Scott Schwarz, Personal Representative of the estate of Michelle Schwarz, No. 15-1013, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 12 reinstated a suit filed by a borrower against her mortgage servicer under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) after the borrower's loan payments were increased without an explanation (Margaret C. Renfroe v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, No. 15-10582, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8707).
CLEVELAND - An estate lacks sufficient evidence to hold a product distributor strictly liable for a manufacturer's asbestos-containing insulation, but presents enough evidence about the known dangers of asbestos during the period in question to proceed with a negligence cause of action, an Ohio appeals court held May 5 (Estate of Ian W. Blandford, et al. v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. 103030, Ohio App., 8th Dist.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Intervenors in a rehabilitation proceeding of two related insurers on May 3 asked a Pennsylvania court to allow them to recover more than $150,000 in fees, costs and expenses incurred in the first quarter of 2016 (In Re: Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company in Rehabilitation and In re: American Network Insurance Company in Rehabilitation, Nos. 1 PEN 2009 & 1 ANI 2009, Pa. Cmwlth.).
SAN ANTONIO - A divided Texas appellate panel on April 29 affirmed the dismissal of a wrongful death action against the owners and operators of oil and gas wells that use a road where a man died as the result of a one-vehicle roll-over accident, finding that they had no duty to repair the road in question or warn of a dangerous condition on the road (Laura Leticia Zepeda Vasquez, Individually and on behalf of the Estate of Jose Abraham Vasquez Jr. v. Legend Natural Gass III, LP, et al., No. 04-14-00899-CV, Texas App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 4480).
NEW YORK - New York's high court will hear oral argument on May 3 on whether a lower court erred in affirming the consolidated trial of two asbestos cases involving different types of exposures and resulting disease (In the Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation; Ruby E. Konstantin, individually and as executrix of the estate of Dave John Konstantin v. 630 Third Ave. Associates, et al., No. APL-2014-00317, N.Y. App.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge erred in granting judgment in favor of a pension plan and its administrators in a dispute over a since-deceased plaintiff's entitlement to benefits because the plaintiff was unable to independently provide key information about corporate structures or hours worked needed to substantiate his claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 21 (Estate of Bruce H. Barton v. ADT Security Services Pension Plan, et al., No. 13-56379, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7216).
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A firearms expert may testify in a products liability lawsuit that a rifle was defective and that the defect caused the accident that led to the death of a hunter, a South Dakota federal judge ruled April 14, denying a motion filed by the makers of the rifle to exclude (Carol O'Neal, as personal representative of the Estate of Lanny O'Neal v. Remington Arms Company LLC, et al., No. 11-04182, D. S.D.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50107).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 12 found that a trial court erred by not entering a stay of final judgment in a tobacco case because the tobacco company had begun to exercise its right to seek a further review of the case by the U.S. Supreme Court (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Janice L. Sikes, as personal representative for the estate of Jimmie Wayne Sikes, No. 1D13-3183, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 5539).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on March 25 denied a motion seeking to allow a deceased man's estate to replace him as the lead plaintiff in a proposed class complaint accusing a timeshare company of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by placing unsolicited phone calls to the man's cellular telephone (Mark Hannabury v. Hilton Grand Vacations Company, LLC, No. 14-6126, W.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39493).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on March 23 reversed a $3.8 million verdict for the plaintiff in a tobacco case and ordered a new trial after finding that the plaintiff's attorneys made improper comments to the jury during closing arguments (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., as successor by merger to Lorillard Tobacco Company v. Kathleen Gafney, as Personal Representative of the estate of Frank Eugene Gafney. No. 4D13-4358. Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 4520).
GREENWOOD, S.C. - A South Carolina judge on March 21 gave final approval to a $1 million settlement between a day care center and the father of a 2-year-old who died from E. coli he contracted from a teacher who had the infection and was allowed to work while she was sick (Barry Mayfield, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Myles S. Mayfield, deceased minor, v. The Learning Vine, LLC. No. 015-CP-24-00794, S.C. Comm. Pls., 8th Jud. Cir., Greenwood Co.).
PITTSBURGH - An engineering consultant offered sufficient support for his opinion that an unknown contaminant prevented an exhaust port of a height control valve from closing when expected to do so, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 15, denying the valve manufacturer's motion to exclude testimony in a products liability action (Bonnie Rapchak, executrix of the Estate of John E. Borzik v. Haldex Brake Products Corp., No. 13-1307, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33148).
AUSTIN, Texas - The special deputy receiver (SDR) of an insurer in receivership reported to a Texas court on March 15 that counting reinsurance recoverables, the receivership estate's total assets are greater than $132 million (State of Texas v. Highlands Insurance Company, No. D-1-GV-03-004537, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - Although a Florida federal judge expressed his doubts as to the ultimate success of a borrower's complaint against her lender under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), he found in a March 9 ruling that, as pleaded, her complaint has facial plausibility that allowed it to mostly survive the lender's motion to dismiss (Matilde Amarchand v. CitiMortgage Inc., No. 8:15-cv-02051, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30463).