PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 18 denied a contractor's motion for summary judgment after determining that an insurer's proposed expert testimony on the causation of a fire presents a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether one of the contractors who worked in the home's basement contributed to the cause of the fire (State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., as subrogee of the Estate of Alkis J. Marland v. Hartman Contractors, et al., No. 14-6535, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75967).
ATLANTA - In a May 18 ruling, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded that copyright registration occurs when the Register of Copyrights registers a work, and not merely when an application for a registration is filed (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation v. Wall-Street.com LLC, No. 16-13726, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8766).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 15 affirmed a district court's dismissal of a borrower's claim for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) against a loan-servicing company, finding that Florida was the improper venue for the case (Robert Crenshaw v. Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC, No. 16-16201, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8502).
NEW YORK - Parties filing post-trial motions after a $7 million asbestos-tainted talc verdict in New York briefed a justice on May 15 over whether a February ruling involving the state's causation standard eliminates the ability to prove asbestos cases using cumulative exposure and visible dust evidence or whether it simply reiterates the existing framework (Claudine Discala, as administrator of the estate of Joan Robusto v. Charles B. Chrystal Company Inc., et al., No. 190413/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
HAMMOND, Ind. - An Indiana federal judge on May 11 limited the testimony of all four expert witnesses in a lawsuit filed by the estate of a deceased motorcyclist alleging that the truck driver that hit him and the driver's company are liable for the biker's death (The Estate of John Arama v. Bryant Winfield, et al., No. 2:13-cv-381, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71712).
NEW YORK - In a dispute over reinsurance proceeds allegedly owed to the estate of The Home Insurance Co., the liquidator on May 11 requested a pre-motion conference in a New York federal court to address an amendment to his complaint against a reinsurer to assert an additional claim of $362,787.84 (Roger A. Sevigny, the Commissioner of Insurance of the State of New Hampshire, as Liquidator of The Home Insurance Company v. Trygvesta Forsikring A/S, as successor in interest to Skandinavia Insurance Company Ltd., Trygvesta Forsikring A/S v. Cerberus Holding Company, LLC., No. 16-cv-04874, S.D. N.Y.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 2 decided that claims for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) against a loan servicer failed because a borrower failed to show that it did not respond to her request for information (Shelisa Todd v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, No. 17-cv-60454, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66541).
MADISON, Wis. - A majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 27 dismissed as "improvidently granted" a review of an appeals court's finding that a business owner's liability insurer had no duty to defend an allegation of misrepresentation against its contractor insured (Maya Elaine Smith v. Jeff Anderson, d/b/a Anderson Real Estate Services v. 4th Dimension Design, Inc., No. 2015AP79, Wis. Sup., 2017 Wisc. LEXIS 234).
PHILADELPHIA - An alleged captive reinsurance scheme between banks and an insurer constitutes a continuing violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), each time an "illegal kickback, fee, or referral was given or received," a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled April 26, finding that the statute of limitations ran from the date of the last violation rather than the first based upon the continuing violations doctrine (Christopher Blake and James Orkis v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. 13-6433, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64392).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama did not err in admitting expert testimony that all significant asbestos exposures contribute to mesothelioma nor in concluding that an employer can be liable for exposing household members to asbestos, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 26 (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 12-S-1930, N.D. Ala., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130741).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - BNSF Railway Co. is not subject to general personal jurisdiction in Montana because it is not at home in that state, the attorney representing BNSF argued on April 25 before the U.S. Supreme Court in the appeal of two personal injury cases that were consolidated by the Montana Supreme Court (BNSF Railway Company v. Kelli Tyrrell, as Special Administrator for the Estate of Brent T. Tyrrell, et al., No. 16-405, U.S. Sup.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on April 20 partially granted a motion filed by a loan management company to dismiss numerous claims asserted against it in relation to the denial of a loan modification, but found that claims for violation of the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and Regulation X of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) can proceed (Douglas and Serenity Boedicker v. Rushmore Loan Management Services, LLC, No. 2:16-cv-02798, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60597).
MINNEAPOLIS - An appellate court panel in Minnesota on April 17 overturned a trial court judge's ruling finding that a building association's breach of express warranty claim arising from water intrusion caused by a lack of proper caulking was untimely, ruling that the judge applied the wrong statute of limitations period (Town Center Office Plaza Association, Inc. v. Carlson Real Estate Ventures, LLC, et al., No. A16-1230, Minn. App., 2017 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 349).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 10 found that an errors and omissions liability insurer has a duty to defend against underlying claims that its title insurance agency insured executed real estate "flip" transactions "contrary to the spirit and purpose" of its agency contract (Title Industry Assurance Co. v. First American Title Ins. Co., et al., No. 15-3310, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6092).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on April 5 dismissed numerous claims asserted by a property owner, including causes of action for violations of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), finding that he failed to plead the claims with the required specificity (Fernando D. Lopez v. Wells Fargo, N.A., et al., No. 16-cv-0811, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52527).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal magistrate judge on April 4 declined to bar testimony from real estate appraisers in a dispute over a lease's purchase option between a gasoline retailer and a landlord because excluding either appraisal would upset the current balance (Buchanan Energy [N] LLC v. Lake Bluff Holdings LLC, No. 15-3851, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51403).