JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A state jury in Florida on July 6 awarded the estate of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. $68,300 in punitive damages, bringing the total award to $133,300 (Michael Sermons v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-000397, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on June 28 denied an estate's motion to remand claims asserted in relation to a deceased seaman, finding that removal was appropriate under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Maren Miller v. Tri Marine Fish Company, et al., No. 16-02203, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83936).
NEW YORK - The New York Court of Appeals refused to decide if a trial judge erred in consolidating two asbestos cases for trial, saying in a June 28 opinion that the defendant did not adequately preserve the issue for appeal (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. 85, N.Y. App.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on June 28 refused to dismiss a borrower's claim against a bank for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) in relation to her request for a loan modification and reserved judgment on various state law claims pending the outcome of her request for an injunction (Edyta Rojecki v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 15-8160, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83434).
NEW YORK - The liquidator of an insolvent New Hampshire insurer told a federal court in New York on June 23 that a reinsurer owes the liquidation estate nearly $225,000 in unpaid reinsurance billings (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., No. 16-cv-04874, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK - New York's high court on June 28 refused to decide if a trial judge erred in consolidating two asbestos cases for trial, saying the defendant did not adequately preserve the issue for appeal (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. 85, N.Y. App.).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal magistrate judge on June 23 barred expert testimony on blood samples in an estate executor's lawsuit against a clinical laboratory services provider and the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) with regard to libel and slander claims based upon a false HIV test that resulted in the end of a boxer's career (Patricia Harding Morrison v. Quest Diagnostics Inc., et al., No. 14-01207, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82689).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Dismissal of an insurance bad faith claim is proper, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled June 22, because the executrix of an estate has failed to show that an insurer acted in bad faith in denying her claim to benefits under a life insurance policy (MONY Life Insurance Co. v. Carol Snyder, f/k/a Carol Eckert, and Pamela Eckert, No. 15-2109, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34371).
SAN DIEGO - A California appellate panel on June 20 reversed summary judgment for two companies and an estate that acted as the landlord of a small apartment complex, saying the defendants owed a duty of care to a man who was bitten by a dog in the courtyard of the complex (Jack Geyer v. Jemmeca LLC, et al., No. D068774, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4618).
CHICAGO - An expert may not testify that a deceased man may have experienced discomfort breathing soot before losing consciousness or as to how long the man experienced pain and suffering, an Illinois federal judge held June 14; however, the expert may offer her opinion that the man would have remained conscious after he began inhaling carbon monoxide and that he would have lost consciousness at a certain carboxyhemoglobin level (David Ostrinsky, as administrator of the Estate of Michael Ostrinsky, deceased v. Black & Decker [U.S.] Inc., et al., No. 15-1545, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77956).
OKLAHOMA CITY - In a medical malpractice action, a trial judge erred in excluding testimony regarding the use of vasopressin in septic shock, which resulted in a woman's death, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled June 14, reversing summary judgment to a doctor and a medical provider and remanding for further proceedings (William P. Nelson, and Jon Nelson, individually and as co-personal representatives and/or co-executors of the estate of Ethel A. Nelson, and as co-trustees of the Ethel A. Nelson Revocable Trust and as heirs and next of kin of Ethel A. Nelson v. Enid Medical Associates, Inc., and David Shepherd, No. 110665, Okla. Sup.; 2016 Okla. LEXIS 69).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A Kentucky appeals court on June 10 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an excess insurer did not violate Kentucky's Unfair Claims Settlement Practice Act (UCSPA) in handling a wrongful death claim involving a workplace fatality (Selena Caudill, individually and in her capacity as next friend of Gary J. Caudill And Austin Caudill, and as administratrix of the Estate of Gary Ronald Caudill Jr., v. New Hampshire Insurance Co., No. 2014-CA-000921-MR, Ky. App.; 2016 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 393).
SELMA, Ala. - After finding that a bank missed the deadline for amending its notice of removal of a case in which the claimant asserts that it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), an Alabama federal judge on June 9 denied its request to amend the parties on the notice (Ashley Gill, as administratix of the Estate of Marshall Gill v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 2:15-00162, S.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75188).
ATLANTA - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. say in a June 7 brief to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the product defect and negligence verdicts against them in an Engle progeny suit cannot stand because the Engle findings are "useless" for establishing defect and negligence and allowing the plaintiff to rely on those findings would violate due process (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.).
ATLANTA - Homeowners presented sufficient real estate appraisal testimony to show that past discomfort and annoyance caused by a nuisance and the diminution in their property's market value constitute two separate injuries, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled June 6, finding that they may recover damages for both their injuries (Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing, Inc. v. Lynn Davis and Duron Davis, No. S15G1804, Ga. Sup.; 2016 Ga. LEXIS 402).
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.).