NEW YORK - A group of institutional investors has met all statutory requirements to serve as lead plaintiff in a securities class action against a real estate investment trust and several of its former executive officers and directors, a federal magistrate judge in New York ruled Nov. 29 (Westchester Putnam Counties Heavy & Highway Laborers Local 60 Benefit Funds v. Brixmor Property Group Inc., et al., No. 16-2400, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164682).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Nov. 30 vacated a $20 million verdict awarded to the estate of a woman following a trial in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the damages awarded by the jury were excessive (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Gwendolyn E. Odom, No. 4D14-3867, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 17713).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Nov. 28 granted a motion filed by lenders to dismiss claims asserted by an estate against them in relation to the foreclosure of a property, finding that the estate lacked standing to bring the claims and that it failed to assert that there was a defect in the foreclosure process (Estate of Doreen Bessette v. Wilmington Trust N.A., Successor Trustee to Citibank N.A. as Trustee for Structured Asset Mortgage Investments II Trust 2007-AR1 Mortgage Pass-Through-Certificates Series 2007-AR1, et al., No. 16-cv-11936, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163372).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Nov. 29 partially granted a loan servicer's motion to dismiss claims for fraudulent misrepresentation but allowed part of a borrower's claim for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to proceed (Frank Malifrando v. Real Time Resolutions Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-0223, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164497).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 23 dismissed an appeal of a borrower's claims for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), finding that a letter he sent was not considered a qualified written request and that his TILA claim was barred by a statute of limitations (Joseph A. Guerra v. Just Mortgage, Inc., et al., No. 13-16725, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21108).
NEW YORK - New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Nov. 18 announced that a $25 million settlement had been reached ending claims that Trump University - which was owned by President-elect Donald Trump and marketed itself as a university to train, educate and mentor entrepreneurs involved in real estate investing - was actually a sham and defrauded its students out of millions of dollars.
CHICAGO - A fire and explosion investigator may opine that a negligent design in a toaster caused a fire and that it was unreasonable for the manufacturer to design a toaster that "would indefinitely heat food products to the point of combustion as a result of foreseeable failures and blockages" within the toaster, an Illinois federal judge ruled Nov. 16 (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 159447).
PEORIA, Ill. - In a life insurance payment dispute, a medical doctor may testify on behalf of an estate as to the diagnosis and treatment of a man when he arrived at the hospital and his death, an Illinois federal judge ruled Nov. 9 (Jamie Troeger, administrator of the estate of Gayle Mitchell v. Minnesota Life Insurance Co., No. 14-1083, C.D. Ill..; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155334).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Nov. 8 certified a class of borrowers who allege that a title company violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) by providing cash and other benefits to mortgage lenders in exchange for referrals (Edward J. and Vicki Fangman, et al. v. Genuine Title, LLC, et al., No. 14-81, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154582).
CHICAGO - The National Hockey League (NHL) on Nov. 4 asked the federal judge in Illinois overseeing a wrongful death suit brought by the estate of a former professional hockey player to reconsider his order allowing the estate to file a second amended complaint, saying the claims brought by the estate in the second amended complaint are preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (Len Boogaard, et al. v. National Hockey League, et al., No. 13-C-4846, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134232).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 2 held that a Real Estate Property Managed endorsement rendered an insurer's policies excess with respect to an underlying personal injury claim, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend or indemnity its property manager insured (Atain Specialty Insurance Co. v. Sierra Pacific Management Co., et al., No. 14-00609, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152874).
RICHMOND, Va. - The same logic underpinning other aspects of the government contractor removal statute apply to failure-to-warn cases, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 1 in reversing a "decades-old practice" in a lower court (Deborah H. Ripley, as administrator of the estate of Bernard W. Ripley v. Foster Wheeler LLC, Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., and J Henry Holland Corp., et al., No 15-1918, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19631).
PHILADELPHIA - In a breach of a lease agreement lawsuit between a class of landowners and an exploration production company, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 24 that a trial judge did not abuse his discretion in refusing to reconsider allowing an expert to testify that natural gas sold to third-party buyers was made before any interstate transportation (David F. Pollock, as executor of the estate of Margaret F. Pollock, et al. v. Energy Corporation of America, Nos. 15-2648 & 15-2649, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19167).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts appeals panel on Oct. 25 ruled that evidence presented during a construction defects trial did not support a jury's finding that a couple was entitled to $1 million in damages and upheld a second judge's decision to hold a trial solely on damages allegedly resulting from misrepresentations of the builders and real estate agents (Kathryn Culley, et al. v. Authentic Traditions LLC, et al., No. 15-P-1020, Mass. App.; 2016 Mass. App. Unpub. 1029).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Oct. 24 granted a motion for summary judgment finding that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) did not apply to an underlying loan and remanded various causes of action to a state court for lack of jurisdiction (Anthony Floyd v. PNC Mortgage, a division of PNC Bank, N.A., et al., No. 14-2190, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146679).
NEW YORK - A neurologist, a psychologist, an economist and a school principal may not testify as to damages from the loss of the role of an orthodox, Hasidic mother, a New York federal magistrate judge ruled Oct. 20, but he allowed the psychologist and economist to testify about the loss of household services that was experienced as a result of the mother's death (Arnold Hersko, individually and as administrator of the estates of Rochel Hersko and Arnold Hersko v. United States of America, et al., No. 13-CV-3255, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145552).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal court in Texas did not abuse its discretion in excluding the testimony of the plaintiff's expert witness in a medical negligence case, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found Oct. 19, affirming summary judgment for the defendants (Jewel Honey-Love, Individually and as a Representative of the Estate of Larry Lavon Love v. United States of America, et al., No. 16-20080, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18829).
CONCORD, N.H. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer asked a New Hampshire court on Oct. 21 to approve his recommendation that the liquidation estate settle certain asbestos bodily injury related claims for $34 million (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
MINNEAPOLIS - The federal judge overseeing the National Hockey League (NHL) concussion multidistrict litigation on Oct. 14 allowed the estate of a deceased hockey player who was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) to be added as a class representative in MDL, finding that the league will not be prejudiced (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
NEW ORLEANS - The exclusion of expert testimony on the mechanics of how a vehicle's fuel tank struck a flange and whether safer alternative designs existed was fatal to prove products liability claims, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 5, affirming summary judgment for the vehicle's manufacturers (Henry Lee Sims Jr., individually and as legal heir to the Estate of Henry Lee Sims Sr., et al. v. Kia Motors of America and Kia Motors Corp., No. 15-10636, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18116).