RICHMOND, Va. - A real estate developer's untimely notice of a claim over alleged defective soil settlement issues prejudiced its commercial general liability insurers, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 23, upholding summary judgment to the insurers (St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co. and National Surety Corp. v. THF Clarksburg Development Two, LLC, et al., No. 15-1453, 4th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 19 affirmed a district court's ruling that a proposed class's claims for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) were time-barred, finding that the plaintiffs were not entitled to equitable tolling (Judith Cuningham, et al. v. M&T Bank Corp., et al., No. 15-1412, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 2851).
ATLANTA - A trial court erred in excluding an expert's testimony that a man died as a result of a defect in the design of his rifle, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 17, reversing summary judgment entered in favor of the gun manufacturer (Cynthia Seamon, individually and as personal representative of the Estate of Kenneth Seamon v. Remington Arms Company, LLC, No. 14-15662, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 2645).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge ruled Feb. 16 on various Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) motions to exclude testimony regarding professional police standards and "selective attention" among other subjects in a lawsuit against a county and its police department for a shooting and killing of a police officer by another officer (Tamara Davies, as personal representative of the Estate of James Davies v. The City of Lakewood, Colo., and its Police Department, et al., No. 14-01285, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18348).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 16 granted a lender's motion to dismiss a property owner's claim for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), finding that certain claims for damages were not actionable under RESPA (Amelia Giordano v. MGC Mortgage Inc., No. 15-4399, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18283).
LOS ANGELES - After finding that an order lifting a stay of a case in which a former employee of a real estate company asserted claims for harassment and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) was not an appealable order, a California appellate court on Feb. 11 affirmed the decision (Amparo Gastelum v. Remax International, Inc., et al., No. B263213, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 101).
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on Feb. 11 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a directors and officers liability insurer was not required to demonstrate that it suffered prejudice before denying coverage based on the insured's failure to give timely notice of an underlying claim stemming from a failed real estate transaction, finding that the "claims made" policy was "not a contract of adhesion but was agreed to by sophisticated parties" (Templo Fuente De Vida Corp. and Fuente Properties Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, P.A., No. A-18 September Term 2014, 074572, N.J. Sup.; 2016 N.J. LEXIS 144).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Feb. 9 granted a bank's motion to dismiss a quiet title claim, finding that lenders were not barred from foreclosing on a property because they failed to assert a foreclosure claim as a compulsory counterclaim in another related lawsuit (Judith D. Kralovic, individually and as executrix of the Estate of Raymond C. Kralovic, v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. 1:15 CV 1468, N.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16403).
CONCORD, N.H. - Two insurers tell a New Hampshire court in a Feb. 8 brief that an insolvent insurer's settlement agreement with an underlying shared insured has no effect on claims the insurers may have against the insolvent insurer's estate regarding the shared insureds (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
NEW YORK - A counterclaim by the estate of Michael J. Jackson seeking a declaration of ownership rights with regard to certain video footage will proceed, a New York federal judge ruled Feb. 9 (Noval Williams Films v. John Branca, et al., No. 14-4711, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15958).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 9 ruled that a group of defendants, including the trustees of an estate and two property management companies, is liable to the state for the costs the state incurred in remediating groundwater contamination from numerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) tretrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE) and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA), that flowed downstream from properties owned by the defendants (State of New York, et al. v. Next Millennium Realty LLC, No. 06-1133, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15775).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals court on Feb. 8 affirmed a trial court's decision that a party to a real estate purchase agreement who asserted causes of action for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and declaratory relief was pari delicto and not entitled to damages and affirmed an order that refused to award a party to the agreement attorney fees (Milton Righetti, et al. v. Braddock & Logan Group III L.P., No. A136930, 1st Cir., Div. 2; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 980).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Feb. 5 ordered a trial court judge to reinstate a jury's $168,000 verdict in favor of a woman who claims that the defective construction of her home rendered it worthless, finding that the opinions of a general contractor, a real estate agent and a structural engineer that the home should be demolished showed that the home was valueless (Angela M. Gray v. Mark Hall Homes Inc., et al., No. 2D15-616, Fla. App,. 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 1578).
SAN FRANCISCO - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer told a California court on Feb. 2 that he had completed the court's instructions regarding the closure of the liquidation and considers himself discharged (Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. HIH America Compensation & Liability Insurance Company, No. CPF-01-320049, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
ATLANTA - Less than two weeks after announcing that it would revisit its April holding that strict liability and negligence claims asserted in Engle progeny suits are preempted by federal law, an en banc 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 2 vacated its Jan. 21 rehearing order in light of a recusal by Chief Circuit Judge Ed Carnes (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.).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on Jan. 28 reversed a more than $21 million verdict in a wrongful death and injury suit against the owner of the facility where an explosion occurred and killed one worker and injured three others, finding that there was no evidence of actual knowledge (Oiltanking Houston, L.P., et al. v. Alberto Delgado, individually and as a Representative of the Estate of Javier Delgado, et al., No. 14-14-00158-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 886).
PHILADELPHIA - An administratively dismissed nonmalignancy claim belongs with a bankruptcy estate, but a subsequent malignancy is a distinct disease under the discovery rule and falls outside the estate's purview, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Jan. 25 (Willard E. Bartel, administrator for Henry E. Boden v. A-C Product Liability Trust, et al., No. MDL 875, 11-31030, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8048; Willard Bartel [Felix Long], et al. v. A-C Product Liability Trust, et al., No. MDL 875, 11-31575, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8047).
CHICAGO - A horse trainer was not qualified in the business and financial aspects of horse breeding, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Jan. 26, upholding the exclusion of the trainer's testimony in a tax refund lawsuit (Estate of Harold Stuller, deceased, Wilma Stuller and L.S.A., Inc. v. United States of America, No. 15-1545, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1233).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Jan. 22 granted a bank's motion to dismiss a former property owner's claims for violation of federal mortgage guidelines and wrongful foreclosure but reserved its decision on his claims for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) in consideration of a recent court ruling on a similar claim (Walter W. Lawson Jr. v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. 15-11287, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7386).
ST LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Jan. 25 granted a loan servicer's motion to dismiss claims for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), finding that the plaintiff was not a party to the underlying loan and lacked standing (Jasan Sayles v. BSI Financial Services, No. 4:15-CV-612, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8134).
ATLANTA - A power company on Jan. 19 asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to throw out a $3 million asbestos verdict against it, saying it owed no duty to household members while also challenging causation and expert witnesses (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 15-15271, 11th Cir.).