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.).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on Jan. 19 granted a bank's motion to dismiss claims asserted against it in relation to the foreclosure of a property, finding that the former homeowner lacked standing to sue and that he had no private right of action under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) (David J. Pauley v. Bank of America N.A., No. 15-12405, D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5693).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Virginia's statute of limitations began with a man's asbestosis diagnosis, and any challenge to the accuracy of that diagnosis should properly have been raised at that time, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel held Jan. 12 (James Herbert, executor of the estate of Vincent W. Gatto Sr. v. American Biltrite and its division, Amtico, et al., No. 1702 WDA 2014, Pa. Super.).
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Final judgment in a pending asbestos action requires more than a conclusory statement that no reason exists for delay, a federal judge in Alabama said Jan. 12 in rejecting a magistrate judge's recommendation (Donna Franklin, as personal representative of the estate of Ray Franklin v. Dana Holding Corp., et al., No. 11-2731, N.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3481).
BENTON, Ill. - A co-worker's recollection of working with a man does not sufficiently establish a link to a defendant's steam traps, a federal judge held Jan. 6 in dismissing the company from an asbestos action (Sharon Bell, executor of the estate of Mr. Richard Bell v. ABB Group Inc., et al., No. 13-1338, S.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1253).
CINCINNATI - After finding that borrowers have stated plausible claims for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) in relation to its provisions on qualified written requests (QWRs) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), an Ohio federal judge on Jan. 5 found that a loan servicer was not entitled to judgment on the pleadings at this time (William H. Schatzman, et al. v. Partners for Payment Relief LLC, No. 1:15-cv-302, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 462).