COLUMBUS, Ohio - A group of leaseholders in Ohio who contend that hydraulic fracturing companies "systematically" violated their leases and underpaid royalties, filed a brief in Ohio federal court on Nov. 3, contending that the defendants' motion seeking leave to file a sur-reply in opposition to their motion for class certification should be denied (Zehentbauer Family Land LP v. Chesapeake Exploration LLC, et al., No. 15-02449, N.D. Ohio).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 26 issued a pair of orders in two separate appeals stemming from the same underlying Employee Retirement Income Security Act misclassification case and granted the petition appealing the opinion holding that the plaintiff insurance agents were employees and not independent contractors and denied the petition appealing the order denying the motion by defendants and related entities to decertify three classes of workers (In re: American Family Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-307, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21371, In re: American Family Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-308, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21373).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 16 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by an employee asking the high court to decide the type of motive and causation necessary in cases brought under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (Richard Duane Bartels v. 402 East Broughton Street, Inc., No. 17-208, U.S. Sup.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on Oct. 10 awarded the widower of a woman more than $7 million after finding that Philip Morris USA Inc. engaged in a conspiracy to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking and that Philip Morris concealing the harmfulness of smoking ultimately led to a woman's lung cancer and death (Michael Gentile v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2015CA005405, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A class of retirees and their eligible family members suing a corporation in an effort to enforce the terms of a prior health care class settlement failed to show that a preliminary injunction is necessary, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 28, holding that while the trial court erred in determining that the motion was moot, it did not err in its alternate finding that the retirees failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits (Joseph Di Biase, et al. v. SPX Corporation, No. 15-2340, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18757).
DUBUQUE, Iowa - A jury in an Iowa state court on Sept. 20 awarded $10 million to the surviving wife and son of a man who died because of a certified registered nurse anesthetist's (CRNA) negligence while giving a man anesthesia during surgery (John Pellock, et al. v. Mississippi Valley Anesthesiology P.C., No. LACV103756, Iowa Dist., Dubuque Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A rental property owner seeking class certification in a suit over the constitutionality of a Florida city's rental housing program failed to prove the ascertainability and numerosity of its proposed class, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 19 (Lea Family Partnership Ltd., et al. v. City of Temple Terrace, Florida, et al., No. 16-3463, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151405).
NEW ORLEANS - Family members mistakenly signed away asbestos wrongful death claims based on their father's attorney's misrepresentations, and the failure to hire their own counsel should not be considered inexcusable neglect, plaintiffs told the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Sept. 18 (Essie Lemieux, et al. v. American Optical Corp., No. 17-30346, 5th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Victims and surviving family members of the June 14 shooting at a San Francisco United Parcel Service Inc. warehouse filed multiple lawsuits on Sept. 12 in a California state court against UPS, the owner of the building and the company UPS contracted to provide security services, claiming that each defendant failed to protect the employees and allowed a man with a gun to enter the building and open fire (Sandy Lim, et al. v. United Parcel Service, Inc., et al., No. CGC-17-561241; Alvin Chen, et al. v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. CGC-17-561241-245; Peter Tran v. United Parcel Service Inc., et al., No. CGC-17-561247; Ryan Bailey, et al. v. United Parcel Service, et al., No. CGC-17-561237, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Sept. 1 affirmed a defense verdict in a wrongful death suit after finding that the trial court did not err by prohibiting the plaintiff's attorneys from saying certain words during the trial (Lisa Brown v. Berkeley Family Medicine Associates Inc., et al., No. 16-0572, W.Va. Sup. App., 2017 W.Va. LEXIS 629).
SAN FRANCISCO - Four movie studio plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their copyright infringement claims against a video-streaming service that provides filtered, family-friendly copies of movies, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 24, affirming a preliminary injunction preventing any filtering of the plaintiffs' works (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16188).
ATLANTA - A Georgia Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 14 found that a vicarious liability claim against a medical practice in a suit in which family members alleged negligent care led to a woman's death was not added to the suit after the two-year statute of limitations expired because it was not a new claim, but was clarified in the plaintiffs' amended complaint (Heather Oller, et al. v. Rockdale Hospital LLC, et al., No. A17A1208, Ga. App., 2017 Ga. App. LEXIS 383).
WHEELING, W.Va. - A federal jury in West Virginia on July 31 awarded $2.9 million to the parents of a student at Wheeling Jesuit University who was killed in a drunken brawl after finding that everyone involved in the fight was negligent (Thomas G. Figaniak, et al. v. Craig Tyler Peacock, et al., No. 5:15-CV-111, N.D. W.Va.).
PHILADELPHIA - The parents of a man who became permanently disabled as a result of the assault filed suit July 20 in Pennsylvania state court against two fraternities, their members and other businesses, claiming that the fraternities were irresponsible by allowing their members to get into a fight and failing to call an ambulance in a timely manner (Roderick J. McGibbon, et al. v. Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, et al., No. 001934, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on July 21 awarded a total of $24.9 million to a man who lost his family in a car crash and the man who injured himself after crashing into the family after finding that the brakes in a 2004 Nissan Infinity QX56, which crashed into a minivan, were defective (Hilario Cruz, et al. v. Nissan North America Inc., No. BC493949, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 19 vacated a jury verdict for an employer in a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) lawsuit, finding that the retaliation claims brought by the employee required only a "motivating factor" causation standard and that the employee was unduly prejudiced when the jury was permitted to infer that the employee would have answered "yes" to relevant questions at her deposition (Cassandra Woods v. START Treatment & Recovery Centers, Inc., No. 16-1318, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13038).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal jury in Connecticut on July 17 found that General Motors LLC failed to warn about a "known or knowledgeable danger" in one of its vehicles and awarded the family of a girl who died when the car started rolling on its own $2.8 million (Bernard Pitterman, et al. v. General Motors LLC, No. 3:14-CV-00967, D. Conn.).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 11 reversed and vacated a lower court's award of prejudgment interest to a family-owned poultry and pet food company insured because the jury had to exercise discretion in determining the insured's losses from snowstorm damage but affirmed the lower court's denial of both the insurers' motion to dismiss and the insured's request for statutory damages and attorney fees (Simmons Foods, Inc. v. Industrial Risk Insurers, et al., Nos. 15-3755 and 15-3845, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12350).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal district court did not err in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment on an insured's claim for insurance bad faith because the insured failed to plead any genuine issues of material facts to support the claim, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 19 in affirming (Jesse Kalberer v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-17220, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10779).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri state court judge on June 20 declared a mistrial in a suit brought by three plaintiffs claiming that they or their family members developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder sold by Johnson & Johnson, a day after the U.S. . Supreme Court issued its ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, et al., which affects jurisdiction on product liability suits (Michael Blaes, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 1422-CC09326-01, Mo. 22nd Jud. Cir.).
TACOMA, Wash. - Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) can file a third-party complaint against the estate of a man who formerly owned the site of a gas station he and his wife leased to the company so it can seek a claim for contribution under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) because it does not need to incur costs for remedial actions before filing suit, a federal judge in Washington ruled June 7 (Wakefield Family, LLC v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. C17-5114-RBL, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87520).
SAN FRANCISCO - In a May 31 brief, Twitter Inc. asks the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm dismissal of a lawsuit brought against it by family members of two terror victims under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), citing the plaintiffs' failure to establish liability for a terrorist's actions, as well as the safe harbor provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Tamara Fields, et al. v. Twitter Inc., No. 16-17165, 9th Cir.).
MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on May 23 denied without prejudice a motion by a the lead plaintiff in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class suit to enjoin a copycat class action filed in the New Jersey federal court because a motion to dismiss, stay or transfer is currently pending in New Jersey (Family Medicine Pharmacy, LLC v. Impax Laboratories, Inc., No. 17-0053, S.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77797).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 17 rejected a doctor and his wife's argument that they were entitled to coverage for an adverse verdict in a wrongful death suit because their homeowners insurance policy's abuse exclusion was not applicable, affirming a lower federal court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer (American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Carlos F. Verdugo, M.D., et al., Nos. 16-15687 and 16-15717, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8828).