DES MOINES, Iowa - A $900,000 jury award for the family of a woman who was determined to have died from dehydration due to negligence at the nursing home where she resided was not excessive given "degree of reprehensibility," an Iowa Court of Appeals panel ruled June 6, affirming a trial court's order upholding the jury award (Kristine Christensen, et al. v. Good Shepherd, Inc., No. 17-0516, Iowa App., 2018 Iowa App. LEXIS 535).
NEW YORK - Three attorneys general on May 30 filed a lawsuit against EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt alleging that the EPA has made an "unlawful decision to delay a requirement for employers to provide enhanced training to protect farmworkers, pesticide handlers and their families from injury and other forms of harmful exposure to pesticides" (State of New York, et al. v. E. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 18-4739, S.D. N.Y.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - In a May 18 per curiam ruling, the Second District Florida Court of Appeal left intact an $8 million award rendered by jurors in May 2016 on behalf of the family of a deceased smoker, just over one week after hearing oral arguments in the Engle progeny case (James C. McCabe v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2D17-797, Fla. App. 2nd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 6947).
ALBANY, N.Y. - Because a former McDonald's employee showed that his position at the franchise was terminated the day after he hurt himself at work and shortly after returning from leave, a New York federal judge on May 2 refused to dismiss the majority of his claims against franchisors, including a cause of action for retaliation in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (Johnny W. Crosby Jr. v. McDonald's of Guilderland, LLC, et al., No. 1:17-CV-1160, N.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74168).
SAN FRANCISCO - A lawsuit brought by the heirs of a woman who died from injuries suffered during a fall at a nursing home was properly remanded to state court, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 26, holding that the plaintiffs' allegations showed that they could possibly pursue a claim that the administrator violated California's Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (GranCare LLC, et al. v. Ruth Thrower, et al., No. 16-15533, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10552).
HONOLULU - The federal government can introduce evidence demonstrating that a speech therapist engaged in a scheme to defraud Tricare, a health care program for active military service members and their families, a federal judge in Hawaii ruled April 20, finding that the information is relevant to the charges against her (United States v. Sheila Harris, No. CR 17-00001, D. Hawaii, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67360).
DADE CITY, Fla. - A jury in Florida state court on Feb. 20 awarded a family of a deceased smoker $15 million in punitive damages in an Engle progeny suit bringing the total award to $24 million in a suit where they claimed that smoking was the cause of a man's lung cancer and death (Rosemarie Graffeo v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2016CA000233, Fla. Cir., 6th Jud., Pasco Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by 137 residents of a Pennsylvania town who say that illegal releases of radioactive materials from a nearby plant caused their cancers and the deaths of their family members and that a federal appeals court erred in ruling on the admissibility of expert testimony in their case (Michelle McMunn, et al. v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc., et al., No. 17-907, U.S. Sup.).
MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 found that a trial court erred in dismissing an Engle progeny suit because the 90-day period to substitute a plaintiff had been extinguished when the plaintiff's family filed a motion before an executor of the estate was named (Jerry Feller v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3D16-2389, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2160).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Citing a recent Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling, Google LLC in a Feb. 6 reply brief supporting its motion to again dismiss claims that it provided aid to the terrorists that carried out the 2015 Paris attacks asserts that the family of a victim failed to establish the necessary direct relationship to bring a claim under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) (Reynaldo Gonzalez, et al. v. Google LLC, No. 4:16-cv-03282, N.D. Calif.).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Feb. 6 awarded the surviving family members of a smoker who died from lung cancer $10 million in punitive damages, bringing the total amount of damages to $17.5 million (Kenneth Gloger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2011-CA-23377, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Feb. 5 awarded the family of a former smoker $27 million in punitive damages in an Engle progeny suit, bringing the total amount of damages to $40.9 million (Dawn Schlefstein v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CV-022558, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey mother and her minor daughter filed a personal injury lawsuit on Jan. 22 against a driver and the state's insurance guaranty association, alleging that they are entitled to uninsured motorist benefits for the driver's negligence (Shamya Tillery, et al. v. Lynnes Nissan, et al., No. ESX-L-000497-18, N.J. Super., Essex Co.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Google LLC cannot claim immunity from terror-aiding claims under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), the family of a terror attack victim argues in a Jan. 22 brief opposing Google's renewed dismissal motion, telling a California federal court that the immunity provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) does not apply to ATA claims or to acts committed outside the United States (Reynaldo Gonzalez, et al. v. Google LLC, No. 4:16-cv-03282, N.D. Calif.).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Jan. 23 refused to dismiss an insured's bad faith claim alleging that an insurer unreasonably adjusted its claim for property damages caused by a hailstorm because a question of fact exists regarding the insurer's initial adjustment of the insured's claim (Provincetown Landing II Association LLC v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-1403, D. Col., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10537).
CHICAGO - A network of nursing home facilities on Jan. 12 filed a class action complaint in an Illinois federal court on behalf of nursing home residents who filed applications for Medicaid benefits, arguing that the director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) failed to comply with an obligation to provide Medicaid benefits in violation of the federal Medicaid Act and other laws (Alden Management Services Inc. v. Felicia F. Norwood, No. 1:18cv238, N.D. Ill.).
MADISON, Wis. - A trial judge did not err in issuing a clarification order in the rehabilitation proceeding of an insolvent insurer with regard to how the rehabilitation applies to other courts' jurisdiction, a Wisconsin appeals panel held Dec. 14 (Sean Dilweg v. Carlisle/Picatinny Family Housing L.P., et al., No. 2016AP2169, Wis. App., Dist. 4, 2017 Wisc. App. LEXIS 1023).
HOUSTON - An appellate panel in Texas on Dec. 12 affirmed a trial court's decision to deny motions for directed verdict in a car crash suit after finding that the evidence supported the jury's finding that a city and a family were partially responsible for a car accident because of an obscured stop sign (Phillip McKnight, et al. v. Matthew Calvert, No. 01-16-00429-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 11498).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Residents who argue that Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) is liable for contaminating their drinking water supply with perchlorate on Dec. 6 filed a brief in an Oklahoma federal court contending that HESI should be compelled to produce documents and other information (Albin Family Revocable Living Trust, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 16-910, W.D. Okla.).
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.).