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.).
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.).