LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Subrogated Insurers' Equal Protection Clause Claim Fails, 8th Circuit Affirms

ST. LOUIS - Subrogated insurers who paid out water damage claims to insured tenants did not suffer the same damages as uninsured tenants of the same building, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Sept. 6, affirming summary judgment for the City of Minneapolis on the insurers' equal protection clause claim (American Family Insurance Co. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. City of Minneapolis, No. 15-3216, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16336).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appellate Court Reinstates $5 Million In Punitives In Tobacco Suit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Following the Florida Supreme Court decision in Hess v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. (175 So. 3d 687, 698 [Fla. 2015]) that held that defendants in Engle progeny suits may not rely on the Florida statute of repose as a defense, a Florida appellate panel on Aug. 31 reinstated $5 million in punitive damages to the family of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Sharon Putney, Nos. 4D10-3606, 4D10-5244, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 13217).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Victims' Families File Amended Complaint In Terrorism Aiding Suit Against Twitter

OAKLAND, Calif. - Two weeks after a California federal judge dismissed their suit against Twitter Inc. under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), the family members of two terror attack victims on Aug. 30 filed an amended complaint focusing on Twitter's purported "provision of material support" to ISIS and its supporters via its social network services (Tamara Fields, et al. v. Twitter Inc., No. 4:16-cv-00213, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Trims Third-Party Claims In Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuit

RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on Aug. 22 substantially denied an insurer's motion to dismiss third-party claims in an insurance bad faith lawsuit but held that dismissal of the third parties' statutory bad faith claim is proper because such claims may not be brought by third parties under Nevada law (Troy and Paula Burley and Paul Ackerman and Judy Ackerman, as trustees of the Ackerman Family Trust, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No.15-0272, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111477).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Terrorism Aiding Suit Against Twitter Dismissed Under Communications Decency Act

OAKLAND, Calif. - Finding that the family members of two terror attack victims who alleged that Twitter Inc. aided terrorists in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) sought to treat Twitter as the speaker of messages posted by ISIS, a California federal judge on Aug. 10 dismissed their claims as barred by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Tamara Fields v. Twitter Inc., No. 4:16-cv-00213, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105768).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Group Says Halliburton's 'Reckless Disregard' Led To Tainted Groundwater

OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of Oklahoma residents who are already members of a putative class action against Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) alleging groundwater contamination on Aug. 9 filed a separate complaint against the company seeking compensation for "complete reckless disregard" that led to the presence of perchlorate in the aquifer that supplies their drinking water (Albin Family Revocable Living Trust, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 16-910, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Group Says Halliburton's 'Reckless Disregard' Led To Tainted Groundwater

OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of Oklahoma residents who are already members of a putative class action against Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) alleging groundwater contamination on Aug. 9 filed a separate complaint against the company seeking compensation for "complete reckless disregard" that led to the presence of perchlorate in the aquifer that supplies their drinking water (Albin Family Revocable Living Trust, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 16-910, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - NCAA, Frostburg College Agree To Pay $1.2 Million To Concussion Foundation

ROCKVILLE, Md. - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Frostburg State University on Aug. 8 agreed to pay $1.2 million to a concussion foundation created by the family of a Frostburg State University football player who died during football practice from a traumatic brain injury, according to media reports and a statement by the NCAA (Kristen Sheely, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. 380569V, Md. Cir., Montgomery Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 8th Circuit: Leave During Overtime Hours Must Be Deducted From Entitlement

ST. LOUIS - In a case where a worker's overtime hours were mandatory, hours missed for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)-qualifying reasons must be deducted from the worker's FMLA leave entitlement; however, those overtime hours should be included when calculating the worker's total FMLA-leave allotment, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 4 (Lucas Hernandez v. Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC, Nos. 15-2042 and 15-2428, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 14348).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured Not Entitled To Consequential Damages In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules

LAS VEGAS - A federal judge in Nevada on July 14 granted an insurer's motion to amend judgment in an insurance bad faith and breach of contract suit, ruling that an insured failed to show that he was entitled to consequential damages (Andrew Cordova v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-1111, D. Nev.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143728).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Terror Victims' Families Seek $1 Billion For Facebook's Support Of Hamas Attacks

NEW YORK - In a complaint filed July 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, a group of family members of terror attack victims allege that Facebook Inc. "knowingly provided material support and resources to" Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas through its social network and communications platforms in violation of the Antiterrorism Act (ATA) (Stuart Force, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 1:16-cv-05490, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 2nd Circuit Panel Affirms Cancellation Of Pizza Trademark

NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 27 affirmed the cancellation of a federal trademark for pizza restaurants on the grounds that a family member fraudulently obtained federal registration for the mark long used by his family's chain of pizzerias (MPC Franchise LLC, et al. v. Brent Tarntino, No. 15-717-cv, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11698).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Federal Judge Partially Grants, Denies Dismissal In Car Rollover Suit

SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in Texas on June 22 partially granted and partially denied two separate motions to dismiss from General Motors LLC and U-Haul International Inc. in a suit in which the surviving family members of a woman and her younger brother alleged that design defects in a car and a trailer caused their car to roll over, which led to their deaths (Maria Barragan, et al v. General Motors LLC, et al., No. SA-15-CV-854-DAE, W.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80984).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Family Of Construction Worker Sues Amtrak For Fatal Crash

PHILADELPHIA - The daughter of a construction worker who was killed by an Amtrak train when it crashed into a backhoe filed suit June 2 in a Pennsylvania court against Amtrak, claiming that the train company's negligence caused his death (Montia Carter v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation a/k/a Amtrak, No. 1690503923, Pa. Cmmn. Pleas, Phila. Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - 10th Circuit Panel Reverses Summary Judgment Ruling In State-Created Danger Suit

DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 31 said a federal district court erred by denying a 911 operator's motion for summary judgment in a suit brought by the family of a man who was shot and killed after being told by the operator to return to an area where he was attacked (Estate of Jimma Pal Reat, et al. v. Juan Jesus Rodriguez, No. 15-1001, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9788).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Former Baseball Player's Family Claims Smokeless Tobacco Caused His Death

SAN DIEGO - The family of former professional baseball player Tony Gwynn filed suit in California state court on May 23, claiming that smokeless tobacco led to the salivary gland cancer that caused his death (Alicia Gwynn et al. v. Altria Group Inc., et al., No. 37-2016-00017104, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 2nd Circuit Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Cancer Victim's COBRA Claims

NEW YORK - A federal appeals panel on May 19 ruled that a New York federal judge did not err in dismissing New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) claims brought by a cancer victim who was fired by a medical center when she exhausted her leave of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (Mirelle Vangas, et al. v. Montefiore Medical Center, et al., Nos. 15-1514, 15-1562, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9124).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - California Supreme Court: Custody Necessary For Elder Abuse Negligence Claims

SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on May 19 said that if defendants do not have a "caretaking or custodial relationship" with a decedent, the surviving family members cannot "adequately allege neglect under the Elder Abuse Act" of California (Kathleen A. Winn, et al. v. Pioneer Medical Group Inc., et al., No. S211793, Calif. Sup.; 2016 Cal. LEXIS 3432).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Former Flint, Mich., Official Says She Was Fired For Exposing Redirection Of Funds

DETROIT - The former city administrator for Flint, Mich., on May 9 sued the city and its mayor, alleging that she was wrongfully terminated when she exposed the mayor's practice of instructing a city employee to redirect charitable donations from a fund for Flint families affected by the lead water crisis to the mayor's political action committee (PAC) (Natasha Henderson v. City of Flint, Mich., et al., No. 16-11648, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Connecticut State Judge Will Not Stay Discovery In Sandy Hook Suit

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A Connecticut judge on May 5 denied the requests of four gun makers, a gun store and its owner to stay discovery in a suit brought by survivors and surviving family members in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting because delaying discovery until even October would most likely delay the trial (Donna L. Soto, et al. v. Bushmaster Firearms International LLC, et al., No. FBT CV 15 6048103 S, Conn. Super., Fairfield Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Awards Deceased Smoker's Family $33.5 Million

PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in Florida on April 27 awarded the widow of a smoker who died from lung cancer $12.5 million in punitive damages, bringing the total award to the family to $33.5 million (Purdo v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2007CA024173, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).

Panel Affirms Judgment For PHL Variable Insurance In Life Insurance Suit

DENVER - A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 22 upheld a federal judge in Utah's ruling finding that PHL Variable Insurance Co. was entitled to summary judgment as well as the premiums paid as part of a stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI) policy scheme (PHL Variable Insurance Company v. The Sheldon Hathaway Family Insurance Trust, et al., Nos. 15-4028, 15-4029, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7315).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Bars Expert From Offering Conflicting Opinions To Policy Interpretation In Bad Faith Suit

DENVER - An insurance expert may not offer opinions that conflict with a federal court's interpretation of an insurance policy's condominium enhancement endorsement in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit stemming from the insurer's denial of coverage for water damage, a Colorado federal judge ruled April 13 (Chateau Village North Condominium Association v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-01583, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49665).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Bars Expert From Offering Conflicting Opinions To Policy Interpretation In Bad Faith Suit

DENVER - An insurance expert may not offer opinions that conflict with a federal court's interpretation of an insurance policy's condominium enhancement endorsement in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit stemming from the insurer's denial of coverage for water damage, a Colorado federal judge ruled April 13 (Chateau Village North Condominium Association v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-01583, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49665).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Summary Judgment Granted In 1 Of Last Remaining 'Body Snatcher' Cases

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on April 11 granted summary judgment in one of the remaining "body snatcher" cases, finding that a biologic implant provider did not directly interfere with a family's possession of their loved one's corpse and that the defendant is immunized by an organ donation law (Cyndia Kennedy-McInnis, et al. v. Biomedical Tissue Services, Ltd., et al., Nos. 13-6545, 06-6410, W.D. N.Y.).