ATLANTA - A Georgia jury on Feb. 22 awarded $45.8 million to a woman and her family after finding that two doctors and the hospital where she gave birth were responsible for her brain damage, which left her completely disabled (Keith Traube v. Atlanta Women's Specialist, et al., No. 14-EV-001821, Ga. State, Fulton Co.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on Feb. 17 affirmed rulings awarding summary judgment to a home builder and its insurer, finding that a family's allegations that defective workmanship caused a fire that destroyed the home were perempted by the New Home Warranty Act (NHWA) (James E. Shields Jr., et al. v. Alvin R. Savoie & Associates Inc., d/b/a Savoie Construction, et al., No. 2016 CA 0825 consolidated with No. 2016 CA 0826, La. App., 1st Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 249).
OCALA, Fla. - A Florida jury on Feb. 17 awarded a man and his daughter a total of $3.95 million in compensatory damages for the loss of two family members who were killed when a truck driver collided with their car, which had been disabled after being hit by a drunken driver; however, the jury found that the drunken driver was more responsible for the two deaths than the trucker (Eliezer Maldonado, et al. v. Wayne T. Fellows Inc., et al., No. 2013-CA-001308, Fla. 5th Jud. Cir. Marion Co.).
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A Florida jury on Feb. 14 awarded a total of $5.4 million to a family after finding that two tobacco companies were responsible for a woman's addiction to cigarettes, which led to her lung cancer and death (John Brown v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 15-002451-CI, Fla. 6th Jud. Cir. Pasco Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Several movie studios tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Feb. 8 appellee brief that a video-streaming service provider blatantly violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by circumventing the technological protection measures (TPMs) on DVD and Blu-ray copies of their movies to offer edited versions to customers, also arguing that the defendant's defenses under the Family Movie Act (FMA) are incompatible with that statute's purposes (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).
DENVER - In a bad faith lawsuit between a contractor and insurer, a Colorado federal judge on Feb. 8 certified a question to the state's high court on whether a claim under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 10-3-1116 is subject to a one-year statute of limitations and applicable to "All actions for any penalty of forfeiture of any penal statutes" (Rooftop Restorations Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-2560, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17787).
PHILADELPHIA - The defendants found responsible for the 2013 collapse of a Salvation Army building in Philadelphia on Feb. 8 agreed to pay a total of $227 million to the 19 plaintiffs, those who were injured and the families of those killed in the collapse, according to a press release and media reports (Angelo Harmon, et al. v. The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia, et al., No. 130700720, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) retaliation claim can be defeated where an employer shows that it honestly believed that an employee misused FMLA leave, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 30 (Fredrick Capps v. Mondelez Global, LLC, No. 15-3839, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1593).
SAN FRANCISCO - Appealing a trial court injunction preventing it from providing content-filtered copies of four movie studios' films to its customers, a video-on-demand (VOD) provider told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Jan. 27 brief that its services constitute fair use under the Copyright Act and are specifically protected by the Family Home Movie Act (FMA) (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).
SEATTLE - The Railway Labor Act (RLA) preempts a flight attendant's claim that she was unlawfully denied the right to use already allotted vacation leave earlier than planned to care for a sick family member in violation of the Washington Family Care Act (WFCA), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 25, finding that the dispute is a "minor" one under the RLA and a grievance must be filed pursuant to the controlling collective bargaining agreement (CBA) (Alaska Airlines Inc. v. Judy Schurke, et al., No. 13-35574, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1318).
DENVER - A commercial property insurer's voluntary payment of an appraisal award and the insured's acceptance of the payment settled any dispute over the amount of storm loss to the insured's property, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 4, affirming a lower court's decision to vacate an order confirming the appraisal award and a judgment in favor of the insured (In re: Appointment of Umpire for Hayes Family Trust, on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, Clayton A. Hayes, cotrustee v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 15-6164, 10th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 81).
DALLAS - A Texas state jury on Dec. 16 found that a nursing home and hospital were not responsible for the death of an elderly woman whose family filed a wrongful death and negligence suit after she developed bed sores and died from pneumonia (Greg Frausto v. Pennsylvania Rehab LP., et al., No. DC-12-13131, Texas, 68th Jud. Dist., Dallas Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
LAS VEGAS - An insured's failure to respond to an insurer's timely requests for information caused a delay in payment of underinsured motorist benefits and not the actions of the insurer, a federal judge in Nevada ruled Dec. 12 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Loreli Nolan v. American Family Insurance Co., No. 15-2051, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171423).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - The family of a 6-year-old girl who was injured while undergoing a "baby root canal" procedure filed suit on Dec. 5 in California state court against the dentist who performed the procedure and the practice for which he worked (Ericka Lorena Mendez, et al. v. Jerry Minsky D.D.S., et al., No. 30-2016-00890590, Calif. Super., Orange Co.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota jury on Nov. 22 found that the company that owns a pumpkin patch was liable for the kidney damage a child suffered from contracting E. coli from a petting zoo at the pumpkin patch and awarded her and her family $7.55 million (Stephanie Heidish, et al. v. Dehn's Pumpkins LLC, No. 27-CV-14-17068, Minn. Dist., 4th Jud., Hennepin Co.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Dismissing terrorism aiding claims against Twitter Inc. under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) for the second time, a California federal judge on Nov. 18 found that two terror victims' family members still sought to hold the social network operator "liable as a publisher of speaker of ISIS's hateful rhetoric," which is barred by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Tamara Fields, et al. v. Twitter Inc., No. 4:16-cv-00213, N.D. Calif.).
WEST DRAYTON, England - Oil and mining industrial services company Cape PLC announced Nov. 18 that a changing legal landscape means potential damages from an upcoming January trial over liabilities for a former asbestos factory could exceed expectations, potentially endangering a payment scheme designed to compensate injured workers and their family members.
LOS ANGELES - Two former U.S. Congressmen saw their bid to participate in a lawsuit pertaining to the Family Movie Act of 2005 (FMA) as amici curiae denied by a California federal judge Nov. 10, with the judge finding their motion to be untimely because it was filed more than 30 days after the parties' principal briefs relating to a pending motion to preliminarily enjoin an online video-on-demand (VOD) service from purportedly infringing copyrighted works (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A federal judge did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer on an insurance bad faith claim because insureds failed to oppose summary judgment on the basis that they needed more evidence or file a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) motion seeking more time to collect the necessary evidence, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 1 (Sonia Braun-Salinas, et al. v. American Family Insurance Group, No. 14-35369, 9th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS - There is no evidence that a family member of a man allegedly killed by asbestos named, and kept, a defendant in related litigation in a bad faith effort to defeat jurisdiction, a federal judge in Missouri held Oct. 27 in finding that the one-year limit of removals required remand (Nola H. Bristol v. Ford Motor Co, et al., No. 16-1649, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148867).
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania federal judge overseeing the Philadelphia Amtrak train derailment multidistrict litigation on Oct. 27 approved a $265 million settlement between Amtrak and those injured and the families of those who died in the May 12, 2015, derailment (In re Amtrak Train Derailment in Philadelphia, PA, on May 12, 2015, No. 2654, E.D. Pa.).
DES MOINES, Iowa - A one-year contractual limitations period does not bar insureds' bad faith claim against their insurer, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 28, because the insureds were entitled to file a separate action after an arbitration hearing and had no knowledge that the denial of their claim was premised upon an alleged "secret" policy until the arbitration hearing (Thomas Schlapkohl and Lana Schlapkohl v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-1612, Iowa App.; 2016 Iowa App. LEXIS 1007).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Coverage was triggered under a commercial general liability insurance policy for a negligence award against a siding contractor for water damage to a housing complex, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled Sept. 22, upholding a garnish judgment against the insurer in the amount of $433,958.16 (FountainCourt Homeowners' Association v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 61, Ore. Sup.; 2016 Ore. LEXIS 613).