DENVER - An insurer is not entitled to summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because the factual allegations provided in the underlying complaint "do not fall solely and exclusively within the boundaries of the policy exclusions," a federal judge in Colorado ruled Feb. 22 (Weldesamuel Gebremedhin, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-2813, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21059).
ST. LOUIS - A jury in Missouri on Feb. 22 awarded the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer $72 million in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, finding that it was liable for her death as a result of her use of talc-containing products made by the company (Tiffany Hogans, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 1422-CC-09012, Mo. Cir., St. Louis City, 22nd Jud. Dist.).
DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on Jan. 6 denied an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insureds' breach of contract and Colorado law claims are not time-barred (Jesus Borrego and Joanne Borrego v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-1732, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1014).
DENVER - A senior federal judge in Colorado on Dec. 11 granted an insurer's motion to alter judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, holding that pursuant to the state's noneconomic damages cap, an insured is still entitled to more than $925,000 in damages stemming from the insurer's bad faith failure to provide coverage under an automobile insurance policy (Kimberley Carpenter v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-1986, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166952).
MADISON, Wis. - A trial court did not err in determining that an insurer did not act in bad faith in handling a water damage claim because the insurer had a reasonable basis to deny coverage under the policy's freezing exclusion, the Fourth District Wisconsin Court of Appeals said Nov. 25 (Lyle Hird, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2014AP2402, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 834).
PENSACOLA, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Nov. 5 awarded the members of a family $650,000 in damages against Philip Morris USA Inc. for the lung cancer death of their husband and father as a result of his addiction to nicotine in cigarettes, ignoring jury instructions that called for an award of $2.3 million. The award included $325,000 equally for compensatory damages and punitive damages (Micah Danielson v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2007-CA-002737, Fla. Cir., 1st Jud. Cir.).
DENVER - A district court's finding that a supervisor's conduct may have made people uncomfortable doesn't mean that the court erred in denying a subordinate's hostile work environment claim, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 30 (Bryan McElroy v. American Family Insurance, a/k/a American Family Insurance Group, No. 14-4134, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 18904).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 29 held that counterclaims against a developer insured in an underlying easement dispute can be read to allege an occurrence under an insurance policy, reversing and remanding a lower federal court's finding that the insurer has no duty to defend its insured (KF 103-CV, LLC v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-1403, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 18827).
HAMMOND, Ind. - An insured failed to sufficiently allege facts to support its breach of contract and bad faith claims against a third-party claims adjuster for denied flood coverage, an Indiana federal judge ruled Oct. 21, dismissing the claims but refusing to dismiss the same claims against an insurer (Family Christian World, Inc. a/k/a Family Christian Center v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-102, N.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142896).
RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on Oct. 6 denied a motion to remand filed by plaintiffs in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer had a "proper basis for removal" of the action to the federal court (Troy and Paul 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.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136305).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 22 dismissed with prejudice a class complaint accusing a family of companies that provide prescription benefit administration services of failing to protect the personal information of employees and customers from being stolen by unknown third parties (Joan Longenecker-Wells, et al. v. Benecard Services, Inc., d/b/a Benecard PBF, et al., No. 15-422, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126837).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Deeming a federal unfair competition and common-law trademark infringement plaintiff likely to succeed on the merits of its claims, a North Carolina federal judge on Sept. 15 awarded a preliminary injunction; in a separate ruling issued the same day, however, he dismissed allegations that a defendant violated the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Charlotte Chiropractic Clinic P.A. d/b/a ChiroCarolina v. Richard Williams and Chiro-Carolina Family and Sports Care, No. 14-585, W.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122684).
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 11 awarded the family of a man who died of lung cancer $6 million in compensatory damages and a total of $6 million in punitive damages, finding that two tobacco companies were partially liable for the development of his disease (Martha Duignan v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., et al., No. 13-010978-CI, 6th Jud. Cir.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge granted summary judgment on Sept. 8 to the City of Minneapolis on insurers' claims for trespass, federal and state law takings and violation of the equal protection clause regarding insurance payments made for water damage to a condominium building and units (American Family Insurance and Liberty Mutual Insurance v. City of Minneapolis, No. 14-1428, D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119060).
CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 26 affirmed summary judgment dismissal of a family's groundwater contamination lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiffs' experts' reports were properly disallowed under rules of evidence established by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals., Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) (C.W., et al. v. Textron Inc., No. 14-3448, 7th Cir.; 20125 U.S. App. LEXIS 15076).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Trial got under way with opening statements on July 22 in a suit alleging that a woman's death from lung cancer was caused by her 52 years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Lillian Kaplan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 08-19469, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A homeowners insurer did not violate its policy when it depreciated all costs necessary to recreating the property following hail damage to an insured's roof, including the costs associated with labor, when calculating actual cash value, a Kansas federal judge ruled July 22 (Margaret Graves v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-2417, D. Kan.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95127).
SALEM, Ore. - A trial judge did not err in refusing to reduce a $25 million punitive damages award in a suit brought by the family of a woman who died of a brain tumor that resulted from metastatic lung cancer, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled July 15 (Paul Scott Schwarz, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 325, Ore. App.; 2015 Ore. App. LEXIS 878).
PHILADELPHIA - A former UPS Supply Chain Solutions employee failed to show that his termination, following excessive absences, interfered with his rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 16 (Myron Giddens v. UPS Supply Chain Solutions, No. 14-4291, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12279).
MIAMI - A Florida state court jury on July 13 awarded $8.5 million to the family of a woman who died of oral cancer after years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Paul Larkin, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2002-002829-CA, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Finding that individual notification to more than 1 million students and their parents would be impractical in a lawsuit over education rights for disabled students, a California federal judge on July 2 ruled that the California Department of Education (CDOE) can notify parents of the release of student records in response to discovery requests via publication without violating the privacy protections of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) (Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association, et al. v. California Department of Education, et al., No. 2:11-cv-03471, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86909).