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).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 30 affirmed a federal district court's dismissal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that it agreed with the district court's findings in coming to its decision (Mariah Re Ltd. [In Liquidation], acting by and through Geoffrey Varga and Jess Shakespeare, in their capacities as Liquidators thereof v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-4062, 2nd Cir.).
DENVER - An insured has not shown that his federal bankruptcy court and district court positions in an insurance bad faith lawsuit are clearly inconsistent, a federal judge in Colorado ruled June 23 in denying an insurer's motion for summary judgment in the district court action (Daniel L. Porter v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-3446, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81301).
PHILADELPHIA - A worker who was fired for taking time off after she submitted a request for intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) should be given the chance to cure any deficiencies in her medical certification, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 22, reversing a trial court's decision (Deborah Hansler v. Lehigh Valley Hospital Network, No. 14-1772, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10444).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on June 18 held that a financial institution bond's requirement that a loss be attributable to a defrauder acting solely in his or her capacity as an investment adviser was not satisfied, reversing and remanding a lower court's finding that an insurer has a duty to insure a loss arising from Bernard Madoff fictitious reporting of the value of an investment management company's assets (Jacobson Family Investments Inc., et al. v National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, et al., No. 14802, 601325/10, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5175).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 22 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that there is no directors and officers liability insurance coverage for beneficiaries' claims against their family-owned corporation and two family members who served as directors or officers of the corporation and as trustees of the family trust (The Langdale Co. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 14-12723, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10419).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A state appeals court on June 17 denied reconsideration of its finding that the discovery rule does not apply to a wrongful death and survival action filed by the family of a woman who died of postsurgical complications (Randall W. Moon v. Clarissa F. Rhode, et al., No. 3-13-0613, Ill. App., 3rd Dist.).
WAUSAU, Wis. - Insureds failed to prove that their house collapsed during construction and, thus, that there was an underlying breach of the insurance contract by their insurer for denying coverage, a Wisconsin appeals panel ruled June 2, affirming dismissal of the insureds' bad faith claim (Joseph M. Oboikovitz and Vicki A. Oboikovitz v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2014AP1065, Wis. App., Dist. 3; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 403).
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - United Gilsonite Laboratories (UGL), the maker of home improvement products Drylock sealant and ZAR wood finish, emerged from Chapter 11 protection on May 28 with the issuance by a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge of a final decree, closing a case filed four years ago to protect the family-owned business from asbestos personal injury claims (In re: United Gilsonite Laboratories, 11-2032, M.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - An insurance policy's language referring to the limits of coverage and the replacement cost of the dwelling is ambiguous, a Missouri appeals panel ruled May 19, reversing and remanding for a new trial to determine whether insureds are entitled to the full replacement cost of their destroyed home (Derek Wilson and Jennifer Wilson v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. WD77396, Mo. App., Western Dist.; 2015 Mo. App. LEXIS 552).
ST. LOUIS - An insurer was prejudiced by an insured's delay in filing its notice of loss with regard to alleged defective workmanship in a roof, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 14 (8865 North Cove v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-4086, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7938).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on May 12 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute, finding that the insurer presented no admissible evidence supporting its contention that the insureds' attorney violated discovery and scheduling orders (Peter Blaso & Demeglio Family v. Alterra Excess & Surplus Insurance Co., No. 14-2574 [WHW-CLW], D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61869).
AUSTIN, Texas - An aerial lift that tipped over, killing a worker, was not unreasonably dangerous, the Texas Supreme Court ruled May 8, reversing a ruling by the state Court of Appeals upholding a jury verdict for the family of the worker (Genie Industries Inc. v. Ricky Matak, et al., No. 13-0042, Texas Sup.).
BAINBRIDGE, Ga. - A jury's $150 million award to the family of a 4-year-old boy who died in a fire after the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee in which he was riding was involved in a rear-end collision is "arbitrary, irrational and grossly excessive," Chrysler Group LLC argues in a motion for a new trial filed May 7 in the Decatur County, Ga., Superior Court (James B. Walden, et al. v. Chrysler Group LLC, No. 12-CV-472, Ga. Super., Decatur Co.).