LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Health Law - Certiorari Denied; Arizona Can't Bar Medicaid Patients From Choosing Own Doctors

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 24 denied a petition for writ of certiorari, leaving in place a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision affirming that Arizona cannot bar state Medicaid patients from obtaining covered family planning services from health care providers who also perform elective abortions (Tom Betlach, et al. v. Planned Parenthood of Arizona Inc., No. 13-621, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - FDA Announces Ban On Chinese Company's 'Bidi' Type Cigarettes

ROCKVILLE, Md. - For what it says is the first time since the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act became law in 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 21 ordered an end to the sale in the United States of a Chinese company's "bidi" tobacco products that failed to pass regulatory approval.

Mealey's IP/Tech - Magistrate Judge Imposes Adverse inference, Monetary Sanctions For Spoliation

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in California on Feb. 14 found that a defendant company's destruction of the hard drive of a former marketing employee warranted the imposition of an adverse inference jury instruction and monetary sanctions (Jackson Family Wines Inc., et al. v. Diageo North America Inc., et al., No. 11-5639, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19420).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Magistrate Judge Imposes Adverse inference, Monetary Sanctions For Spoliation

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in California on Feb. 14 found that a defendant company's destruction of the hard drive of a former marketing employee warranted the imposition of an adverse inference jury instruction and monetary sanctions (Jackson Family Wines Inc., et al. v. Diageo North America Inc., et al., No. 11-5639, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19420).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - United's Sick Leave Plan Is Not ERISA Plan, California Court Rules

SAN FRANCISCO - United Airlines Inc.'s sick leave plan and trust is not an employee benefits plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and, therefore, is subject to California's Kin Care Law, which requires employers who provide paid sick leave to their employees to use sick leave to care for family members, a California appellate court ruled Jan. 31 (Airline Pilots Association International, et al. v. United Airlines, Inc., No. A129914, Calif. App., 1st App. Dist., Div. 4; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 100).

Mealey's Insurance - Magistrate Finds Filing Of Lawsuit Suspended Good Faith Duty To Pay

DENVER - At the time an insured filed suit against her insurer, a genuine disagreement existed as to the amount of underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits to which she was entitled, a Colorado federal magistrate judge found Jan. 29, disposing of a bad faith claim against the insurer (Mary E. Spendrup v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 1:13-cv-00513, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10895).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Player's Family Opposes Approval Of $760 Million NFL Concussion Settlement

PHILADELPHIA - The family of a deceased former professional football player filed a statement in a Pennsylvania federal court on Jan. 24 contending that a previously announced proposed $760 million class action settlement "fails to adequately address the claims of a distinct group of plaintiffs-those with wrongful death claims" (In re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 12-2323, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Upholds Dismissal Of Negligent Misrepresentation Claim Against Insurance Agent

ST. LOUIS - Claimants failed to allege negligent failure to procure insurance and negligent misrepresentation claims against an insurance agent regarding an insurance policy under which the claimants seek coverage for fire damage, a Missouri appeals panel held Jan. 28, affirming dismissal of the claims (Biri M. Blevins, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. and Janey Foust, No. ED99852, Mo. App., Eastern Dist.; 2014 Mo. App. LEXIS 76).

Human Trafficking Expert Limited To General Testimony In Maryland Federal Case

GREENBELT, Md. - A Cameroonian woman who alleges that her uncle's family forced her to come to the United States to be their unpaid domestic servant lost most of her human trafficking expert's testimony and had the majority of her claims dismissed on summary judgment on Jan. 21 by a Maryland federal judge (Corine Elat v. Carolina Raissa Emandop Ngoubene, et al., No. PWG-11-2931, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7505).

Supreme Court Reverses Federal Circuit In Patent Licensee Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals holding that a patent licensee bears the burden of proving noninfringement under the Declaratory Judgment Act was reversed by a unanimous Supreme Court on Jan. 22 (Medtronic Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures LLC et al., No. 12-1128, U.S. Sup.).

Ohio Federal Magistrate Judge Orders Discovery Of Employees' Health Records

DAYTON, Ohio - Employees' health records are relevant and discoverable in a class complaint in which they accuse their employer of interfering with their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an Ohio federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 6 (Michele Wilkinson, et al. v. Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, et al., No. 11-247, S.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 909).

Storm Weather Reporters Say Reinsurer's Claims Are Unsupported By Facts

NEW YORK - The issuers of a storm weather report told a New York federal court on Nov. 20 that a reinsurer's claims against them are not supported by the facts and should be dismissed (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. 13-cv-04657, S.D. N.Y.).

Judge Finds Allegedly Incomplete Inspection Could Support Bad Faith Claim

PHOENIX - Evidence of an allegedly incomplete inspection of a storm-damaged home could constitute evidence of an insurer's bad faith, an Arizona federal judge held Nov. 18, partly denying the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Margo Hanks v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:12-cv-00880, D. Ariz.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163802).

4th Circuit Panel Denies Rehearing In Gender Bias Class Suit

RICHMOND, Va. - A split Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 14 denied a petition for a panel rehearing filed by a discount retail chain facing a reinstated gender bias and equal pay class action (Luanna Scott, et al. v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc., No. 12-1610, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. 22961).

Pennsylvania Jury Awards $10M In 2nd Topamax Birth Defect Trial

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania state court jury on Nov. 18 awarded more than $10 million to a family whose son was born with a cleft palate allegedly caused by his mother's use of the antiepileptic drug Topamax during pregnancy, according to one of the law firms representing the family (Brayden Gurley, et al. v. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceutical, Inc., No. 110502251, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

Mississippi High Court: Dismissal Proper For Medical Malpractice Case

JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi Supreme Court on Oct. 31 overturned a Court of Appeals decision reinstating wrongful death claims against two defendants in a medical malpractice action, concluding that the plaintiff improperly raised issues regarding process service on appeal (Barbara Lewis v. Forest Family Practice Clinic, et al., No. 2011-CT-00828-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2013 Miss. LEXIS 575).

Judge: Insured Sufficiently Alleged Insurer Failed To Investigate Injury Claims

SEATTLE - Finding no evidence that an insurer "fully and fairly" investigated a policyholder's claims for injuries and expenses related to auto accidents, a Washington federal judge on Oct. 29 mostly denied the insurer's motion for summary judgment on bad faith and related state law claims against it (Richard Bird v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2:12-cv-01553, W.D. Wash.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155176).

Australian Justice Finds Landlord Complied With Asbestos Cleanup Orders

SYDNEY, Australia - An Australian justice on Oct. 28 dismissed an action filed by a tenant who alleged that asbestos at a rental property put him and his family in danger, finding that his landlord had complied with previous court orders requiring him to remediate the site (El-Saeidy v NSW Land & Housing Corporation, $(No $) $(2013$) NSWSC 1554, New South Wales Sup.).

Federal Judge Strikes Expert Testimony On Family's Mold Exposure

SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on Sept. 24 granted motions to strike filed by various entities related to the management and operation of an air force base, finding that an expert declaration made on behalf of a family, who alleged that they sustained injuries caused by mold in military housing, contained opinions that were not previously provided in the case (Benjamin L. Pratt Jr., et al. v. Landings at Barksdale, et al., No. 09-1734, W.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136817).

Kentucky Federal Judge Declines To Vacate Contempt Order In Medicaid Waiver Suit

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Sept. 18 denied the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Service's request to vacate and dissolve a partial finding of contempt issued against the cabinet for failing to properly process requests by Medicaid patients to transfer from one in-network Coventry Health and Life Insurance Co. facility to another facility in light of Coventry's impending termination of its provider contract with Appalachian Regional Healthcare Inc. and ARH Breckenridge Health Services Inc. (collectively, ARH) Appalachian Regional Healthcare, et al. v. Coventry Health and Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-114, E.D. Ky.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133126).

Company Says Shareholder's Claims In Derivative Suit Are Without Merit

TRENTON, N.J. - A company told a New Jersey federal court on Sept. 16 that it had an independent investigation of a shareholder's allegations performed and that the allegations were found to be without merit (The George Leaon Family Trust, derivatively on behalf of Johnson & Johnson, v. Mary Sue Coleman, PH.D., et al., No. 12-cv-04401, D. N.J.).

7th Circuit: Experts Can't Vouch For Victim's Family's Timing Of Railroad Warnings

CHICAGO - A magistrate judge did not err in finding expert testimony unreliable in a fatal railroad collision and in granting the defendants summary judgment, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Sept. 11 (Tanya Nunez v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 12-3018, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 18882).

New Jersey Appeals Court Affirms Termination Of Medicaid Beneficiaries

NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished, consolidated opinion, a New Jersey appeals court on Sept. 9 affirmed four financial agency decisions of the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) terminating appellants from the New Jersey Family Care Medicaid Program (NJFC) (B.D. v. New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, No. A-2456-11T3; M.M., et al. v. New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, No. A-4744-11T2; T.J. v. New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services; No. A-5761-11T1, G.G. v. New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, No. A-0109-12T1, N.J. Sup. Ct., App. Div.).

Families' Love Canal Claims Remanded To New York Court For Lack Of Jurisdiction

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Three Niagara Falls, N.Y., families living in a neighborhood adjacent to the Love Canal remediation area who allege personal injury and property damage arising from the release of so-called signature Love Canal toxins released during a sewer maintenance project were granted remand Aug. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York under the well-pleaded complaint doctrine (Joann Abbo-Bradley, et al. v. City of Niagara Falls, et al., No. 13-487, W.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119413).

9th Circuit: Arizona Can't Bar Medicaid Patients From Choosing Their Own Doctors

SAN FRANCISCO - Arizona cannot bar state Medicaid patients from obtaining covered family planning services from health care providers who also perform elective abortions, a panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 22 in affirming summary judgment against the state government (Planned Parenthood Arizona Incorporated, et al. v. Tom Betlach, et al., Nos. 12-17558 and 13-15506, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17584).