DETROIT - General Motors Co. (GM) on June 5 announced a program to compensate people who lost family members or who suffered serious physical injuries as the result of ignition switch failures in GM vehicles.
FRESNO, Calif. - A California jury on May 27 awarded the family of a man felled by an asbestos-related disease $7,438,500 plus $3.5 in punitive damages and held sole remaining defendant Honeywell International Inc. 30 percent liable, sources told Mealey Publications (James Phillips v. Amcord Inc., et al., No. 12CECG04055, Calif. Super., Fresno Co.).
DENVER - An insurance agent's negligent misrepresentation claim against insurers regarding an alleged breach of an agency agreement is not precluded by the economic loss rule, a Colorado federal judge ruled May 13 (David Bartch v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-01931, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66160).
SAN FRANCISCO - Members of a San Francisco family are defrauding taxpayers by operating a string of fleabag motels in violation of their contracts with the city to provide "clean, safe, habitable conditions" for tenants in publicly funded transitional housing, the city attorney alleges in a lawsuit filed in state court on May 12 under California's unfair competition law (UCL) (City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Balvantsinh "Bill" Thakor, et al., No. 539230, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
INDIANAPOLIS - A fact finder could conclude that an insurer's decision to go to trial and risk excess judgment, rather than offer the policy limits or reserves to settle, constituted bad faith, an Indiana federal judge found May 5, partly denying the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Randall L. Woodruff v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 1:12-cv-00859, S.D. Ind.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62038).
NEW ORLEANS - A former postal worker may proceed with her claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as, unlike her claims brought under the Rehabilitation Act, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) controlling her employment did not clearly require her to resolve those claims through arbitration, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 30 (Sandra Kay Gilbert v. Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service, No. 13-40328, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8182).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on April 17 enjoined Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations mandating that a group health plan provide post-fertilization contraceptive coverage (Dr. James C. Dobson and Family Talk v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13-3326, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54585).
MINNEAPOLIS - An insurance agent breached an agent agreement with his former employer by inducing former clients into switching their policies, a Minnesota federal judge held April 22, awarding the employer $614,631.61 (American Family Mutual Insurance Co., et al. v. Steven G. Graham and Steven Graham Agency Inc., No. 12-53, D. Minn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55338).
SEATTLE - Two families who have had coverage for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy to treat their children's autism spectrum disorders (ASD) denied filed a class action lawsuit in a Washington federal court against the plan and plan administrator on April 17 (C.S., et al. v. The Boeing Company Master Welfare Plan, et al., No. 14-574, W.D. Wash.).
LAS VEGAS - Three policy exclusions in a lawyers professional liability insurance policy preclude coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging that an attorney, his law firm and his family trust committed malpractice and fraud, breached professional ethics and breached a fiduciary duty, a Nevada federal judge ruled April 14 (Thomas Christensen, et al. v. Darwin National Assurance Co., et al., No. 2:13-cv-00956-APG-VCF, D. Nev.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52069).
INDIANAPOLIS - A two-year statute of limitations precludes insureds' negligence and breach of contract claims against their insurer and its insurance agent, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed April 3, finding that the statute began to run no later than the first policy renewal (Christopher Groce and Tracey Groce v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. and Michael A. Meek, No. 48S02-1307-CT-472, Ind. Sup.; 2014 Ind. LEXIS 262).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Based on the documented injuries sustained by two insureds in an auto accident, an Oregon federal judge on April 1 found that their insurer's settlement offer fell within the "objectively reasonable expectations" of all involved parties, per the policy's contractual provisions, and was not evidence of bad faith (Sonia Braun-Salinas, et al. v. American Family Insurance Co., No. 3:13-cv-00264, D. Ore.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45121).
SAN FRANCISCO - A family restaurant and fun center chain removed a wage-and-hour class complaint to California federal court on March 27 based on diversity jurisdiction pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Franchesca Ford, et al. v. CEC Entertainment, Inc., et al., No. 14-1420, N.D. Calif.).
WORCESTER, Mass. - A Massachusetts federal judge on March 28 sent a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by a retail store manager back to state court, finding that the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) local controversy exception applied (David Premo, et al. v. Family Dollar Stores of Massachusetts, Inc., et al., No. 13-11279, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42069).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A determination of an insurer's duty to defend is premature until the nature of the damages to a dental facility from flooding due to construction error are determined, an Alabama federal judge ruled March 12, dismissing the insurer's coverage lawsuit (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. Baldone Family Dentistry P.C., et al., No. 13-2338, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31815).
ST. LOUIS - The federal government on Feb. 27 filed a brief with the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, urging the court to affirm the denial of a preliminary injunction in a case brought by a Missouri family challenging the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (Paul Wieland, et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 13-3528, 8th Cir.).
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.).
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.