NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 19 certified two questions to the New York Court of Appeals in a dispute over whether a public benefit corporation has the capacity to challenge as unconstitutional a New York statute that revived claims against public corporations for personal injuries incurred during the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (In re: World Trade Center Lower Manhattan Disaster Site Litigation, Nos. 15-2181, 15-2283, 15-2285, 15-2487, 15-2506 and 15-2687, 2nd Cir.).
CINCINNATI - In a Jan. 13 appellee brief filed in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, an adult entertainment company says that its abandoned infringement claim against an accused file sharer was properly dismissed with prejudice because of the defendant's dilatory discovery conduct and to serve judicial economy (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 denied review of a ruling by the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that enforced a forum-selection clause in a disability plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Lorna Clause v. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, et al., No. 16-641, U.S. Sup.).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 13 dismissed claims alleging gender identity discrimination under Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) against an insurer and an employer because the plaintiff failed to cite any controlling precedent that recognizes a cause of action under Section 1557 for gender identity discrimination (Charlize Marie Baker v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3679, N.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5665).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Jan. 17 in a single opinion vacated orders denying class certification in two substantially similar complaints alleging that oil and gas leases were breached and payments were never made, finding that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motions (Lucinda A. Cardinale, et al. v. R.E. Gas Development, LLC, et al., No. 1186 WDA 2015, Mary R. Billotte, et al. v. R.E. Gas Development, LLC, et al., No. 1187 WDA 2015, Pa. Super.; 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 34).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Just three months after seeking inter partes review (IPR) by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of a media delivery patent, Facebook Inc. and Instagram LLC on Jan. 15 filed a second petition for IPR of the same patent (Facebook Inc., et al. v. Skky LLC, No. IPR2017-00688, PTAB).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Missouri doctor who surrendered his medical license in 2010 after pleading to an insurance fraud scheme pleaded guilty on Jan. 17 to another insurance fraud scheme in which he conducted disability examinations on veterans (United States of America v. Wayne Williamson, No. 17cr25, W.D. Mo.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 18 vacated a district court's decision to refuse enforcement of a $48 million arbitral award issued by the International Chamber of Commerce's (ICC) International Court of Arbitration, finding that a group of Brazilian companies was not required to first attempt to confirm the award before seeking enforcement (CBF Industria de Gusa S/A, et al. v. AMCI Holdings Inc., No. 15-1133, 15-1146, 2nd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 899).
LANSING, Mich. - A Michigan appellate panel on Jan. 17 found that a sunken drainage ditch on a gas station's property that caused injury to a biker was an open and obvious hazard and remanded the suit to the trial court with an order to grant summary judgment to the gas station owner (William Basacchi v. Simon Land Development Group LLC, et al., No. 329503, Mich. App. Dist. 4; 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 73).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An insurer's "mere assertion" that simultaneously litigating an insurance bad faith claim with other claims in an insurance dispute will require it to prematurely divulge privileged information is not sufficient to require bifurcation and a stay of the bad faith claim, a federal judge in Ohio ruled Jan. 13 in denying the insurer's motion to bifurcate (Excel Direct Inc. v. Nautilus Insurance Co., No. 16-446, S.D. Ohio; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5435).
PHOENIX - The Navajo Nation and the United States have agreed to settle their claims against two mining companies for cleanup of 94 abandoned uranium mines on Navajo lands, with the companies performing the work and the United States contributing about half the estimated $600 million in costs, according to a consent decree filed Jan. 17 in Arizona federal court (United States of America v. Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, et al., No. 2:17-cv-140, Navajo Nation v. Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, et al., No. 3:17-cv-8007, D. Ariz.).
BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on Jan. 17 denied a masonry subcontractor's motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract suit, ruling that genuine issues of fact remain as to when potential defects in the installation of a masonry facade that collapsed in April 2013 were known (Skanska USA Building Inc. v. J.D. Long Masonry Inc., No. 16-0933, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5885).
SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations by a karaoke music producer that a defendant's practice of "media-shifting" karaoke tracks from physical compact discs to digital files violates the Lanham Act were correctly dismissed by an Arizona federal judge, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 18 (Slep-Tone Entertainment Corporation v. Wired for Sound Karaoke and DJ Services LLC, No. 14-17229, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 let stand a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that reversed the grant of summary judgment to four carpenter union fringe benefit funds that alleged that a general contractor failed to pay fringe benefits for work performed by nonunion labor as required by a collective bargaining agreement in violation of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, et al. v. Schal Bovis, Inc., No. 16-690, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - The state of Nevada and 20 other states filed a brief on Jan. 17 asking the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold a nationwide preliminary injunction barring the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wage rule that was to increase the minimum salary level for executive, administrative and professional (EAP) employees who are exempt from receiving overtime pay from $23,660 per year to $47,892 per year (State of Nevada, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 16-41606, 5th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - State Street Corp. will pay more than $64 million in criminal penalties to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges that it engaged in a scheme to defraud a number of its clients by "secretly applying commissions to billions of dollars of securities trades," according to a Justice Department press release issued on Jan. 18.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Deutsche Bank AG and its current and former subsidiaries and affiliates and ACE Securities Corp. will pay $7.2 billion in civil penalties and relief to homeowners and others to settle claims that it misrepresented investors regarding the investment quality of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) between 2006 and 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Jan. 17.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Jan. 13 denied a reinsurer's challenge to a magistrate judge's ruling, finding that the magistrate judge's finding that a certain document was privileged was not clearly erroneous (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, and Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., v. Utica Mutual Insurance Company, No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).