LOS ANGELES - A health insurer waived the right to deny coverage for vertebrate fusion surgery as experimental when it preauthorized the procedure, albeit with a different device, a federal judge in California held Dec. 12, entering judgment for the plaintiff on her Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims (Aubrey Cohorst v. Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky Inc., No. 16-7925, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204362).
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 13 denied a petition to review a Zoloft birth defect case that was dismissed when the plaintiffs' causation expert was excluded by the trial court (Robert and Katherine Porter, et al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation, et al., No. 257 EAL 2017, Pa. Sup., Eastern Dist., 2017 Pa. LEXIS 3661).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 deemed allegations by a drug maker that a competitor violated California's unfair competition law (UCL), Calif. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200 et seq., preempted by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA), 42 U.S.C. 262, 35 U.S.C. 271(e), 28 U.S.C. 2201(b), 21 U.S.C. 355 et seq. (Amgen Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., No. 15-1499, Fed. Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 affirmed a New Jersey federal judge's ruling in favor of an insurer in an environmental contamination dispute after determining that the insurer's failure to exclude coverage to certain parties involved in the contamination dispute clearly was a mistake or scrivener's error (Indian Harbor Insurance Co. v. NL Environmental Management Services Inc., et al., Nos. 16-3262, 16-3293, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 25277).
CLEVELAND - A woman's testimony regarding her regular visits to a mechanic's garage to visit her fiance and the work she witnessed while there satisfies Ohio's standard of proof for asbestos cases, a federal judge held Dec. 13 (Julia C. Alexander, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 17-504, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205053).
LOS ANGELES - After finding that the city of Los Angeles' claims that a company and its owner conspired with subcontractors to pay employees wages less than the prevailing rate while working on a construction project were sufficient to support a claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), a state appellate panel on Dec. 12 reversed the trial court's ruling sustaining demurrers as to the city's claims against them (The People v. Mackone Development, et al., No. B268991, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8463).
PHOENIX - A group of condominium owners at a resort in Costa Rica on Dec. 12 filed a petition to confirm an arbitral award issued in their favor in relation to the property owner's breach of their purchase agreements (John Lindsey, et al. v. Punta Vista Bahia, S.A., et al., No. 2:17-cv-04596, D. Ariz.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 14 sent a letter to local and state officials seeking input as the agency looks to make revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR)m which applies to all community public water systems.
SAN FRANCISCO - After finding no evidence to support a borrower's allegations regarding the chain of title of her mortgage, a California federal judge on Dec. 14 refused to grant a preliminary injunction enjoining a trust and lenders from foreclosing on her home (Mahsti Kashef v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 17-cv-06576, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206001).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A news content provider argues in a Dec. 13 brief that a copyright infringement suit may be filed for an unregistered work if a copyright application has been filed for the work, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve a circuit split on the matter (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).
PITTSBURGH - An insured has failed to show that remand of his insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is necessary since he asserts only claims under state law and, thus, a federal district court lacks jurisdiction over the claims because the insured does not seek a declaratory judgment and because he seeks damages in excess of the statutory limits, a federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania ruled Dec. 12 in denying the insured's motion (Adam Carney v. GEICO, No. 17-1486, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205042).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 14 denied Pulte Home Corp.'s motion for summary judgment, holding that genuine disputes exist as to whether subsequent home buyers knew about building code violations concerning the allegedly faulty installation of stucco on the homes (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corp., No. 16-cv-657, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205416).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In what it described as a restoration of internet freedom, the Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 14 announced the repeal its 2015 order that had established rules protecting what has become popularly known as "net neutrality." The newly adopted framework, which was approved by a 3-2 vote, includes "robust transparency requirements" and "effective government oversight of broadband providers' conduct," the FCC said.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Dec. 14, in a 3-2 decision overruled the 2015 decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015), and reinstated the joint-employer standard in place prior to that decision (Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd. and Brandt Construction Co., et al., Nos. 25-CA-163189, 25-CA-163208, 25-CA-163297, 25-CA-163317, 25-CA-163373, 25-CA-163376, 25-CA-163398, 25-CA-163414, 25-CA-164941, and 25-CA-164945, NLRB).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 14 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana's decision to award a gasoline retailer $58.4 million under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Agreement, finding that the judge did not err when finding that the company was not excluded from the settlement agreement (BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al. v. Claimant ID 100211268, No. 16-31118, 5th Cir.).
DALLAS - Nationwide pharmacy DaVita Rx LLC has agreed to pay $63.7 million to resolve federal false claims and kickback allegations that it billed federal health care programs for drugs it never shipped and for taking kickbacks in the form of patient assistance programs, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas announced Dec. 14 (United States of America, ex rel. Patsy Gallian, et al. v. DaVita Rx, LLC, et al., No. 3:16-cv-943, N.D. Texas).
HACKENSACK, N.J. - A New Jersey state court jury on Dec. 14 awarded $15 million to a plaintiff and her husband in the state's second pelvic mesh trial (Elizabeth Hrymoc, et al. v. Ethicon, Inc., et al., No. L-13686-14, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.).
MINNEAPOLIS - Asbestos plaintiffs appealing a summary judgment ruling must respond to defendants' claim that the time to appeal began with the original judgment, not an amended one, making the appeal four days too late, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 11 (Marlin P. Filipek, et al. v. The Boeing Co., et al., No. 17-3363, 8th Cir.).