BOSTON - The city of Westfield, Mass., on May 18 filed a brief in Massachusetts federal court contending that a motion to dismiss filed by 3M Co. and other companies related to groundwater contamination from the manufacture and use of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) should be rejected because the claim is not barred by the statute of limitations (City of Westfield, Massachusetts v. 3M, et al., No. 18-30027, D. Mass.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - After engaging in arbitration, a New York woman filed a stipulation in California federal court May 17, voluntarily dismissing a putative class action under the Electronic Communications Privacy App (ECPA) against National Basketball Association team the Golden State Warriors and a technology firm, disposing of her allegations of eavesdropping via the team's smartphone app (LaTisha Satchell v. Signal360 Inc., et al., No.3:16-cv-04961, N.D. Calif.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - In a May 18 per curiam ruling, the Second District Florida Court of Appeal left intact an $8 million award rendered by jurors in May 2016 on behalf of the family of a deceased smoker, just over one week after hearing oral arguments in the Engle progeny case (James C. McCabe v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2D17-797, Fla. App. 2nd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 6947).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on May 18 affirmed a lower court's finding that a man's use of his personal automobile on a private race track falls under an insurance policy exclusion for race-related conduct (Robert Wegmann v. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 2D17-2030, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 6965).
FLORENCE, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on May 16 refused to reconsider a denial of summary judgment to an insurer on an insured's bad faith allegation arising out of the handling of an underinsured motorist benefits claim because genuine issues of fact exist as to whether the insurer's conduct was reasonable (Ethel Powell v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-2795, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82164).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on May 16 denied an insured's motion to alter a judgment in a products liability suit to include payment of $1.5 million in attorney fees and expenses because the insurer's duty to defend ended when the underlying claim was settled on the insured's behalf (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, et al. v. Donaldson Company Inc., No. 10-4948, D. Minn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82484).
CHICAGO - Chiding both parties in a trade secret misappropriation suit for "a long, drawn out, pitched battle" over discovery, an Illinois federal magistrate judge on May 17 denied Motorola Solutions Inc.'s motion to compel forensic examination of the defendants' computers, finding no evidence that such an examination would be relevant to the limited statute of limitations issue presently before the court (Motorola Solutions Inc. v. Hytera Communications Corp., et al., No. 1:17-cv-01973, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83136).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge on May 17 found that Pennsylvania's Act 44, which mandates that the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association transfer $200 million of its "surplus" funds for deposit into the Commonwealth's General Fund, is unconstitutional, granting summary and declaratory judgment and permanent injunctive relief in favor of the association (Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association v. Tom Wolf, No. 17-2041, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83137).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A federal judge in Tennessee on May 18 quashed two subpoenas served on rehabilitation centers where a doctor who was found guilty of four counts of health care fraud preformed toenail avulsions, finding that the requests were unduly burdensome and that they were not necessarily relevant for the calculation of the amount of loss incurred by Medicare and other insurers (United States v. John J. Cauthon, No. 15-cr-00172, M.D. Tenn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84104).
NEW ORLEANS - California, New York and Oregon on May 16 moved for reconsideration of a majority of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' denial of their motion to intervene in a dispute over the U.S. Department of Labor's "fiduciary rule," contending that they will suffer "grave harm" as a result of the majority's March 15 decision to vacate the fiduciary rule (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., American Council of Life Insurers, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, et al. v. R. Alexander Acosta, et al., No. 17-10238, 5th Cir.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on May 16 affirmed certification of a class in a case against state agencies and insurers over illegal transactions made to protect the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (Donald W. Abshire v. The State of Louisiana, et al., No. 2017CA0689 c/w 2017CA0690, La. App., 1st Cir., 2018 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 141).
MINEOLA, N.Y. - A New York state justice on May 16 dismissed a suit filed by insureds in a dispute over coverage for the collapse of their garage after determining that the insureds failed to prove that the insurer breached its contract, acted in bad faith or committed fraud in its handling of the claim (John A. Petrilli, et al. v. Adirondack Insurance Exchange, et. al., No. 600128/18, N.Y. Sup., Nassau Co.).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on May 16 denied a request to join a special deputy receiver for three insolvent insurers to a breach of fiduciary lawsuit against a trustee for its role on pre-need funeral contracts because the trustee does not state in what capacity it would like to join the receiver (Winner Road Properties LLC v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A., No. 16-1395, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82331).
MOBILE, Ala. - In granting a motion to strike and dismiss, a federal judge in Alabama on May 16 ruled that two claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit are nearly identical, and an insured's bad faith claim lacks any factual allegations to support it (Carlos Todd v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 18-0175, S.D. Ala., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82410).
NEW YORK - Reforms agreed to by an investor and several former outside directors of an on-land and offshore wind turbine tower manufacturer in a proposed shareholder derivative lawsuit settlement fail to provide any meaningful benefit to the company the investor or the company's shareholders, a federal magistrate judge in New York ruled May 17 in denying a motion for final approval of the settlement agreement (Alan Scott v. Benjamin Tianbing Wei, et al., No. 15-9691, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83645).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 16 reversed a district court's ruling that no benefits are owed under an accidental dismemberment plan after determining that the plan participants met their burden of proving that the amputation of a participant's leg was caused solely by an auto accident and that the participant's diabetes did not substantially cause or contribute to the amputation (Tommy Dowdy et al., v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 16-15824, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 12648).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Wisconsin federal judge's decision to grant, post-trial, a defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that various claims of a patent directed to a telephone relay system (TRS) are invalid as obvious was erroneous, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded May 18 (Ultratec Inc., et al., v Sorenson Communications Inc., Nos. 2017-1161, -1225, Fed. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 13035).
LINCOLN, Neb. - The Nebraska Supreme Court on May 18 affirmed the exclusion of a plaintiff's sole causation expert in an Accutane bowel injury case, saying the expert's methodology failed to meet case law standards (Aimee Freeman v. Hoffman-La Roche Inc., et al., No. 300 Neb. 47, Neb. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 21 declined review of a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that an investor failed to properly plead scienter in making his federal securities law claims against a company and two of its senior executives in a class action lawsuit (Maguire Financial LP v. PowerSecure International Inc., et al., No. 17-1303, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on May 21 in three consolidated cases that arbitration agreements barring class action proceedings must be enforced (Epic Systems Corp. v. Jacob Lewis, No. 16-285, Ernst & Young, et al. v. Stephen Morris, et al., No. 16-300, NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-307, U.S. Sup.).
OLYMPIA, Wash. - A 7-2 Washington Supreme Court on May 17 found that emails between a county and the Washington Department of Ecology were protected from disclosure under the Public Records Act (PRA) because they were work product and because the sharing of the information between the parties did not constitute a waiver of that privilege (Kittitas County v. Sky Allphin, et al., No. 93562-9, Wash. Sup., 2018 Wash. Sup., 2018 Wash. LEXIS 336).
SAN FRANCISCO - A delivery courier on May 15 filed a class action complaint against a same-day delivery courier service in a California state court, alleging that it violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and labor code when it misclassified employees as independent contractors (Raef Lawson v. Deliv Inc., No. 566577, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A manufacturer and marketer of robotic surgical products asserts in a May 16 petition for inter partes review (IPR) before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that an Ethicon LLC patent relating to a surgical system involving a remote user-controlled actuation console would have been rendered obvious or anticipated by prior art (Intuitive Surgical Inc. v. Ethicon LLC, No. IPR2018-00938, PTAB).