ATLANTA - A doctor admitted that he had no expert opinion about why an implanted knee replacement system's design was defective, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 20, affirming summary judgment to the system's manufacturer on strict liability and negligence claims (Sandra Witt v. Stryker Corporation of Michigan and Howmedica Osteonics Corp., No. 15-12243, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7145).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 20 that a federal district court abused its discretion when it declined to exercise jurisdiction without adequately considering the relevant factors in a commercial general liability coverage dispute arising from theft and vandalism at a Miami warehouse (First Mercury Insurance Co. v. Excellent Computing Distributors Inc., et al., No. 15-10120, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7111).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Texas federal judge properly dismissed as moot a patent infringement action, despite the addition of newly added patent claims following re-examination by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 22 (Target Training International Ltd. v. Extended DISC North America Inc., Nos. 15-1873, -1908, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7292).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge erred in granting judgment in favor of a pension plan and its administrators in a dispute over a since-deceased plaintiff's entitlement to benefits because the plaintiff was unable to independently provide key information about corporate structures or hours worked needed to substantiate his claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 21 (Estate of Bruce H. Barton v. ADT Security Services Pension Plan, et al., No. 13-56379, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7216).
CINCINNATI - Subcontractors experienced in electrical work knew the dangers presented by asbestos and had no reason to rely on a salvager's representations regarding safety, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 22 in affirming summary judgment (Chris Upton and Leslie D. Jones, et al. v. BNFL Inc., et al., No. 15-5751, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7380).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel found April 20 that the loss of power to a hospital's cooling system following Hurricane Katrina is a single occurrence under a commercial general liability insurance policy and that an insured is responsible for only one retained limit of $50,000, reversing a lower court's ruling that the insured owed a separate retained limit for each claim related to the power outage (David Thebault v. American Home Assurance Company, et al., No. 2015-CA-0800, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2016 La. App. LEXIS 764).
DENVER - A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 22 upheld a federal judge in Utah's ruling finding that PHL Variable Insurance Co. was entitled to summary judgment as well as the premiums paid as part of a stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI) policy scheme (PHL Variable Insurance Company v. The Sheldon Hathaway Family Insurance Trust, et al., Nos. 15-4028, 15-4029, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7315).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 25 declined to review a decision by the Montana Supreme Court affirming dismissal of objections lodged by members of the Crow Tribe to the Crow Tribe-Montana Water Rights Compact (Crow Allottees, et al. v. United States of America, et al., No. 15-779, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A decision by the en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals establishing the definition of "Indian" for purposes of the Indian Major Crimes Act will stand after the U.S. Supreme Court on April 25 denied a petition for certiorari filed by a tribal member who faces a 90-year prison sentence for shooting a man at a home on the Ak-Chin Indian Reservation in Arizona (Damien Zepeda v. United States of America, No. 15-675, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its second hearing of a dispute between a former university student and a textbook manufacturer, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 25 took up the question of whether the student is entitled to an award of attorney fees for prevailing on the textbook manufacturer's allegations of copyright infringement (Supap Kirtsaeng, d/b/a Bluechristine99 v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., No. 15-375, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A reinsurance agent told a federal court in New York on April 21 that the assignee of certain reinsurance receivables has not shown sufficient evidence to justify the court reconsidering its dismissal of the parties' case (NEM Re Receivables LLC v. Fortress Re Inc., No. 15-cv-03875, S.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA - Two former professional football players for the Arizona Cardinals Football Club LLC on April 19 asked the judge overseeing the NFL concussion multidistrict litigation to remand their suit to Missouri state court because their second amended complaint makes only state law claims that they say precludes their case from being heard in federal court (In re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 2323, E.D. Pa.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on April 21 granted a motion filed by the Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) to dismiss counterclaims brought by two physicians and their practices that are accused of engaging in a fraudulent billing scheme but allowed the defendants to amend their allegations that the insurer violated state law when withholding payments on the claims they submitted (Government Employees Insurance Company v. Alfred Tawadrous, et al, No. 14-5742, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53210).
DETROIT - A Michigan appeals panel on April 19 affirmed summary disposition in favor of a hotel in a premises liability action, finding that the hotel satisfied its limited duty of care to a man who was injured on the premises when a hotel employee called the police to report that the man had been assaulted by a security guard during an event at the hotel (Tamer Alwerfalli v. Livho, Inc., d/b/a/ Holiday Inn Detroit Livonia Conference Center d/b/a Radisson Hotel Detroit Livonia, and Terrill Hicks, No. 324827, Mich. App.; 2016 Mich. App. LEXIS 746).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A former charter of a national fraternal organization dedicated to promoting the interests of farming and agriculture was ordered April 20 by a California federal judge to cease inclusion of the word "Grange" in its name (The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry v. California State Grange, No. 14-676, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53038).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri Supreme Court on April 19 in a 4-3 ruling vacated summary judgment granted to a doctor in a wrongful death action, finding that the doctor's alleged negligence did not cause his patient's death. The court remanded the case, noting that the deceased's personal representative can bring a negligence action against the doctor (Ruth Mickels, et al. v. Raman Danrad, M.D., No. SC94844, Mo. Sup.; 2016 Mo. LEXIS 112).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on April 20 granted in part and denied in part an insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings in a bad faith lawsuit, ruling that although the plaintiff in the action had properly shown that the insurer acted in bad faith in its handling of a settlement, he cannot bring his bad faith claim regarding the insurer's handling of his claims against the insureds in the action because he is a third-party claimant and not a first-party insured (Michael Kleinsasser v. Progressive Northern Insurance Co., No. 16-102, W.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52072).
NEW YORK - An insurer is not obligated to reimburse its insureds for the cost of repairing certain concrete floor slabs, the First Department New York Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled April 21 (St. George Tower and Grill Owners Corp. v. Insurance Company of Greater New York, No. 651746/12, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2971).
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 20 vacated a $2.3 million class counsel fee in a dental implant settlement, finding that the district court denied the defendant due process by examining attorney timesheets and cost records in camera (Jason M. Yamada, D.D.S., et al. v. Nobel Biocare Holding AG, et al., No. 14-55236, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7122).
LOS ANGELES - A department store failed to supply evidence supporting its claim that the amount in controversy in a class suit by sales managers, who allege that they were not reimbursed for certain business expenses, exceeded $5 million, a California federal judge ruled April 18, sending the case back to state court (Nazanin Tehrani v. Macy's West Stores, Inc., et al., No. 15-7286, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51713).
NEW YORK - Plaintiffs' co-lead counsel in the General Motors ignition switch multidistrict litigation on April 19 responded to claims from another attorney that they were not helping the plaintiffs he represents, saying that the claims are without merit and that the attorney is just repeating claims he has already made (In Re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 1:14-md-0254, S.D. N.Y.).
TYLER, Texas - Digital civil liberties organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was granted leave by a Texas federal magistrate judge on April 18 to intervene in a patent suit over "signal abstracting" technology for the limited purpose of moving to unseal documents and docket entries in what it called a "remarkably opaque" record in the dispute between two technology firms (Blue Spike LLC v. Audible Magic Corp., No. 6:15-cv-00584, E.D. Texas).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 18 denied a renewed motion to remand a class complaint accusing Empire Beauty School salons in Pennsylvania of violating state law by overcharging customers for cosmetology services provided by its students, finding that the plaintiff's evidence of citizenship fell short of his burden (Russell Jones v. EEG, Inc., et al., No. 15-5018, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51379).