LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Excludes Plaintiffs' Expert In Radiation Case Against Halliburton

    OKLAHOMA CITY - The federal judge in Oklahoma presiding over a group of consolidated lawsuits brought by residents who contend that Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) is liable for personal injuries as a result of the company's release of radioactive materials into the environment on July 22 excluded the residents' expert on grounds that his testimony would not help the trier of fact to understand the evidence (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).

    Mealey's PI/Product Liability - False Claims Can Be Brought For Cephalon's Violations Of Integrity Agreement

    PHILADELPHIA - Three relators can assert false claim allegations that Cephalon Inc. violated a corporate integrity agreement (CIA) by engaging in off-label marketing of the wakefulness drug Provigil and its successor, Nuvigil, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled July 21 (United States of America, ex rel. Bruce Boise, et al. v. Cephalon, Inc., et al., No. 08-287, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94448).

    Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Orders Ross Development To Pay $745,898 To PCS Nitrogen For Contamination

    CHARLESTON, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina ruled July 21 that Ross Development Corp. must pay $745,898.86 to indemnify PCS Nitrogen Inc. for costs, fees and expenses PCS incurred when defending claims brought by Ashley II of Charleston LLC under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Ashley II of Charleston LLC v. PCS Nitrogen Inc., et al., No. 05-2782-MBS, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95355).

    Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit Denies Groups' Challenge To EPA's Approval Of Texas Emissions Plan

    NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 20 affirmed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's approval of the State of Texas' State Implementation Plan (SIP) that provides flexible permits for minor sources of pollution, after finding that seven environmental groups raised the same arguments the agency initially made against the plan in 2012 (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-60649, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12597).

    Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Paulsboro Train Derailment Plaintiffs: Expert Report Should Be Accepted

    CAMDEN, N.J. - Four of the plaintiffs who sued a group of railroad company defendants seeking damages related to a vinyl chloride spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek filed a brief on July 20 in New Jersey federal court, contending that the report of its expert should be included in the court record because the defendant's argument for excluding it is based on a false claim (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).

    Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Insurer Has Duty To Defend Produce Supplier In Product Liability Dispute

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Because there is no evidence that a produce supplier intended or expected its apples to be contaminated and the apples were incorporated into an underlying claimant's baby food, the resulting damage to the baby food arose out of an occurrence and, therefore, an insurer has a duty to defend the produce supplier against the underlying breach of contract and warranty lawsuit, a New York federal judge held July 20 (Thruway Produce Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 11-6337, W.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94846).

    Mealey's Bankruptcy - Pennsylvania High Court Affirms Denial Of Petition To Liquidate Insurers

    HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on July 20 affirmed a lower court decision that the rehabilitation of two insolvent insurers should not be converted to a liquidation process (In re: Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company in Rehabilitation, No. 94 MAP 2012, Pa. Sup., Middle Dist.; In re: American Network Insurance Company In Rehabilitation, No. 95 MAP 2012, Pa. Sup., Middle Dist.).

    Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Again Rejects Cymbalta Consumer Class Action Based On Withdrawal Risks

    LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on July 21 again denied certification of consumer class actions for purchasers of the antidepressant Cymbalta (Jennifer L. Saavedra, et al. v. Eli Lilly and Company, No. 12-9366, C.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Grants Final Approval To $62M Settlement And Fee Award In 401(k) Case

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on July 17 awarded $20.6 million in fees and $1.6 million in costs and, on July 20, granted final approval to a $62 million settlement of claims by participants in two of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s 401(k) plans that the plans' fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by causing the plans to pay excessive administrative expenses, by investing in a stable-value fund (SVF) that did not result in a rate of return that was sufficient for a retirement asset and by mismanaging the plan's company stock funds (CSFs) (Anthony Abbott, et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 06-cv-701, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93206).

    Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Settling Repair Costs, Judge Says

    PHILADELPHIA - Under New Jersey law, an insurer did not act in bad faith in the adjusting of payments to settle insureds' repair costs to their property following a water pipe burst, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled July 20 (Aaron Beyer and Francine S. Beyer v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 14-4887, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94456).

    Mealey's Insurance - New York Justice: Woman's Misrepresentations Meant To Deceive Insurer, Void Policy

    NEW YORK - A state court justice in New York on July 17 granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., finding that the insurer sufficiently showed that a woman intended to deceive the company when making material misrepresentations about her health history on her application for a disability income insurance policy (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v. Olga Levitanskaya, No. 160118/13, N.Y. Sup., New York. Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2537).

    Mealey's Labor & Employment - 9th Circuit Upholds Arbitration Award In Radio Show Syndication Dispute

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 17 confirmed an arbitration panel's award in favor of a talk-show radio host in a syndication dispute but denied the host's request for sanctions (Dr. Michael A. Weiner, et al. v. The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., No. 13-16111, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12389).

    Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Paulsboro Train Derailment Plaintiffs: Expert Report Should Be Accepted

    CAMDEN, N.J. - Four of the plaintiffs who sued a group of railroad company defendants seeking damages related to a vinyl chloride spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek filed a brief on July 20 in New Jersey federal court, contending that the report of its expert should be included in the court record because the defendant's argument for excluding it is based on a false claim (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Did Not Breach Duty To Defend; No Coverage For Faulty Work, Judge Finds

    MISSOULA, Mont. - A commercial general liability insurer did not breach the duty to defend or settle an underlying construction defect claim because there is no coverage for damage caused to a log home as a result of insureds' alleged faulty workmanship, a Montana federal judge ruled July 21 (Northland Casualty Co. v. Joseph S. Mulroy doing business as Yorlum Ranch and Yorlum Ranch Ltd., et al., No. 13-232, D. Mont.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94631).

    Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: C-8 Injury Plaintiffs Have Genuine Issue For Trial Against DuPont

    COLUMBUS, Ohio - The federal judge in Ohio presiding over a lawsuit brought by residents who allege that E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. is liable for personal injuries and wrongful death in connection with a spill of perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C-8) on July 21 ruled that the plaintiffs had set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).

    Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Appeals Court Upholds Amendments To Medical Malpractice Statute

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Amendments to the medical malpractice presuit notice sections of Florida Statutes Sections 766.106 and 766.1065 are constitutional and are not preempted by federal law, the First District Florida Court of Appeal ruled July 21 (Emma Gayle Weaver, et al. v. Stephen C. Myers, et al., No. 1D14-3178, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).

    Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Risk Of Diving Into Lake Was Obvious, Michigan Appeals Court Rules

    ELGIN, Ill. - The danger posed by diving into a lake was open and obvious; therefore, the operator of a recreational resort owed no duty of care to a man who suffered a broken neck after diving off a pier, the Illinois Second District Appellate Court ruled July 21 (Krysztof Bujnowski v. Birchland Inc., No. 2-14-0578, Ill. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 557).

    Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Avandia MDL Judge Rules Illinois Plaintiff Attorney Must Pay Common Fees

    PHILADELPHIA - An Illinois plaintiff law firm implicitly agreed to used common benefit work product from the Avandia multidistrict litigation and its settled state court cases are subject to the MDL court's 7 percent common benefit assessment, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled July 21 (In Re: Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1871, No. 07-md-1871, E.D. Pa.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Has Duty To Defend Produce Supplier In Product Liability Dispute

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Because there is no evidence that a produce supplier intended or expected its apples to be contaminated and the apples were incorporated into an underlying claimant's baby food, the resulting damage to the baby food arose out of an occurrence and, therefore, an insurer has a duty to defend the produce supplier against the underlying breach of contract and warranty lawsuit, a New York federal judge held July 20 (Thruway Produce Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 11-6337, W.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94846).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Affirms: DNA Sequencing Patents Are Anticipated, Obvious

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) did not err in invalidating three patents relating to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequencing, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded July 17 (Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York v. Illumina Inc., No. 14-1550, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12343).

    Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge Grants Final Approval To $62M Settlement And Fee Award In 401(k) Case

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on July 17 awarded $20.6 million in fees and $1.6 million in costs and, on July 20, granted final approval to a $62 million settlement of claims by participants in two of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s 401(k) plans that the plans' fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by causing the plans to pay excessive administrative expenses, by investing in a stable-value fund (SVF) that did not result in a rate of return that was sufficient for a retirement asset and by mismanaging the plan's company stock funds (CSFs) (Anthony Abbott, et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 06-cv-701, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93206).

    Mealey's Labor & Employment - Split D.C. Circuit Partially Reinstates Fire Captain's Whistle-Blower Claims

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A fire captain who was terminated after she refused to consent to a fitness-for-duty evaluation without changes to the waiver may partially proceed with claims that she was required to undergo the evaluation in retaliation for complaints protected under the District of Columbia Whistleblower Protection Act (Whistleblower Act), a divided District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 17 (Vanessa Coleman v. District of Columbia, et al., No. 12-7114, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12350).

    Mealey's Labor & Employment - Rite Aid Worker, Injured During Robbery And Later Fired, Wins Nearly $8.8M Verdict

    LOS ANGELES - A former Rite Aid Corp. store manager who claimed that he was subjected to harassment and discrimination and was ultimately fired after he became disabled as the result of an injury he sustained while attempting to stop a robbery at his store was awarded nearly $8.8 million by a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury, the plaintiff's attorney announced July 21 (Robert Leggins v. Rite Aid Corporation, et al., No. BC511139, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

    Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Missouri Court Affirms Dismissal Of Premises Claim; Negligence Claim To Proceed

    ST. LOUIS - A trial judge did not err in entering summary judgment on a premises liability claim brought by an independent contractor who was injured while working in a hospital building, but unresolved questions of fact remain as to the contractor's claim of general negligence against the hospital, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled July 21 (Clyde Woodall v. Christian Hospital NE-NW, No. ED101777, Mo. App., Eastern Dist.; 2015 Mo. App. LEXIS 737).

    Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Refuses To Grant Restraining Order Prohibiting Foreclosure

    SAN DIEGO - After finding that a borrower contesting the pending foreclosure of his property failed to show that it was likely he would succeed on the merits of his claims, a California federal judge on July 17 denied his request for a temporary restraining order (Cirilo Miguel Moreno v. National Default Servicing Corp., et al., No. 15cv1570, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94285).