FLORENCE, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on July 29 awarded Choice Hotels International Inc. triple damages plus $1.18 million of infringer profits in a trademark infringement case against defendants who bought a North Myrtle Beach hotel from one of Choice Hotels' former franchisees and operated a "virtually identical business with a virtually identical name on the very same property" (Choice Hotels International Inc. v. Zeal LLC, et al., No. 4:13-01961, D. S.C., Florence Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99342).
HOUSTON - A cooperation clause applies to an insured's conduct in declining a settlement in an underlying lawsuit over a faulty flex connector, a Texas federal judge ruled July 29, also finding that genuine issues of material fact exist regarding whether the insured breached that duty (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Petroleum Solutions, Inc., et al., No. 09-0422, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99896).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on July 29 allowed two separate but related putative class actions filed on behalf of Domino's pizza delivery drivers against their Domino's franchise employers to proceed, although limited to one class that signed an arbitration agreement and one class that did not (Atila Adolfo Tigges, et al. v. AM Pizza Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-10136, and Tylor Reeves, et al. v. PMLRA Pizza, et al., No. 1:16-cv-10474, D. Mass.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100366).
BOSTON - Saying their claims under the meningitis outbreak settlement are being held up by the federal government delay, 154 Virginia plaintiffs on Aug. 1 asked the New England Compounding Center (NECC) multidistrict litigation court to order the tort trustee to make distributions without delay, to give the federal government a deadline for a lien agreement and to order the trustee to stop imposing other lien requirements on the claimants (In Re: New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2419, No. 13-md-2419, D. Mass.).
UTICA, N.Y. - A New York federal judge held July 29 that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify professional race car driver Anthony Wayne Stewart against an underlying wrongful death lawsuit brought by the estate of a fellow race car driver (Axis Insurance Co. v. Anthony Wayne Stewart, No. 15-1131, N.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A California federal judge properly construed the terms "specified connection" and "UL connections" in a dispute over wireless communication patents, according to an Aug. 1 ruling by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in favor of defendant Apple Inc. (Wi-LAN USA Inc., et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-1256, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13860).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A California federal judge's decision that upheld a verdict of patent invalidity and noninfringement following a seven-day jury trial was not erroneous, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 1 (GPNE Corp. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-1825, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13862).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 29 affirmed the dismissal of claims for violation of California's unfair competition (UCL) in relation to a contract for the supply of polysilicon based on forum non conveniens (Adema Technologies Inc., et al. v. Wacker Chemical Corp., et al., No. 14-16618, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13742).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Because a disability claimant did not have a "meaningful opportunity" to submit additional evidence in support of her claim and because the plan did not explain what "objective medical findings" are, a district court erred in granting the plan's motion summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal said July 29 in reversing the district court's ruling (Barbara Scoles v. Intel Corporation Long Term Disability Benefit Plan, No. 13-36167, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13819).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 upheld a federal district court's $115,279.33 judgment in favor of a mortgage lender and against a force-placed flood insurer in a dispute arising from Hurricane Isaac damage (Alfred Cotton, et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London, No. 15-31005, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13962).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Century Indemnity Co. moved in a federal court in New York on July 28 to intervene in an asbestos reinsurance billing dispute for the purpose of opposing a reinsured's motion to seal certain documents (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, N.D. N.Y.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A second affidavit from an insurance company's property product manager did not resolve questions concerning the materiality of misrepresentations that were made on a policy holder's application, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled July 28 in denying Century Surety Co.'s second motion for summary judgment (Century Surety Company v. Bassam Nafel, et al., No. 14-CV-00101-JWD-EWD, M.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98620).
PASADENA, Calif. - In reversing a lower federal court's no coverage ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found July 27 that a commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend its insured against an underlying lawsuit because the insured may not have acted with the requisite intent to trigger the policy's "intentional acts" exclusion (Steven J. Berns v. Sentry Select Insurance Co., No. 14-55996, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13684).
MINNEAPOLIS - The attorneys representing a class of former professional National Hockey League (NHL) players on July 28 moved in federal court in Minnesota to add the estate of former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Lazarus Zeidel because Zeidel has posthumously been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After finding that a bank's obligation to respond to a borrower's qualified written request (QWR) was never triggered under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), a Florida federal judge on July 29 granted its motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (Ricardo Basora v. MPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 16-civ-60999, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99635).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - An insurer that interpleaded itself into a construction defects lawsuit involving its insureds had no right to remove the case to federal court, a South Carolina federal judge ruled July 28, remanding the case to state court to resolve remaining counterclaims against the insurer for breach of contract and bad faith (The Gates at Williams-Brice Condominium Association and Katherine Swinson v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 16-01001, D. S.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98599).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on July 29 found a doctor guilty of one count of health care fraud, three counts of making false statements related to health care matters and two counts of money laundering for submitting millions of dollars in false claims to Medicare (United States of America v. Syed I. Ahmed, No. 14cr277, E.D. N.Y.).
ST. LOUIS - An attorney representing a party objecting to the proposed settlement in a product defects class action must provide responsive discovery documents related to his representation of objecting class members in other suits, a Missouri federal judge ruled July 27 in denying the attorney's motion to quash a subpoena, finding the requested documents to be relevant and amply protected from unnecessary disclosure.(In Re: Jonathan E. Fortman, No. 4:16-mc-00421, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97911).
LOS ANGELES - Damage to an insured's mixed-use complex caused by subcontractors' faulty stone flooring work is precluded under a defective workmanship exclusion, a California appeals panel held July 28, affirming summary judgment to seven insurers on breach of contract, bad faith and fraud claims (Olympic and Georgia Partners LLC v. Arch Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. B264647, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5559).
CHICAGO - Because a district court erred in interpreting a disability policy and made factual findings unsupported by the evidence, a new trial is warranted, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said July 27, vacating and remanding the district court's ruling in favor of a disability claimant (Carole Cheney v. Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1794, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13692).
TULSA, Okla. - Subrogated insurers failed to assert their breach of contract claim before the expiration of a five-year statute of limitations, which began running upon completion of construction, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled July 28, granting in part summary judgment to a general contractor (Lexington Insurance Co., et al. v. Newbern Fabricating, Inc. and Baucom Concrete Construction, Inc., No. 14-0610, N.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98595).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 27 reversed a district court's ruling against a disability claimant after determining that it was not reasonable for the insurers to conclude that the date of the claimant's first physician visit related to the disability determines the time when the disability commenced (Eric Berg v. New York Life Insurance Co. et al., No. 15-1410, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13656).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 29 affirmed a lower court's decision that it lacked authority to rule on the appeal filed by a group of veterans who contended that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) decision to deny benefits for alleged exposure to Agent Orange violated a federal act, which those veterans had argued guaranteed them medical benefits (Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Association Inc., et al. v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 15-5109, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13780).
BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Honeywell International Inc. and Georgia Power Co. on July 29 agreed to pay $28.6 million to remove and isolate contaminated sediment at the LCP Chemicals Superfund site in Brunswick, according to a consent decree filed in Georgia federal court (United States of America v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-112, S.D. Ga.).