RALEIGH, N.C. - A North Carolina state court judge did not err when denying a home builder's request for specific jury instructions during a trial involving alleged construction defects because there was no evidence to support them, a state appeals panel ruled Feb. 3 in affirming a $200,000 jury verdict to a couple (Jerry Wilson, et al. v. Conleys Creek L.P., et al., No. COA14-823, N.C. App.; 2015 N.C. App. LEXIS 62).
RENO, Nev. - Counsel for a class of homeowners on Feb. 3 asked a jury during opening arguments in the Washoe County, Nev., Second Judicial District Court to find that an insurer acted in bad faith by relying on an earth movement exclusion to deny coverage for damages sustained by the homeowners as a result of alleged negligent construction by an insured (Elizabeth Reimers, et al. v. Everest Indemnity Insurance Co., No. CV13-00737, Nev. Dist., 2nd Dist., Washoe Co.).
CHICAGO - Judgment for two companies in an asbestosis action precludes a widow's mesothelioma action against those same companies filed with the first action pending, a federal judge in Wisconsin held Feb. 3 (Beverly Ahnert, et al. v. Brand Insulation Inc., et al., No. 13-1456, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12403).
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on Feb. 3 granted preliminary approval of an $840,000 settlement to be paid by an employer to end Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) class claims brought by job applicants (Jason Smith, et al. v. Res-Care, Inc., No. 13-5211, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12256).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 3 affirmed a district court's decision to dismiss claims for fraud, negligent misrepresentation and other claims asserted by mortgage holders against a bank and others, finding that the plaintiffs failed to provide any factual allegations to support their claims (Mark Carrier, et al. v. Bank of America NA, f/k/a and as successor to Countrywide Home Loan Services L.P., et al., No. 14-1791, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1680).
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Jan. 30 for the second time dismissed a case, including a claim for violation of the state's unfair competition law (UCL), alleging that a used car company failed to supply a form showing that all of the components of the vehicle were inspected during the certification process, this time with prejudice (Patricia A. Sigala v. CarMax Auto Superstores, No. 14-1451, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11414).
SALT LAKE CITY - The operator of a group home owed a duty of care to a child who was sexually assaulted by one of its employees, the Utah Supreme Court held Jan. 30 in a 3-2 decision (Rachel Graves, et al. v. NorthEastern Services Inc., et al., No. 0121012, Utah Sup.; 2015 Utah LEXIS 55).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A holding by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that three claims of a vehicle speed interface patent are obvious was affirmed Feb. 4 by a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, after the panel rejected claims that it can review decisions to grant or deny petitions for inter partes review (IPR) under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) (In re: Cuozzo Speed Technologies LLC, No. 14-1301, Fed. Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Attorneys for the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Feb. 2 sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, requesting the immediate closure of hundreds of hydraulic fracturing disposal wells currently injecting oil industry wastewater directly into protected aquifers in California.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A city filed its breach of contract and professional negligence lawsuit against an insurer regarding the construction of a wastewater treatment facility within the two-year period specified in a performance bond, a Tennessee appeals panel affirmed Jan. 30 (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America v. City of South Pittsburg, Tennessee, No. M2014-00269-COA-R9-CV, Tenn. App.; 2015 Tenn. App. LEXIS 49).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge on Feb. 2 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss an amended complaint, ruling that an insured failed to plead his breach of contract and bad faith claims because he failed to first exhaust all benefits of another driver prior to bringing his claims against his own insurer (Antonio Barros, et al. v. Government Employees Insurance Co. Inc., No. 13-0669, D. D.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11603).
PHILADELPHIA - The federal judge overseeing the brain-injury multidistrict litigation against the National Football League (NFL) on Feb. 2 suggested several changes to the proposed settlement agreement in the class action and ordered the parties to file a joint submission addressing the issues by Feb. 13 (In re: National Football League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2323, No. 2:12-md-02323 [AB]; E.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 2 affirmed the exclusion of two plaintiff causation experts in a Zicam loss-of-smell case because the experts could not rule out two other possible causes of the injury (Michael D. Nelson v. Matrixx Initiatives, Inc., et al., No. 12-17455, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1620).
LOS ANGELES - Because an underlying dispute between a delivery person and his employer involves direct claims of violations of California's wage and hour laws or arises out of such purported violations, a policy exclusion bars employment practices liability coverage for the allegations, a California federal judge ruled Jan. 29, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Admiral Insurance Co. v. Kay Automotive Distributors Inc., No. CV 13-05100, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11357).
HOUSTON - A health care provider on Feb. 2 sued an insurance company in a Texas federal court for allegedly failing to properly reimburse the provider for services provided to the defendant's insureds (Grand Parkway Surgery Center v. Health Care Service Corp., et al., No. 15-297, S.D. Texas).
CHICAGO - A defendant's request to add three counterclaims of Sherman Act violations and an affirmative defense of inequitable conduct was granted Jan. 30 by an Illinois federal judge (BSP Software LLC v. Motio Inc., No. 12-2100, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10799).
WICHITA, Kan. - An insurer failed to establish why requested documents in a coverage dispute are irrelevant or privileged, a Kansas federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 29, granting an insured's motion to compel (Great Plains Ventures Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 6:14-cv-01136, D. Kan.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10027).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - En banc rehearing is necessary to correct a panel opinion that improperly affirmed exclusion of an asbestos expert, despite Supreme Court precedent requiring a finding of willful conduct before such a sanction, a man told the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 29 (John M. Tyler and Doris Tyler v. Honeywell Inc., et al., No. 13-7185, D.C. Cir.).
HOUSTON - An independent adjuster lacks standing to sue under the False Claims Act (FCA) because he is not an original source, a Texas federal judge ruled Jan. 29, dismissing his qui tam lawsuit alleging that various insurers and adjusters committed fraud in responding to damage claims involving hurricanes Katrina and Ike (United States of America, ex rel. Kermith Sonnier v. The Standard Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-1065, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10006).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Feb. 2 approved two consent decrees to resolve lawsuits brought by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy against Fola Coal Co. LLC and Consol of Kentucky Inc., claiming that discharges from the companies' mines violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Fola Coal Company LLC, No. 12-3750, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11620; Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Consol of Kentucky Inc., No. 13-5005, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11624).
PHILADELPHIA - A second amended complaint adequately states a claim for infringement of a copyrighted custom trade show exhibit, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Feb. 2, denying a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 12(b)(6) (Visual Communications Inc. v. Assurex Health Inc., No. 14-3854, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11700).
TRENTON, N.J. - In a case that she said has a "tortured" discovery history, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Jan. 30 concluded that although she believed a defendant "has made every effort to avoid engaging in" ordered discovery, the plaintiff's failure to establish that her discovery requests complied with federal requirements defeated her motion for sanctions related to the defendant's failure to respond to those requests (Amber Arpaio v. Ashley Alexandra Dupre, et al., No. 3:08-cv-03548, D. N.J.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 2 granted a motion to dismiss claims asserted against a bank for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) as time-barred, but allowed certain FDCPA claims against a servicing corporation to proceed (Charles E. Wright and Diane R. Wright v. Select Portfolio Servicing Inc., et al., No. 8:14-cv-2298, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11844).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Jan. 29 declined to dismiss a putative class action case accusing a short-term car rental company of violating state law, including the unfair competition law (UCL) by setting late fees in an illegal manner (Gabriela Bayol v. Zipcar Inc., No. 14-2483, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10596).