WASHINGTON, D.C. - The doctrine of patent exhaustion is not avoidable by attaching post-sale restrictions, an attorney for a patent infringement defendant told the U.S. Supreme Court on March 21 (Impression Products Inc. v. Lexmark International Inc., No. 15-1189, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 21 heard arguments from Microsoft Corp. and a class of owners of allegedly defective Xbox gaming systems as to whether an appeals court has jurisdiction to consider a class certification appeal after the plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice (Microsoft Corp. v. Seth Baker, et al., No. 15-457, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In divided decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 22 ruled that a feature incorporated into the design of a useful article is eligible for copyright protection when the feature can be perceived as a two- or three-dimensional work of art separate from the useful article and would qualify on its own or in some other tangible medium as a protectable pictorial, graphic or sculptural work (Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., et al., No. 15-866, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois overseeing a trial claiming that a former Reed Smith partner's use of the antidepressant Paxil caused him to commit suicide in 2010 on March 20 denied the drug maker's motion to strike portions of testimony from a plaintiff's expert of the amount of data he had access to that purportedly showed that suicidal events were underreported during studies (Wendy Dolin v. SmithKline Beechman Corporation, d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline, No. 12-cv-6403, N.D. Ill.).
SAN DIEGO - A safety engineer and accident reconstruction expert may not testify regarding Sea World LLC's liability relating to the safety of an area at the time of a woman's accident while visiting the park, a California federal judge held March 17 (Eusebia Baltazar v. Sea World Parks Entertainment LLC, No. 15-2893, S.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39039).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on March 16 granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment by insureds and a homeowners insurer in a class action alleging that the insurer committed breach of contract when it unlawfully applied a policy's $1,000 deductible to an actual cash value (ACV) payment in a hailstorm coverage dispute (Eric Lafollette v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-04147, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37755).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Class certification in a shareholder lawsuit against a broad line closeout retailer and certain of its executive officers is proper because the lead plaintiff in the action has met all statutory requirements needed for certification, a federal judge in Ohio ruled March 17 (Alan Willis v. Big Lots Inc., et al., No. 12-0604, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38926).
RICHMOND, Va. - A federal judge in Virginia erred in finding that a physical therapist assistant's retaliation claim against his employer should be dismissed, finding that they were not subject to the False Claims Act's (FCA) first-to-file rule, a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled March 16, but affirmed the dismissal of his qui tam claims under the statute (United States of America, ex rel. Patrick Gerard Carson v. Manor Care, Inc., a./k/a Manor Care, Inc., et al., No. 16-1035, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4617).
MARSHALL, Texas - Although a urologist's testimony on the inefficacy of natural and herbal remedies was barred in a patent infringement case over a drug's marketing, a Texas federal judge on March 17 allowed the urologist to testify as to the drug's marketing (Erfindergemeinschaft UroPep GbR v. Eli Lilly and Co., No. 15-1202, E.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38512).
NEW YORK - A New York justice refused to impose a heeding presumption in an asbestos trial in an opinion posted March 20, saying that absent evidence that a cigarette user who ignored tobacco warnings would have acted differently in the asbestos context, she would not impose such a standard (Donna Castorina, et al. v. A.C.&S., et al., No. 123077/01, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on March 17 confirmed a $5,733,023 arbitral award issued in favor of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) company in a dispute over the termination of a food distribution agreement, but refused to award it sanctions, finding that the other party's motion to vacate the award was not frivolous (Al Maya Trading Establishment v. Global Export Marketing Co. Ltd., No. 16-CV-2140, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39192).
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - A federal judge in Iowa on March 17 dismissed a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by a local agency that supplies drinking water, concluding that its claims against local government agencies regarding liability for the costs of complying with clean water laws "have no merit" (Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines, Iowa v. SAC County Board of Supervisors as Trustees of Drainage Districts 32, 42, 65, 79, 81, 83, 86, et al., 15-4020, N.D. Iowa; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39025).
LOS ANGELES - Because a plaintiff can arguably state a claim against an insurance claims adjuster for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the claims adjuster is not a sham defendant and was not fraudulently joined to defeat federal jurisdiction, a California federal judge said March 17 in remanding the insureds' suit seeking additional coverage for mold damage to California state court (Health Pro Dental Corp., et al. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al., No. 17-637, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38944).
PHILADELPHIA - While a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class settlement agreement reached in a lawsuit against a water ice company allowed for class counsel to seek attorney fees and expenses up to $1 million, the class counsel are entitled to only $651,000 in fees and $40,073.97 in expenses, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 16 (Sherry Brown, et al. v. Rita's Water Ice Franchise Company LLC, No. 15-3509, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37676).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - An insurer told a federal court in Connecticut on March 20 that its reinsurer is putting requirements on it that are not universally accepted as necessary under the follow-the-settlements doctrine (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, f/k/a The Aetna Casualty and Surety Company v. Century Indemnity Company as successor to Insurance Company of North America, No. 16-cv-00170, D. Conn.).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - An insurer breached its duty to defend and indemnify an insured for a settlement of underlying claims arising out of a breach of contract dispute on a construction project, an Alaska federal judge ruled March 16; however, the judge held that the insurer did not breach its duty of good faith (KICC-Alcan General, joint venture v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Company Inc., No. 15-00255, D. Ala.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37560).
NEW ORLEANS - An award of royalty damages on behalf of a trademark infringement plaintiff was vacated March 16 by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Streamline Production Systems Inc. v. Streamline Manufacturing Inc., No. 16-20046, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4708).
CARSON CITY, Nev. - Nevada's Minimum Wage Amendment (MWA), which allows employers to pay a lower minimum wage if they provide health benefits, is not preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and is not unconstitutionally vague, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled March 16 (Western Cab Company v. The Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, in and for the County of Clark, et al., No. 69408, Nev. Sup., 2017 Nev. LEXIS 16).
PITTSBURGH - Trustees for the asbestos trust established by the Chapter 11 case of Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) said March 17 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court that they want to reopen the case to find out whether more than $9 billion in claims from a consolidated Texas litigation qualify for payment by the trust, which has assets of less than $4 billion (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on March 17 dismissed a couple's claim that their insurer engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA) and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) when denying their claim for concrete decay in their basement, finding that the plaintiffs did not show that the company practiced a pattern of denying similar claims (Kenneth T. Courteau, et al. v. Teachers Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-580, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38434).