BOSTON - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulation requiring that states maintain existing Medicaid services is not unconstitutional under two recent Supreme Court precedents, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 17 (Mary C. Mayhew, in her capacity as Secretary of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services v. Sylvia M. Burwell, et al., No. 14-1300, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21723).
SAN FRANCISCO - In a 9-2 ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 18 said that multiple plaintiffs in two Darvon/Darvocet/propoxyphene cases intended to have their cases coordinated by a state court "for all purposes" and, thus, removal to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) is triggered (Margalit Corber, et al. v. Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 13-56306, Judith Romo, et al. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., No. 13-56310, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Ukrainian company on Nov. 14 filed a petition to confirm a $39,172,714 international arbitration award in a District of Columbia federal court that was issued in its favor and against the Republic of Moldova in dispute over breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) (LLC Energoalliance v. Republic of Moldova, No. 14-1921, D. D.C.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Determining that a safety expert's testimony about safety practices and standards would be helpful to a jury in a dispute over an employer's purported negligence in failing to properly remove ice and snow, a Kansas federal judge on Nov. 14 mostly denied the employer's motion to exclude (Lee Lain v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 2:13-cv-02201, D. Kan.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160494).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 14 reinstated pay differential claims brought by a college program manager who alleges that she was denied the ability to negotiate higher pay while a male counterpart hired at the same time was allowed to negotiate (Margaret D. Thibodeaux-Woody v. Houston Community College, No. 13-20738, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21664).
ATLANTA - After receiving an answer from the Florida Supreme Court on a question it certified in October 2013, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 found that Florida VirtualSchool, a Florida state agency, has standing to pursue trademark infringement claims against an online charter school (Florida VirtualSchool v. K12 Inc., No. 12-14271, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21716).
ST. LOUIS - Because questions of material fact exist regarding the recall of mislabeled sausage breakfast sandwiches, a district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the insured, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 17 in reversing the district court's order (Hot Stuff Foods LLC v. Houston Casualty Co., Nos. 14-1192, No. 14-1194, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21727).
NEW YORK - Two feeder funds of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) will pay nearly $500 million to settle all claims associated with their role in Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme, according to court documents filed Nov. 17 in New York federal bankruptcy court (Securities Investor Protection Corp. v. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, No. 08-01789, [Irving H. Picard v. HSBC Bank PLC, et al., No. 09-1364] S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
RUTLAND, Vt. - A Vermont federal judge on Nov. 13 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insured's lawsuit seeking additional coverage for flood damage caused by Hurricane Irene (Abend Family Limited Partnership v. NGM Insurance Co., No. 5:13-cv-8, D. Vt.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160574).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Nov. 14 granted a defendant's motion to exclude expert evidence submitted by a former employee in an age discrimination suit, finding that the expert's testimony ignored pertinent information and cherry-picked certain factors to support the plaintiff's claims (Charles M. Bingham v. Raytheon Technical Services Co., LLC, No. 1:13-cv-00211, N.D. Ind.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160499).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Nov. 17 that Sevenson Environmental Services Inc. has agreed to pay $2.72 million to resolve allegations that the environmental remediation firm violated the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act in connection with work performed at the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, N.J.
GREENBELT, Md. - A federal magistrate judge in Maryland recommended Nov. 13 that no default judgment be awarded to a multiemployer health fund in its action seeking to recover overpayments under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act under the equitable theories of unjust enrichment and restitution (Food Employers Labor Relations Association and United Food & Commercial Workers Health and Welfare Fund v. David Dove, No. 8:14-cv-01273, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159773).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia's assessment of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange fees on insurance products offered outside the exchange resulted from reasonable analysis within the normal political channels, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled Nov. 13 in dismissing a trade group's action (American Council of Life Insurers v. District of Columbia Health Benefits Exchange Authority, et al., No. 14-1138, D. D.C.).
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A West Virginia state court jury on Nov. 17 found that Actos is not unsafe and that manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. was not negligent in the case of a man who developed bladder cancer while taking the diabetes drug, but the panel did find spoliation of evidence on the defendant's part and awarded the plaintiffs $155,000 in compensatory damages, according to a Takeda press release (Richard F. Myers, et al. v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., et al., No. 13-C-315, W.Va. Cir., Berkeley Co.).
NEW YORK - General Motors LLC told Judge Jesse M. Furman, who is overseeing the ignition-switch multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in a letter Nov. 14 that it will produce a number of privileged documents pursuant to an agreement with the lead plaintiffs' counsel in the litigation and an attorney who represents a Georgia family in an ignition-switch case (In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-md-02543-JMF, S.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Nov. 13 dismissed without prejudice a pro se lawsuit against Apotex Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp. for selling a prescription heart drug without disclosing that it was made in India (Joel D. Joseph v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., No. 14-6899, C.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS - Plaintiffs who allegedly suffered eye injuries because of a compounded drug cannot sue a pharmacist's insurer directly, a multidistrict litigation judge ruled Nov. 13 (In Re: Franck's Lab, Inc., Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2454, No. 13-md-2454, E.D. La.).
CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 12 affirmed the dismissal of a qui tam action brought against the owner and operator of a chain of retail pharmacies for Medicaid fraud, agreeing that the claims were premised on an untenable legal theory (Carl E. Thulin v. Shopko Stores Operating Co., No. 13-3638, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 21449).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A trial court did not err in instructing a jury charged to determine if an insurer owed additional coverage for its insureds' water and mold damages caused by a windstorm because the jury was not asked to make a coverage determination, the Kentucky Court of Appeals said Nov. 14 (Scott Phelps, et al. v. American Reliable Insurance Co., Nos. 2012-CA-000477-MR, 2012-CA-001603-MR, Ky.. App.; 2014 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 869).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 17 denied review of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals unpublished opinion ruling that participants in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) challenging the plan's fiduciaries' decision to continue investing in company stock failed to sufficiently plead causation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Thomas J. Metyk, et al. v. KeyCorp, et al., No. 14-240, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A New York man filed a collective action complaint on Nov. 12 in New York federal court accusing Google Inc. and the outside agencies it uses of intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid various wage law requirements including overtime (Jacob McPherson, et al. v. Google, Inc., et al., No. 14-9026, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Washington federal judge did not err in deeming some conduct by patent infringement defendants and their counsel sanctionable, but other conduct was not properly subject to sanctions, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 14 (Loops LLC et al. v. Amercare Products Inc., No. 13-1332, Fed. Cir.).
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - A primary insurer is responsible only for paying the policy limits on one of its three policies for an underlying lead exposure claim because there was only one occurrence within the meaning of the policies at issue, a New York federal judge said Nov. 14 in rejecting an excess insurer's argument that the primary insurer's policies should be stacked (Hanover Insurance Co. v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-860, N.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160423).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 14 refused to reconsider its ruling that an insurance policy's prior publication exclusion bars coverage for underlying claims that the insured infringed on the claimant's use of the "StreetSurfer" trademark to market his skateboards (Street Surfing LLC v. Great American E&S Insurance Co., No. 12-55351, 9th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 14 affirmed that at least some of the underlying allegations against a banking institution insured are not barred by a professional liability insurance policy's fee-dispute exclusion, further affirming the lower court's finding that even though an insurer has a duty to defend, it did not act in bad faith in denying coverage because there was a bona fide coverage dispute (First Community Bancshares v. St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co., No. 13-50657, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21666).