NEW YORK - Arguing about differences in Italian and U.S. copyright law, a composer's copyright assignee tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Feb. 14 brief that a trial court incorrectly concluded that film scores written on commission in Italy are equivalent to works for hire in the United States (Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bixio Music Group Ltd., No. 17-3595, 2nd Cir.).
NEW YORK - A life insurer and a private investment firm, which acquired the insurer, unlawfully increased the cost of premiums to recoup costs associated with the acquisition, among other reasons, plaintiffs allege in a Feb. 13 class action filed in a New York federal court (Derek Fan, et al. v. Phoenix Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-01288, S.D. N.Y.).
BOSTON - The city of Westfield, Mass., on Feb. 14 filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court against 3M Co. and other chemical companies, seeking to recover costs associated with soil and groundwater cleanup due to contamination from the defendants' manufacture and use of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) (City of Westfield, Massachusetts v. 3M, et al., No. 18-30027, D. Mass.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In a final written decision issued Feb. 13, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board deemed 17 claims of a patented method for making wireless payments unpatentable as obvious and anticipated pursuant to Sections 102 and 103 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 102, 103(a) (Askeladden LLC v. Purple Leaf LLC, No. IPR2016-01722, PTAB).
NEW YORK - Sports broadcaster Warner Wolf filed an age discrimination complaint on Feb. 15 in a New York state court, his attorneys announced, against radio personality Don Imus and other former employers after he was abruptly fired and replaced with a sportscaster decades younger (Warner Wolf v. Don Imus, et al., No. N/A, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Feb. 17 approved in a minute order a settlement between Chapter 11 debtors Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. and Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. and the joint scheme administrator for two insolvent British insurers, setting claim values for the debtors in the insurers' run-off proceedings (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to wade into an asbestos action on Feb. 14, accepting a case in which the lower court found that a man's failure to recall specific worksites was not fatal to his action (Russell Robertson, et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks Inc., et al., No. 2015AP2486, Wis. Sup.).
SEATTLE - In a Feb. 14 ruling, a Washington federal magistrate judge largely rejected efforts by a defendant to undo a December jury verdict of trade dress infringement, denying a request for a new trial but conditioning that denial upon a plaintiff's acceptance of a remittitur that would reduce damages in the case from $193,598 to $167,239 (National Products Inc. v. Arkon Resources Inc., No. 15-1553, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24436).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 13 denied a retirement plan's administrative and investment committees' petition for permission to appeal the grant of class certification in a breach of fiduciary duty case in which the investors claim that the defendants selected company-affiliated mutual funds as plan investments rather than other better-performing mutual funds, finding that immediate appeal is unwarranted (Marya J. Leber v. Citigroup, Inc., et al., No. 07-9329, 2nd Cir.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Recent Third Circuit precedent muddies the bare-metal defense, but ultimately does not save a man's case alleging exposure to third-party asbestos parts added to Crane Co. valves, the company argues in a supplemental brief filed with a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on Feb. 15 (Dwight Kenneth Gaston v. Aurora Pump Co., et al., No. 16-579, D. Del.).
DALLAS - A panel of the Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals on Feb. 14 affirmed $250,000 in damages to a man who claimed that he crashed his motorcycle because of a dangerous condition on a state-owned road after finding that the evidence presented at trial was more than enough to show that the Texas Department of Transportation knew about the danger in the road and failed to warn drivers about it (Texas Department of Transportation v. Brain Milton, No. 05-16-00955-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 1240).
MIAMI - Following the closing arguments in an Engle progeny suit on Feb. 15, a judge in Florida state court granted a tobacco company's oral motion for directed verdict in a punitive damages-only trial (Joyce Hardin v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 07-46973-CA-22, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A federal judge on Feb. 12 mostly declined to dismiss claims leveled by the Navajo Nation and state of New Mexico against a company that worked on the Gold King Mine, where a 3-million-gallon spill in 2015 turned rivers yellow with acid mine drainage and 800,000 pounds of heavy metals (State of New Mexico v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 16-cv-465, Navajo Nation v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 16-cv-931, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22548).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Feb. 13 granted a motion for class certification in a lawsuit alleging that New York University (NYU) breached its duty of prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in its administration and management of its retirement plan (Dr. Alan Sacerdote, et al. v. New York University, et al., No. 16-6284, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23540).
SAN FRANCISCO - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is necessary because the Ninth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals has yet to adopt the "fraudulent misjoinder" standard established by the 11th Circuit, which an insurer argues is the basis for the action's removal to federal court in the first place, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 13 in remanding the action to state court (Maria I. Delgado v. Primerica Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-3744, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23615).
NEW YORK - A biomechanical engineer is not precluded from testifying in a personal injury action over a car crash just because his opinions were stricken in another recent auto accident case, a New York federal magistrate judge ruled Feb. 14 in denying a bid by the injured driver to exclude the expert's testimony (Craig Thomas v. YRC Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-6105, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24384).
ATLANTA - Commercial general liability insurers have a duty to defend allegations that an insured improperly constructed on land without taking reasonable steps to implement a workable drainage system, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 13, reversing and remanding the entry of summary judgment to the insurers (Mid-Continent Casualty Co., et al. v. Adams Homes of Northwest Florida Inc., et al., No. 17-12660, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3538).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to allow a plaintiff's expert to testify and reinstated the full $2 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the court erred by reducing the award based on comparative fault (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Robert A. Gore Sr., No. 4D15-3892, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2274).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A majority of the Missouri Supreme Court on Feb. 13 affirmed a $3.25 million verdict in a negligence suit after finding that a woman who was shot in the back of the head on her employer's property did not make improper arguments to the jury (Amie Wieland v. Owner-Operator Services Inc., No. SC96210, Mo. Sup., 2018 Mo. LEXIS 41).
NEW YORK - Breitbart News Network, Time Inc. and other online publishers were dealt a blow Feb. 15 when a New York federal judge ruled that tweets embedded in news stories can form the basis of a copyright infringement claim (Justin Goldman v. Breitbart News Network Inc., et al., No. 17-3144, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25215).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A majority of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 reversed a lower court's $493,246.50 attorney fees award against an insurer in a sinkhole coverage dispute and remanded for further proceedings (Citizens Property Insurance Corporation v. Meghan Anderson, No. 2D16-616, Fla. App., 2nd Dist. 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2245).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Supreme Court on Feb. 14 denied a petition for review filed by the former makers of lead-based paint who contended that the high court should hear their appeal because an appellate court "misstated and omitted material facts" when it found that there was "substantial evidence" that the companies promoted paints containing white lead pigments for interior residential use (The People v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company, et al., No. S246102, Calif. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 14 affirmed a lower court's dismissal of a breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent inducement and intentional and negligent misrepresentation lawsuit against a federal flood insurer, reiterating that the claims are preempted by the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA) (D&S Remodelers Inc. v. Wright National Flood Insurance Services LLC, et al., No.17-5554, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3382).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 15 rejected an insured's appeal of a lower court's ruling that it was not owed professional liability coverage for an underlying third-party complaint, finding that the insured's primary argument was never raised in the lower court (Tri-Arc Financial Services, Inc. v. Evanston Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-4404, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3526).
SAN FRANCISCO - In its third appeal to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a copyright dispute with several movie studios, video-filtering service provider VidAngel Inc. argues that a trial court improperly dismissed its counterclaims under the Sherman Act and California's unfair competition law (UCL), despite its ample pleadings of the studios' collusive actions (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 17-56665, 9th Cir.).