OKLAHOMA CITY - On remand, a trial court must consider whether a woman's class action claiming that a hospital improperly sought collection from her in violation of its contract with her insurer invokes an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan or whether the plan is merely part of the "factual backdrop" of the case, a divided Oklahoma Supreme Court held June 21 (Elizabeth Cates v. INTEGRIS Health Inc., No. 114314, Okla. Sup., 2017 Okla. LEXIS 53).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 dismissed the remaining claims in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, saying that the plaintiffs have failed to show that the defendants breached their duties of loyalty and prudence and failed to make a prima facie showing of loss (John Brotherston, et al. v. Putnam Investments LLC, et al., No. 1:15-cv-13825, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93654).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 granted Fidelity Management Trust Co.'s motion for summary judgment in a class action alleging that Fidelity breached its fiduciary duties pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by mismanaging the Fidelity Group Employee Benefit Plan Managed Income Portfolio Comingled Pool (MIP), saying the plaintiffs did not carry their burden to establish a fiduciary breach (John Ellis, et al. v. Fidelity Management Trust Co., No 1:15-14128, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93656).
RICHMOND, Va. - A settlement agreement that was approved by a federal judge in South Carolina in 2015 that resolved 18 class action lawsuits filed against the manufacturer of allegedly defective windows barred a condominium owners association's California state court lawsuit against the manufacturer, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 20 in affirming a ruling that the state court suit violates the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) (In re: MI Windows and Doors, Inc. Products Liability Litigation, No. 16-1146, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10886).
BATON ROUGE, La. - Deposition testimony and not the transcript itself triggers the "other paper" removal clock, a federal judge in Louisiana held June 21 in remanding an asbestos action (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-269, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95308).
UTICA, N.Y. - After an insurer opposed a previous request to move a trial date in a reinsurance late-notice dispute, a reinsurer on June 19 asked a New York federal court to push back the date, this time to after Nov. 10, explaining that all witnesses will be available after that date (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-cv-00853, N.D. N.Y.).
DURHAM, N.C. - An environmental advocacy group on June 20 filed a lawsuit in North Carolina federal court against Duke Energy Progress LLC, alleging that the company's plan to permanently store coal ash and "toxic pollutants" in unlined pits will lead to further contamination of local groundwater (Roanoke River Basin Association v. Duke Energy Progress LLC, No. 17-561, M.D. N.C.).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on June 20 granted a motion filed by two companies accused of contaminating two sites in the San Diego Port to approve a settlement to resolve claims brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) seeking to recover response costs incurred in investigating and remediating the properties (San Diego Unified Port District v. General Dynamics Corporation, No. 07-cv-01955-BAS, San Diego Unified Port District v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, No. 16-cv-02026-BAS, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95076).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal magistrate judge on June 19 recommended that a claim seeking a declaration that long-term disability (LTD) benefits are owed be dismissed because the disability claimant did not file a claim for LTD benefits and did not exhaust all her administrative remedies related to the claim for such benefits (Jamie R. Nagy v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 17-80198, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94819).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A reinsurer and insurer have resolved their $6.2 million reinsurance dispute involving a settlement of underlying asbestos claims, according to a June 20 status report filed in a Connecticut federal court (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co., f/k/a The Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Century Indemnity Co. as successor to Insurance Company of North America, No. 16-cv-170, D. Conn.).
SEATTLE - Jurors who in February deemed Zillow Inc. an infringer of 28,125 copyrighted images did not hear sufficient evidence from which to conclude that Zillow failed to take "simple measures" to remove the works from its "Zillow Digs" mobile app, a Washington federal judge ruled June 20 (VHT Inc. v. Zillow Group Inc., No. 15-1096, W.D. Wash.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95010).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on June 20 awarded a disability claimant more than $38,000 in attorney fees after finding that the claimant is entitled to attorney fees for achieving some success on the merits of his claim (Jeff Schuman v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1006, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94557).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on June 20 granted an insurance broker's motion to dismiss an insured's third-party fraud and suppression claims but refused to dismiss the breach of contract claim against it in a coverage dispute over a fatal explosion at the insured's Owens, Ala., plant (James River Insurance Co. v. Ultratec Special Effects, Inc., et al., No. 16-00949, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94319).
DETROIT - A disability insurer did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in denying a claim for disability benefits because the medical evidence supports the denial of benefits and the claimant failed to provide any evidence to rebut the insurer's evidence, a Michigan federal judge said June 20 (Philip J. Holmes v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-11538, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94258).
ST LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 20 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant judgment in favor of lenders and loan servicers on claims for tortious interference and violation of Missouri law, finding that a former property owner failed to make any argument that a foreclosure was unlawful (Dale E. Wheatley, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. 16-2649, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10819).
MUSKOGEE, Okla. - An insured failed to show that material issues of fact exist as to whether his insurer acted in bad faith in denying his claim for coverage under the terms of a commercial property insurance policy and, as a result, is not entitled to punitive damages on the bad faith claim, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled June 20 in granting in part the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Billy Hamilton v. Northfield Insurance Co., No. 16-519, E.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94672).
PHOENIX - The Arizona Supreme Court on June 20 unanimously found that a trial court erred in granting a doctor and a nursing home summary judgment in a suit where a woman allegedly died because of their abuse and negligence and abolished the four-part test for determining whether a claim under the state Adult Protective Services Act (APSA) is sustainable (Marika Delgado v. Manor Care of Tucson AZ LLC, et al., No. CV-16-0178-PR, Ariz. Sup., 2017 Ariz. LEXIS 167).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its June 19 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari by the founder of now-defunct online music-sharing service MP3Tunes LLC, who argued that neither he nor his former company had sufficient contacts with New York to establish personal jurisdiction over him in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by a group of record labels (Michael Robertson v. EMI Christian Music Group, et al., No. 16-1227, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 3969).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel on June 20 upheld a ruling awarding summary judgment to a home builder after finding that a homeowner failed to provide the required presuit notification pursuant to the Residential Construction Liability Act (RCLA) (Vision 20/20, Ltd. v. Cameron Builders, Inc., No. 14-15-01011-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 5596).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Findings by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in an interference proceeding that a high amount of experimentation is necessary to synthesize a claimed compound for treating hepatitis C and that a provisional application did not enable the interference subject matter were affirmed June 21 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Richard Storer, et al. v. Jeremy Clark, No. 15-1802, Fed. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 21 issued a memorandum indicating that it plans to begin preliminary research to assess how the EPA estimates methane emissions from the oil and natural gas production industry.
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals panel on June 21 affirmed a lower court's finding that an insurance policy's insured vs. insured exclusion bars directors and officers liability coverage for underlying counterclaims involving the insured's officers (Michael Abboud v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. A-3434-14T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. LEXIS 80).