NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee federal judge on Jan. 23 dismissed a Medicare False Claims Act case, saying the plaintiff failed to plead the claims with the specificity required (Kathleen McFeeters v. Northwest Hospital, et al., No. 13-467, M.D. Tenn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8523).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, on Jan. 26 reintroduced a bill that would amend the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to require asbestos trusts to submit quarterly reports containing detailed information on claims made to the trusts.
LOS ANGELES - Pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens (135 S. Ct. 547, 551 ), a California federal judge on Jan. 22 ruled that when a defendant removes a case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), "[t]he Court must accept these allegations as true unless 'contested by the plaintiff or questioned by the court'" (Carmen Roa, et al. v. TS Staffing Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-8424, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7442).
NEW YORK - A group of London market insurers filed suit on Jan. 22 in the New York County Supreme Court, seeking a declaration that no coverage is owed for two environmental contamination suits filed against the insured and separate, personal injury suits arising out of chemical exposure to a butter flavoring ingredient filed against the insured's successor (Accident & Casualty Insurance Company of Winterthur et al. v. Chemtura Corp. et al., No. 650204/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Finding a proposed damages expert's testimony on proposed royalty rates to be a "black box" that does not fully explain its conclusions, a California federal judge on Jan. 23 granted a motion to exclude by the defendants in a software patent lawsuit (Open Text S.A. v. Box Inc., et al., No. 13-cv-04910, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8783).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Jan. 22 declined to certify a class of workers in the United States on H-1B visas who allege that they were forced to continue their labor in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and underpaid in violation of the Indiana Statutory Wage Law (Rituraj Singh Panwar, et al. v. Access Therapies, Inc., et al., RN Staff Inc. v. Rituraj Singh Panwar, et al., No. 12-619, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7584).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House of Representatives lacks standing to challenge implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s employer mandate in court, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told a federal judge in the District of Columbia on Jan. 26 (United States House of Representatives v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 14-1967, D. D.C.).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 23 affirmed a federal judge's ruling that a pollution exclusion precluded coverage for groundwater contamination caused by trichloroethylene (TCE) and other chemicals (Visteon Corporation, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, No. 14-2725, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1064).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 26 denied review of a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that Unum Life Insurance Company of America did not breach its fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to act solely in the interest of life insurance beneficiaries by failing to credit a sufficient rate of interest to their retained asset accounts (RAAs), through which they received their benefits (Denise Merrimon, et al. v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 14-606, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Living asbestos plaintiffs deserve to have their cases heard ahead of deceased ones despite an existing trial order, a New York justice held over objections on Jan. 22, while also denying a request to consolidate and reverse bifurcate the cases (Neyra Begim v. CertainTeed Corp., et al., No. 190125/12, Yee v. CertainTeed Corp., et al., No. 190049/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PITTSBURGH - The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit environmental groups brought against a glass manufacturing company alleging that it contaminated groundwater on Jan. 22 ordered the case to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.).
TRENTON, N.J. - Plaintiffs who claim that they suffered physical injuries and diminution of property value as a result of contamination that migrated from a refinery owned by Sunoco Inc. failed to present evidence of what contaminants they were exposed to and a link between the exposure and their injuries, a New Jersey appeals court ruled Jan. 26 in affirming a ruling awarding summary judgment to the defendant (Anna Olson, et al. v. Sunoco Inc., No. A-4769-12T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 145).
PHILADELPHIA - Reiterating her findings that the opinions of a plaintiffs' proffered causation expert in the Zoloft product liability multidistrict litigation were flawed and unsupported, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 23 denied their motion to reconsider her ruling excluding the expert's testimony (In Re: Zoloft [Sertraline Hydrochloride] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2342, No. 12-md-2342, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7664).
GREENBELT, Md. - After finding that Maryland is the appropriate forum for a property owner's claims against two lenders in relation to alleged escrow overcharges and improper credit reporting, a Maryland federal judge on Jan. 26 denied a request to dismiss the case and to transfer it to Texas (Louis M. Lupo v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. 14-0475, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8304).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 found that it is apparent that the net income described in calculating a coinsurance penalty in a commercial property insurance policy is not actual net income but projected net income and, therefore, a lower federal court erred in finding that the policy's coinsurance provision was ambiguous (Mt. Hawley Insurance Co. v. Advance Products & Systems, Inc., No. 14- 30068, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1173).
BOSTON - Although shareholders filed more federal securities class action lawsuits than in 2013, the number was still 10 percent lower than the average observed from 1997 to 2013, according to an annual report released Jan. 27 by Cornerstone Research.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - An Ethicon pelvic mesh trial got under way on Jan. 26 in a California state court (Coleen Perry, et al. v. Ethicon Inc., et al., No. S-1500-CV-279123, Calif. Super., Kern Co).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board properly affirmed an examiner's decision not to reject as obvious 15 claims of a paint-mixing patent, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 27 (Plas-Pak Industries Inc. v. Sulzer Mixpac AG, No. 14-1447, Fed. Cir.).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - A Wyoming state court judge on Jan. 23 approved a settlement between the parties involved in a trade secrets dispute related to the components of hydraulic fracturing fluid under which the state will adopt new rules regarding the confidentiality of the chemicals used in fracking fluid (Powder River Basin Resource Council, et al. v. Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, et al., No. 14-94650, Wyo. Dist., 7th Jud. Dist., Natrona Co.).