AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on Jan. 28 reversed a more than $21 million verdict in a wrongful death and injury suit against the owner of the facility where an explosion occurred and killed one worker and injured three others, finding that there was no evidence of actual knowledge (Oiltanking Houston, L.P., et al. v. Alberto Delgado, individually and as a Representative of the Estate of Javier Delgado, et al., No. 14-14-00158-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 886).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 26 granted final approval of an $8 million settlement in a securities class action lawsuit claiming that a pharmaceutical company and certain of its executive officers misrepresented the marketing and sale of one of its antibiotic drugs in violation of federal securities laws (In re ViroPharma Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 12-2714, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8626).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York ruled that emails between former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli and attorney Evan Greebel are not covered under attorney-client privilege, according to an order that was unsealed Jan. 26 (In re Grand Jury Investigation, No. 15-mc-2227, E.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 26 granted preliminary approval to a revised settlement agreement with modifications and conditionally certified a proposed class of current and former college athletes who filed suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association for allegedly understating the seriousness of concussions and not treating them correctly (In Re: National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2492, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8595).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 27 dismissed New Jersey state claims brought as part of a nationwide class complaint accusing BMW of North America LLC of falsely advertising its single turbocharger engines as having twin turbochargers (Deepkarn Singh Bedi, et al. v. BMW of North America, LLC, No. 15-1898, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9365).
SEATTLE - After finding that former property owners' claims for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and declaratory judgment were barred by the doctrine of res judicata, a Washington federal judge on Jan. 26 granted summary judgment in favor of a bank and found that a deed of reconveyance and an assignment of deed were void (Bank of America, et al. v. Anthony G. Mwaura, et al., No. 13-1726, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9768).
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman on Jan. 27 announced that a New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) bookkeeper and her husband have been charged with second-degree theft by deception for allegedly submitting nearly $300,000 in false bills to the state for medical services that were not provided to DDD clients.
WORCESTER, Mass. - An insurer did not waive a policy's reference provision when it denied an insured's claim for water damages arising out of burst water pipes in the insured home, a Massachusetts federal judge said Jan. 27 in ordering the parties to submit their dispute to a group of referees (Ingrid B. Kiley v. Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-40131, D. Mass.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9601).
MINNEAPOLIS - Because a disability plan's "stringent" definition of disability is permissible and because the claimant failed to demonstrate that she met that definition, the plan's decision to deny long-term disability benefits cannot be overturned, a Minnesota federal judge said Jan. 27 (Linda Anderson v. Sappi Fine Paper North America, No. 14-428, D. Minn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9733).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - An insured failed to assert claims for civil conspiracy and intentional interference with business expectancy against its insurer and several insurance agents in the denial of its claim for cracking in a condominium building following an explosion, a Missouri federal judge ruled Jan. 26 (Carlton Plaza Condominium Association v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-00227, W.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9110).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on Jan. 28 granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that insureds failed to show that the insurer acted arbitrarily, capriciously or without probable cause in withholding payment on a homeowners insurance policy claim (Rachel Dubois, et al. v. Southern Fidelity Insurance Co., No. 15-1097, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10134).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Five cities that have sued Monsanto Co., Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia LLC seeking to recover the costs of removing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination from storm water on Jan. 26 asked the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) to consolidate and centralize the cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California before Judge Edward J. Davila (In re: Stormwater/Impaired Waters PCB Contamination Litigation, MDL No. 2697, JPMDL).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A plaintiff who claims to have received a defective spinal cord stimulator failed to plead state law claims that parallel federal regulations, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled Jan. 28 in finding that the claims are preempted by federal law (Susan Nevolas v. Boston Scientific Corporation, No. 15-894, W.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9893).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A pro rata time-on-the-risk allocation method applies to any defense and indemnity payments made to an insured seeking coverage for numerous underlying asbestos and benzene bodily injury claims, a North Carolina judge determined Jan. 28 (Radiator Specialty Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-2271, N.C. Super., Mecklenburg Co.).
TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington federal judge declined on Jan. 27 to exclude experts from an insured and an insurer in a potential class action lawsuit involving allegations that the insurer hid the availability of coverage for diminished value (Gene Achziger v. IDS Property Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-5445, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9671).
PEORIA, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 28 denied a woman's motion to dismiss her indictments for mail fraud and misapplication and theft in connection with health care, finding that her receipt of insurance checks was part of her scheme to defraud insurance companies as well as the dental practice where she worked (United States of America v. Constance Gustafson, No. 15-cr-10043, C.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9949).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Jan. 28 affirmed without opinion a jury's verdict awarding the children of a woman who died from smoking-related illnesses $5 million after finding that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was responsible for her lung cancer (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Willie James Cheeley, et al., No. 4D14-1594, Fla. App. 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 1111).
NEW YORK - Affirming a trial court's ruling, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 concluded that the National Security Counsel (NSC) does not meet the statutory definition of a government "agency" and, thus was not required to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to the government's use of drones (Main Street Legal Services Inc. v. National Security Council, No. 13-3792, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1203).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge properly rejected a trademark infringement dispute on jurisdictional grounds, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 27 (A Corp. v. All American Plumbing Inc., No. 15-1509, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1303).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 28 ruled that a lower federal court erred in finding that insureds had the burden of establishing the depreciation of their dwelling claim, further concluding that the lower court improperly determined that the insureds' assessment of their personal property replacement costs was not evidence of the "actual cash value" of lost items (Claudia Ayoub, et al. v. Chubb Lloyds Insurance Company of Texas, No. 14-51301, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1365).
CHICAGO - Police officers were qualified in a constitutional rights lawsuit to testify about excessive force used by a fellow officer, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Jan. 28 (United States of America v. Terry Joe Smith, Nos. 14-3744 & 14-3721, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1353).