OKLAHOMA CITY - The residents who filed a chemical injury lawsuit against Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) on July 16 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court contending that HESI's discovery requests are "not relevant" and "are not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence" (Kraig Bickerstaff v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1305; Frank D. Eldridge v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1306; Robin L. Booth v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1308; Harmen Arlen May v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1309; Leslie T. Campbell v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1311; Evelyn Bernice Southerland v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1312; Stephen G. Jones v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1322; Bruce Wilmes v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1323; Amanda Alexander v Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1343; Terry Cheek v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 13-116, W.D. Okla.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Asbestos personal injury claimants of Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH), including those who have yet to show any signs of asbestos disease, have until Dec. 14 to file proofs of claim in the bankruptcy case, according to an order filed July 15 in Delaware federal bankruptcy court (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 16 dismissed with prejudice all claims but negligent misrepresentation in a hip case, applying court rulings about unreasonably dangerous drugs to medical devices (Roy G. Cogswell, et al. v. Wright Medical Technology, Inc., No. 15-295, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92461).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on July 17 denied summary judgment in a tissue filler injury case, opting to give the plaintiff more time to conduct discovery to refute federal preemption (Dominique Brooks, et al. v. Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC, et al., No. 14-976, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93259).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 15 dismissed strict liability and negligent marketing claims involving two Synthes spine rods but denied it as to manufacturing defect, negligent design and negligence per se (James P. Wilson, et al. v. Synthes USA Products, LLC, et al., No. 14-4724, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92347).
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. - No issue of material fact remains as to whether a nurse assigned by a health care staffing agency to work in a hospital was a temporary employee of the hospital when she was injured after slipping and falling on the hospital premises, an Illinois appeals court ruled July 16 (Shelley Reichling v. Touchette Regional Hospital Inc., No. 5-14-0412, Ill. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 543).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board must prove, on remand, that its settlement with an employer to pay back pay to an employee over 11 years with no interest accrual, reached despite objections from the employee, is reasonable and fair, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 17 (Jamison John Dupuy v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 14-1001, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12349).
ATLANTA - A Florida federal judge's adoption of a Florida federal magistrate judge's recommendation that a plaintiff be awarded $600,000 in liquidated damages, as well as attorney fees, as a sanction for a defendant's "egregious" disregard of a final consent order was affirmed July 16 by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Blanco GmbH + Co. KG v. Vito Antonio Laera, et al., No. 14-11814, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12265).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge's injunction was partly reversed July 16 by the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, on grounds that it mandates attribution of certain trademarks despite finding that a plaintiff was unlikely to succeed on the merits of a false advertising claim (Arborjet Inc. v. Rainbow Treecare Scientific Advancements Inc., No. 14-2324, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12300).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After two Ugandan entities and the Republic of Uganda notified the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) that they have settled their dispute over a production-sharing agreement, the tribunal on July 15 issued an order discontinuing the case (Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Ltd., et al. v. the Republic of Uganda, No. ARB/13/25, ICSID).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on July 15 issued an order to show cause regarding the requested approval of an agreement between the liquidator of an insolvent insurer and certain states' insurance guaranty associations (In the Matter of the Liquidation of Centennial Insurance Company, No. 402424/10, N.Y. Super., New York Co.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A drilling company engaged in a contract dispute with a hydraulic fracturing company related to their respective liabilities in an underlying groundwater contamination lawsuit on July 17 filed a brief in Ohio federal court, arguing that the fracking company has been "purposely and unnecessarily delaying and needlessly increasing the cost of litigation" (Warren Drilling Company v. Equitable Production Company, No. 12-00425, S.D. Ohio).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A recent decision by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals does not affect a claim for misleading advertising in a suit alleging that a football helmet manufacturer made false representations about the effectiveness of its product, a youth football league argues in a brief filed July 16 in federal court in West Virginia (Midwestern Midget Football Club Inc. v. Riddell Inc., No. 2:15-cv-00255, S.D. W.Va.).
PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Supreme Court on July 15 affirmed a trial court judge's decision to award summary judgment to an engineering firm accused of professional negligence, ruling that the firm did not owe a duty to a couple who subsequently purchased the home and that they did not rely on the firm's report when purchasing the property (Roger Johnson, et al. v. Hayman & Associates Inc., et al., No. 27149, S.D. Sup.; 2015 S.D. LEXIS 109).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 15 reinstated a sexual harassment suit filed by a temporary factory employee, opining that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides for joint employer liability and that when the "hybrid" test is properly applied to the worker's suit, both the factory and the temp agency were the worker's employers (Brenda Butler v. Drive Automotive Industries of America, Incorporated, et al., No. 14-1348, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12188).
PHILADELPHIA - A Delaware federal judge's denial of a preliminary injunction in a trademark infringement case rested on an "overly narrow interpretation of the kind of confusion that is actionable under the Lanham Act," the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 16 (Arrowpoint Capital Corp. v. Arrowpoint Asset Management LLC, No. 14-3063, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12283).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 17 held that a property owner's complaint against the property's former owners alleged only economic losses and failed to allege covered "property damage" under a "Masterpiece" insurance policy, affirming a lower court's ruling that the insurer has no duty to defend against the underlying dispute (Phillip O'Dell, as Assignee of Roland B. Mahoney and Sandra R. Mahoney v. Pacific Indemnity Co., No. 14-14457, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12374).
ATLANTA - A federal district court did not abuse its discretion by holding that a disability plan's claims administrator and plan administrator are not liable for penalties and attorney fees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for failure to provide plan documents to a plan participant, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 17 in an unpublished opinion (Allena Burge Smiley, D.M.D. v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company, No. 15-10056, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12334).
BOSTON - Although largely agreeing with a Massachusetts federal judge's "capable handling" of a "complex case," the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 16 nonetheless found that the district court erred in concluding that a copyrighted work cannot be both joint and derivative as a matter of law (Ross Greene v. J. Stuart Ablon, et al., Nos. 13-2237, -2294, -2369, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12305).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A former employee's claims against a Nike Netherlands affiliate must be litigated in Dutch court, not the United States, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 16, upholding a trial court's decision (Loredana Ranza v. Nike, Inc., et al., No. 13-35251, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12290).
NEW YORK - A medical center's severance policy that had been maintained for almost 25 years and had not been modified for 15 years was an employee welfare benefit plan within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 17 (Alexander Okun, MD, v. Montefiore Medical Center, No. 13-3928-cv, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S App. LEXIS 12361).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 17 granted leave to consumer advocacy group Public Citizen Inc. to file an amicus curiae brief in support of a group of former National Football League players seeking reversal of the approval of a class action settlement of brain-injury claims against the league (In re: NFL Players Concussion Injury Litigation, Nos. 15-2206, et al., 3rd Cir.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The plaintiff in a Engle-progeny suit that resulted in a $4 million verdict has demonstrated that she has "an objectively reasonable basis to fear that she will not receive fair review" of pending post-trial motions because of hostility between the trial judge and a member of the plaintiff's legal team, a Florida appeals panel ruled July 15 (Debra Perrotto, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 4D14-4943, Fla. App. 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 10777).
SALEM, Ore. - A trial judge did not err in refusing to reduce a $25 million punitive damages award in a suit brought by the family of a woman who died of a brain tumor that resulted from metastatic lung cancer, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled July 15 (Paul Scott Schwarz, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 325, Ore. App.; 2015 Ore. App. LEXIS 878).
NEW YORK - Health care providers are not beneficiaries of their patients' health insurance plans and, therefore, do not have standing to assert anti-retaliation protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 15 (Henry L. Rojas, M.D., et al. v. Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-3455, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12210).