WILMINGTON, Del. - Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp.'s (EFH) disclosure statement for its fourth amended plan of reorganization, filed Sept. 18 in Delaware federal bankruptcy court, adds language about asbestos claims - including a statement from the asbestos creditors' committee - making clear that the claimants believe the plan cannot be confirmed without using Section 524(g) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to address asbestos claims (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Sept. 17 dismissed a lawsuit brought by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) that had contended that federal agencies wrongly ignored a report the company issued pertaining to tax assessments on cigarette sales (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. United States Department of Agriculture, et al., No. 14-1388, D. D.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124159).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on Sept. 18 granted the liquidator of an insolvent insurer's application for the approval of a $15,930,000 commutation agreement with one of the insolvent insurer's reinsurers (In re: Reliance Insurance Co. in liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
LOS ANGELES - The state's workers' compensation exclusivity provision bars a tort action alleging exposures to asbestos from pipes a man brought home from work because it involves the same mesothelioma his occupational exposure triggered, a California appeals panel held Sept. 17 (Mary Melendrez, et al. v. Ameron International Corp., Nos. B256928, B259423, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 820).
MINNEAPOLIS - A general liability insurer has no duty to defend its insured in an underlying suit arising out of the funding of an employee pension benefits plan because the policy at issue clearly excludes coverage for the failure of any investment program to perform as represented by an insured, a Minnesota federal judge said Sept. 16 (Publishing House of the Evangelical Church in America d/b/a Augsburg Fortress Publishers v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co. et al., No. 14-550, D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123473).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Sept. 17 granted Union Pacific Railroad Co.'s (UPRR) motion for partial summary judgment after finding that a plaintiff company was unable to show that it incurred response costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to prevent or contain a release of hazardous substances on a 1.5 acre piece of land in Houston (Elite Operations Inc. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., et al., No. H-13-3461, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123972).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Sept. 16 dismissed a pension fund's complaint against its investment advisers because the trustees of the pension fund failed to allege a legally cognizable loss sustained as a result of the placement of assets in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme (Trustees of the Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund v. Ivy Asset Management et al., No. 13-3180, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123590).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Dismissal of federal claims in a securities class action lawsuit is proper because a lead plaintiff has failed to state a viable claim for relief against a software provider and certain of its executive officers, a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 17 (Viswanath V. Shankar v. Imperva Inc., et al., No. 14-1680, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125279).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Texas federal judge's final judgment confirming a jury award of $15 million on allegations of patent infringement was affirmed Sept. 21 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Summit 6 LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Nos. 13-1648, -1651, N.D. Texas).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A federal judge in Rhode Island on Sept. 17 concluded at the end of the first phase of a trifurcated trial that Emhart Industries Inc. is jointly and severally liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for contamination at the Centredale Manor Superfund site in North Providence, R.I., and that the company is liable as an operator for the purposes of the government's cost recovery claim under the statute, but deferred ruling on whether the plaintiff company failed to comply with a CERCLA cleanup order (Emhart Industries Inc. v. New England Container Corporation, et al., Nos. 06-218, 11-023, D. R.I.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125293).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Social media giant Facebook Inc. told a California federal court in a Sept. 18 motion that the named plaintiffs in a five-year-old putative class action do not have standing to bring their privacy claims under Article III of the U.S. Constitution because they have not established any third-party access of their personal information or any injury in fact, thus meriting dismissal of the case (In Re: Facebook Privacy Litigation, No. 5:10-cv-02389, N.D. Calif.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a Sept. 19 summary judgment motion in California federal court, Yahoo Inc. asserts that its email scanning functions, which are at the heart of a privacy class action, comprise beneficial antivirus functions and benign targeted advertising but do not violate asserted federal and state privacy laws (In Re Yahoo Mail Litigation, No. 5:13-cv-04980, N.D. Calif.).
SALT LAKE CITY - The right to self-defense is a limited exception to the at-will employment doctrine, a divided Utah Supreme Court ruled Sept. 17 in a case involving whether Wal-Mart Stores Inc. erred when it fired several employees after they were involved in physical confrontations with shoplifting customers (Shawn H. Ray, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 2015 UT 83, Utah Sup.; 2015 Utah LEXIS 241).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an en banc ruling, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 18 ruled that laches remains an available defense to allegations of patent infringement (SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag, et al. v. First Quality Baby Products LLC, et al., No. 13-1564, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16621).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 18 overturned a federal judge in Arkansas' ruling granting Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co.'s motion for summary judgment in a suit where the insurer is seeking rescission of a policy issued to a homeowner whose home was lost in a fire, ruling that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the insured made a material misrepresentation on the policy application, which was prepared by an insurance agent and failed to state that the insured had previously submitted a claim for a fire loss (Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company v. Gerry Calvin, et al., No. 14-1606, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16623).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Sept. 17 found that there is no coverage under a financial institution bond or an errors and omissions insurance policy for claims arising from the alleged $2.6 million theft committed by an employee of a financial services company (Hantz Financial Services, Inc., et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, et al., No. 13-11197, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124127).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida judge on Sept. 15 granted the Florida Department of Financial Services' (FDFS) motion to authorize it to end the liquidation proceeding of an insurer placed into liquidation in 2014 (State of Florida, ex rel., the Department of Financial Services of the State of Florida v. Union American Insurance Co., No. 2005-323, Fla. Cir., Leon Co.).
LANSING, Mich. - An insurer and one of its reinsurers told a federal court in Michigan on Sept. 15 that their $1.9 million reinsurance breach of contract suit should be dismissed (Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company v. Westport Insurance Corporation, No. 14-cv-00151, W.D. Mich.).
PHILADELPHIA - Dole Food Co. Inc. on Sept. 15 filed a brief in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that the petition for rehearing en banc filed by banana plantation workers who assert pesticide injury claims against Dole should be denied (Tobias Bermudez Chavez v. Dole Food Company Inc., No. 13-4144 [consolidated], 3rd Cir.).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Sept. 17 upheld a trial court judge's ruling awarding judgment to a home warranty provider and an insurance company seeking reimbursement from a home builder for two claims that it paid over defects in the homes' foundations, finding that the terms of a contract between the parties were unambiguous (Classic C Homes Inc., d/b/a Classic Century Homes, et al. v. Homeowners Management Enterprises Inc., d/b/a Home of Texas, et al., No. 02-14-00243-CV, Texas App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Texas App. LEXIS 9776).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 16 dismissed claims brought by the State of New York and the City of New York contending that United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) knowingly delivered millions of packs of contraband cigarettes throughout the state between January 2010 and November 2014 (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-1136, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123771).
NEW ORLEANS - School officials who disciplined a high school student for threatening private social network messages she sent to another student in 2007 are entitled to qualified immunity on claims brought against them, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 15, finding that it was not clearly established at the time that the officials were potentially violating the student's rights under the First or Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by accessing her Facebook account and subsequently disciplining her for the comments (Donald Jackson, et al. v. John Ladner, et al., No. 13-60631, 5th Cir.).
LONDON - Using previously confidential clinical trial documents to reanalyze an 2001 study, researchers writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on Sept. 17 said Paxil is "neither safe nor effective for adolescents with major depression ("Restoring Study 329: efficacy and harms of paroxetine and imipramine in treatment of major depression in adolescence," Joann Le Noury, et al., British Medical Journal 2015; 351: h4320 I doi: 10.1136/bmj.h4320).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 17 upheld a jury's verdict in favor of Allstate Insurance Co. in a suit accusing a telemarketing company, a law firm and chiropractic clinics of engaging in a scheme to submit fraudulent insurance claims, finding that the evidence sufficiently proved the insurance company's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act allegations (Allstate Insurance Company, et al. v. Michael Kent Plambeck, DC, et al., No. 14-10574, 5th Cir.).