CLEVELAND - A trial judge erred in allowing expert testimony that "every exposure" to asbestos contributed to a man's mesothelioma, resulting in an $815,723 verdict, an asbestos-brake manufacturer told an Ohio appeals court May 1 (Barbara Watkins, et al. v. Affinia Group, et al., No. CA-15-102538, Ohio App., 8th Dist.).
PHILADELPHIA - Plaintiffs never officially settled an asbestos action because they never provided an affirmative response to the offer, a federal magistrate judge held May 6 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Willard Bartel and David Peebles as co-administrators of the estate of Robert Young v. University of Miami, No. MDL 875, 11, 32162, E.D. Pa.).
TOANO, Va. - Lumber Liquidators Inc. announced May 7 that it would stop selling laminate hardwood flooring made in China that allegedly contains excessive levels of formaldehyde as a result of decreased sales and a drop in stock prices.
CHARLESTON, S.C. - After finding that the sellers of a house were unaware of mold and moisture problems at the property when they sold it, a South Carolina federal judge on May 6 granted summary judgment for the sellers of the home (Albert M. Calland III, et al. v. Lloyd H. Carr, No. 9:14-cv-0420, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59175).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its second ruling in the case, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 7 agreed with a New Jersey federal judge's determination that a pharmaceutical composition patent is infringed, but invalid (AstraZeneca LP, et al. v. Breath Limited, et al., No. 15-1335, Fed. Cir.).
ATLANTA - A group of firms that represent plaintiffs in litigation against the tobacco industry in Florida state court filed an amicus curiae brief with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 4 in support of a petition urging the court to reconsider its ruling that strict liability and negligence claims asserted in Engle progeny suit are preempted by federal law (Earl E. Graham, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Faye Dale Graham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-14590, 11th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel today found that the National Security Agency's bulk telephone metadata collection program is not authorized by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, reversing a trial court's dismissal of the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (American Civil Liberties Union, et al. v. James R. Clapper, et al., No. 14-42, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7531).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on May 6 found that counsel for a borrower who asserted class action claims related to alleged breaches of contract and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) was entitled to an award of fees incurred during the case (Joseph Mazzei, et al. v. The Money Store, et al., No. 01cv5694, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59397).
TRENTON, N.J. - After finding that a borrower sufficiently pleaded her claim for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), a New Jersey federal judge on May 6 granted her motion for a default ruling against various lenders (Maria Galarza v. Lydian Private Bank, et al., No. 12-2729, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59173).
PHILADELPHIA - Allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that several defendants engaged in monopolization by initiating alleged sham litigation against Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. in Delaware federal court were dismissed by a Pennsylvania federal judge on May 6 (Federal Trade Commission v. AbbVie Inc., et al., No. 14-5151, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59115).
MACON, Ga. - A federal judge in Georgia on May 6 ordered a man to pay an insurance company $202,800 for disability benefits he wrongfully received, after finding that the man admitted to making misrepresentations to the company on his application for a disability insurance policy (Auto-Owners Life Insurance Company v. Devereaux Burnett, No. 14-CV-96, M.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59056).
NEW YORK - A trial court on remand must consider a doctor's bias and retaliation claims brought under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) as the federal court wrongly found that it lacked jurisdiction over the claims and that the claims must be analyzed separately from any federal and state law claims, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 6 (Jotica Talwar v. Staten Island University Hospital, et al., No. 14-1520, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7455).
SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Department of Justice announced May 5 that five California-based ambulance companies have agreed to collectively pay more than $11.5 million to resolve allegations from the federal government and a whistle-blower that they paid illegal kickbacks to hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in exchange for the exclusive rights to Medicare patients (Kelvin Carlisle v. Pacific Ambulance, et al., No. 09-cv-02628, S.D. Calif.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on May 6 reversed a lower court's denial of an insurer's motion to compel arbitration in a dispute over coverage for a $1 million judgment, remanding for an order compelling the issue of arbitrability to an arbitrator (Allied Professionals Insurance Co. v. Brian Fitzpatrick, et al., No. 4D13-3961, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6746).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Delaware federal judge properly denied a preliminary injunction barring three pharmaceutical companies from continuing their launch of the gout drug Mitigare, a divided panel of the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 6 (Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc. v. West-Ward Pharmaceutical Corporation, et al., Nos. 15-1139, -1142, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7465).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Chapter 11 debtor The Flintkote Co. on May 4 sought approval in Delaware federal bankruptcy court of a $1.7 million settlement of insurance coverage disputes with Travelers Casualty and Surety Co., the 20th settlement the debtor has reached with insurers in its decade-long bankruptcy case (In re: The Flintkote Co., et al., No. 04-11300, D. Del. Bkcy.).
MIAMI - Comments made during closing arguments by counsel for the plaintiff in a tobacco suit were improper, but not prejudicial, the Third District Florida Court of Appeal ruled May 6, affirming a $5 million jury verdict for a man who alleged that his coronary heart disease was caused by his 40 years of smoking (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Antonio Cuculino, Nos. 3D14-1339 and 3D14-823, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6696).
NEWARK, N.J. - After finding that numerous plaintiffs failed to prosecute their claims in relation to alleged predatory lending practices, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge on May 4 recommended that the court dismiss their claims (Leonard Calvaruso, et al. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 14-4515, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58417).
TACOMA, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on May 5 denied a motion to compel production of certain documents in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the documents the insureds seek to obtain are protected (Bret C. Kifer, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-6085, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58905).
PHILADELPHIA - An employee who alleges that his discrimination complaint was mishandled may sue his employer, not the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 5 (Duane Miller v. EEOC, Pittsburgh Area Office, No. 14-2787, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7437).
NEW YORK - A New York justice divided eight cases into three consolidated trial groups, saying in an opinion posted May 5 that shared attorneys and disease trump differences in places or time periods of exposure (George R. Birrell and Ramona J. Birrell, et al. v. Aerco International Inc., et al., No. 190105/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1471).