BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on July 30 declined to disqualify an attorney from an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insurer has failed to show that the attorney had a conflict of interest (Pietro Giambrone, et al. v. Meritplan Insurance Co., No. 13-7377, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100000).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A North Carolina federal judge's erroneous construction of two disputed claim terms as they appear in a high-voltage transformer patent was revised by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 (Sociedad Espanola de Electromedicinia y Calidad S.A. v. Blue Ridge X-Ray Co., et al., No. 15-1102, Fed. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge's decision to grant Qualcomm Inc. judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that it did not infringe four patents was affirmed by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 (ParkerVision Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc., Nos. 14-1612, -1655, Fed. Cir.).
BOSTON - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 affirmed a trial court's decision that a drywall company's letter that contained a "layman's choice of words" was still sufficient to terminate the company's agreement with Massachusetts unions and, as a result, the company had no obligation to comply with the unions' audit requests (New England Carpenters Central Collection Agency, et al. v. Labonte Drywall Company, Inc., No. 14-1739, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13386).
CHICAGO - After finding that a district court properly dismissed claims for quiet title and violation of Illinois law, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 affirmed a district court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of several lenders and mortgage entities (David Cocroft, et al. v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., et al., No. 14-1640, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13368).
CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on Aug. 3 held that a class action claimant has failed to show that a list of potential customers for cosmetic surgery services contained personally identifiable financial, credit or medical information, affirming a lower court's finding that a professional liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against the class action (Doctors Direct Insurance Inc. v. David Bochenek, et al., No. 1-14-2919, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 1st Div.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 579).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on Aug. 3 awarded $3.2 million in punitive damages to a woman who alleged that her years of smoking caused her to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that resulted in two lung transplants (Elaine Jordan v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2013-CA-008903, Fla. Cir., 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Aug. 3 returned a defense verdict for two companies accused of exposing a mechanic to asbestos (Pablo Gonzalez v. Caterpillar Inc., et al., No. 2013-CA-031838, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).
PASADENA, Calif. - In a lawsuit where both class claims and nonclass claims are being pursued, the amount sought for the nonclass claims may not be added together with the amount sought for class claims to meet the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) amount-in-controversy requirement, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 30 (Porfiria Yocupicio, et al. v. PAW Group, LLC, et al., No. 15-55878, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13273).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A judge erred in excluding evidence attempting to show that a man's disease arose not from a defendant's conduct but from work at a facility tainted with asbestos dust, an Illinois appeals panel held July 30 (James Smith v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., No. 4-14-0703, Ill. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 573).
ATLANTA - A Georgia appeals court on July 31 denied reconsideration, leaving stand its decision that a pipe maker's duty to household members is irrelevant the question of whether it negligently designed its asbestos-containing pipe (Fletcher v. Water Applications JE-025 Distribution Group Inc., et al., No. A15A0527, Ga. App.; 2015 Ga. App. LEXIS 501).
SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) violates the Sherman Act by monopolizing the market for top-level domains (TLDs) like ".com" and ".net" were properly dismissed, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 31 (name.space Inc. v. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, No. 13-55553, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13360).
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Supreme Court on July 29 slightly modified its April 22 opinion that reversed a lower court and found that certain alleged wrongful acts by a self-insured managed health organization are covered under a number of reinsurance agreements (WellPoint Inc. [f/k/a Anthem, Inc.], et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh PA, et al., No. 49S05-1404-PL-244, Ind. Sup.; 2015 Ind. LEXIS 666).
ATLANTA - The Third Division Georgia Court of Appeals on July 30 denied an insurer's motion for reconsideration, reiterating its conclusion that "damage to property" exclusions do not preclude coverage for claims of an insured's alleged negligent installation of air conditioning ductwork, but that the policy's fungi exclusion does preclude the ensuing mold damage (Michael Dolan, et al. v. Auto Owners Insurance Co., No. A15A0384, Ga. App., 3rd Div.; 2015 Ga. App. LEXIS 499).
NEW ORLEANS - Three environmental groups can pursue claims under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) against a company accused of illegally discharging oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled July 29, finding that the claim is not duplicative of the groups' allegation that the company also violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Apalachicola Riverkeeper v. Taylor Energy Company LLC, No. 12-337, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99680).
NEW YORK - New York City sanitation workers who filed a class complaint alleging discriminatory promotion practices failed to present sufficient statistical evidence and exhaust their administrative remedies, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 31 (Andrenia Burgis, et al. v. New York City Department of Sanitation, et al., No. 14-1640, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13353).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla - An amendment to the Florida interest-rate statute is applicable to a judgment existing at the time of its passage, including an Engle-progeny case that resulted in an award of more than $25 million, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. argues in a brief filed July 31 with the Florida Supreme Court (Lyantie Townsend, etc. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC15-722, Fla. Sup.).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida judge erred in failing to apply the doctrine of comparative fault in the trial of a suit that resulted in a $12.55 million verdict for a smoker with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled July 31 (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Lauren Green, et al., No. 5D13-3758, Fla. App., 5th Dist.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 30 denied the plaintiffs' third motion for class certification in a case accusing Del Monte Foods Inc. of violating consumer protection statutes, including the state's unfair competition law (UCL) in its packaging of several tomato and fruit products (Michael Kosta, et al. v. Del Monte Foods Inc., No. 12-1722, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99892).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on July 31 denied a motion to dismiss filed by defendants accused of engaging in a scheme to sell a stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI) policy to third-party investors, finding that the plaintiff company's claims were timely and that the insurer sufficiently pleaded damages as a result of the alleged scheme (Pruco Life Insurance Company v. Denise Binday Koslowsky, et al., No. 14-03976, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100515).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York appeals panel on July 30 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a franchise specializing in the sale of cosmetics cannot recover an alleged $183,435 in lost business income and more than $6 million in consequential damages stemming from a sewage flood (Yar-Lo Inc., d/b/a Merle Norman Cosmetics v. Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. 519646, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6258).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 agreed with a Colorado federal judge that a defendant's online statements about a competitor amounted to false advertising under Section 1125(a) of the Lanham Act (General Steel Domestic Sales LLC d/b/a General Steel Corp. v. Ethan Daniel Chumley and Atlantic Building Systems LLC d/b/a Armstrong Steel Corp., Nos. 14-1119 and 14-1121, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13356).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Delaware federal judge's decision to deny Newegg Inc. the attorney fees it incurred in defending patent infringement allegations was reversed and remanded by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 (Pragmatus Telecom LLC v. Newegg Inc., No. 14-1777, Fed. Cir.).