PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 9 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that an insurer's equitable contribution claim against a second insurer fails because the insurers did not share the same level of risk (Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance USA, Inc., et al. v. Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Company, Ltd., No. 14-56337, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 14622).
NEW YORK - General Motors LLC on Aug. 10 asked the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for a panel rehearing or a rehearing en banc on its July 13 decision that the 2009 sale order under which it purchased assets from the bankrupt General Motors Corp. violated the due process rights of people allegedly injured by an ignition switch defect in GM vehicles (In Re: Motors Liquidation Company, Nos. 15-2844, 15-2847 and 15-2848, 2nd Cir.).
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Aug. 9 returned a defense verdict for three companies accused of exposing a woman to asbestos in joint compounds, sources told Mealey Publications (Christine Louise Pass and Joseph David Pass v. Amcord Inc., f/k/a Riverside Cement Co., et al., No. BC587738, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 9 held that the Securities and Exchange Commission's appointment of in-house administrative law judges does not violate provisions of the appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution, and the SEC did not abuse its discretion in imposing a lifetime ban on investment advisers for their role in a scheme to violate provisions of the Advisers Act by misrepresenting backtested returns of financial investment portfolios using the advisers proprietary strategy (Raymond J. Lucia Companies Inc., et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 15-1345, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 14559).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio residents who sued E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. alleging injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Aug. 8 filed a brief in Ohio federal court, arguing that the company's objection to a case management order that calls for the acceleration and selection of trial cases is "meritless" (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of Oklahoma residents who are already members of a putative class action against Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) alleging groundwater contamination on Aug. 9 filed a separate complaint against the company seeking compensation for "complete reckless disregard" that led to the presence of perchlorate in the aquifer that supplies their drinking water (Albin Family Revocable Living Trust, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 16-910, W.D. Okla.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Aug. 8 granted a motion for default judgment in favor of a hookah tobacco company that sued a couple who was using the company's trademarked brands and ordered the couple to pay $575,000 (Starbuzz Tobacco Inc. v. Issa Hilo, et al., No. SACV 16-0303 AG, C.D. Calif.).
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), New York University (NYU) and Yale University were sued Aug. 9 in separate putative class action lawsuits on behalf of more than 60,000 employees in their defined contribution retirement plans who claim that the universities, as plan sponsors, breached their duties of loyalty and prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by causing plan participants to pay millions of dollars in unreasonable and excessive administrative fees.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Chevron Mining Inc. (CMI), the federal government and State of New Mexico on Aug. 9 entered into a consent decree filed in New Mexico federal court in which the company agreed to pay $143 million to install a groundwater extraction system and remediate contamination from mine tailings at the Questa Mine Superfund site (United States of America, et al. v. Chevron Mining Inc., No. 16-cv-00904, D. N.M.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Assertions by a patent infringement defendant that a plaintiff committed false advertising and defamation in a letter it sent to the defendant's current and prospective customers were rejected on summary judgment Aug. 8 by a California federal judge (Johnstech International Corp. v. JF Microtechnology SDN BHD, No. 14-2864, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104380).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Aug. 9 granted the United Parcel Service Inc.'s motion for partial summary judgment on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) claims brought against it by the State of New York and New York City because the plaintiffs have not presented enough evidence to show that UPS "participated in a RICO enterprise under governing precedent" by shipping untaxed cigarettes (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y.).
BOSTON - A third set of plaintiffs in the fungal meningitis outbreak litigation on Aug. 5 asked a federal court to order the tort trustee to stop holding up settlement awards for payment of medical liens and to order awards to be paid to beneficiaries within 30 days of the court's order (In Re: New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2419, No. 13-md-2419, D. Mass.).
SAVANNAH, Ga. - A federal judge in Georgia on Aug. 9 awarded summary judgment to an insurance company seeking to rescind a general liability policy issued to a law firm, ruling that the innocent insured provision did not apply to the firm and a partner because misrepresentations on the policy application were material (Proassurance Casualty Company v. Wilson R. Smith, et al., No. 15-CV-51, S.D. Ga.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105033).
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - An insured's faulty workmanship does not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 9, relying on Kvaerner Metals Division of Kvaerner U.S., Inc. v. Commercial Union Ins. Co. (589 Pa. 317, 908 A.2d 888, 896 [Pa. 2006]) to find an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify (Acuity, a mutual insurance company v. Knisely & Sons, Inc., et al., No. 15-76, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104431).
SHERMAN, Texas - A claims adjuster and adjusting company were improperly joined in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because an insured failed to provide any fact to show that those defendants' actions were in violation of the Texas Insurance Code, a federal judge in Texas ruled Aug. 8 in denying the insured's motion to remand (Lillian Elizondo v. Metropolitan Lloyds Insurance Co. of Texas, et al., No. 16-306, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103878).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on Aug. 5 held that the lack of an excess judgment against Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. in an underlying employment injury dispute that settled does not preclude the equitable subrogation and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing lawsuit that the entertainment company's excess insurer brought against its primary insurer (Ace American Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. B264861, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 647).
DETROIT - Residents who sued Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and state officials alleging liability for the lead-contaminated drinking water in the City of Flint, Mich., on Aug. 8 filed a brief in a Michigan federal court opposing the defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissal. The plaintiffs insist that the defendants are attempting to evade responsibility on the "faulty premise" that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, and they contend that they have adequately pleaded claims for violation of their rights under the U.S. Constitution (Melissa Mays, et al. v. Gov. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 15-14002, E.D. Mich.).
SAN FRANCISCO - In an Aug. 8 opposition brief filed in California federal court, Oracle America Inc. calls a post-trial motion for civil contempt and sanctions by Google Inc. "unprecedented," asserting that the discovery trial statements that purportedly disclosed confidential information "were responsive" to arguments from Google and probing questions from the presiding magistrate (Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-03561, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - Based on a recent decision by the New York Court of Appeals regarding allocation, a New York federal judge on Aug. 8 granted an insured's motion for reconsideration and said that in light of the Court of Appeals' decision, an all-sums method of allocation, not a pro rata method of allocation, must be applied to policies with noncumulation clauses (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. The Fairbanks Co., Nos. 13-3755, 15-1141, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104250).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A February 2016 request for inter partes review was granted Aug. 4 by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, following failure by the patent owner to respond to the petition (Elekta Inc. v. Varian Medical Systems Inc., No. IPR2016-00551, PTAB).
LOS ANGELES - A U.S. magistrate judge in California on Aug. 4 dismissed a groundwater contamination lawsuit against a gas and electric company on grounds that the claim was preempted by federal law (Ken Nitao v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, No. 16-2532, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102766).