FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Oct. 2 ruled that the claim files and the deposition of a nonparty subcontractor's insurance adjuster are discoverable for the purpose of determining if a conflict of interests existed that required the appointment of independent counsel, granting a home builder's motions to compel in a construction defects declaratory judgment action (Fidelity and Guaranty Insurance Co., et al. v. Centex Homes, No. 1:14-cv-00826, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134923).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge presiding over litigation stemming from Chinese drywall did not err when denying a motion to enjoin a Florida from pursuing class action claims in Florida state court over the loss of market value of his condominium, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled, finding that the claims are not subject to two settlements resolving claims over the product (In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, No. 14-31355, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17407).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 30 excluded testimony and reports to be offered in support of homeowners' breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against their insurer for coverage of damages caused in an electrical fire (Wayne Moore and Kimberly Moore v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 14-3113, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132211).
TRENTON, N.J. - A Harvard professor may testify in an antitrust lawsuit over the market inflation of the bundling of pediatric vaccines, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Sept. 30, finding that the professor's report is reliable and granting class certification (Adriana M. Castro, et al. v. Sanofi Pasteur Inc., No. 11-7178, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132458).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Sept. 30 granted an insurer's request to appoint an umpire to resolve a coverage dispute over the alleged hailstorm damage to the siding of an 68-unit apartment complex, rejecting the insured's contention that the chosen candidate is biased (The Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Insurance Co. v. C.F.L.P. 1, LLC, No. 14-40, W.D. Ky.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132523).
INDIANAPOLIS - Kentucky's status as a one-disease state bars a couple's action alleging asbestos exposure in private employment but not their maritime-law claims, a federal judge in Indiana held Sept. 30 (Bryan Kimberly Hedden and Cynthia Hedden v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 13-1986, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132684).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. filed a motion focused on product identification issues, but then improperly argued and obtained judgment on causation issues surrounding whether its talc contained asbestos, Alabama's Supreme Court held Sept. 30 (Frank Kruse, et al. v. Vanderbilt Minerals LLC, f/k/a R.T. Vanderbilt Company Inc., No. 1121382, Ala. Sup.; 2015 Ala. LEXIS 121).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A couple's suit alleging asbestos exposure aboard a tugboat invokes admiralty jurisdiction, a federal judge in Connecticut held in dismissing Federal Tort Claims Act against the United States on Sept. 30 (Dennis Thibodeau v. United States of America, No. 13-710, D. Conn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134227).
NEW YORK - An insurer told a federal court in New York on Oct. 2 that it was amending its asbestos-bodily-injury-related reinsurance breach of contract complaint to update the name of the defendant (TIG Insurance Company v. Randall & Quilter Reinsurance Company, No. 15-cv-07024, S.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 30 granted motion filed by two banks, dismissing claims asserted by former homeowners for violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and other claims related to the foreclosure of their home (Kimberly Andress, et al. v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC, et al., No. 15-1779, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133689).
BOSTON - Efforts by class action plaintiffs to establish that Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM) could have promoted e-cigarettes as a safer alternative design to a conventional cigarette were rejected Oct. 2 by a Massachusetts federal judge, who instead found that an e-cigarette "is not a cigarette, under any generally accepted definition" (Kathleen Donovan, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 1:06cv12234, D. Mass.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a welder who alleged that his former employer discriminated against him based on his nationality and his disability (Ferenc Fodor v. Eastern Shipbuilding Group, No. 14-10366, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 declined to accept the petition for writ of certiorari filed by a former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) lawyer who sued the NLRB and the NLRB union alleging violation of his rights under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), violation of the union's duty of fair representation and violation of right to free speech (Don Firenze v. National Labor Relations Board, et al., No. 14-1184, U.S. Sup.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The judge of compensation claims (JCC) did not abuse his discretion in denying an objection to medical opinion testimony in a workers' compensation lawsuit, a Florida appeals panel affirmed Sept. 30 (Ernesto O. Sierra v. Metropolitan Protective Services and Guarantee Insurance, No. 1D15-0094, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 14510).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals court on Oct. 2 affirmed a trial court's decision that a plaintiff did not have to arbitrate his claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and breach of fiduciary duty against a law firm, finding that no agreement to arbitrate existed (Terri Maxon v. Initiative Legal Group APC, et al., No. A139068, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7084).
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A federal judge in Idaho on Sept. 30 dismissed a lawsuit brought by the federal government under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act seeking to recover response costs for the cleanup of a portion of the Bunker Hill Mining and Metalurgical Complex Superfund site in northern Idaho, after finding that the defendant company was not a successor in interest to a former owner of the site (United States of America v. Marmon Holdings Inc., No. 10-cv-00526-EJL-CWD, D. Idaho; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135022).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico against Shell Oil Co. on Oct. 1 ruled that the defendant oil companies did not show that the statute of limitations has run on the commonwealth's claim (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, No. 00-1898, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Shell Oil Co., et al., No. 07 Civ. 10470, S.D. N.Y.).
PANAMA CITY, Fla. - A subcontractor's insurer had a duty to defend an additional insured contractor in an underlying construction defect case, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 30, finding that the alleged defects in the subcontractor's stucco work constituted an "occurrence" (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Amerisure Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-10, N.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132817).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel held Sept. 30 that there is no primary or excess fiduciary liability or directors and officers liability insurance coverage for an underlying lawsuit spawned by a federal investigation of insureds' Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) (Woody D. Bilyeu, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa, et al., No. 50,049-CA, La. App., 2nd Cir.; 2015 La. App. LEXIS 1868).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A petition for rehearing by a patent plaintiff was denied Oct. 2 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which instead stood by its July decision to affirm a Florida federal judge's finding of noninfringement (ParkerVision Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc., Nos. 14-1612, -1655, Fed. Cir.).