SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on July 5 denied an insurer's motions for summary judgment and to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that insureds have sufficiently pleaded their claims for relief against their health insurance provider (Lori Patnode, et al. v. HCC Life Insurance Co., d/b/a HCC Medical Insurance Services LLC, No. 15-0824, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86872).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal magistrate judge in Connecticut on July 6 granted defendants' motion to strike the additional report of a doctor who examined a couple who claim that they sustained injuries as a result of exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by spray polyurethane foam (SPF), finding that the expert's opinions did not supplement his original report (Richard Breyer, et al. v. Anchor Insulation Co. Inc., et al., No. 13 CV 1576, D. Conn.).
TACOMA, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on July 6 denied Union Pacific Railroad Co.'s third motion to stay a lawsuit brought by a local municipality over remediation of contamination at the Lake River Industrial site, finding that the defendant company could simultaneously litigate the Port of Ridgefield's claim for contribution and negotiate a consent decree with the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) (Port of Ridgefield v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, No. 14-CV-6024, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87619).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Finding that genuine issues of fact remain as to the cause of homeowners' water damage, a Pennsylvania federal judge on July 7 declined to grant summary judgment to an insurer based on exclusions for defective construction, seepage, neglect or known loss doctrine (The Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Jonathan Drenocky and Deborah Drenocky, No. 15-762, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87711).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge properly awarded Amgen Inc. a preliminary injunction barring Apotex Inc. from entering the market for 180 days after receiving a requested license from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a biosimilar product, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 5 (Amgen Inc. v. Apotex Inc., No. 16-1308, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12353).
BOSTON - A subrogated insurer's rights to recover insurance proceeds paid for a condominium unit's water damage were not waived based on a clause in the bylaws of the insured's condominium trust that unit owners "shall carry insurance" and that "all such policies shall contain waivers of subrogation," the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held July 5 (Pacific Indemnity Co. v. John Deming, No. 15-2386, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12374).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 5 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that because underlying claims were based on an associate pastor's sexual acts, the victims and their parents cannot recover a $4.35 million award against the pastor from his church's insurer because the policy does not cover an individual's sexual misconduct and because Ohio public policy prohibits insurance for the sexual abuse of a minor (Jacquin Clifford, et al. v. Church Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-4154, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12541).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A 3-2 panel of the South Carolina Supreme Court on July 6 affirmed an appellate court's decision to sustain a trial court's ruling denying D.R. Horton Inc.'s motion to compel arbitration on a construction defects lawsuit, after agreeing that an arbitration clause was unenforceable because its terms were unconscionable (Gregory W. Smith v. D.R. Horton Inc., et al., No. 27645, S.C. Sup.; 2016 S.C. LEXIS 155).
LANSING, Mich. - Responding to a question certified by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court on July 6 unanimously concluded that a user of Pandora Media Inc.'s online streaming service did not constitute a "customer" because he did not "rent" or "borrow" the service under the state's Video Rental Privacy Act (VRPA) (In Re Certified Question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Peter Deacon v. Pandora Media Inc., No. 151104, Mich. Sup.; 2016 Mich. LEXIS 1385).
SAN FRANCISCO - Volkswagen AG agreed on July 7 to pay an additional $86 million in civil penalties to the state of California to resolve allegations that the car manufacturer installed "defeat devices" in its 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles to evade emissions, according to an unopposed motion to enter a partial consent decree filed in California federal court (In re: Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2672, Case No. 15-md-2672, People of the State of California v. Volkswagen AG, et al., No. 16-cv-3620, N.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of a commercial property insurer in a breach of contract and bad faith dispute arising from Hurricane Ike damage to the insured's daycare center and warehouse (Steve Quibodeaux and the Kids Safari Inc., d/b/a Wee Care Childcare and Preschool v. Nautilus Insurance Co., No. 15-40567, 5th Cir.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In an order entered July 5, a California federal judge certified a class for consumers whose homes have roofing tiles that were made by Dura-Loc Roofing Systems Limited that are allegedly defective because they are not UV resistant, finding that common evidence and proof can determine if the shingles are defective, if the shingles did not comply with the limited warranty and if Metals USA Inc., the successor to Dura-Loc, can be liable for damages (James Wilson, et al. v. Metals USA Inc., No. 12-CV-0568-KJM-CKD, E.D. Calif.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A premises owner's duty to protect employees' household members from toxic exposures extends beyond spouses, New Jersey's top court held July 6 in answering a certified question from the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals about the limits of the duty it imposed in an asbestos case (Brenda Ann Schwartz v. Accuratus Corp., No. A-73 September Term 2014 076195, N.J. Sup.; 2016 N.J. LEXIS 691).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer asked a Pennsylvania court on July 6 to approve the liquidator's recommendation that a reinsurer be allowed to make direct payments to one of the insolvent insurer's insureds (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - After reviewing two cases, Maryland's high court on July 5 said those who consume alcohol before they are 21 are not solely responsible for injuries they sustain from drinking alcohol because they are not competent to handle to the effects of alcohol (Manal Kiriakos v. Brandon Phillips, No. 55, Nancy Dankos, et al. v. Linda Stapf, No. 20, Md. App.; 2016 Md. LEXIS 430).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A state jury in Florida on July 6 awarded the estate of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. $68,300 in punitive damages, bringing the total award to $133,300 (Michael Sermons v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-000397, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal bankruptcy judge on June 30 enjoined a woman's Louisiana state court asbestos personal injury lawsuit against a subsidiary of Johns-Manville Corp. after finding that the woman's claims are barred by decades-old injunctions in Johns-Manville's Chapter 11 case, and her only recourse is to file a claim with the asbestos trust established in the case (In re Johns-Manville Corporation, et al., No. 82-11656, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A plan administrator abused its discretion by failing to consider a disability claimant's functional capacity evaluation and an award of Social Security disability benefits before terminating the claimant's long-term disability benefits, a California federal judge said June 30 in remanding the benefits claim to the plan administrator (Olga Gorbacheva v. Abbott Laboratories Extended Disability Plan et al., No. 14-2524, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85702).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on June 30 ordered a disability insurer to reinstate a claimant's disability benefits and pay past due benefits because the insurer's termination of benefits was arbitrary and capricious (Randi Dunda v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 15-6232, W.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85549).
ST. LOUIS - A disability claimant's complaint was dismissed July 1 because the claims administrator did not abuse its discretion in terminating the claimant's benefits, a Missouri federal judge said, noting that the claims administrator consulted with a number of independent physician advisers before terminating the benefits (Maria Domenica Moore v. Ascension Long-Term Disability Plan, No. 15-328, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85900).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on July 1 refused to approve a proposed $16 million settlement to resolve a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit over a contaminated site in Compton, Calif., finding that the proposed agreement did not properly assure that the settlement money would be used for recoverable costs (Rev 973 LLC v. John Mouren-Laurens, et al., No. 98-10690, C.D. Calif.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 30 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a bank, finding that the bank had standing to foreclose and that claims asserted by borrowers had previously been litigated (Andrzej Madura, et al. v. BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, f.k.a. Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP, et al., No. 15-10090, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12048).
PASADENA, Calif. - A worker bringing a prima facie claim of disability bias against a union does not need to show a breach of the duty of fair representation, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 5 (Rosemary Garity v. APWU National Labor Organization, No. 13-15195, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12395).