ATLANTA - After finding that a lawsuit filed by borrowers in relation to their mortgage was barred by a previous case they filed, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 2 affirmed dismissal of the action (John H. McCulley, et al. v. Bank of America N.A., No. 14-12713, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5284).
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - A judge overseeing New Jersey's Accutane litigation on April 2 granted summary judgment to Accutane manufacturer Hoffman-La Roche after finding that as a matter of law, the drug's post-April 2002 warnings about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are sufficient to overcome the state's rebuttable presumption of adequacy (In Re: Accutane Litigation, No. 271, N.J. Super., Atlantic Co.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on March 31 granted preliminary approval of a nearly $25 million securities class action settlement, ruling that the settlement has met all statutory requirements for approval (In re Celera Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 10-2604, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42228).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal court properly found that a former child welfare services caseworker did not adequately plead a discrimination claim against his employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and that his due process rights were not violated, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 1 in a nonprecedential opinion (Stefano Kiniropoulos v. Northampton County Child Welfare Service, No. 14-2857, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5217).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A state court judge April 2 declared a mistrial in an Engle progeny case just two hours after the Florida Supreme Court handed down two rulings on the standard of proof for fraudulent concealment claims against the tobacco industry (Thomas Ryan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-022579, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A plaintiff seeking to assert a fraudulent concealment claim in an Engle progeny suit is not required to prove reliance on statements made by the defendant tobacco company within the 12-year statute of repose period leading up to the May 5, 1994, filing of the original Engle complaint, the Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously in two decisions issued April 2, resolving a conflict in the state appellate courts (Elaine Hess, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. SC12-2153; Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Tina Russo, et al., No. SC12-1401, Fla. Sup.).
BOSTON - Dismissal of an amended securities class action complaint is proper because shareholders have failed to plead any actionable misstatement in making their federal securities law claims, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled March 31 (Mark A. Corban v. Sarepta Therapeutics Inc., et al., No. 14-10201, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42688).
BOSTON - A disability insurer's decision to terminate a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits based on the policy's 24-month limitation provision was not an abuse of discretion because there is substantial evidence supporting the insurer's decision, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 30 (Mark Dutkewych v. Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-1450, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5108).
OXFORD, Miss. - A Mississippi county and sheriff's department on March 31 were ordered to comply with a dismissed deputy's discovery requests and interrogatories in his Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuit, with a Mississippi federal magistrate judge finding the submitted responses to be "virtually worthless" (Earl Burdette v. Panola County, et al., No. 3:13-cv-00286, N.D. Miss.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41705).
CHICAGO - A defendant's request for dismissal of a plaintiff's claim for unfair or deceptive acts or practices under Massachusetts state law in an underlying copyright and Lanham Act dispute was denied April 1 by a Massachusetts federal judge (iLab Solutions LLC v. Idea Elan LLC, et al., No. 14-14267, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42692).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on April 1 granted a joint stipulation filed by the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, along with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), that stayed proceedings in the nations' lawsuit alleging that the U.S. government has never provided an accounting for its management of various assets that belong to the nations, including oil and gas leases (The Chicakasaw Nation, et al. v. The U.S. Department of the Interior, No. 05-01524, W.D. Okla.).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals court on March 31 affirmed a trial court's decision in favor of a contractor, finding that a homeowner who alleged that faulty work on her roof caused mold growth failed to show that she was entitled to damages (Alice M. Jones v. Antonio Murillo, et al., No. 14-13-00928, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 3111).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on April 1 found that a lower court erred in issuing an order that compelled appraisal in a coverage dispute over a supplemental claim for Hurricane Wilma damage (State Farm Insurance Co. v. Efrain Xirinachs, et al., No. 3D14-1212, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 4681).
JACKSON, Miss. - An insurer has no duty to defend its insured for underlying claims arising out of water damage caused by the insured's failure to properly cover a roof it was replacing because the policy specifically excludes coverage for damages caused by rain, a Mississippi federal judge said March 30 (Mesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Co. f/k/a Montpelier U.S. Insurance Co. v. LJA Commercial Solutions LLC, et al., No. 13-29, S.D. Miss.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40596).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 1 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that the lower level of an insured's home qualifies as a "basement" under his Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) and, therefore, the insurer properly denied coverage for his claim for flood damage under the basement exclusion (Jacob Matusevich v. Middlesex Mutual Assurance Co., et al., No. 14-1370, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5261).
HAMBURG, Germany - The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on April 2 released its opinion on a request by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) on illegal and unreported fishing activities, finding that a flag state is obligated to take measures to ensure that its vessels are complying with certain marine laws enacted by the SRFC (In re Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission, No 21, ITLOS).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York court on April 1 reversed a lower court's decision and held that a landlord failed to establish that she did not have constructive notice that a hazardous lead-based paint condition existed in the apartment she rented to a family whose children tested positive for elevated blood-lead levels (Micah Greene, et al. v. Lula A. Mullen, No. 2013-00930, N.Y. Sup., App Div., 2nd Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2739).
ALBANY, N.Y. - The New York Court of Appeals on March 31 ruled that oil and gas leases between residents and a hydraulic fracturing company were not extended because the force majeure clauses in those leases did not modify the primary term of the habendum clause, which the company had argued was triggered by the state's moratorium on fracking (Walter R. Beardslee, et al. v. Inflection Energy LLC, No. 44, N.Y. App.; 2015 N.Y. LEXIS 657).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 30 ruled that Maryland law governs a dispute between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Lukoil Americas Corp. (LAC) regarding groundwater contamination stemming from the release of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, No. 14-06228, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42579).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A pelvic mesh plaintiff's claims are not barred by Texas statutes of limitations laws or federal preemption, a West Virginia federal judge ruled April 1 in a bellwether case (Mary Hovey v. Cook Incorporated, et al., No. 13-18900, S.D. W.Va., Charleston Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42657).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A decision by a New York federal judge to deny a stay of patent litigation will stand, a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 1 (Intellectual Ventures II LLC v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, et al., No. 14-1724, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5204).