MADISON, Wis. - Applying the four-corners rule to compare a complaint's language to the terms of an insurance policy, a majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled June 30 that an insurer did not breach its duty to defend an insured because a "your product" exclusion applies and no exceptions to this exclusion restore coverage (Water Well Solutions Service Group Inc. v. Consolidated Insurance Co., No. 2014AP2484, Wis. Sup.; 2016 Wisc. LEXIS 163).
NEW YORK - Union Carbide Corp., which is being sued by a putative class action that alleges personal injuries from exposure to fugitive chemicals from the closed Bhopal, India, pesticide refinery from which methyl isocyanate was released in 1984, on July 7 filed a brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that the plaintiffs' motion to certify state law questions following an opinion that decided an appeal is "improper" (Jargarnath Sahu, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 14-3087, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - On the second appeal concerning a man charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) in stealing his former employer's trade secrets, a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on July 5 affirmed the jury verdict and sentence against the defendant under both acts, finding that he accessed the firm's computer system "without authorization" (United States of America v. David Nosal, No. 14-10037 and 14-10275, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12382).
ST. LOUIS - A trucking company that purchased another is liable for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act violations despite a clause in the asset purchase agreement (APA) that stated that it had no liability, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 5, finding that the transaction was actually a sale of business (Stuart R. Day, et al. v. Celadon Trucking Services, Inc., No. 15-1711, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12365).
ATLANTA - An expert's testimony that any exposure to asbestos above background meaningfully contributed to a man's mesothelioma was unhelpful to a jury and improperly admitted, Georgia's top court held July 5 (Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc. v. Knight, et al., No. S15C1278, Ga. Sup.).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Joinder of tobacco defendants for their alleged "synergistic" role in a lung cancer case in Maryland's special asbestos docket came too late, but may be permissible in the future, the state's top court held July 5 (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Inc., et al. v. Douglas Stidham, etc., et al., No. 77 September Term 2015, Md. App.).
CHICAGO - An insurer told a federal court in Illinois on July 5 that its reinsurer's case against it should be transferred to a federal court in California because the dispute is centered in California and not Illinois (R&Q Reinsurance Company v. The American Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-04199, N.D. Ill.).
ATLANTA - A Second Division Georgia Court of Appeals panel on July 5 affirmed the final judgment of a state court that found that the driver of a pickup truck was only 60 percent responsible for the injuries her passenger sustained (Tisha Tucker v. Tammy Brown, No. A16A0344, Tammy Brown v. Tisha Tucker, No. A16A0345, Ga. App., 2nd Div.; 2016 Ga. App. LEXIS 399).
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 1 granted Visalia Unified School District's (VUSD) motion to approve the settlement of a groundwater contamination case in which it agreed to pay $110,000 toward remediation of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination, after finding that the agreement was reached in good faith (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86257).
SAN FRANCISCO - Two days after Uber Technologies Inc. filed a notice in a California federal court that it was withdrawing a subpoena on Comcast, through which Uber had sought to identify a particular subscriber as part of its suit over a 2014 breach of its network, Uber and that unnamed subscriber stipulated June 29 to dismiss an appeal in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that resulted from a ruling on the subpoena (Uber Technologies Inc. v. John Doe I v. Subscriber, No. 15-16532, 9th Cir.).
PITTSBURGH - Under Pennsylvania law, commercial general liability insurers have no duty to defend or indemnify insureds for a negligent performance of contract claim arising out of alleged faulty workmanship, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled June 30 (Peerless Insurance Co. and Ohio Security Insurance Co. v. Manown Builders, et al., No. 15-281, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85261).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on June 29 denied a disability insurer's motion for summary judgment after determining that a genuine issue of material fact exists regarding whether the insurer received the claimant's letter appealing the termination of disability benefits (Cheryl Hitt v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 15-1790, N.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84119).
CHICAGO - An Indiana federal judge properly rejected a photographer's copyright claims because although several defendants committed infringement, they promptly removed the infringing photograph from their website and their use caused no damages, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 1 (Richard Bell v. Cameron Taylor et al., Nos. 15-2343, -3735 and 15-3731, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12175).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge did not err in dismissing Lanham Act claims levied by the holder of the world record holder for "hacky sack," the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 30 (Johannes T. Martin v. Living Essentials LLC, No. 16-1370, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12057).
NEW YORK - A party to a reinsurance treaty removed a petition asking for vacatur of an arbitration award to a federal court in New York on July 5 (Yosemite Insurance Company v. Nationwide Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-05290, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on June 29 denied a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) sought to stop the Internal Revenue Service from tapping a pension plan to collect back taxes (Jim Nemlowill v. United States of America, No. 16CV1642, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84843).
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. - Consulting firm Exponent Inc. must produce unredacted versions of agendas for its meetings with Ford Motor Co. and other asbestos-friction defendants, an Illinois appeals court held June 30 (In re: All Litigation filed by Maune, Raichle, Hartley, French & Mudd LLC v. 3M Co., et al., No. 5-15-0235, Ill. App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1392).
ATLANTA - A disability insurer's decision to terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits was not de novo wrong, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 1, noting that the insurer's decision was supported by the evidence (Rassekh Sobh v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 15-15586, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12144).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 1 affirmed dismissal of claims that a Michigan law is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc. v. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 12-2264, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12142).
ATLANTA - A trial court erred in excluding a medical expert in a malpractice lawsuit because the expert had not demonstrated that "she had the 'appropriate level of knowledge . . . in performing the procedure' in question," the Georgia Supreme Court ruled July 5, vacating and remanding for the trial court to reconsider its decision (Olga Zarate-Martinez v. Dr. Michael D. Echemendia, et al., No. S15G1446, Ga. Sup.; 2016 Ga. LEXIS 450).
MADISON, Wis. - A majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court on June 30 affirmed that a professional liability errors and omissions insurance policy's business enterprise exclusion bars coverage for six underlying lawsuits against a professional trustee insured, finding that the insured relied on a "stunted strand of law" in arguing that the insurer has a duty to defend (David M. Marks v. Houston Casualty Co., et al., No. 2013AP2756, Wis. Sup.; 2016 Wisc. LEXIS 162).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel on June 30 found that an insurer breached the policy when it refused to cover the physical loss to an insured's roof that was caused by a wind event, affirming a jury's award of $12,878 for damages and $70,000 for attorney fees (State Farm Lloyds v. Ginger Hanson, No. 14-15-00093, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 6937).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania state court jury on July 1 awarded $70 million to a man who says Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. failed to warn that its Risperdal atypical antipsychotic drug can cause gynecomastia, according to plaintiff attorneys (A.Y. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, No. 130402094, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).