TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 29 denied several motions by the secretary of the Labor to exclude expert testimony in a lawsuit alleging fraudulent activity in the purchase of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) (Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor, et al. v. First Bankers Trust Services, Inc., et al., No. 12-4450, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130749).
NEW YORK - Dismissal of a first amended complaint in a securities class action lawsuit is proper because the lead plaintiff failed to properly plead materiality in making its federal securities law claims, a federal judge in New York ruled Sept. 29 (In re Ply Gem Holdings Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-3577, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131203).
MIAMI - Quoting an African proverb in a professional liability coverage dispute, a federal magistrate held Sept. 30 that pursuant to the policy's broad definition of "related claims," prepolicy personal injury protection (PIP) demands are related to within-policy claims for which an insured seeks coverage and, therefore, all of the claims are deemed one claim made before the policy's inception (Direct General Insurance Co. v. Houston Casualty Co., et al., No. 14-2005014-20050, S.D. Fla.).
CHICAGO - Subsidence damage to a home caused by subcontractors' work is not an "occurrence," an Illinois federal judge ruled Sept. 30, finding that an insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify its insured contractor in a breach of warranty lawsuit (Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Northridge Builders, Inc., et al., No. 12-9102, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132165).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 30 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiff failed to show that a "rational trier of fact could find" that the insurer acted in bad faith in the handling of a claim for third-party benefits (Norma I. Feijoo, f/k/a/ Norma Borroto, v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No.14-24659, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132667).
PHILADELPHIA - A former employee of The Coca-Cola Co. has standing to sue the beverage giant related to the theft of laptops that contained his personally identifiable information (PII), a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 30, declining to dismiss for lack of standing. However, the judge granted partial dismissal of the putative class action, finding that claims for negligence and fraud were not properly pleaded (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-06476, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133168).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A jury in California on Sept. 30 awarded a woman $1,885,000 for injuries she suffered because her e-cigarette exploded while the battery was charging, which resulted in second-degree burns (Jennifer Ries v. VapCigs, No. RIC 1306769, Calif. Super., Riverside Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 1 granted a petition for writ of certiorari in an appeal that asks the high court to determine whether California arbitration-only severability rule is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) (MHN Government Services, Inc., et al. v. Thomas Zaborowski, et al., No. 14-1458, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 1 granted a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a police detective after the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined earlier this year that he failed to prove his case claiming that he was demoted in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution after he was perceived as being involved in a political campaign (Jeffrey J. Heffernan v. City of Paterson, New Jersey, et al., No. 14-1280, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A federal magistrate judge in New York on Sept. 29 ordered defendants in a securities class action lawsuit to produce a privilege log containing certain information sought by the named plaintiff in the action showing why it is covered by work product privilege (In re Symbol Technologies Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 05-3923, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131478).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Sept. 29 granted a disability insurer's motion to dismiss a claimant's complaint because the only claims alleged against the insurer are state law claims, which are preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (Charles M. Davis v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 14-43, M.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130732).
NEW YORK - A New York state jury on Sept. 25 awarded $25 million to a man for his mesothelioma, holding brake-grinding machine manufacturer Hennessy Industries Inc. 86 percent liable for the man's injury (Walter Miller v. BMW of North America LLC, et al., No. 190087/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Sept. 29 denied a petition for allowance of appeal, leaving stand a ruling that a law protecting Crown Cork & Seal Co. from asbestos-related liabilities could in theory apply to other companies and does the legitimate job of protecting the state's jobs (James C. Markovsky, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., et al., No. 162 EAL 2015, Pa. Sup.).
BENTON, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 28 declined to consolidate for trial four asbestos cases, saying in a docket entry that while the cases share common legal issues, case-specific facts prevented consolidation from preserving judicial economy (Kenneth R. Greenleaf Sr. v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 14-51, S.D. Ill.).
BENTON, Ill. - Evidence suggests that the Navy knew of the hazards of asbestos and issued reasonably specific guidelines for turbines it purchased, a federal judge held Sept. 28 in denying remand (David Baley v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 15-569, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130171).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Sept. 29 granted a motion to remand a case filed by a bank in relation to foreclosure and the ejectment of the previous owners, finding that the lenders failed to show the grounds required for removal (LLP Mortgage Ltd. v. Aundra Agree, et al., No. 15-cv-01246, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130982).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A partial summary judgment order and a subsequent order on reconsideration in a dispute over bra patents were both vacated by a Florida federal judge on Sept. 30 (Chico's Fas Inc. v. Andrea Clair, et al., No. 13-792, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131308).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In two separate orders, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 denied a rehearing and a rehearing en banc in a case in which a South Carolina union was found to have violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by creating an exclusive hiring hall for its drivers and preventing others from being employed (Teamsters Local Union No. 509 v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 12-1002, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17108).
AUSTIN, Texas - A special deputy receiver on Sept. 28 asked a Texas court to approve a settlement agreement under which an insurer's rehabilitation estate will pay the U.S. government $33 million regarding certain customs bonds (State of Texas v. Highlands Insurance Company, No. D-1-GV-03-004537, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A panel of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Sept. 29 affirmed a trial court's decision granting summary judgment to a landlord who had been sued for damages related to lead-paint exposure. The panel concluded that evidence was lacking regarding other possible sources of the plaintiffs' alleged lead-based paint exposure (Patricia Barr, et al. v. Stanley Rochkind, No. 1152, Sept. Term 2014; 2015 Md. App. LEXIS 125).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel held Sept. 30 that there is a material issue of fact regarding the proper method of subsurface repair in a sinkhole coverage dispute, reversing and remanding a lower court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the insurer (Lizardo Estrada, et al. v. Tower Hill Select Insurance Co., et al., No. 2D13-3671 c/w No. 2D14-1101, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 14444).