HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 30 denied as moot a hydraulic fracturing company's motion to partially dismiss a complaint filed by residents who contend that the company contaminated their groundwater (Tammy Manning v. WPX Energy Appalachia LLC, No. 12-0646, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84473).
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 let stand a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a district court did not err in ordering a disability insurer to pay attorney fees incurred by a plan on behalf of a participant because the plan supported the participant and assumed the same position as a plaintiff in the participant's lawsuit (Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada v. Group Disability Benefits Plan for Gynecologic Oncology Associates Partners, LLC, No. 14-1251, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A group of plaintiffs suing Chevron Corp. alleging that the company is liable for damages caused by the explosion of a natural gas rig filed a brief in California federal court on June 29, opposing the company's motion to strike or dismiss the plaintiffs' third amended complaint, contending that it is appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 15 (Foster Ogola v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit is warranted, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled June 29, because insureds' signing of a settlement agreement barred all future claims under a commercial lines policy (Antonio Giaccone, et al. v. Canopius US Insurance Co., No. 14-6939, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83682).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 declined to review a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the burden of proof on the issue of causation and the proper standard to assess causation in a 401(k) breach of fiduciary duty case under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, following the solicitor general's finding that the Fourth Circuit correctly decided both issues and that "there is no clear circuit split on either question" (RJR Pension Investment Committee, et al. v. Richard G. Tatum, No. 14-656, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 granted review of a divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts Vermont's health care data collection law, which requires health care payers to report claims and health care-services data to a state agency, as applied to a self-funded ERISA benefit plan or its third-party administrators (Alfred J. Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, No. 14-181, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 affirmed that primary and excess commercial general liability insurers' motion to intervene in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) lawsuit after a $20 million settlement was reached was untimely (CE Design Ltd., et al. v. King Supply Co., LLC, et al., No. 12-2930, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11117).
SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Inc. did not establish that AT&T Mobility, its alleged co-conspirator in a putative antitrust class action related to service for Apple's iPhones, was a necessary party to the action, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority ruled June 29, reversing a trial court's dismissal of the case for failure to join AT&T, per Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 (Zack Ward, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 12-17805, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11065).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 30 agreed to hear an appeal of a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling remanding a securities class action lawsuit over the alleged illegal "naked" short selling of a company's stock back to state court Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., et al. v. Greg Manning, et al., No. 14-1132, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Remand of a securities class action suit to state court is proper because the defendants were prohibited from removing the action to federal court in the first place, a federal judge in California ruled June 25 (Alexander Liu v. Xoom Corp., et al., No. 15-0602, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82830).
PHILADELPHIA - The wife of a man killed in the May 12 derailment of an Amtrak passenger train filed suit in federal court on June 29 on her own behalf and on behalf of her husband's estate (Danna Gildersleeve, et al. v. National Railroad Passenger Corp. a/k/a Amtrak, No. 2:15-cv-03626, E.D. Pa.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 found that allegations in an underlying amended counterclaim against a test-preparation provider insured do not potentially include a trade dress infringement claim, affirming a lower federal court's ruling in favor of the insurer in an advertising injury coverage dispute (Test Masters Educational System Inc. v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 14-20473, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11148).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on June 29 ruled that testimony by two experts for a woman alleging that she was wrongfully terminated is admissible, but that testimony by the woman herself, acting as an expert, is not because she did not properly disclose her intended opinions and she is not qualified as an expert on the issues at hand (Tamela Cleo Saldana v. Texas Department of Transportation, et al., No. 1:14-cv-282, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83815).
NEW YORK - U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) umpires are independent contractors, not employees, for the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL), the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 29, affirming a trial court's decision (Steven Meyer, et al. v. United States Tennis Association, No. 14-3891, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11037).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A judge overseeing an asbestos case nearing trial on June 29 barred an expert from testifying that "every exposure" leads to disease and excluded another expert's testimony regarding causation, finding it insufficiently specific (Graham Yates and Becky Yates v. Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc., No. 12-752, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83991).
SEATTLE - A broker need not know asbestos would end up in pipe used in Washington because the volume of sales suggested the fibers would enter the stream of commerce, a state appeals court held June 29 in reversing dismissal (Candance Noll, et al. v. American Biltrite Inc., et al., No. 71345-1-I, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 1364).
VANCOUVER - A Canadian mining company on June 25 announced that the parties in an investment treaty dispute pending before an international tribunal have completed oral and written submissions in the case.
WILMINGTON, Del. - The directors of General Motors Co. (GM) are not subject to derivative claims brought by shareholders stemming from the litigation arising from ignition-switch defects in the automaker's vehicles, the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled June 26 (In re: General Motors Co. Derivative Litigation, No. 9627-VG, Del. Chanc.).
NEW YORK - There is "no good cause" for the entry of a protective order preventing the disclosure of information produced in the pretrial phase of the multidistrict litigation against General Motors LLC (New GM), the ignition-switch plaintiffs argue in a brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 26 (In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-md-02543, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW ORLEANS - After finding that a federal district court committed no reversible error when it granted summary judgment in favor of a bank, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 26 affirmed a ruling finding that claims related to a loan modification should be dismissed (Raymond Rabe, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 14-40931, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11022).