BOSTON - A disability plan's limitations period of three years is inapplicable, and Puerto Rico's 15-year statute of limitations must be applied because the insurer violated Employee Retirement Income Security Act regulations when it failed to inform the disability claimant of the plan-imposed time limit for filing a suit, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 14 (Dionisio Santana- Diaz v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 15-1273, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4670).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on March 15 granted in part the Department of Toxic Substances Control's (DTSC) motion for summary judgment in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit, finding that a defendant company was unable to provide any expert testimony to show that it did not cause tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination on the property (Department of Toxic Substances Control v. Technichem Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-5845-VC, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33379).
NEW YORK - Noting that when a pesticide company formulated a settlement with a reinsurer to pay past due amounts from an earlier settlement the company became aware that one of its insurers also owed it under the earlier settlement, a federal judge in New York on March 11 found that the insurer and its successor are bound by the earlier settlement agreement (Olin Corp. v. Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. 84-1968, S.D.; N.Y. 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32079).
DENVER - A speech and language pathologist and an optometrist may not testify that an insured experienced mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) as a result of a motor vehicle accident, a Colorado federal judge ruled March 14, granting an insurer's motions to exclude in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit (Robin Dillon v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 14-00246, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32371).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 11 granted a motion to remand a labor violations class complaint, finding that the amount in controversy is not met because attorney fees in a Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) case must be apportioned among the total number of aggrieved employees (Wayne Russell, Jr. v. Aramark Refreshment Services, LLC, et al., No. 16-613, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31838).
SAN FRANCISCO - A man with pleural plaques but no impairment may seek medical-monitoring costs arising as a result of his asbestos exposure, a California appeals court held March 14 in reversing summary judgment on his negligence claim (Robert James Hanson v. Collins Electrical Co., No. A141878, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Insurers on March 11 replied to a relator's opposition to their motion to stay a qui tam action against them pending the outcome of a U.S Supreme Court case that is scheduled for oral argument in April (Elizabeth Negron v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-577, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24994).
NEW YORK - A patent defendant prevailed on summary judgment March 15, when a New York federal judge agreed that a proposed generic colon-cleansing solution does not infringe (Braintree Laboratories Inc. v. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Inc., No. 12-6851, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33336).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) on March 11 asked a Delaware federal court to consolidate two appeals filed by five asbestos personal injury claimants challenging bankruptcy court rulings confirming EFH's reorganization plan and denying certification for a class of future asbestos claimants (Michael Cunningham, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15-1218, D. Del.; Shirley Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15-1183, D. Del.).
NEW ORLEANS - In a March 11 amicus curiae brief, Secretary of Labor M. Patricia Smith told the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a consolidated Employee Retirement Income Security Act action against BP PLC satisfies the pleading standard set in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (134 S. Ct. 2459 ) and should proceed (Ralph Whitley, et al. v. BP PLC, et al., No. 15-20282, 5th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A January 2016 ruling that clarified that a November 2015 summary judgment (SJ) order dismissing 143 of 153 claims of copyright infringement was indeed a dismissal with prejudice was reconsidered March 15 by a New York federal judge (Ellen Senisi v. John Wiley & Sons Inc., No. 13-3314, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33338.).
PHILADELPHIA - A group of football helmet makers involved in the National Football League concussion injury multidistrict litigation on March 14 asked the MDL judge to delay a pretrial conference requested by the plaintiffs until the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rules on objections to a settlement between the players and the NFL (In re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation No. 2:12-md-02323-AB, E.D. Pa.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on March 14 granted an insurer's motions for judgment on the pleadings and for summary judgment in an insured's breach of contract lawsuit arising from Hurricane Katrina property damage (Marion's Cleaners LLC v. National Fire & Indemnity Exchange, No. 11-2259 c/w No. 11-2376, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32389).
SAN DIEGO - A class member in a Song-Beverly Credit Card Act suit who filed only a notice of appearance and later objected to an attorney fee award failed to reserve her right to appeal the award as she was neither a party nor aggrieved by the award, a California appellate panel ruled March 14 (Mike Hernandez, et al. v. Restoration Hardware, Inc., No. D067091, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 185).
PHILADELPHIA - An administrative law judge (ALJ) on March 14 ruled that Chipotle Services LLC's (doing business as Chipotle Mexican Grill) social media code violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the fast food chain committed further violations by directing an employee to delete certain tweets, prohibiting the employee from circulating a petition challenging the chain's break policy and terminating the employee for his actions (Chipotle Services LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee, a Project of the Fast Food Workers Committee, Nos. 04-CA-147314 and 04-CA-149551, NLRB Judges Div.).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on March 14 denied three motions for certification of an order for interlocutory appeal in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that the issues raised by defendants in the action failed to meet statutory requirements for certification (In re Cobalt International Energy Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-3428, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32173).
BOSTON - A disability plan's limitations period of three years is inapplicable, and Puerto Rico's 15-year statute of limitations must be applied because the insurer violated Employee Retirement Income Security Act regulations when it failed to inform the disability claimant of the plan-imposed time limit for filing a suit, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 14 (Dionisio Santana-Diaz v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 15-1273, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4670).
DALLAS - Jury deliberations in the second DePuy Pinnacle hip bellwether trial entered their fifth day March 16 in Texas federal court (Margaret Aoki v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 13-1071, Jacqueline Christopher v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-194, Donald Greer v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 12-1672, Susan Klusmann v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 11-2800, and Robert Peterson v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 11-1941, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - In a March 15 brief supporting its motion to vacate an order requiring it to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation in gaining access to a locked iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorists, Apple Inc. tells a California federal court that the order violates the Constitution and is not authorized by the All Writs Act, under which it was issued (In the matter of the search of an Apple iPhone seized during the execution of a search warrant on a Black Lexus IS300, California License Plate 35KGD203, No. 5:16-cm-00010, C.D. Calif.).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 10 denied a request to expand the scope of the class in a wage-and-hour dispute to include both salaried and hourly employees, finding that the lead plaintiff who was salaried failed to show that hourly employees were similarly situated (Julie L. Schneck v. Lawrence D. Brudy & Associates, Inc., No. 15-1058, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31050).