THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Nov. 30 said it has completed its hearing on the merits of an arbitration commenced by the Republic of the Philippines against the People's Republic of China pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), stating that it expects to issue an award in the case next year (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People's Republic of China, No. 2013-19, PCA).
CINCINNATI - Because a disability claimant exceeded the earnings threshold as defined in a disability policy, an insurer properly terminated the claimant's benefits, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 24 in affirming the dismissal of the claimant's suit (Alan Safdi, M.D. v. Covered Employer's Long Term Disability Plan under the Union Central Employee Security Benefit Trust, et al., No. 14-3598, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20611).
DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on Nov. 24 granted summary judgment to a couple who was sued by a man who claimed that his injuries stemmed from a water heater blowing up at a cabin he was renting from them, finding that the man could not prove that the owners had actual or constructive knowledge of the danger the water heater posed (Matthew Giblin v. John Sliemers and Patricia Sliemers, No. 14-cv-02742-RBJ, D. Colo., 4th Dist.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159239).
NEW YORK - The plaintiffs in the ignition switch defects multidistrict litigation against General Motors LLC (New GM) saw their motion to compel documents from the automaker and its attorneys under the crime-fraud exception to the attorney client privilege denied Nov. 25 by a New York federal judge, who found that the plaintiffs "fail[ed] to show that the documents at issue . . . were made with the intent to further" any "crime" or "fraud" (In Re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 1:14-md-02543, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159721).
CHICAGO - Under Illinois law, there is an "occurrence" under standard-form comprehensive general liability policies when a named insured contractor's faulty workmanship causes damage to a building that is beyond the scope of its own work there, an Illinois federal judge ruled Nov. 25 (Westfield Insurance Co. v. National Decorating Service, Inc., et al., No. 14-1572, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159140).
MADISON, Wis. - A trial court did not err in determining that an insurer did not act in bad faith in handling a water damage claim because the insurer had a reasonable basis to deny coverage under the policy's freezing exclusion, the Fourth District Wisconsin Court of Appeals said Nov. 25 (Lyle Hird, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2014AP2402, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 834).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing litigation stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 on Nov. 30 found that Anadarko Petroleum Corp., a 25 percent owner of the Macondo well, should pay $159.5 million in civil penalties for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), explaining that the company's lack of culpability weighed in favor of a reduced penalty (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.).
NEW YORK - A New York jury on Nov. 30 found former New York politician Sheldon Silver guilty of all charges, including claims that he received millions of dollars in referral fees from Weitz & Luxenberg after directing research funds to a doctor so he would steer patients to the asbestos powerhouse law firm (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 15-93, S.D. N.Y.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 25 granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy's petition for a writ of mandamus seeking to block her deposition in a suit brought by energy companies accusing her of failing to perform her nondiscretionary duty to evaluate how the agency's implementation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) is affecting the coal industry (In re: Gina McCarthy, No. 15-2390, 4th Cir.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Parties in the Neomedic pelvic mesh multidistrict litigation on Nov. 25 told a West Virginia federal court that they reached a $2.19 million settlement agreement (In Re: Neomedic Pelvic Repair System Products Liability, MDL Docket No. 2511, No. 2:14-md-2511, S.D. W.Va.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act bars a California woman's suit against the Austrian state-owned railway after she lost both her legs in an accident, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled Dec. 1 (OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Carol P. Sachs, No. 13-1067, U.S. Sup.; 2015 U.S. LEXIS 7670).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The clock starts ticking in cases brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "when the cause of action is complete," meaning that "a constructive discharge claim is complete only after the employee resigns," the attorney representing a former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee argued Nov. 30 before the U.S. Supreme Court (Marvin Green v. Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service, No. 14-613, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - Evidence of frequent, regular and proximate exposure to asbestos suffices as specific causation evidence, a couple told a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 25 in response to a motion for clarification from Ford Motor Co. (Leroy J. Mortimer and Cheryl Mortimer v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 13-4169, E.D. Pa.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The plaintiffs in a putative class action over a breach of Anthem Inc.'s database, which was consolidated with many similar cases, saw their motion to remand to New York state court denied Nov. 24 by a California federal judge, who found that the plaintiffs' state law claims were preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), thus requiring federal jurisdiction (Y. Michael Smilow, et al. v. Anthem Life & Disability Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-cv-04739, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159643).
NEW YORK - Defendants' "consistent" reliance on a Mealey's Asbestos Bankruptcy Report commentary and their concern that deposing the authors would provide "leverage" in ongoing negotiations demonstrate the validity of a subpoena, plaintiffs in New York asbestos litigation told a judge Nov. 24 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Weitz & Luxenberg Asbestos Cases, No. 040000/88, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK - A New York jury awarded a woman's estate $7 million on Nov. 24 for asbestos exposure from consumer talcum powder. It is believed to be the state's first such verdict, sources told Mealey's Publications (Claudine Discala, as administrator of the estate of Joan Robusto v. Charles B. Chrystal Company Inc., et al., No. 190413/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Virginia federal judge on Nov. 24 held that primary and excess insurers have a duty to defend their insured against an underlying defamation lawsuit, rejecting the insurers' contention that business and knowledge-of-falsity exclusions bar coverage (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al. v. Jacob Assail Schur, et al., No. 15-60, E.D. Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158998).
PHILADELPHIA - A man who claims that he contracted renal cancer at least in part from asbestos exposure resulting from six months of handling wire told a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 24 that he need not reconsider his decision denying the manufacturer summary judgment (Leroy J. Mortimer and Cheryl Mortimer v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 13-4169, E.D. Pa.).
GREEN BAY, Wis. - Because issues of material fact exist regarding whether an insured was negligent when it installed a barrel heater, a Wisconsin federal judge on Nov. 24 denied the defendant insurer's motion for summary judgment (Regent Insurance Co., et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-1434, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158718).
AUSTIN, Texas - Allegations by a former Texas State University at San Marcos student that the school acted negligently in connection with a slip-and-fall accident should have been dismissed on jurisdiction grounds, the Third District Texas Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 24 (Board of Regents, Texas State University System, et al. v. Stephanie Paige Steinbach, No. 03-14-00326, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 11995).
HONOLULU - A Hawaii federal judge on Nov. 25 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation to grant an insured's motion to remand his lawsuit seeking a declaration as to errors and omissions insurance coverage for underlying claims including breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud and unjust enrichment (Daniel T.M. Choy d/b/a Corinthians Financial Planners and Corinthians Realty v. Continental Casualty Co., et al., No. 15-00281, D. Hawaii; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159538).
SILVER SPRING, Md. - Boston Scientific Corp. on Oct. 9 issued an urgent recall of its RotaWire Elite atherectomy core wires after receiving three reports that the wires cracked and separated from the rest of the system, resulting in one death, the Food and Drug Administration reported Nov. 27.