NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 22 granted the U.S. government's motion to intervene and stay proceedings in the Securities and Exchange Commission's securities fraud lawsuit against alleged Ponzi scheme operator Martin Shkreli and former Retrophin Inc. outside counsel Evan Greebel, ruling that a complete stay is appropriate pending resolution of the government's criminal proceedings against the defendants (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Martin Shkreli, et al., No. 15-7175, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36734).
HARTFORD, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on March 21 dismissed the second amended complaints in two separate consolidated brain injury suits against the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) and dismissed all but one claim from a third complaint (Russ McCullough, et al. v. World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., No. 15-1074, D. Conn.).
DENVER - An insurer in not entitled to partial summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because weighing the insured's testimony against relevant medical records regarding injuries allegedly sustained in an automobile accident is the "province of the jury," a federal judge in Colorado ruled March 22 (Sharolyn Leeper v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-3460, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36104).
NEW YORK - Dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit is proper because shareholders failed to plead scienter in making their federal securities law claims, a federal judge in New York ruled March 21 (In re DNTW Chartered Accountants Securities Litigation, No. 13-4632, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36661).
NEW ORLEANS - Survivor claims sound in strict liability and require vacating remand of an asbestos action and consideration of whether a ship yard has a colorable federal defense, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 22 (Lorita M. Savoie, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 15-30514, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5328).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 22 denied a health supplement maker's motion for summary judgment in a class action arising over the advertising and sale of a glucosamine-based supplement (Dragan Vasic, et al. v. Patenthealth LLC, et al., No. 13-cv-849, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37305).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on March 22 determined that a pro rata method of allocation applies for indemnity costs incurred by an insured in underlying asbestos suits filed against it (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. The Fairbanks Co., Nos. 13-3755, 15-1141, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36662).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania state court judge on March 22 denied a motion by plaintiffs - supported by defendants - to consolidate 31 testosterone replacement therapy cases pending in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and to designate the cases a mass tort (In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, Robert F. Hoehl, et al. v. Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 140301684, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
BALTIMORE - An expert failed to provide sufficient evidence as to the methodology used in opining about the cause of an accident and alleged defects in a trailer's jack, a Maryland federal judge ruled March 22, granting motions to exclude and summary judgment to the defendant in a products liability lawsuit (Stephen McKerrow v. Buyers Products Co., No. 14-2865, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36590).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on March 23 granted an insurer's motion to rehear an appraisal dispute over Hurricane Wilma damage, modifying its ruling to hold that the notice requirement in Florida Statutes Subsection 627.7015(2) does not ripen until the insurer is on notice that there is a dispute relating to a material fact issue (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Lime Bay Condominium, Inc., No. 4D13-4802, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 4529).
ATLANTA - An insurer asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to grant the insurer's petition for rehearing in an insurance bad faith lawsuit on March 21, arguing that a panel applied the "wrong standard for bad faith" in issuing its ruling (Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co. v. Mr. Charlie Adventures LLC, et al., No. 15-12657, 11th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A district court abused its discretion in granting summary judgment in favor of a disability insurer because a reasonable insured would have believed that filing an internal appeal of the insurer's denial of benefits would have been futile, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 21 in noting that the futility exception to the exhaustion requirement under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act should have been applied (Richard Carey v. RMB United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 14-55483, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5149).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 22 found that when a trial court issued judgment against benefits plans administrators' claims brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against Wells Fargo Bank N.A. based on a jury's verdict related to non-ERISA plans, it "failed to consider whether the parties waived application of collateral estoppel," leading it to vacate and remand for a determination of whether such waiver occurred (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. 14-3457, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5198).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Virginia federal judge's reversal of a trademark cancellation ordered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)'s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) was vacated and remanded March 23 by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found that under the framework of Lexmark International Inc. v. Static Control Components Inc. (134 S. Ct. 1377 ), a drug maker and foreign trademark owner is authorized under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act to bring an action against the owner of the same mark in the United States (Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG and Bayer Healthcare LLC, No. 15-1335, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5380).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on March 23 reversed a $3.8 million verdict for the plaintiff in a tobacco case and ordered a new trial after finding that the plaintiff's attorneys made improper comments to the jury during closing arguments (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., as successor by merger to Lorillard Tobacco Company v. Kathleen Gafney, as Personal Representative of the estate of Frank Eugene Gafney. No. 4D13-4358. Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 4520).
PHILADELPHIA - Only claims of negligent misrepresentation and negligent failure to warn survived in five consolidated Essure birth control device cases March 22 after a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled on Bayer Corp.'s motion for judgment (Helen McLaughlin v. Bayer Corporation, No. 14-7315, Ruth Ruble v. Bayer Corporation, No. 14-7316, Melda Strimel v. Bayer Corporation, No. 14-7317, Susan Stelzer v. Bayer Corporation, No. 14-7318 and Heather Walsh v. Bayer Corporation, No. 15-384, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. 37516).
LANSING, Mich. - The Flint Water Advisory Task Force (FWATF) commissioned by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder issued a report on March 21, which concluded that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) "bears primary responsibility for the water contamination in Flint." The task force also determined that "the framework" for the specific events that resulted in the water crisis was "a litany of questionable decisions and failures," conducted within the framework of the state's Emergency Manager Law.
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 23 that a lower court should have held a hearing to decide whether roof damage to two apartment buildings was covered under the policy before ordering the insured and insurer to participate in Michigan's statutory appraisal process, reversing and remanding the lower court (The D Boys, LLC, v. Mid-Century Insurance Co., No. 15-1347, 6th Cir.).
NEW YORK - Plaintiffs in the Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) multidistrict litigation on March 22 told a New York federal judge that despite the exclusion of general causation experts in the next two trials, they can still prove that the device can cause secondary perforations in the uterus (In Re: Mirena IUD Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2434, No. 12-md-2434, Jennifer Danley v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 13-6586, Christie Hayes v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 14-288, S.D. N.Y.).
BOSTON - A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 23 affirmed a defense verdict in a Pondimin diet drug primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) case, finding in part that the plaintiff failed to show a reasonable alternative design for the drug (Michael J. Tersigni v. Wyeth, et al., No. 14-1927, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5393).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on March 18 affirmed an award entered in a bankruptcy court for damages against a bank for its violation of an automatic stay by sending out letters containing statements of foreclosure to a homeowner in bankruptcy (In re: Brenda A. Ogden; PNC Bank N.A. v. Brenda A. Ogden, No. 15-01274, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35338).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A putative class action against the makers of the popular "Madden NFL" video game will proceed, thanks to a denial of certiorari March 21 by the U.S. Supreme Court (Electronic Arts Inc. v. Michael E. Davis, et al., No. 15-424, U.S. Sup.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A structural integrity engineer and an engineer focusing on composite materials provide sufficient evidence to support their opinions regarding the cause of a ladder's collapse, an Ohio federal judge ruled March 21, denying a motion to exclude filed by the ladder's manufacturer in a personal injury lawsuit (Stephanie Curran v. Werner Co., No. 12-1221, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36150).
PHILADELPHIA - An expert's analysis of the tenure process at a university is beyond her expertise, a Pennsylvania federal judge held March 21, excluding testimony in a gender discrimination lawsuit on the social science of stereotyping (Kristen Stromberg Childers, Ph.D. v. Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, No. 14-2439, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35827).
SAN DIEGO - A California appeals panel on March 18 affirmed a ruling that a man who sued after being denied a loan modification did not state a valid claim under California's unfair competition law (UCL), Business and Professions Code Section 17200 (Jonah Mechanic v. Bank of America N.A., et al., No. D067080, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2013).