SAN ANTONIO - A federal judge in Texas granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insured has failed to show that the insurer acted in bad faith in denying the insured's claim for damages under a commercial crime insurance policy (Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co. LLC v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 13-931, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45168).
LOS ANGELES - Crane Co. and a couple alleging asbestos exposure on March 6 filed response briefs in a California federal court, opposing motions seeking the exclusion of expert testimony that "each and every exposure" significantly contributes to disease and an order in a recent bankruptcy case (Howard Utech, an individual, Joann Utech, an individual v. Asbestos Corporation Limited, et al., No. 14-4977, C.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS - After finding that parties were required to arbitrate a dispute pursuant to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration rules, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 7 affirmed a trial court's decision refusing to confirm and vacating an arbitration award that was issued under the American Arbitration Association rules (AAA) (Poolre Insurance Corp., et al. v. Organizational Strategies Inc., et al., No. 14-20433, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. 5601).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In what it said was its "largest privacy and data security enforcement action to date," the Federal Communications Commission on April 8 announced a $25 million settlement with AT&T Services Inc. related to data breaches that occurred in three of the telecommunication carrier's offshore call centers, exposing the customer proprietary network information (CPNI) of around 280,000 U.S. customers (In the Matter of AT&T Services Inc., No. EB-TCD-14-00016243, FCC).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Court of Appeals on April 6 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a professional liability insurer cannot be made a party to a garnishment proceeding arising from an alleged mortgage fraud scheme involving its insured because coverage under the policy did not attach to the insured due to lack of notice, further finding that a garnishment proceeding is not a proper procedure to seek relief from an alleged successor in interest to the insured (Melony Michaels, et al. v. First USA Title LLC, et al., No. A14-0931, Minn. App.; 2015 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 323).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on April 7 denied United Behavioral Health's (UBH) motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging that the insurer denied claims for mental illness and substance abuse-related outpatient treatment in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Gary Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-cv-05337, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46046).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 7 ruled that the federal government can garnish the monthly payments of a man who pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in order for him to pay restitution, finding that a federal judge in Illinois did not err in finding that the payments did not fall within the Consumer Credit Protection Act's (CCPA) definition of earnings (United States of America v. Gary L. France, No. 14-2743, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5588).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating long-term disability (LTD) benefits after determining that the claimant exceeded the total monthly earnings limits when a company bonus was calculated into his earnings for the year; however, the insurer failed to meet its burden that it is entitled to recoup all of the overpayments, a Virginia federal judge said April 6 (Jeffrey P. Fine v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 14-551, E.D. Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44729).
FRESNO, Calif. - In light of a prior order limiting the scope of a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit to a single well adjoining the plaintiffs' property, a California federal magistrate judge on April 6 denied a motion to compel discovery requests for a water utility's operations beyond that well (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 1:11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45164).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI), which was sued by Oklahoma residents who contend that they were injured from exposure to radioactive waste from a chemical plant it operates, on April 6 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court contending that the plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of an order denying class certification is "unavailing" (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 7 reversed a decision to dismiss a borrower's claim for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) against a law firm, finding that a foreclosure complaint was a communication that was served on the borrower in an attempt to collect debt (Dale Kaymark, individually and on behalf of other similarly situated current and former homeowners in Pennsylvania v. Bank of America N.A., et al., No. 14-1816, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5548).
SAN FRANCISCO - Specific terminology need not be used to meet the requirement of Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 403(a) that "all assets of an employee benefits plan shall be held in trust by one or more trustees," the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 7 (David Barboza v. California Association of Professional Firefighters, et al., Nos. 11-15472, 11-16024, 11-16081, 16082, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5583).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A dispute over the "Portarrest" trademark will proceed in Alabama federal court, thanks to an April 7 ruling by a federal judge (Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation v. Atech Inc. et al., No. 14-518, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44999).
DENVER - A Colorado water court properly found that three water rights were abandoned, the state Supreme Court ruled April 6 (Concerning the Protest of Tom McKenna, et al. v. Steve Witt, et al., No. 13SA304, Colo. Sup.; 2015 Colo. LEXIS 276).
ATLANTA - After finding that the purchaser of a home who alleged that a mortgage entity inflated his appraisal failed to submit his arguments on timeliness before a district court, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 7 refused to hear his claims on appeal and affirmed dismissal (Randall White, et al. v. Bank of America National Association, No. 14-13369, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5556).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The federal judge overseeing the Engle cases in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on April 6 appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli of the Middle District of Florida as special master to oversee the $100 million aggregate settlement agreement between tobacco plaintiffs and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. (In re: Engle Progeny Cases, No. 3:09-cv-10000-WGY, M.D. Fla.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on April 6 denied the Environmental Protection Agency administrator's motion to transfer a lawsuit brought by two environmental groups claiming that the agency failed to comply with certain duties required by the Clean Air Act (CAA), ruling that moving the suit to a court in one of the 15 affected districts would not advance the public interest of the remaining 14 (Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, et al., No. 14-cv-05138-WHO, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44853).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on April 7 refused to dismiss a bank's foreclosure action against a borrower who defaulted on his loan, finding that it has the authority to foreclose on the property (HSBC Bank USA, et al. v. Rodney Johnson, No. 15-0277, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44968).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A request for dismissal of trademark infringement claims was denied April 7 by a Kentucky federal judge, who rejected allegations that jurisdiction is lacking (American Air Filter Company Inc. v. Universal Air Products LLC, No. 14-665, W.D. Ky.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45192).
DENVER - The Colorado Supreme Court on April 6 rejected a challenge to the authority of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) by a water company, finding that the board is a quasi-legislative body that does not adjudicate rights or deny due process (Concerning the Application for Water Rights of the Colorado Water Conservation Board in the San Miguel River, et al. v. Colorado Water Conservation Board, et al., No. 13SA173, Colo. Sup.; 2015 Colo. LEXIS 292).
ATLANTA - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to indemnify its insured against a $700,000 judgment awarded to homeowners for the insured's alleged breach of contract and breach of implied warranty with regard to the construction of their home, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 7 (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. Howard Snider, et al., No. 14-10906, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5550).