DALLAS - After finding that an assisted living facility failed to warn a resident about a drainage grate on a walking path and that the resident was improperly using his walker when he fell and sustained injuries that caused his death, a Texas appeals court on Aug. 25 affirmed a jury verdict that found that each party was jointly liable for the accident (Christian Care Centers Inc. v. Rebecca O'Banion, et al., No. 05-12-01407, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 8916).
BALTIMORE - No additional coverage exists under an auto policy for property damages caused when oil was pumped into an incorrect home by the insured because the auto policy's limits were exhausted, the Maryland Special Court of Appeals said Aug. 25 (Griffith Energy Services Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., et al., No. 923, Md. App.; 2015 Md. App. LEXIS 104).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Some of the defendants in a lawsuit brought by residents who contend that a water company is responsible for contaminating the water supply when it spilled 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River near Charleston filed a joint brief on Aug. 25, arguing that the plaintiffs' expert testimony should be excluded (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1347, S.D. W.Va.).
DALLAS - A plaintiff sufficiently alleged facts in her complaint to support a claim for promissory estoppel but is precluded from asserting a breach of fiduciary duty claim because she has alleged a claim for wrongful denial of benefits, a Texas federal judge said Aug. 25 (Susan M. Repass v. AT&T Pension Benefit Plan, et al., No. 14-2686, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111971).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 25 denied a series of motions to dismiss the second amended complaint filed by a farm trust that contends that a group of chemical companies contaminated its property with volatile organic compounds on grounds that the motions were rendered moot by the fact that the plaintiffs had filed a third amended complaint (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Aug. 26 entered an amended judgment in favor of a disability claimant for more than $711,000 in accordance with the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that the claimant was totally disabled under the disability policies at issue (Louis Leonor v. Provident Life and Accident Co., et al., No. 12-15343, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112865).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Evidence that a man worked with a company's asbestos-insulated product aboard a ship overcomes summary judgment, even where the insulation may have originated with a third party, a federal judge held Aug. 27 in also rejecting a challenge to the timeliness of the action (Charles Neureuther v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 13-1327, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113887).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 27 dismissed the lawsuit brought by a some of the plaintiffs against Consolidated Rail Corp. (CONRAIL) and other railroad companies pertaining to a spill of vinyl chloride into Mantua Creek caused by a train derailment (Charles Van Blarcom v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, No. 15-134, D. N.J.).
ROCK HILL, S.C. - South Carolina Supreme Court guidance indicates that the workers' compensation statute acts as a statute of repose, eliminating claims forming the basis of a putative class action over the allegedly improperly handling asbestos bankruptcy trust claims, a federal judge affirmed Aug. 27 (Odell Parker, et al. v. Asbestos Processing LLC, et al., No. 11-1800, D. S.C., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113574).
PASADENA, Calif. - A split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 25 upheld a trial court's rejection of a class claim by consumers under Section 1 of the Sherman Act who allege the largest U.S. retailer of musical instruments conspired with guitar and amplifier manufacturers and a trade association to fix prices, finding that while there may have been conduct that violated antitrust laws, there was no evidence supporting the Section 1 claim (In re: Musical Instruments and Equipment Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-56674, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14960).
SAN FRANCISCO - A limited, permanent injunction barring a declaratory judgment trademark plaintiff from using the "Magnolia" trademark in connection with butter, margarine and cheese (BMC) products domestically was vacated Aug. 27 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (San Miguel Corporation et al. v. Ramar International, No. 13-55537, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15145).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Indiana federal judge overseeing the Biomet M2A Magnum hip multidistrict litigation on Aug. 26 approved a $6 million common benefit fee for 25 plaintiff firms who represented plaintiffs leading up to a $50 million settlement (In Re: Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2391, No. 12-md-2391, N.D. Ind., South Bend Div.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three tobacco manufacturers whose cigarettes are labeled as being "additive-free" and/or "natural" are in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, the Food and Drug Administration said in warning letters issued Aug. 27 to the three manufacturers.
LAS VEGAS - A two-plaintiff Actos bladder cancer trial opened Aug. 27 with a Nevada state court judge telling the jury that defendant Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. "willfully and intentionally" destroyed evidence to prejudice plaintiffs and that the jury could presume that the missing information would be unfavorable to the defendant (George Decou v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., No. A-13-683446-C, Nev. Dist., Clark Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A sharply divided National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Aug. 27 redefined and expanded its standard for assessing joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., d/b/a BFI Newby Island Recyclery, and FPR-II, LLC, d/b/a Leadpoint Business Services, and Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 350, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, No. 32-RC-109684, NLRB).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 27 affirmed a federal judge in Nebraska's ruling ordering Stabl Inc. to pay $2.2 million to the federal government and State of Nebraska after finding that any errors the judge committed when entering his decision were harmless (United States of America, et al. v. Stabl Inc., No. 14-2050, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15121).
CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 26 affirmed summary judgment dismissal of a family's groundwater contamination lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiffs' experts' reports were properly disallowed under rules of evidence established by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals., Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) (C.W., et al. v. Textron Inc., No. 14-3448, 7th Cir.; 20125 U.S. App. LEXIS 15076).
NEW YORK - A federal district court did not err in dismissing a securities class action complaint because it properly determined that the claims failed under the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' three-part test for determining forum non conveniens, a Second Circuit panel ruled Aug. 25 (Rentokil-Initial Pension Scheme v. Citigroup Inc., et al., Nos. 14-2545 and 14-2719, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14925).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Aug. 24 granted a motion to decertify a conditional class of hourly restaurant workers seeking wages for the time they allegedly spent working when restaurants stayed open past their posted hours; however, two days later, the employer moved for clarification, arguing that the lone plaintiff left could not proceed with his own claims without refiling an individual Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) action (Jose Garcia, et al. v. SAR Foods of Ohio, Inc., No. 14-1514, N.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111677).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Amending a complaint after summary judgment for the only nondiverse defendant did not allow removal of an asbestos action, a federal judge held Aug. 25 in adopting a magistrate judge's report (Ronald K. Laux, and Marilee Laux, et al. v. Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd., et al., No. 15-585, D. Ore.).
NEW ORLEANS - U.S. Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown of the Eastern District of Louisiana on Aug. 26 denied a request for attorney fees by a counterclaimant who had largely prevailed on its allegations of trademark infringement but lost on appeal with regard to patent infringement (Southern Snow Manufacturing Co. Inc., et al. v. SnoWizard Inc., Nos. 06-9170, 09-3394, 10-791 and 11-1499, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113229).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 25 approved a consent decree in which West Coast Wood Preserving LLC (WCWP) would pay $350,000 to reimburse the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for cleanup costs the agency incurred in cleaning up arsenic, chromium and copper contamination at a former wood-preserving site in Elmira, Calif., finding that the agreement was fair and reasonable (California Department of Toxic Substances Control, et al. v. Jim Dobbas Inc., et al., No. 14-595 WBS EFB, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112973).
LAS VEGAS - A defendant's efforts to bifurcate an upcoming trial into separate issues of state law liability and copyright infringement damages were unsuccessful on Aug. 26, when a Nevada federal judge denied the request; in a related holding that day, the judge found that it is "necessary and appropriate" to give jurors an instruction "interpreting the various software license terms" at issue in the dispute (Oracle USA Inc. v. Rimini Street Inc., No. 10-106, D. Nev.).