MINNEAPOLIS - Factual issues remain to be resolved as to when former professional hockey players were aware of brain injuries suffered as a result of repeated blows to the head during games, the representative plaintiffs in the National Hockey League concussion litigation argue in a brief filed Dec. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, opposing dismissal of their master complaint (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Dec. 5 adopted a magistrate judge's "well-reasoned" report and recommendation to award default judgment in favor of Allstate Insurance Co. in a suit accusing two doctors and their respective practices of fraudulently billing the insurer for medical services for individuals who were involved in automobile accidents and who were covered by Allstate's no-fault insurance policies (Allstate Insurance Company v. Conrad Robert Williams, M.D., et al., No. 13-CV-2893, E.D. N.Y.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Dec. 8 granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant in a class action lawsuit asserting an unfair competition law (UCL) claim over the alleged mislabeling of "all natural" packaged fruit products, saying insufficient evidence existed showing that reasonable consumers would be misled by the labeling (Chad Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, No. 12-1831, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169948).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Evidence that a truck manufacturer was among those supplying the U.S. Army falls short of establishing evidence of exposure to asbestos necessary to overcome summary judgment, a federal judge in Delaware said Dec. 9 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation Olga Pavlick, et al. v. Advance Stores Company Inc., et al., No. 10-174, D. Del.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169955).
MCALLEN, Texas - Allegations that an insurer wrongly investigated or denied a claim for hailstorm damage fail, a Texas federal judge held Dec. 9, granting summary judgment to the insurer on claims for breach of contract, Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA) violations, unfair insurance practices and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing (Carlos Alaniz v. Sirius International Insurance Corp., No. 14-215, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169908).
PHILADELPHIA - An employee's claim of whistle-blower retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Act is subject to arbitration, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 8, upholding a trial court ruling (Boris Khazin v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, et al., No. 14-1689, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23098).
CHICAGO - An Indiana police officer who was paid only a small portion of his longevity benefit for the preceding year due to time away for military service is owed his full payment under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 9 (Robert D. DeLee v. City of Plymouth, Indiana, No. 14-1970, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23148).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Efforts by Franciscan Vineyards Inc. to block Domaines Pinnacle Inc. from registering the "Domaine Pinnacle" trademark were properly rejected by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded Dec. 9 (In re: Franciscan Vineyards Inc., No. 14-1269, Fed. Cir.).
DENVER - With the fair notice rule applied, an indemnity clause between a contractor and its subcontractor is unenforceable, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Dec. 9, finding that the subcontractor is not entitled to indemnity or insurance coverage for negligent construction of a water pipeline (Martin K. Eby Construction Company Inc. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co. and Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, c/w Continental Casualty Co., et al. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-3076, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23124).
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge on Dec. 8 confirmed a plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor United Gilsonite Laboratories' (UGL) that establishes a trust containing more than $35 million to resolve current and future asbestos personal injury claims (In re: United Gilsonite Laboratories, 11-2032, M.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 heard arguments from a nonprofit retailer association and the Colorado state government over the legislative intent behind a Colorado law requiring out-of-state retailers to collect and provide information regarding state residents' purchase of items via the Internet and mail order (Direct Marketing Association v. Barbara Brohl, No. 13-1032, U.S. Sup.).
MIAMI - A nursing assistant was sentenced by a federal judge in Florida on Dec. 8 to 150 months in prison and ordered to pay $18.2 million in restitution for participating in a $200 million scheme to fraudulently bill Medicare for mental health services (United States v. Rodolfo Santaya, No. 14-cr-20052, S.D. Fla.).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on Dec. 4 declined to dismiss False Claims Act (FCA) claims brought against the operator of 60 hospice facilities for allegedly submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare for people who were not eligible to receive hospice benefits, saying genuine issues of material fact exist (United States of America v. AseraCare Inc., et al., No. 12-245, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167970).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on Dec. 8 dismissed a class action lawsuit over the denial of Medicare benefits, holding that Medicare patients do not have standing to sue if Medicare denies a health care claim, but then Medicaid ends up paying the claim (Carolyn Hull v. Sylvia Burwell, No. 14-801, D. Conn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169538).
DETROIT - A "straightforward" application of the tests established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Grable & Sons v. Darue (545 U.S. 308, 313-314, 125 S. Ct. ) and Gunn v. Minton (__U.S.__, 133 S. Ct. 1059, 1064 ) proved fatal to an insurer's complaint seeking a declaration of no duty to indemnify an underlying copyright action, a Michigan federal judge ruled Dec. 5 (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Ergonomics Plus Inc. and Humantech Inc., No. 14-13046, E.D. Mich.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168569).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 found that a lower federal court did not abuse its discretion in exercising jurisdiction over a declaratory judgment lawsuit, affirming the lower court's ruling that a hay wagon driver's injury is not covered under a commercial general liability insurance policy because the driver is an "employee" under the policy (Western World Insurance Co. v. Burt Hoey, et al., No. 13-2388, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23036).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Citing a lending firm's "series of evolving explanations about why" information required in two discovery orders was not fully provided, a Delaware Chancery Court vice chancellor on Dec. 5 granted a motion for sanctions brought by the lead plaintiff in a Truth in Lending Act (TILA) class action (Gloria James v. National Financial LLC, No. 8931-VCL, Del. Chanc.; 2014 Del. Ch. LEXIS 254).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A dismissal of a lawsuit by a trial court and a statement that the case was terminated render the case appealable, Thomas C. Goldstein of Goldstein & Russell in Bethesda, Md., argued Dec. 9 before the U.S. Supreme Court (Ellen Gelboim and Linda Zacher, et al. v. Bank of America Corporation, et al., No. 13-1174, U.S. Sup.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - CSX Transportation Inc., a defendant in the consolidated Paulsboro train derailment litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, on Dec. 4 filed an answer to an amended complaint filed by a plaintiff who had been previously dismissed from the litigation denying all allegations that it is liable for injuries caused by exposure to vinyl chloride. It also argues that the case should be dismissed for failure to state a claim (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Two patent infringement defendants on Dec. 5 were permitted by a California federal magistrate judge to amend their invalidity contentions with regard to various pieces of prior art (Horus Vision LLC v. Applied Ballistics LLC, et al., No. 13-5460, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168976).