RICHMOND, Va. - An employer may be held liable for a hostile work environment created by an unknown individual, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 1, reversing a trial court's ruling to the contrary (Renee Pryor v. United Air Lines, Inc., No. 14-1442, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11317).
CHICAGO - An attorney may not recover fees under the common-fund doctrine in addition to or in lieu of fees awarded under a fee-shifting statute like the Employee Retirement Income Security Act "in the absence of a contract," the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 1 (Darryl Pierce, et al. v. Visteon Corporation, et al., No. 14-2542, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11333).
NEW YORK - An oil and gas industry products provider has agreed to a $120 million settlement of claims with investors that it violated provisions of federal securities laws by misrepresenting the company's business and financial condition, according to a press release issued July 1 (Glenn Freedman v. Weatherford International Ltd., et al., No. 12-2121, S.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA - The National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) on June 30 joined in the request of 16 plaintiffs to consolidate in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania all suits stemming from the May 12 derailment of an Amtrak passenger train in Philadelphia (In re Amtrak Train Derailment in Philadelphia, PA, on May 12, 2015, No. 2654, JPMDL).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A judge's post-verdict jury instruction regarding the Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA)'s bar on contributory negligence requires a new trial on the issue of damages in an asbestos case, Tennessee's top court held July 1 in largely upholding the verdict (Anne Payne v. CSX Transportation Inc., No. 223107, Tenn. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On remand, a veterans appeals board must explain how it reconciled conflicting evidence in denying a former laundryman's asbestos exposure claim, an appeals court judge held June 29 (Carolyn Morrison v. Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, No. 13-3474, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 873).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge found June 30 that although a civil rights lawyer's alleged conduct in representing a client is, at a minimum, abhorrent, a $250,480 default judgment against the lawyer cannot be recovered under his legal malpractice insurance policy (Michael Petersen v. Arch Insurance Co., No. 15-00832, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85183).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on June 30 granted an app development firm's motion to voluntarily dismiss its trademark lawsuit against Google Inc. with prejudice, while granting Google's motion to award it costs associated with the length of the infringement proceedings (Hanginout Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:13-cv-02811, S.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - About two weeks after seeing part of their putative class complaint against Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. dismissed, a group of former Sony employees on June moved for class certification on their remaining claims of negligence, unfair competition and violation of the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CCMIA) (Michael Corona, et al. v. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., No. 2:14-cv-09600, C.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - In the wake of an en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that had reversed an order to take an anti-Muslim film down from youtube.com, a California federal judge on June 29 issued an order dismissing the copyright lawsuit against Google Inc. and YouTube Inc., in accordance with a stipulation for dismissal filed by all parties in the suit (Cindy Lee Garcia v. Google Inc., et al., No. 2:12-cv-08315, C.D. Calif.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A group of chemical companies being sued by a farm trust that alleges that the companies have contaminated the trust's property with volatile organic compounds on July 1 filed a brief in Florida federal court arguing that the plaintiffs' second amended complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 12(b)(6) (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 1 revived a lawsuit brought by a number of Maryland residents against the city of Baltimore and the developers of the Horseshoe Casino, ruling that a federal judge erred when dismissing their claims under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (Bruce Goldfarb, et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, et al., No. 14-1825, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11320).
NEW YORK - The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on June 30 moved in New York federal court for reconsideration of the court's opinion that dismissed some of the commonwealth's claims, arguing that the ruling constitutes "manifest injustice" and that evidence was "overlooked" (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, No. 00-1898, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Shell Oil Co., et al., No. 07 Civ. 10470, S.D. N.Y.).
SAVANNAH, Ga. - A condominium association failed to establish that a stay is necessary in an insurer's declaratory judgment action regarding coverage for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence claims arising out of property damage to a condominium project, a Georgia federal judge ruled July 1 (The Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Thunderbolt Harbour Phase II Condominium Association Inc. and Michael F. Ryan, No. 14-222, S.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85836).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 1 affirmed a district court's decision refusing to confirm an arbitration award issued by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in favor of a Brazilian airline, finding that the other party did not agree to arbitrate the dispute (VRG Linhas Aereas S.A. v. MatlinPatterson Global Opportunities Partners II L.P., et al., No. 14-3906, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11281).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 1 affirmed a district court's judgment dismissing a case, finding that the claims asserted by a borrower were barred by a previous state court ruling foreclosing on his property (Swinton Brown v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., et al., No. 14-1846, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11286).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 1 upheld the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) jurisdiction over a residential cleaning business and election of a union to represent the housekeepers (National Labor Relations Board v. Le Fort Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Merry Maids of Boston, No. 14-1917, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11365).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - An insured owes deductible payments in the amount of $305,000 to its insurer for the resolution of Chinese drywall claims made in a multidistrict litigation, a Florida federal judge held July 1 (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Hansen Homes of South Florida Inc., No. 14-35, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85760).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana Court of Appeals panel on July 1 upheld a trial court's decision ordering a builder to pay $15,269 to remedy a drainage issue at a woman's home, ruling that the defect was not excluded from coverage under Louisiana's New Home Warranty Act (NHWA) (Debbie Shepard v. Robinson Construction LLC, No. 49,823-CA, La. App., 2nd Cir.; 2015 La. App. LEXIS 1325).
NEW ORLEANS - BP Exploration & Production Inc. will pay $18.7 billion over the course of 18 years to resolve Clean Water Act (CWA) and natural resource damages claims from the federal government and states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the company announced today (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 Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 30 affirmed a federal district court's dismissal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that it agreed with the district court's findings in coming to its decision (Mariah Re Ltd. [In Liquidation], acting by and through Geoffrey Varga and Jess Shakespeare, in their capacities as Liquidators thereof v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-4062, 2nd Cir.).
DENVER - A federal judge on June 17 awarded attorney fees to three online sellers of gun-related equipment following the dismissal of a suit brought by the parents of a woman who was killed in the July 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater (Sandy Phillips, et al. v. Lucky Gunner LLC, et al., No. 14-cv-02822-RPM, D. Colo.).
CINCINNATI - A split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 1 entered a judgment enforcing the National Labor Relations Board's jurisdiction over an Indian tribe's operation of a casino on reservation land and enforced a board's decision finding that the casino's no-solicitation policy violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and ordering the casino to cease and desist from maintaining the order and to reinstate a former employee to her position with back pay and benefits (Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 14-2405/2558, 6th Cir.).