QUINCY, Fla. - A Florida jury on Dec. 9 awarded a woman $11 million after determining that her laryngeal cancer was caused by smoking cigarettes produced and sold by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., not by her human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (Florence Monroe v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2013CA-001121, Fla. 2nd Cir., Gadsden Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Dec. 9 dismissed a securities class action complaint against an Internet startup company and certain of its executive officers, ruling that lead plaintiffs in the action failed to properly plead any actionable misrepresentation or scienter in making their federal securities law claims (Satyabrata Mahapatra v. TrueCar Inc., et al., No. 15-3979, C.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - Although a New Jersey federal judge properly dismissed claims of Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) violations, allegations of copyright infringement should be allowed to proceed, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 8 (Steven D'Agostino v. Appliances Buy Phone Inc., et al., No. 15-1171, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21170).
SAN FRANCISCO - About a month and a half after oral arguments were held in an appeal of a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) conviction for a former executive's conspiracy to steal his ex-employer's proprietary lists, the U.S. government on Dec. 8 submitted supplemental authority to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, citing a subsequent ruling that it contends supports the assessment of restitution against the plaintiff under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA) (United States of America v. David Nosal, No. 14-10037 and 14-10275, 9th Cir.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC and the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants agree on one issue in their heated battle over Garlock's $500 million plan of reorganization - that the debtor's liability for non-mesothelioma asbestos claims is estimated at 17.65 percent of its aggregate liability for mesothelioma claims, according to a stipulation and order signed Dec. 8 by a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
BOSTON - A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 8 ruled that a Securities and Exchange Commission administrative judge order against two former employees of State Street Bank and Trust Co. was in error because the SEC's ruling was not "supported by substantial evidence" (John P. Flannery v. Securities & Exchange Commission, No. 15-1080; James D. Hopkins v. Securities & Exchange Commission, No. 15-1117, 1st Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 11 rejected Texas insureds' argument that fact issues exist regarding their contractual and extracontractual claims in a hailstorm coverage dispute, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer (Vincent Stagliano And Peggy Stagliano v. Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-10137, 5th Cir.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Morgan Stanley & Co. will pay $225 million to settle claims in two federal lawsuits alleging that it misrepresented the investment quality of certain residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) it and certain of its subsidiaries underwrote to several credit unions during the subprime mortgage crisis, according to a press release issued by the National Credit Union Administration Board (NCUA) on Dec. 10 (National Credit Union Administration Board v. Morgan Stanley & Co., No. 13-2418, D. Kan; National Credit Union Administration Board v. Morgan Stanley & Co., No. 13-6705, S.D. N.Y.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Dec. 9 dismissed certain claims against a bank and loan servicer in relation to loan modification applications, but allowed a property owner's claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) to proceed (Triphina Lesley v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 15-01696, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165241).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Dec. 8 granted final approval of a $15 million securities class action settlement, ruling that the settlement, plan of allocation and attorneys' fees sought are reasonable (Mark Roberti v. OSI Systems Inc., et al., No. 13-9174, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164312).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 7 granted a shareholder's motion for appointment as lead plaintiff, ruling that it has shown that it has the largest financial interest in the litigation and has met all statutory requirements for appointment (In re Plains All American Pipeline L.P. Securities Litigation, No. 15-2404, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163811).
CHICAGO - A co-defendants complaints about how John Crane Inc. litigates its asbestos cases does not demonstrate "illicit collusion" with plaintiffs or support a motion for sanctions, the company told an Illinois judge Dec. 4 (Roxanne Richards, et al. v. Dana Companies LLC, et al., No. 14-1501, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations of copyright infringement levied in connection with mobile games fail to state a plausible claim, a California federal judge ruled Dec. 8 (Blizzard Entertainment Inc., et al. v. Lilith Games [Shanghai] Co. Ltd., et al., No. 15-4084, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164527).
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Dec. 9 granted summary judgment in favor of a bank, finding that it had the authority to foreclose on a property (Prestonwood Trust v. Bank of America, N.A., No. 4:14-CV-806, E.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164638).
NEW YORK - A plaintiff won the right Dec. 9 to amend its complaint to add allegations of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violations, based on findings by a New York federal judge that the inclusion of a corporate name in source code constitutes copyright management information (CMI) as defined by the statute (Bounce Exchange Inc. v. Zeus Enterprise Ltd. d/b/a Yieldify, No. 15-3268, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165073).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 9 denied a plaintiff company's request to file a third amended complaint to add a cause of action under the Pennsylvania Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act (Storage Act), overruling the plaintiff company's argument that it learned of the claim only through discovery (Tri-Realty Company v. Ursinus College, No. 11-5885, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164767).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Dec. 8 granted final approval of a $15 million securities class action settlement, ruling that the settlement, plan of allocation and attorney fees sought are reasonable (Mark Roberti v. OSI Systems Inc., et al., No. 13-9174, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164312).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Five lawsuits against the operator AshleyMadison.com related to a July 2015 breach of the adult dating website's network were consolidated in Missouri federal court on Dec. 9 by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL), which ruled that centralization in that venue will best "serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation" (In Re: Ashley Madison Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, MDL No. 2669, JPMDL).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Dec. 9 reversed a lower court's final judgment for "additional living expenses" against an insurer in a Hurricane Jeanne coverage dispute, finding that a hurricane coverage endorsement applied to the insureds' losses (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Richard Moody, et al., Nos. 4D13-3377, 4D14-273 and 4D14-274, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 18405).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 9 ordered the federal judge in Louisiana overseeing litigation stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to review a claims administration appeals panel's decisions denying individual economic loss (IEL) claims submitted by the co-owners of an architecture firm, holding that the panel has not been consistent in finding that individuals submitting IEL claims cannot also recover on business economic loss (BEL) claims (In re Deepwater Horizon: Lake Eugene Land & Development, Inc. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc.,et al. v. Kevin S. Smith, et al., No. 14-31402, In re Deepwater Horizon: Lake Eugene Land & Development, Inc. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al. v. John C. Kelly, No. 15-30023, 5th Cir.).
SEATTLE - Dismissal of a securities class action complaint is proper because the lead plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their claims when they failed to appeal a federal judge's ruling dismissing those claims against BP PLC and others, a federal judge in Washington ruled Dec. 7 (Claude A. Reese, et al. v. Robert A. Malone, et al., No. 08-1008, W.D. Wash.).
PHILADELPHIA - Efforts by a putative end-payer antitrust and consumer protection class to revive their claims against two drug manufacturers were rejected Dec. 8 by a Pennsylvania federal judge (In re: Niaspan Antitrust Litigation [All Actions], MDL No. 2460, No. 13-md-2460; E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164021).