LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Split N.J. High Court Nixes Class Certification In TGI Fridays Drink Prices Suit

TRENTON, N.J. - A divided New Jersey Supreme Court on Oct. 4 ruled in the first of two consolidated cases that class certification is inappropriate in a lawsuit against TGI Fridays Inc. over hidden drink prices and, in the second suit over hidden drink prices at Carrabba's New Jersey locations, ruled that class certification was appropriate for one of two claims as long as the class was narrowed (Debra Dugan, et al. v. TGI Fridays, Inc., et al., Ernest Bozzi, et al. v. OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC, et al., Nos. 077567 and 077556, N.J. Sup., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 975).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Affirms Contested Appointment Of Asbestos Discovery Master

NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 21 cast aside defendants' concerns regarding a special master's ability to objectively oversee discovery in a case alleging that a company and its attorneys hid evidence of asbestos contamination of talc products from asbestos plaintiffs (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154772).

Mealey's Insurance - New Jersey Appeals Panel: Reinsurance Intermediary's Claims Are Time-Barred

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - A six-year statute of limitations precludes a reinsurance intermediary's promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment and tortious interference counterclaims against an insurance and a reinsurance management services provider and an excess and surplus lines insurer, a New Jersey appeals panel affirmed Sept. 20 (Berkley Risk Solutions LLC, et al. v. Industrial Re-International Inc., et al., No. A-2366-15T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2382).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Affirms Contested Appointment Of Asbestos Discovery Master

NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 21 cast aside defendants' concerns regarding a special master's ability to objectively oversee discovery in a case alleging that a company and its attorneys hid evidence of asbestos contamination of talc products from asbestos plaintiffs (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154772).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Claims Trimmed In Class Suit Over Handling Of Princeton University Retirement Plan

TRENTON, N.J. - A plaintiff's failure to respond to a motion to dismiss her class suit accusing the Princeton University trustees of mishandling the university's retirement plan did not entirely doom her suit as a New Jersey federal judge, on Sept. 19, ruled that the plaintiff partially stated claims for relief as to breach of the duty of prudence and granted leave to amend the other dismissed claims (Elysee Nicolas, et al. v. The Trustees of Princeton University, No. 17-3695, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151775).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge: Transfer Timing Doesn't Negate Health Insurance Anti-Assignment Clause

TRENTON, N.J. - The fact that an insured assigned rights after incurring medical expenses does not change the enforceability of an anti-assignment provision in an Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 case, a federal judge in New Jersey held Sept. 21 (Kayal Orthopaedic Center P.C., et al. v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 16-9059, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153763).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Transfer Timing Doesn't Negate Health Insurance Anti-Assignment Clause

TRENTON, N.J. - The fact that an insured assigned rights after incurring medical expenses does not change the enforceability of an anti-assignment provision in an Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 case, a federal judge in New Jersey held Sept. 21 (Kayal Orthopaedic Center P.C., et al. v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 16-9059, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153763).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Claims Trimmed In Class Suit Over Handling Of Princeton University Retirement Plan

TRENTON, N.J. - A plaintiff's failure to respond to a motion to dismiss her class suit accusing the Princeton University trustees of mishandling the university's retirement plan did not entirely doom her suit as a New Jersey federal judge, on Sept. 19, ruled that the plaintiff partially stated claims for relief as to breach of the duty of prudence and granted leave to amend the other dismissed claims (Elysee Nicolas, et al. v. The Trustees of Princeton University, No. 17-3695, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151775).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Some Documents In Tribal Recognition Suit Deemed Privileged, Nondiscoverable

CAMDEN, N.J. - Granting in part a motion for a protective order by the New Jersey attorney general, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Sept. 19 concluded that many of the documents sought by an Indian tribe that is suing over state tribal recognition policies are protected by the attorney-client and deliberative process privileges (Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation v, Christopher S. Porrino, No. 1:15-cv-05645, Court, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151410).

Mealey's Health Law - Insurance Fraud Defendants' Emailed Defenses Were Improper, Judge Rules

TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 19 struck defenses submitted via email by three defendants accused by Government Insurance Co., GEICO Indemnity Co., GEICO General Insurance Co. and GEICO Casualty Co. (collectively GEICO) of submitting approximately $3.3 million in false insurance claims, ruling that emails to counsel are not the proper procedure for responding to a lawsuit (Government Employees Insurance Company, et al. v. Hamilton Health Care Center, P.C., et al., No. 17-0674, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151772).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurance Fraud Defendants' Emailed Defenses Were Improper, Judge Rules

TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 19 struck defenses submitted via email by three defendants accused by Government Insurance Co., GEICO Indemnity Co., GEICO General Insurance Co. and GEICO Casualty Co. (collectively GEICO) of submitting approximately $3.3 million in false insurance claims, ruling that emails to counsel are not the proper procedure for responding to a lawsuit (Government Employees Insurance Company, et al. v. Hamilton Health Care Center, P.C., et al., No. 17-0674, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151772).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge: Bank Has Right To Reimbursement From Insurer For Post-Merger Defense Costs

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 18 found that a bank involved in a corporate merger has a right to reimbursement under a directors and officers liability insurance policy for its post-merger defense costs vis-a-vis the independent directors involved in a shareholder class action (BCB Bancorp, Inc., et al. v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-1261, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151415).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Bank Has Right To Reimbursement From Insurer For Post-Merger Defense Costs

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 18 found that a bank involved in a corporate merger has a right to reimbursement under a directors and officers liability insurance policy for its post-merger defense costs vis-a-vis the independent directors involved in a shareholder class action (BCB Bancorp, Inc., et al. v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-1261, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151415).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Scholastic Wins Transfer Of Copyright Action To New York Federal Court

TRENTON, N.J. - Allegations that Scholastic Inc. exceeded the terms of a limited license to use a plaintiff's copyrighted photographs in its publications will proceed in New York federal court in light of Scholastic's forum-selection clause with a stock photography agency, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Sept. 15 (George Steinmetz v. Scholastic Inc., No. 16-3585, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149952).

Mealey's Health Law - Pediatric Firm Can Pursue Federal, State False Claims Act Allegations, Judge Says

NEWARK, N.J. - A firm of pediatric doctors can pursue allegations that a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility violated the False Claims Act, the New Jersey False Claims Act (NJFCA) and the New York False Claims Act (NYFCA) for unlawfully billing Medicare and Medicaid as primary payers rather than a patient's private insurance company, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Sept. 18, finding that the firm sufficiently stated claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (United States of America v. Wanaque Convalescent Center, et al., No. 14-6651, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150566).

Mealey's Insurance - Pediatric Firm Can Pursue Federal, State False Claims Act Allegations, Judge Says

NEWARK, N.J. - A firm of pediatric doctors can pursue allegations that a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility violated the False Claims Act, the New Jersey False Claims Act (NJFCA) and the New York False Claims Act (NYFCA) for unlawfully billing Medicare and Medicaid as primary payers rather than a patient's private insurance company, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Sept. 18, finding that the firm sufficiently stated claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (United States of America v. Wanaque Convalescent Center, et al., No. 14-6651, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150566).

Mealey's Insurance - No Professional Liability Coverage Owed For Harassment, Discrimination Claims

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate on Sept. 14 found that professional liability insurance coverage was not triggered because underlying sexual harassment and discrimination claims do not arise out of the insured's performance of ambulance services, granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings in the insured's declaratory judgment lawsuit (Aaron Ambulance Medical Transportation Inc., et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, No. 16-04564, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149409).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - New Jersey Supreme Court Reverses Ruling Finding Defects Suit Timely

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on Sept. 14 overturned an appeals court's ruling reinstating a condominium association's construction defects lawsuit, holding that it is unclear when the statute of limitations began to run on the association's lawsuits against a general contractor and three subcontractors and that the limitations period does not restart every time a property changes hands (The Palisades at Fort Lee Condominium Association, Inc. v. 100 Old Palisade, LLC, et al., Nos. A-101/102/103/104 September Term 2015, 077249, N.J. Sup., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 845).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Says Amount In Controversy Could Exceed $75,000 If Bad Faith Is Proven

CAMDEN, N.J. - Although an insured's claim for breach of contract does not exceed the federal jurisdictional minimum amount in controversy of $75,000, a New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 12 refused to dismiss the insured's complaint, noting that if the insured is successful in proving that the insurer acted in bad faith in handling an underinsured motorist claim, the amount in controversy could exceed $75,000 (Beth Gussman v. Government Employees Insurance Co., No. 16-8563, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146995).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge Finds Anti-Assignment Clause Puts Health Care Insurance Spat Outside ERISA

NEWARK, N.J. - A health insurance plan's provision barring insureds from assigning rights leaves a provider pursuing its individual right to payment under state law and precludes removal and preemption under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal judge in New Jersey held Sept. 11 (Progressive Spine & Orthopaedics LLC v. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 17-536, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147466).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Finds Anti-Assignment Clause Puts Health Care Insurance Spat Outside ERISA

NEWARK, N.J. - A health insurance plan's provision barring insureds from assigning rights leaves a provider pursuing its individual right to payment under state law and precludes removal and preemption under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal judge in New Jersey held Sept. 11 (Progressive Spine & Orthopaedics LLC v. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 17-536, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147466).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Galena Biopharma To Pay $7.55M For Paying Kickbacks To Prescribe Fentanyl Drug

NEWARK, N.J. - Galena Biopharma Inc. will pay more than $7.55 million to resolve a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging that the company paid kickbacks to doctors to induce them to prescribe the company's former fentanyl drug Abstral, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey said in a Sept. 8 press release.

Mealey's Labor & Employment - New Jersey Wage Claims Survive Wells Fargo's Motion To Strike Class Allegations

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 6 denied a motion by Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. (collectively, Wells Fargo) to strike class allegations filed by two former hourly employees alleging that they had to work outside of normal work hours to meet mandated quotas and were denied compensation for those hours (Juan Carolos Merino, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al., No. 16-7840, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143628).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - New Jersey Wage Claims Survive Wells Fargo's Motion To Strike Class Allegations

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 6 denied a motion by Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. (collectively, Wells Fargo) to strike class allegations filed by two former hourly employees alleging that they had to work outside of normal work hours to meet mandated quotas and were denied compensation for those hours (Juan Carolos Merino, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al., No. 16-7840, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143628).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Class Actions Proliferate Following Equifax Data Breach Announcement

NEWARK, N.J. - With the Sept. 10 filing of a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, at least 20 federal putative class actions have been filed against Equifax Inc. following the credit-reporting firm's Sept. 7 announcement of a data breach compromising the personally identifiable information (PII) of potentially 143 million of its U.S. customers (Maura Dowgin, et al. v. Equifax Inc., No. 2:17-cv-06923, D. N.J.).