LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Homeowner's Insurer Paid Full Amount Of Claims, Magistrate Judge Concludes

PHILADELPHIA - A homeowner's insurer paid the entire amount it owed to insureds for damage to their home because the insureds failed to offer expert reports to rebut the insurer's evidence that the unpaid portions were not covered, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 22, granting summary judgment to the insurer on a breach of contract claim (Scot Fazio and Dawn Fazio v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-1987, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41604).

Mealey's IP/Tech - New Expert Report In Spying Software Suit Struck, Deemed To Be Too Late

ERIE, Pa. - A second expert report filed by the lead plaintiffs in a proposed class action over spying software when they filed their reply brief in support of their renewed motion for class certification was filed too late, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled March 22, striking the new report (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's, Inc., et al., No. 11-101, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41030).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - New Expert Report In Spying Software Suit Struck, Deemed To Be Too Late

ERIE, Pa. - A second expert report filed by the lead plaintiffs in a proposed class action over spying software when they filed their reply brief in support of their renewed motion for class certification was filed too late, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled March 22, striking the new report (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's, Inc., et al., No. 11-101, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41030).

Mealey's Insurance - Reinsurer Says Insurer Never Asked For Policy To Be Reinsured

PHILADELPHIA - A reinsurer asked a federal court in Pennsylvania on March 21 to dismiss an insurer's breach of contract counterclaim because the insurer allegedly never linked an underlying policy to a facultative certificate and, therefore, there is no contract between the parties reinsuring that policy (R&Q Reinsurance Company v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-01473, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Proposed Attorney Fees Reduced By Almost A Third Following TCPA Settlement

PHILADELPHIA - While a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class settlement agreement reached in a lawsuit against a water ice company allowed for class counsel to seek attorney fees and expenses up to $1 million, the class counsel are entitled to only $651,000 in fees and $40,073.97 in expenses, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 16 (Sherry Brown, et al. v. Rita's Water Ice Franchise Company LLC, No. 15-3509, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37676).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Pittsburgh Corning Trust Opposes $9 Billion In Claims From Texas Litigation

PITTSBURGH - Trustees for the asbestos trust established by the Chapter 11 case of Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) said March 17 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court that they want to reopen the case to find out whether more than $9 billion in claims from a consolidated Texas litigation qualify for payment by the trust, which has assets of less than $4 billion (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).

Mealey's Insurance - Court Remands Issue On Depreciation Rate, Affirms Dismissal Of Bad Faith Claim

HARRISBURG, Pa. - After finding that a genuine issue of fact exists as to the value of a property destroyed by a fire, a Pennsylvania court on March 10 reversed a portion of a trial court's ruling for an insurer but affirmed a finding that the insurer did not act in bad faith when it denied the insureds certain coverage under the policy (Sabrina Brown v. Everett Cash Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 1549 WDA 2015, Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 161).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pennsylvania Department Of Revenue Removes Vaping Tax Suit To Federal Court

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue on March 9 removed a suit in which it is accused of creating an overly broad list of e-cigarette and tobacco products under the Tobacco Products Act of Pennsylvania that are taxed to federal court in Pennsylvania because many of the claims are based in federal law (Kingdom Vapor, et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, No. 3:02-at-06000, Pa. M.D.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Approves Request For Direct Payments From Reinsurer To Insured

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on March 8 approved an arrangement under which a reinsurer will make direct payments to a policyholder of an insolvent insurer (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Decides Motions In Construction Defects Insurance Dispute

SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a coverage dispute between various insurers over their responsibility toward an underlying construction defects settlement, a California federal judge on March 7 addressed four summary judgment motions on multiple key issues from the duty to defend to the number of occurrences (St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 15-02744, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32551).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Releases Liquidator Of Further Responsibilities In Liquidation

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Following the final distribution of an insolvent insurer's assets, a Pennsylvania judge on March 8 released the state's insurance commissioner of her duties regarding the liquidation estate (In re: Commonwealth Insurance Co., No. 1 CIC 2014, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Partly Grants Motion To Compel In Professional Liability Coverage Dispute

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 7 granted a law firm insured's motion to compel a professional liability insurer to produce underwriting materials but found that the insured failed to satisfy the heightened relevancy standard applicable to its discovery request for personnel files of three of the insurer's employees (Westport Insurance Corp. v. Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, et al., No. 15-251, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31659).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Partly Grants Motion To Compel In Professional Liability Coverage Dispute

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 7 granted a law firm insured's motion to compel a professional liability insurer to produce underwriting materials but found that the insured failed to satisfy the heightened relevancy standard applicable to its discovery request for personnel files of three of the insurer's employees (Westport Insurance Corp. v. Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, et al., No. 15-251, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31659).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insured Failed To Show Insurer's Investigation Of Claim Was In Bad Faith

PITTSBURGH - An insured has failed to show that his insurer's offer to settle his homeowners insurance claim "lacked a reasonable basis" or that the settlement offer "was not supported by a thorough and even-handed investigation," a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled March 2 in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss with prejudice (Randy Gowton v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 15-1164, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29390).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Internal Hospital Record Doesn't Doom Asbestos-Lung Cancer Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A reference to asbestos in what appears to be an internal hospital document is not sufficient to put a couple on notice of a potential cause of his lung cancer, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held March 8 (Joseph Conneen and Kathleen Conneen v. Amatek Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 15-1063, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29787).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Internal Hospital Record Doesn't Doom Asbestos-Lung Cancer Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A reference to asbestos in what appears to be an internal hospital document is not sufficient to put a couple on notice of a potential cause of his lung cancer, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held March 8 (Joseph Conneen and Kathleen Conneen v. Amatek Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 15-1063, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29787).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Orders Liquidation Of Insolvent Pennsylvania Insurer

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on March 1 ordered the liquidation of an insolvent insurer that had been in rehabilitation since 2009 (In Re: Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company in Rehabilitation, No. 1 PEN 2009, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Drinking Water Legislation / Lead Pennsylvania Drinking Water Bill Mandating Lead Tests Referred To Committee

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania General Assembly on Feb. 28 referred to committee a bill that would give power to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to appropriate money to provide safe drinking water by testing public water systems for lead.

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pennsylvania Superior Court Affirms $10 Million Verdict In Medical Malpractice Suit

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on Feb. 28 affirmed a $10 million medical malpractice verdict against the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) after finding that none of the hospital's claims of error had merit in a case where a woman claimed that the hospital failed to properly diagnose and treat her son, leading to his brain damage (Shantice Tillery v. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, et al., No. 1508 EDA 2016, Pa. Super, 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 134).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pa. Tilted Kilt Pub Will Pay $300,000 To Settle Tipped Employees' Wage Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 24 granted final approval of a $300,000 settlement to be paid by a suburban Philadelphia restaurant to end class claims by its tipped employees who alleged that the pub failed to pay them for all compensable time and required them to purchase employer-mandated uniforms in violation of federal and state wage laws (Victoria Graudins v. KOP Kilt, LLC, d/b/a The Tilted Kilt Pub, et al., No. 14-2589, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25926).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Pa. Tilted Kilt Pub Will Pay $300,000 To Settle Tipped Employees' Wage Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 24 granted final approval of a $300,000 settlement to be paid by a suburban Philadelphia restaurant to end class claims by its tipped employees who alleged that the pub failed to pay them for all compensable time and required them to purchase employer-mandated uniforms in violation of federal and state wage laws (Victoria Graudins v. KOP Kilt, LLC, d/b/a The Tilted Kilt Pub, et al., No. 14-2589, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25926).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Cosby Accuser, Ex-DA Argue Relevance Of Criminal Case Filings In Defamation Suit

PHILADELPHIA - In a Feb.27 filing in Pennsylvania federal court, Andrea Constand, who has accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, opposes a former Pennsylvania district attorney's motion to compel production of documents from her 2005 suit against Cosby, asserting that the documents are irrelevant to her present defamation/false light claim against the former DA (Andrea Constand v. Bruce Castor, No. 2:15-cv-05799, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Liquidator Wants Reinsurer To Pay Workers' Compensation Policyholder Directly

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of the insolvent Reliance Insurance Co. asked a Pennsylvania court on Feb. 23 to approve an agreement under which a policyholder would receive direct payments from one of Reliance's reinsurers (In re: Reliance Insurance Co. in liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Appeals Court Orders New Trial After Judge Overseeing Defects Case Retires

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania appeals panel on Feb. 17 ordered a new trial on liability and damages in a construction defects case after learning that the judge who presided over the suit had retired and that no other judge could prepare a supplemental opinion explaining his rulings (Leo J. Dolan v. Hurd Millwork Company Inc., et al., No. 2951 EDA 2015 Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 691).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 2 Of 4 Wyndham Divisions Dismissed From Hotel Pricing Fraud Class Suit

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 15 dismissed two of four Wyndham divisions in a class complaint alleging fraud via hidden hotel charges, finding that those two divisions were not provided fair notice (Thomas Luca, Jr. v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., et al., No. 16-746, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21433).