PHILADELPHIA - Applying logic New Jersey's top court first espoused in an asbestos case finding a duty to prevent household exposures, a federal judge in Pennsylvania said Feb. 21 that the duty also extends past spouses to a girlfriend who frequently visited an employee's residence (Brenda Ann Schwartz v. Accuratus Corp., No. 12-6189, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27405).
PITTSBURGH - Two insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Geo. V. Hamilton Inc. are the only parties to object to the company's plan of reorganization, and the objections are more like "caveats" that should be resolved in time for the plan confirmation hearing, the insurers said Feb. 20 in an objection and a joinder filed in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court (In re Geo. V. Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-23704, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Feb. 20 remanded a Risperdal gynecomastia verdict to the trial court so the plaintiff can develop an individual record about the unique conflict of laws principles relevant to his case (Nicholas Murray v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., Nos. 1172 EDA 2016 and 1302 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 139).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by 137 residents of a Pennsylvania town who say that illegal releases of radioactive materials from a nearby plant caused their cancers and the deaths of their family members and that a federal appeals court erred in ruling on the admissibility of expert testimony in their case (Michelle McMunn, et al. v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc., et al., No. 17-907, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A trial court judge erred when denying a corrugated stainless steel tube (CSST) manufacturer's motion for a new products liability trial because the jury was improperly instructed on whether the product was unreasonably dangerous, a Pennsylvania appeals panel held Feb. 16 in reversing a $1 million verdict against the company (Terence D. Tincher, et al. v. Omega Flex Inc., No. 1285 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 117).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify an insured subcontractor against a contractor's claims of negligent installation, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed Feb. 9 (J.J.D. Urethane Co. v. Westfield Insurance Co., et al., Nos. 1440 EDA 2017 & 1554 EDA 2017, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 396).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 6 denied a motion to transfer a disability claimant's suit to Pennsylvania federal court because the defendants failed to prove that transferring the suit would serve the convenience of the parties and would promote the interests of justice (Stephanie Stefan v. Life Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. 17-6165, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20356).
PITTSBURGH - An insured is not in contractual privity with a reinsurer under an insurance policy or a reinsurance agreement, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Feb. 8, dismissing breach of contract, bad faith and civil conspiracy claims (Three Rivers Hydroponics LLC v. Florists' Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-00809, W.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20699).
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 1 denied a well services company's motion to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit against it related to groundwater contamination that the company allegedly caused by failing to perform services properly on a hydraulic fracturing well site (EQT Production Company v. Terra Services LLC, No. 14-01053, W.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - In a consolidated class action against a life insurer for breaches of its policies through consideration of lower investment income and higher reinsurance costs, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 1 allowed the class to amend its complaint to add a tortious breach of good faith and fair dealing claim on behalf of a California sub-class (In re: Lincoln National Co. Litigation, No. 16-06605, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16355).
PHILADELPHIA - Homeowners did not allege "property damage" or an "occurrence" to trigger an insurer's duty to defend claims arising out of the sale of a home, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Jan. 31, granting summary judgment to the insurer on its declaratory judgment claim and an insured's breach of contract claim (Merle Foglia v. Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 17-1216, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15553).
PHILADELPHIA - A company that improperly installed a fire prevention system cannot obtain coverage from its insurer, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Jan. 31, holding that the defendant's faulty workmanship was not an occurrence that triggered the insurer's duty to defend (Atain Insurance Company v. East Coast Business Fire Inc., No. 17-2545, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15535).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judicial panel on Feb. 1 said litigation involving the Sorin 3T Heater-Cooler is now large and diversified enough to warrant centralization of 41 federal cases in a multidistrict litigation (In Re: Sorin 3T Heater-Cooler System Products Liability Litigation [No. II], MDL Docket No. 2816, JPMDL).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 29 trimmed retaliation claims asserted under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in a consolidated lawsuit over Allstate Insurance Co.'s reorganization that switched employee agents to independent contractors, finding that the retaliation claims that were based on Allstate's counterclaims cannot proceed because the counterclaims were not objectively baseless (Gene R. Romero, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al., Nos. 01-3894, 01-6764, 03-6872, 15-1049 and 15-3047, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14160).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on Jan. 30 affirmed a $5 million verdict in a medical malpractice suit after finding that the daughter of a man who died because of a misplaced feeding tube presented enough evidence to show that a radiologist breached the standard of care (Anita E. Tong -Summerford v. Abington Memorial Hospital, et al., No. 3114 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 68).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 29 reconsidered a denial of class certification in a lawsuit accusing Prudential Insurance Company of America of breaching its fiduciary duty by creating retained asset accounts in lieu of making one payment to the beneficiaries of life insurance policies and found that the subclass was sufficiently ascertainable and may be certified (Clark R. Huffman, et al. v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 10-5135, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13665).
PHILADELPHIA - In amending his insurance breach of contract and bad faith complaint against his automobile insurance provider, an insured cured the pleading deficiencies that led to a previous dismissal of the bad faith claim, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Jan. 29 in denying the insurer's motion to dismiss (Kevin Irving v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 17-1124, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14163).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania appeals court panel on Jan. 26 affirmed a doctor's sentence for illegally prescribing opioid medications and submitting fraudulent bills to insurance companies after finding that the jury was properly instructed about the state's standards for properly prescribing the drugs (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Lawrence P. Wean, Nos. 1165 EDA 2016, 1167 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 240).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 24 ruled that the government adequately alleges that a man should face charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States as a result of his role in a scheme to illegally obtain insurance for buses that were part of a commercial transportation company (United States of America v. Yalin Liu, No. 16cr42, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11243).
PITTSBURGH - Glass manufacturer PPG Industries Inc. on Jan. 22 filed a status report in a Pennsylvania federal court regarding its ongoing permitting activities pertaining to remedies for areas that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has determined are contaminated by PPG's manufacturing activities (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al. v. AS America Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - A district court erred in dismissing claims filed by a group of University of Pennsylvania Matching Plan participants and beneficiaries against the University of Pennsylvania and the university's vice president of human resources because the participants alleged facts showing that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties by failing to monitor the plan's fees, the participants argue in a Jan. 19 brief to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Jennifer Sweda, et al. v. The University of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 17-3244, 3rd Cir.).