PITTSBURGH - The termination of a disability claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the medical evidence supports the plan's determination that the claimant could perform the duties of her own occupation, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Aug. 26 (Antoinette F. Swanberg v. The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Affiliates Long Term Disability Plan, No. 15-544, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114551).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 29 granted The Walt Disney Co. and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Inc.'s (the Disney companies) motion to dismiss a venomous snake bite case brought against it because he found that the court does not have general jurisdiction over the defendants (Michael Barth, et al. v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Inc., et al., No. 16-2140, E.D. Pa.).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Aug. 26 excluded partial testimony in an insurance coverage dispute on the remaining issue as to whether an insured's property was located within a 100-year floodplain at the time of its loss (Federal-Mogul Corp. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, No. 12-12005, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114573).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 25 found that an underlying professional malpractice lawsuit against an attorney insured constitutes a single "claim" under a professional liability insurance policy, declaring that the insurer's contractual liability defense and indemnity is limited to $500,000 (Westport Insurance Corp. v. Peter G. Mylonas, et al., No. 14-5760, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114867).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of Reliance Insurance Co. asked a Pennsylvania court on Aug. 23 to approve a report and recommendation regarding more than $8 million of claims (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania State Rep. Todd Stephens on Aug. 22 issued a press release calling on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to sue the U.S. Navy in an effort to force it to clean up water systems in Montgomery County, Pa., which the representative says are contaminated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from a Naval Air Station.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 18 enforced, with some modifications, a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) finding that the social media code of Chipotle Services LLC (doing business as Chipotle Mexican Grill) violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the fast food chain committed further violations by directing an employee to delete certain tweets, prohibiting the employee from circulating a petition challenging the chain's break policy and terminating the employee for his actions (Chipotle Services LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee, a project of the Fast Food Workers Committee, Nos. 04-CA-147314 and 04-CA-149551, NLRB).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal jury in Pennsylvania on Aug. 19 found no negligence in a doctor's failure to properly diagnose and treat a woman's herpes zoster virus after a judge ruled that the jury would not hear testimony regarding the potential availability of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) benefits (Tami Bernheisel v. Martin Mikaya, M.D., Memorial Hospital Inc., et al., No. 13-1496, M.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - In a price-fixing conspiracy lawsuit against egg producers, an economics expert may opine regarding the existence of a unitary egg industry, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 15, denying the motion to exclude the testimony (In re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-md-2002, MDL No. 2002, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107399).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 12 dismissed a class claim for medical monitoring brought by airline workers stationed at the Philadelphia International Airport who allege that they were exposed to toxins, finding that the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act (PWCA) is the exclusive remedy available to the workers (David Smith, et al. v. American Airlines, Inc., et al., No. 16-156, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107402).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 11 dismissed a reinsurance arbitration dispute pursuant to an agreement between the parties (In the Matter of Arbitration Between Excalibur Reinsurance Corporation and Odyssey America Reinsurance Corporation, No. 10-mc-00195, E.D. Pa.).
A second wave of putative class action lawsuits accusing universities of mismanaging their employee retirement plans by charging excessive fees, using multiple record keepers to operate their plans and handle administrative services and offering too many high-cost and poorly performing investment options were filed Aug. 10 and 11 (David Clark, et al. v. Duke University, et al., No. 1:16-cv-01044, M.D. N.C.; Loren L. Cassell, et al. v. Vanderbilt University, et al., No. 3:16-cv-02086, M.D. Tenn.; Jennifer Sweda, et al. v. University of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 2:16-cv-04329; Margaret E. Kelly, et al. v. The Johns Hopkins University, No. 1:16-cv-02835, D. Md.).
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - An insured's faulty workmanship does not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 9, relying on Kvaerner Metals Division of Kvaerner U.S., Inc. v. Commercial Union Ins. Co. (589 Pa. 317, 908 A.2d 888, 896 [Pa. 2006]) to find an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify (Acuity, a mutual insurance company v. Knisely & Sons, Inc., et al., No. 15-76, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104431).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 2 partially denied a life insurance company's motion to dismiss a putative class action for benefits under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan, finding that a section of a state motor vehicle statute "regulates insurance" and is therefore saved from ERISA preemption (Eric Yost, et al. v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 3:16-cv-00079, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101202).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - In a personal injury lawsuit arising out of an auto collision, a trucking industry safety expert may testify that a trucking company's power carrier program did not act as a freight broker, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 3, finding that the expert qualifies to testify on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) related to brokers of property (Francisco Ramos-Becerra and Louisa Ramos v. Ricky L. Hatfield, et al., No. 14-0917, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101579).