PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 2 denied a disability claimant's motion for summary judgment on the basis that the claimant did not meet the plan's definition of total disability as he has the ability to perform a sedentary job for at least 25 hours a week (Yuri Sirko v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 15-21, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11993).
PITTSBURGH - Because there is significant medical evidence supporting a disability plan's denial of a claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits related to Lyme disease, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 1 denied the claimant's motion for summary judgment and granted the plan's motion for summary judgment (Elizabeth L. Ryan v. PNC Financial Services Group Inc., et al., No. 14-1048, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11518).
PITTSBURGH - An insurer did not waive its right to rescind a product contamination insurance policy because the insured's misrepresentations on its policy application were intentional and material to the insurer when it issued the policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Feb. 1 in disagreeing with an advisory jury's conclusion that the insurer waived its right to rescind the policy (H.J. Heinz Co. v. Starr Surplus Lines Insurance Co., No. 15-0631, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11737).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 26 granted final approval of an $8 million settlement in a securities class action lawsuit claiming that a pharmaceutical company and certain of its executive officers misrepresented the marketing and sale of one of its antibiotic drugs in violation of federal securities laws (In re ViroPharma Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 12-2714, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8626).
PHILADELPHIA - An administratively dismissed nonmalignancy claim belongs with a bankruptcy estate, but a subsequent malignancy is a distinct disease under the discovery rule and falls outside the estate's purview, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Jan. 25 (Willard E. Bartel, administrator for Henry E. Boden v. A-C Product Liability Trust, et al., No. MDL 875, 11-31030, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8048; Willard Bartel [Felix Long], et al. v. A-C Product Liability Trust, et al., No. MDL 875, 11-31575, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8047).
PHILADELPHIA - A woman who was severely injured by a building collapse in Philadelphia filed suit in Pennsylvania state court Jan. 26 claiming that the companies that owned the building failed to maintain and inspect the near-century-year-old roof and caused it to collapse (Allison Friedman and Lawrence Friedman v. Walnut Street Associates, et al, No. 160102936, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia. Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - A second Pennsylvania state court trial got under way Jan. 25 involving an Ethicon Gynecare TVT pelvic mesh device (Sharon Carlino, et al. v. Ethicon Women's Health and Urology Division, et al., No. 130603470, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A workers' compensation court properly admitted expert testimony linking asbestos exposure with a man's fatal colon cancer, a Pennsylvania court held in affirming an award of benefits Jan. 22 (Garrison Architects and Travelers Insurance Co. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board [Piatetsky], No. 1095 C.D. 2015, Pa. Cmwlth. Ct.; 2016 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 72).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over litigation regarding groundwater allegedly contaminated by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on Jan. 21 denied a motion to dismiss the complaint, ruling that while one of the defendants has never affirmatively indicated that it had been served, it remained silent for more than a year and has participated in the litigation (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, No. 00-1898, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., No. 14 Civ. 6228, S.D. N.Y).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 19 denied an insurer's motion to reconsider a ruling denying its motion to separate claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer failed to show that the stay was needed (Heather Wagner, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 14-7326, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6364).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 19 dismissed a groundwater contamination lawsuit, concluding that the couple who alleged that manufacturers had poisoned their well water failed to sufficiently allege an imminent and substantial endangerment to their health and safety (Bradley Warren, et al. v. Johnson Matthey Inc., No. 15-01919, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6065).
PHILADELPHIA - An insurer told a federal court in Pennsylvania on Jan. 13 that the Pennsylvania court is a better venue for a reinsurance dispute than a federal court in Illinois, where its alleged reinsurer filed a parallel suit (St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company v. R&Q Reinsurance Company, No. 15-cv-5528, E.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 12 granted judgment in favor of a bank and law firm, dismissing claims for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and breach of contract as barred by the doctrine established in Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co. (263 U.S. 413 ) and District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman (460 U.S. 462 ) (Kathleen J. Todd v. U.S. Bank National Association, et al., No. 15-2866, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3415).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Virginia's statute of limitations began with a man's asbestosis diagnosis, and any challenge to the accuracy of that diagnosis should properly have been raised at that time, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel held Jan. 12 (James Herbert, executor of the estate of Vincent W. Gatto Sr. v. American Biltrite and its division, Amtico, et al., No. 1702 WDA 2014, Pa. Super.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on Jan. 7 approved a plan under which a reinsurer would pay reinsurance proceeds directly to certain of an insolvent insurer's insureds (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
DENVER - An insured may bring a statutory bad faith claim as a first-party claimant under Colorado Revised Statutes Sections 10-3-1115 and 1116 (Bad Faith Act), a Colorado federal judge ruled Jan. 4, denying a motion to dismiss by two insurers over coverage for construction defect claims (PCL Construction Services, Inc. v. Old Republic General Insurance Co. and Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, No. 14-3486, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 6 affirmed a federal judge in Pennsylvania's ruling that a state agency's diligent prosecution of allegations that a coke manufacturer's emissions were violating the Clean Air Act barred a suit brought by an environmental group, but also ruled that the diligent prosecution bar is not a jurisdictional issue that warranted dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) (Group Against Smog and Pollution v. Shenango Inc., No. 15-2041, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 59).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Jan. 4 that a psychiatrist but not a forensic pathologist may testify in a personal injury lawsuit regarding a driver's drug addiction at the time of a motor vehicle accident (Kathy Leister, et al. v. Jewell Transport, Inc., et al., No. 14-1411, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173624).