LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's IP/Tech - Judge Bars Employee From Testifying On Trademark Confusion In Trade Secrets Suit

PHILADELPHIA - In a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit, a company's employee in its marketing department is unqualified due to a lack of technical knowledge to testify on issues such as "branding, trademark confusion, customer reactions, business ethics, or trademark law," a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Oct. 12, excluding the testimony (Alpha Pro Tech Inc. v. VWR International LLC, No. 12-1615, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141030).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Bars Employee From Testifying On Trademark Confusion In Trade Secrets Suit

PHILADELPHIA - In a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit, a company's employee in its marketing department is unqualified due to a lack of technical knowledge to testify on issues such as "branding, trademark confusion, customer reactions, business ethics, or trademark law," a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Oct. 12, excluding the testimony (Alpha Pro Tech Inc. v. VWR International LLC, No. 12-1615, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141030).

Mealey's Insurance - Pennsylvania Judge: Insurer Has No Duty To Defend, Indemnify Malpractice Suit

PHILADELPHIA - Finding that service of an underlying legal malpractice lawsuit after expiration of a professional liability insurance policy and its automatic extended reporting period does not give rise to a claim, a Pennsylvania judge on Oct. 11 determined that the insurer's duty to defend or indemnify was not triggered (Michael B. Wolf, et al. v. Liberty Insurance Underwriters Inc., et al., No. 000066, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.; 2016 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 359).

Mealey's Insurance - California Federal Judge Says Court Lacks Jurisdiction Over Reinsurer

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 12 granted a reinsurer's motion to dismiss in an asbestos coverage suit on the basis that the California federal court lacks jurisdiction over the reinsurer whose headquarters are based in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (The American Insurance Co. v. R&Q Reinsurance Co., No. 16-3044, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141467).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pennsylvania Sues Cutler Group, Says Construction Defects Cause Water Intrusion

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania filed a state court lawsuit against The Cutler Group, doing business as The David Cutler Group, on Oct. 6, claiming that defects in homes built by the company caused water infiltration that resulted in damages such as rot, mold and decay (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. The Cutler Group Inc., d/b/a The David Cutler Group, No. 16-23891, Pa. Comm. Pls., Montgomery Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review Of Pennsylvania Tobacco MSA Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 denied a group of tobacco companies' petition for writ of certiorari to review a case involving the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between a group of tobacco companies and states over whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts state law (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 15-1299, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Allows Class Action Against Wawa To Proceed

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 6 denied most parts of a motion to dismiss a class action complaint accusing a man's former employer, Wawa Inc., of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it forced him and other terminated employees to sell their stock in the company because Wawa's reservation of a right to amend the plan "at any time" did not necessarily give it the authority to reduce the plaintiffs' benefits (Greg Pfeifer v. Wawa, Inc., et al., No. 16-497, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Allows Class Action Against Wawa To Proceed

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 6 denied most parts of a motion to dismiss a class action complaint accusing a man's former employer, Wawa Inc., of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it forced him and other terminated employees to sell their stock in the company because Wawa's reservation of a right to amend the plan "at any time" did not necessarily give it the authority to reduce the plaintiffs' benefits (Greg Pfeifer v. Wawa, Inc., et al., No. 16-497, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer's Negligence Claims Not Barred By Subrogation Clause, Federal Judge Says

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A subrogation waiver clause included in a heating oil agreement sent to an insured by the heating oil company contravenes public policy because the average consumer does not have the chance to negotiate the provisions in residential heating oil contracts, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Oct. 5 in finding that an insurer is not barred from asserting negligence claims, as the subrogee of its insured, against the heating oil company (State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., et al. v. Petroleum Heat & Power Co. Inc., et al., No. 13-6732, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138479).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured's Defective Work Is Not An 'Occurrence,' Federal Judge Concludes

PHILADELPHIA - Under Pennsylvania law, allegations of an insured's faulty workmanship do not constitute an "occurrence," a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Oct. 5, finding that a comprehensive business liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify an underlying negligent construction lawsuit (State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Kim's Asia Construction, No. 15-6619, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138915).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Denies Motion To Certify Claims Against Prudential

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 30 denied a motion to certify a class of beneficiaries of employer-sponsored Prudential Insurance Company of America life insurance policies, saying that the plaintiffs have failed to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3)'s predominance requirement (Clark R. Huffman, et al. v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 2:10-cv-05135, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135349).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Denies Motion To Certify Claims Against Prudential

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 30 denied a motion to certify a class of beneficiaries of employer-sponsored Prudential Insurance Company of America life insurance policies, saying that the plaintiffs have failed to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3)'s predominance requirement (Clark R. Huffman, et al. v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 2:10-cv-05135, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135349).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge: Fact Issues As To Material Breach Preclude Summary Judgment Ruling

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 29 granted in part and denied in part dueling motions for summary judgment filed by a glass manufacturer insured, an insurer and a reinsurer in a coverage dispute over property damage and business interruption losses arising from the insured's equipment breakdown (The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co., et al. v. International Glass Products LLC, et al., No. 08-1564, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135045).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Cosby Permitted To Intervene In Accuser's Deposition In Defamation Suit

PHILADELPHIA - Granting in part a motion to intervene by Bill Cosby, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 3 ruled that the comedian's counsel may attend the deposition of one of his sexual assault accusers in a related defamation suit, finding that Cosby had an interest in protecting certain details in a 2006 confidential settlement agreement (CSA), while making it clear that the counsel may not interfere with the deposition (Andrea Constand v. Bruce Castor, No. 2:15-cv-05799, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136742).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Circuit: Discovery Sanctions In Patent Case Were Abuse Of Discretion

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Pennsylvania federal judge abused his discretion when striking a patent infringement defendant's answer and counterclaims as a sanction for failure to comply with two discovery orders, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 29 (Drone Technologies Inc. v. Parrot S.A., et al., Nos. 15-1892, -1955, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17643).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Accident Reconstruction Expert's Testimony Meets Daubert Standard, Judge Says

PHILADELPHIA - An accident reconstruction expert's testimony that one party's actions more than likely caused a vehicle collision meets the reliably requirement for Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (509 U.S. 579 [1993]), a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 28 (Dale Miller v. Wheeler Brodie, et al., No. 15-4992, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133120).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Accident Reconstruction Expert's Testimony Meets Daubert Standard, Judge Says

PHILADELPHIA - An accident reconstruction expert's testimony that one party's actions more than likely caused a vehicle collision meets the reliably requirement for Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (509 U.S. 579 [1993]), a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 28 (Dale Miller v. Wheeler Brodie, et al., No. 15-4992, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133120).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit: Discovery Sanctions In Patent Case Were Abuse Of Discretion

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Pennsylvania federal judge abused his discretion when striking a patent infringement defendant's answer and counterclaims as a sanction for failure to comply with two discovery orders, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 29 (Drone Technologies Inc. v. Parrot S.A., et al., Nos. 15-1892, -1955, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17643).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Approves Liquidator's Claim Recommendations Totaling More Than $8 Million

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on Sept. 27 approved the recommendation of a liquidator of an insolvent insurer regarding $8,159,577.46 in directors and officers, professional and general liability claims (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Disposes Of PSU's Dispute With Insurer After Parties Announce Settlement

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania judge on Sept. 26 signed off on a coverage dispute stemming from underlying sexual abuse claims against now-convicted former Penn State coach Gerald Sandusky after Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and its insurer announced that they reached a settlement (The Pennsylvania State University, et al. v. Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Co., Nos. 04126, 03195 and 03197, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 3rd Circuit Says 'Fudgetopia' Trademarks Belong To Plaintiff

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge did not err in deeming a trademark infringement plaintiff the lawful and rightful owner of the "Fudgetopia" and "Fudgie Wudgie" trademarks as well as a related logo, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 23 (Three Rivers Confections LLC v. Christopher M. Warman, et al., No. 15-3436, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17390).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Split 3rd Circuit Affirms Class Certification In Case Against Jani-King

PHILADELPHIA - A split Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 21 affirmed that a Pennsylvania federal judge properly certified a class of franchisees suing one of the largest commercial cleaning franchisors over their employment classification, saying the claims in this case are "susceptible to class-wide determination" (Darryl Williams, et al. v. Jani-King of Philadelphia, et al., No. 15-2049, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17223).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Split 3rd Circuit Affirms Class Certification In Case Against Jani-King

PHILADELPHIA - A split Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 21 affirmed that a Pennsylvania federal judge properly certified a class of franchisees suing one of the largest commercial cleaning franchisors over their employment classification, saying the claims in this case are "susceptible to class-wide determination" (Darryl Williams, et al. v. Jani-King of Philadelphia, et al., No. 15-2049, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17223).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: New Discovered Evidence In Securities Suit Was Publicly Available

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 19 denied an investor's motion for relief from a previous dismissal order, ruling that the investor's newly discovered evidence was in fact available to the public months before the initial complaint in the action was filed (Steven P. Messner v. USA Technologies Inc., et al., No. 15-5427, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127041).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Finds Registering In State Provides Jurisdiction Over Talc Companies

PHILADELPHIA - Registering to do business in Pennsylvania provides consent to personal jurisdiction in the state even in light of recent Supreme Court precedent, a federal judge in Philadelphia held Sept. 20 in a case alleging ovarian cancer arising from exposure to talc (Nancy Bors v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 16-2866, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128259).