LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Groundwater Evidence Excluded On Grounds It Is A 'Last-Minute Surprise'

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A magistrate judge in Pennsylvania presiding over evidentiary issues in a case brought by residents who contend that a hydraulic fracturing company is liable for contaminating their groundwater on Feb. 24 denied the residents' motion to reconsider the magistrate's prior ruling that excluded certain evidence from trial (Nolen Scott Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, No. 09-2284, M.D. Pa.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Limits Professor's Opinion On Trash Conveyor In Defective Design Lawsuit

PITTSBURGH - While a professor may testify as to the installation and removal of a trash conveyor and whether the conveyor had moved, he may not testify as to the necessity and value of the conveyor, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Feb. 22, granting and denying in part a motion to exclude testimony in a defective design lawsuit against manufacturers of the conveyor (Brandi L. McKenzie v. Dematic Corp., et al., No. 12-250, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21256).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Finds Lender Was Not Attempting To Foreclose On Mortgage It Did Not Own

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 22 granted a lender's motion to dismiss state and federal law claims asserted against it, finding no evidence to show that it was attempting to foreclose on an underlying mortgage that it does not own (Mark DeHaven v. Planet Home Lending LLC, et al., No. 2:15-cv-380, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21404).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Limits Professor's Opinion On Trash Conveyor In Defective Design Lawsuit

PITTSBURGH - While a professor may testify as to the installation and removal of a trash conveyor and whether the conveyor had moved, he may not testify as to the necessity and value of the conveyor, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Feb. 22, granting and denying in part a motion to exclude testimony in a defective design lawsuit against manufacturers of the conveyor (Brandi L. McKenzie v. Dematic Corp., et al., No. 12-250, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21256).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: Captain May Not Testify On GPS Coordinates In Criminal Suit Against Officer

SCRANTON, Pa. - In a criminal suit against a police officer, a police captain may not testify as an expert regarding GPS coordinates and analysis, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Feb. 19, finding that the captain does not have the required specialized knowledge (Faith Kintzel v. Stephen Kleeman, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper, No. 13-163, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20158).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses State Farm's Fraudulent Billing Suit, Allows Amended Complaint

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 17 dismissed without prejudice a lawsuit brought by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and State Farm Fire and Casualty Insurance Co. (collectively, State Farm) against two chiropractors and their practices, after finding that the insurer failed to sufficiently plead that bills submitted by the defendants were fraudulent and that they were involved in a scheme to defraud the company (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Leonard Stavropolskiy, P.T., D.C., et al., No. 15-cv-5219, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18805).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Limits Engineer's Testimony, Grants Judgment On Strict Liability Claims

SCRANTON, Pa. - A professional engineer may not testify to a stock picker's hydraulic system and electrical drive system but may testify regarding the stock picker's steering wheel fastening system, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Feb. 16, granting and denying in part summary judgment to a manufacturer on strict liability and negligence claims (Patricia English and Richard English v. Crown Equipment Corp., No. 13-0978, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18029).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Attorney Fee Demand In Copyright Case Survives Motion To Dismiss

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Efforts by a copyright infringement defendant to obtain dismissal of a plaintiff's request for an award of attorney fees were unsuccessful Feb. 17, when a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled that such an award is explicitly authorized by the Copyright Act (Crestwood Membranes Inc. v. Constant Services Inc., No. 15-537, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19196).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Limits Engineer's Testimony, Grants Judgment On Strict Liability Claims

SCRANTON, Pa. - A professional engineer may not testify to a stock picker's hydraulic system and electrical drive system but may testify regarding the stock picker's steering wheel fastening system, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Feb. 16, granting and denying in part summary judgment to a manufacturer on strict liability and negligence claims (Patricia English and Richard English v. Crown Equipment Corp., No. 13-0978, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18029).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Suit Over City Parking Fees Denied Class Certification

PHILADELPHIA - A lawsuit accusing the City of Philadelphia of improperly collecting meter fees for parking when parking was to be free of charge was denied class certification on Feb. 11 by a Pennsylvania federal judge and sent back to the state court where it originated (Angela Parsons, et al. v. The Philadelphia Parking Authority, et al., No. 13-0955, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16731).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Majority Rejects Argument That Exclusion Is Contrary To Public Policy

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A majority of the Pennsylvania Superior Court on Feb. 12 rejected an insured's argument that a commercial general liability insurance policy's employer's liability exclusion as it relates to a "leased worker" is unconscionable and against public policy, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute arising from a workplace injury (Westfield Insurance Company v. Astra Foods Inc., et al., No. 1392 EDA 2014, Pa. Super.; 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 84).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 3rd Circuit Summarily Affirms: Plaintiff Lacks Standing Under ERISA

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge properly found that a plaintiff's claim for pension benefits accrued by his late father is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and that the plaintiff lacks standing to maintain such an action, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 11 in a not precedential decision (Thomas E. Robinson Jr. v. Laneko Engineering Co. Inc., No. 15-2837, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 2359).

Mealey's Insurance - Pennsylvania Majority Rejects Argument That Exclusion Is Contrary To Public Policy

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A majority of the Pennsylvania Superior Court on Feb. 12 rejected an insured's argument that a commercial general liability insurance policy's employer's liability exclusion as it relates to a "leased worker" is unconscionable and against public policy, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute arising from a workplace injury (Westfield Insurance Company v. Astra Foods Inc., et al., No. 1392 EDA 2014, Pa. Super.; 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 84).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Some Claims Dismissed In QVC's Suit Over Website Crash Caused By Web Crawler

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 10 granted in part motions to dismiss by defendants that QVC Inc. says were responsible for causing its website to crash due to unauthorized use of a Web-crawler robot, with the judge finding that the home-shopping giant failed to plead that the defendants intended to cause it harm or that relevant agreements bound all parties (QVC Inc. v. Resultly LLC, et al., No. 2:14-cv-06714, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16053).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Federal Jury Awards $1.08M For Mesothelioma; Crane Co. 30 Percent Liable

PHILADELPHIA - A federal jury in Pennsylvania on Feb. 9 awarded $1,085,000 in a mesothelioma case against Crane Co. and found it 30 percent liable, sources told Mealey's Publications (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Policy's Water Exclusion Precludes Insureds' Damage, Federal Judge Concludes

PHILADELPHIA - An insurance policy's bars coverage for an insureds' water damage because "surface water" includes water from both natural and man-made causes under the exclusion, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Feb. 9, dismissing breach of contract and bad faith claims (Citi Gas Convenience, Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-6691, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15503).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Jury Awards $1.08M For Mesothelioma; Crane Co. 30 Percent Liable

PHILADELPHIA - A federal jury in Pennsylvania on Feb. 9 awarded $1,085,000 in a mesothelioma case against Crane Co. and found it 30 percent liable, sources told Mealey's Publications (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Finds Documents Inadvertently Disclosed To DOJ Remain Privileged

PITTSBURGH - Even though an antitrust defendant inadvertently disclosed hundreds of documents to the U.S. Department of Justice in prior proceedings, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 8 found that the defendant's actions to claw back those documents permitted it to maintain its asserted attorney-client privilege, denying a motion to compel the documents (Cole's Wexford Hotel Inc., et al. v. UPMC, et al. No. 2:10-cv-01609, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15035).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: No Further Professional Liability Coverage Owed For Bad Faith Settlements

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 8 granted a professional liability insurer's motion for summary judgment in a coverage dispute over settlements arising from two bad faith lawsuits filed against its insured (United National Insurance Company, et al. v. Indian Harbor Insurance Co., No. 14-6425, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14791).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 2nd Circuit Judge Stays Order Forcing Chemical Injury Plaintiffs To Dismiss Case

NEW YORK - A judge in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 granted an emergency stay of a lower court's order that required a group of plaintiffs to dismiss their chemical injury lawsuit pending in Pennsylvania state court against Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (Tronox Incorporated v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, No. 14-5495, 2nd Cir.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Finds Documents Inadvertently Disclosed To DOJ Remain Privileged

PITTSBURGH - Even though an antitrust defendant inadvertently disclosed hundreds of documents to the U.S. Department of Justice in prior proceedings, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 8 found that the defendant's actions to claw back those documents permitted it to maintain its asserted attorney-client privilege, denying a motion to compel the documents (Cole's Wexford Hotel Inc., et al. v. UPMC, et al. No. 2:10-cv-01609, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15035).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - $13.4M Verdict Returned In Pennsylvania State Court Ethicon Pelvic Mesh Case

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania state court jury on Feb. 10 returned a $13.45 million verdict in an Ethicon Corp. pelvic mesh trial after about two hours of deliberation, according to the parties (Sharon Carolino, et al. v. Ethicon Women's Health and Urology, et al., No. 130603470, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Federal Judge: 401(k) Plan Document Qualifies As Trust Agreement

PHILADELPHIA - Allegations that an employer violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to provide, upon request by a former employee a copy of a trust agreement were rejected Feb. 5 by a Pennsylvania federal judge, who instead found that the company's provision of the operative 401(k) plan document satisfied 29 U.S. Code Sections 1024(b)(4) and 1103(a) (Derrick Askew v. R.L. Reppert Inc., et al., No. 11-4003, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14448).

Mealey's Insurance - Magistrate Judge: Damages From Insured's Alleged Work Did Not Occur In Policy Period

PITTSBURGH - Damages from an insured's alleged faulty construction did not arise during an insurance policy's period and thus did not trigger the insurer's duty to defend, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled Feb. 5, dismissing the insured's breach of contract and bad faith claims (Reginella Construction Co., Inc. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. and State Farm General Insurance Co., No. 15-989, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14213).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Last 2 Plaintiffs In Actiq Third-Party Payer Case Stipulate To Dismissal

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 3 closed a third-party payer case involving the alleged off-label sales of the pain drug Actiq after the last remaining plaintiffs stipulated to dismissal with prejudice (Employers Mutual Casualty Co. v. Cephalon, Inc., No. 07-4492, E.D. Pa.).