LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Lack Of Factual Allegations Dooms Bad Faith Claim, Federal Judge Rules

PHILADELPHIA - Dismissal an insured's bad faith claim against his insurer for failure to pay uninsured motorist benefits pursuant to an automobile insurance policy is proper because the insured failed to state any factual allegations to support his bad faith claim, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Dec. 5 (Vincent Talotta v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-5557, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167248).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Declines To Bar Medical Testimony On History Of Neck Pain In Auto Negligence Suit

SCRANTON, Pa. - In a negligence lawsuit stemming from an automobile accident, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 5 declined to exclude medical testimony on a man's history of neck pain and how any exacerbation of the neck would have resolved itself in a matter of months because any disagreement can be addressed through cross-examination (Daniel Broe and Heidi Broe v. Steven Manns, No. 15-985, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167593).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Declines To Bar Medical Testimony On History Of Neck Pain In Auto Negligence Suit

SCRANTON, Pa. - In a negligence lawsuit stemming from an automobile accident, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 5 declined to exclude medical testimony on a man's history of neck pain and how any exacerbation of the neck would have resolved itself in a matter of months because any disagreement can be addressed through cross-examination (Daniel Broe and Heidi Broe v. Steven Manns, No. 15-985, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167593).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer's Revision Of Estimate In Insurance Dispute Not In Bad Faith

SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 5 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment on an insured's claim for insurance bad faith in a homeowners insurance dispute, ruling that the insured failed to show that the insurer's actions during the investigation and subsequent issuance of an estimate and revised estimates rise to the level of bad faith under Pennsylvania law (Joan Yatsonsky v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 15-1777, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167224).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Plaintiffs Argue That Class Treatment Is Superior In Spyware Suit

ERIE, Pa. - In a Dec. 2 reply brief supporting their motion for class certification, a Wyoming couple, who unknowingly purchased a laptop with spyware installed on it, tells a Pennsylvania federal court that their complaint against the laptop seller for violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) merits class treatment because of "the ability to answer predominating common questions in a uniform manner" in compliance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Plaintiffs Argue That Class Treatment Is Superior In Spyware Suit

ERIE, Pa. - In a Dec. 2 reply brief supporting their motion for class certification, a Wyoming couple, who unknowingly purchased a laptop with spyware installed on it, tells a Pennsylvania federal court that their complaint against the laptop seller for violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) merits class treatment because of "the ability to answer predominating common questions in a uniform manner" in compliance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pennsylvania High Court Dismisses Asbestos Appeal Over Dangerous Product Question

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Nov. 22 dismissed as improvidently granted an appeal challenging whether a judge or jury properly decides if the lack of warnings on a product renders the product unreasonably dangerous (Thomas Amato and Jean Amato v. Bell & Gossett, et al., No. 5 EAP 2016, Charlotte Vinciguerra, et al. v. Bayer Cropscience Inc., et al., No. 4 EAP 2016, Pa. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pennsylvania High Court Dismisses Asbestos Appeal Over Dangerous Product Question

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Nov. 22 dismissed as improvidently granted an appeal challenging whether a judge or jury properly decides if the lack of warnings on a product renders the product unreasonably dangerous (Thomas Amato and Jean Amato v. Bell & Gossett, et al., No. 5 EAP 2016, Charlotte Vinciguerra, et al. v. Bayer Cropscience Inc., et al., No. 4 EAP 2016, Pa. Sup.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Bank, Payment Processing Subsidiary Settle RICO Class Suit For $37.5M

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on Nov. 21 granted final approval of a $37.5 million settlement to be paid by Zions National Bank and its former payment processing subsidiary to end a class complaint accusing the companies of knowingly processing payments for fraudulent telemarketers (Reynaldo Reyes, et al. v. Zions First National Bank, et al., No. 10-345, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Health Law - Pennsylvania Federal Judge: ERISA Controls Breach Of Contract, Fiduciary Duty Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge in an opinion filed Nov. 18 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand a case alleging improper denial of claims under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-qualified health plan to state court, saying that claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are properly brought under ERISA (Eric A. Shore P.C. v. Independence Blue Cross, et al., No. 16-5224, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160022).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pa. Top Court Affirms Experts' Cumulative Exposure Testimony In $1M Asbestos Case

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Expert testimony that every dose of asbestos contributes to the cumulative total simply states accepted scientific fact and is not the type of "every exposure" testimony rejected by precedent, a divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court held Nov. 22 in affirming a nearly $1 million verdict (Richard Rost and Joyce Rost v. Ford Motor Co., No. 56 EAP 2014, Pa. Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Allows Insured To Add Wife As Indispensable Party In Bad Faith Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 21 rejected an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit for failure to join an indispensable party, allowing an insured to amend his complaint to add his wife as a plaintiff (William Koepke v. Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Co., No. 16-4633, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161112).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Federal Judge: ERISA Controls Breach Of Contract, Fiduciary Duty Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge in an opinion filed Nov. 18 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand a case alleging improper denial of claims under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-qualified health plan to state court, saying that claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are properly brought under ERISA (Eric A. Shore P.C. v. Independence Blue Cross, et al., No. 16-5224, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160022).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pa. Top Court Affirms Experts' Cumulative Exposure Testimony In $1M Asbestos Case

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Expert testimony that every dose of asbestos contributes to the cumulative total simply states accepted scientific fact and is not the type of "every exposure" testimony rejected by precedent, a divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court held Nov. 22 in affirming a nearly $1 million verdict (Richard Rost and Joyce Rost v. Ford Motor Co., No. 56 EAP 2014, Pa. Sup.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Final Approval Sought In Settlement Of Angie's List Paid Reviews Lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA - The lead plaintiffs in a putative fraud and breach of contract class action against Angie's List Inc. filed a motion in Pennsylvania federal court Nov. 14, seeking final approval of a settlement in their lawsuit over the consumer review site operator's practice of obtaining revenue from service providers that are the subject of such reviews (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01243, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Iron Hill Brewery Settles Bartenders, Servers Wage Claims For $1.29M

PHILADELPHIA - A company with restaurants in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware will pay $1.29 million to settle claims that it wrongfully used a tip credit when paying its servers and bartenders as it required those tipped employees to share those tips with other workers (Matthew Schaub, et al. v. Chesapeake & Delaware Brewing Holdings and Iron Hill Brewery, LLC, No. 16-756, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157203).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Final Approval Sought In Settlement Of Angie's List Paid Reviews Lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA - The lead plaintiffs in a putative fraud and breach of contract class action against Angie's List Inc. filed a motion in Pennsylvania federal court Nov. 14, seeking final approval of a settlement in their lawsuit over the consumer review site operator's practice of obtaining revenue from service providers that are the subject of such reviews (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01243, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Iron Hill Brewery Settles Bartenders, Servers Wage Claims For $1.29M

PHILADELPHIA - A company with restaurants in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware will pay $1.29 million to settle claims that it wrongfully used a tip credit when paying its servers and bartenders as it required those tipped employees to share those tips with other workers; a federal judge in Pennsylvania approved the final settlement on Nov. 14 (Matthew Schaub, et al. v. Chesapeake & Delaware Brewing Holdings and Iron Hill Brewery, LLC, No. 16-756, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157203).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 3rd Circuit Hears Arguments On Radiation Exposure At Pennsylvania Power Plant

PHILADELPHIA - Attorneys for a group of Pennsylvania residents and a power plant presented oral arguments before the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 10, debating the causation of the residents' injuries, including cancer, which the residents allege stem from exposure to radioactive materials emitted from the power plant. The plaintiffs' attorney argued that qualitative differential diagnosis was a valid means of showing that the residents had been exposed to radiation, while attorneys for the company argued that the plaintiffs had failed to establish exposure (Michelle McMunn, et al. v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc., et al, No. 15-3506 [consolidated], 3rd Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer's Actions During Negotiations Do Not Support Bad Faith Claim

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 9 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insured failed to present any evidence to support her bad faith claim with regard to the insurer's handling of her homeowners insurance claim (Lillian Pecko v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-1988, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155355).

Mealey's Insurance - Liquidator Asks For OK To Have Reinsurer Make Direct Payments To Insured

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer asked a Pennsylvania court on Nov. 3 to approve a plan by which a reinsurer will make direct payments of workers' compensation and employers' liability claims to an insured, thus relieving the insolvent insurer of its obligations to the insured (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Approves $265 Million Settlement For Philadelphia Derailment

PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania federal judge overseeing the Philadelphia Amtrak train derailment multidistrict litigation on Oct. 27 approved a $265 million settlement between Amtrak and those injured and the families of those who died in the May 12, 2015, derailment (In re Amtrak Train Derailment in Philadelphia, PA, on May 12, 2015, No. 2654, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Bars In Part Testimony In Land Easement Suit Between Owners, Natural Gas Company

SCRANTON, Pa. - In a land easement dispute, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 26 granted and denied in part motions to exclude testimony, noting the parties "who know the land and the subject natural gas operations best and who occupy a prime position to appropriately value the contested easements, even if such valuation ultimately requires compromise on both sides" should resolve the dispute rather than a jury (Columbia Gas Transmission LLC v. 101 acres and 41,342 sq. ft more or less in Heidelberg Township, York County, Pa., et al., No. 13-00783; Columbia Gas Transmission LLC v. 1,5561 acres more or less in Heidelberg Township, York County, Pa., et al., No. 13-00785, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148053).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Federal Judge Approves $265 Million Settlement For Philadelphia Derailment

PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania federal judge overseeing the Philadelphia Amtrak train derailment multidistrict litigation on Oct. 27 approved a $265 million settlement between Amtrak and those injured and the families of those who died in the May 12, 2015, derailment (In re Amtrak Train Derailment in Philadelphia, PA, on May 12, 2015, No. 2654, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Superior Court: Wages May Not Be Paid Via Payroll Cards

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A class of current and former McDonald's employees may proceed with their state wage claims against a couple who own and operate 16 franchises in Pennsylvania and pay their hourly employees via JP Morgan Chase Payroll Cards, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled Oct. 21, determining in a question of first impression that that form of payment, which subjects the employees to fees, does not meet requirements of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL) (Alisha Siciliano, et al. v. Albert/Carol Mueller, et al., No. 1321 MDA 2015, Pa. Super.; 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 596).