LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Insurer's Denial Of Coverage Under Exclusion Was Not In Bad Faith, Judge Rules

SCRANTON, Pa. - A water exclusion in a homeowners insurance policy is unambiguous and precluded coverage for damages caused when sewage backed up into an insured's basement; as a result, an insurer did not act in bad faith in denying coverage, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled May 21 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Audrey Sank v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-1620, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84943).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - TD Ameritrade Defendants Dismissed From Securities Class Action

PHILADELPHIA - An investor's unsuitability claim under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 fails because the investor is unable to show that TD Ameritrade Inc. and two of its subsidiaries recommended or purchased securities for her that led to extensive losses on her investments, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled May 21 in granting a motion to dismiss (Marianne Antczak v. TD Ameritrade Clearing Inc., et al., No. 17-4947, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84570).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Some Claims Against Chemical Companies Valid In Groundwater Case

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 21 ruled that a group of Pennsylvania residents had a valid negligence claim against the makers of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) related to groundwater contamination, but the judge said the plaintiffs did not sufficiently plead property damage (Larry Menkes, et al. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 17-0573, E.D. Pa.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85113).

Mealey's Insurance - Pennsylvania Act Violates Takings Clause, Federal Judge Says In Insurance Dispute

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge on May 17 found that Pennsylvania's Act 44, which mandates that the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association transfer $200 million of its "surplus" funds for deposit into the Commonwealth's General Fund, is unconstitutional, granting summary and declaratory judgment and permanent injunctive relief in favor of the association (Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association v. Tom Wolf, No. 17-2041, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83137).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pella Removes Suit Over Leaky Windows, Cites Diversity, Excessive Damages

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Pella Corp. says in a May 11 notice of removal that a man's state court lawsuit over windows and doors that were allegedly defective because they leaked belongs in federal court in Pennsylvania because he is seeking damages in excess of the $75,000 jurisdictional threshold and because complete diversity exists between the parties (Edward Melhem v. Pella Corp., et al., No. 18-cv-2007, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Defective Ladder Defendants Win Judgment After Expert Testimony Excluded

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - After excluding expert testimony for lack of reliability and helpfulness, a Pennsylvania federal judge on May 10 awarded summary judgment to a ladder company and a big box retail chain in a personal injury action filed by a man who fell from a ladder (Benjamin White, et al. v. The Home Depot, Inc., et al., No. 5:17-cv-4174, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79694).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Defective Ladder Defendants Win Judgment After Expert Testimony Excluded

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - After excluding expert testimony for lack of reliability and helpfulness, a Pennsylvania federal judge on May 10 awarded summary judgment to a ladder company and a big box retail chain in a personal injury action filed by a man who fell from a ladder (Benjamin White, et al. v. The Home Depot, Inc., et al., No. 5:17-cv-4174, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79694).

Mealey's Insurance - Auto Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Handling Underinsured Motorist Claim

SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 11 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment on a bad faith claim after determining that the insured failed to provide clear and convincing evidence that the insurer acted in bad faith in its handling of the insured's claim for underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits (Brittany Shaw v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., No. 17-947, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80101).

Mealey's Insurance - Owner Of Mental Health Services Clinic Sentenced To 6 Years For Insurance Fraud

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 9 sentenced the owner of a mental health services clinic to six years in prison and ordered her to pay $151,122.17 in restitution for billing Medicare for psychiatric services provided to the elderly and adolescents by unlicensed and untrained individuals (United States of America v. Joan Cicchiello, No. 15-cr-223, M.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Magistrate Judge Recommends Partially Applying Ohio Law In Data Breach Class Suit

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on May 9 issued a report and recommendation in a class complaint by banks and credit unions against a fast food company after a hacking incident to apply Ohio law as to the plaintiffs' negligence and negligence per se claims (First Choice Federal Credit Union, et al. v. The Wendy's Company, et al., No. 16-506, W.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79088).

Mealey's Insurance - Disability Insurer Has Standing To Enforce Separation Agreement

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 8 denied a disability claimant's motion to dismiss a disability insurer's breach of contract counterclaim after determining that the insurer was included as a released party in a separation agreement signed by the claimant and his employer and, therefore, has standing to enforce the terms of the separation agreement (Roger Michael Thomas v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 17-4522, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77732).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 3rd Circuit Affirms Retiree Medical Benefits Properly Terminated

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge did not err in granting a retirement plan summary judgment on allegations that it breached its fiduciary duty when ending medical benefits for a retiree who violated a plan provision relating to continued work in the construction industry, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 7 (John D. Bickhart v. Carpenters Health and Welfare Fund of Philadelphia and Vicinity, No. 17-2834, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 11888).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Insurer's, Insured's Summary Judgment Motions On Bad Faith Claim

PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 7 ruled that neither an insurer nor an insured was entitled to summary judgment on an insurance bad faith claim because a reasonable jury could rule in either party's favor on the claim in an automobile insurance dispute (Melissa C. Parisi, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-179, W.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76246).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: 8 Insurers Owe No Reimbursement For Faulty Windows Settlement

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Eight insurers under 27 insurance policies owe no reimbursement to an aluminum products manufacturer against costs from an underlying settlement over the sale of faulty windows, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled May 1, finding that the policies do not cover damages caused by the insured's intentional conduct (Sapa Extrusions Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-2827, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73162).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Philadelphia, Wells Fargo Ask Court To Keep Discovery In FHA Case Confidential

PHILADELPHIA - The city of Philadelphia and a bank on May 1 jointly moved a Pennsylvania federal court for entry of a confidentiality order in relation to discovery in a lawsuit in which the city alleges that the bank engaged in discriminatory lending practices in minority communities (Philadelphia v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al., No. 17-2203, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Philadelphia, Wells Fargo Ask Court To Keep Discovery In FHA Case Confidential

PHILADELPHIA - The city of Philadelphia and a bank on May 1 jointly moved a Pennsylvania federal court for entry of a confidentiality order in relation to discovery in a lawsuit in which the city alleges that the bank engaged in discriminatory lending practices in minority communities (Philadelphia v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al., No. 17-2203, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Expert Opinion Ruled Proper For Insurance Salesman's Claim Of Lost Business

PHILADELPHIA - A medical expert can testify about an insurance salesman's psychiatric symptoms in support of his claim for emotional distress damages in his suit alleging that an insurance company caused his "substantial book of business" to suffer when he transferred from one insurance agency to another, a Pennsylvania federal judge decided April 27 (Douglas K. Karpf v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 10-1401, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72724).

Mealey's Insurance - Magistrate Judge: Fact IssuesExist On Collapse's Cause For Insurance Coverage

PHILADELPHIA - There are genuine issues of material fact as to whether a homeowners insurance policy covered a collapse, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge held April 26, noting that there is competing testimony on whether the collapse was caused by improper construction or long-term deterioration (Jocelyn Desvarieux, et al. v. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 17-2564, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71230).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Superior Court Reverses Attorney Award In Wal-Mart Workers' Wage Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania trial court erred when it awarded a contingency fee to class counsel following a multimillion-dollar award for the plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour class suit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam's East (collectively, Wal-Mart) and applied a 3.7 contingency multiplier, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled April 27, remanding for a detailed explanation regarding the use of the contingency multiplier (Michelle Braun, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., Dolores Hummel, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., Nos. 3361 EDA 2016 and 3633 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1332).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Judge Tosses Copyright, Lanham Act Claims Over Children's Books

PITTSBURGH - Although acknowledging that two children's books share "some similarity," a Pennsylvania federal judge on April 27 deemed those similarities a "random scattershot" of aspects that would be expected by two works expressing the same unprotectable idea (Jennie Nicassio v. Viacom International Inc., et al., No. 17-805, W.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70730).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Southwest Passenger Sues For PTSD Following Mid-Air Engine Explosion

PHILADELPHIA - A passenger aboard a Southwest Airlines Co. flight headed to Dallas that had make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an engine exploded mid-air and caused one death filed a complaint on April 26 in a Pennsylvania federal court for injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, emotional distress and depression (Lilia Chavez, et al. v. Southwest Airlines Company, et al., No. 18-1769, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Pennsylvania Superior CourtReverses Attorney Award In Wal-Mart Workers' Wage Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania trial court erred when it awarded a contingency fee to class counsel following a m ultimillion-dollar award for the plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour class suit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam's East (collectively, Wal-Mart) and applied a 3.7 contingency multiplier, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled April 27, remanding for a detailed explanation regarding the use of the contingency multiplier (Michelle Braun, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., Dolores Hummel, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., Nos. 3361 EDA 2016 and 3633 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1332).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Franchising Company's Website Not Sufficiently Interactive To Justify Jurisdiction

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 25 granted a franchising company's motion to dismiss a negligence and premises liability lawsuit, finding that the company's website is not sufficiently interactive to justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction and that its contacts with the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are insufficient to establish personal jurisdiction (Karen And Robert Arnold v. Irish Bred Pub Concepts Co., No. 17-3643, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69896).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Defense Verdict Returned In 2nd Pennsylvania Xarelto Injury Trial

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania state court jury on April 27 returned a defense verdict for Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc. in the state's second complex litigation Xarelto trial (Daniel I. Russell, et al. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. 150500362, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Primanti Bros. Will Pay $2.1 Million To Settle Wage Class Dispute

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 23 granted final approval of a $2.1 million settlement to be paid by Primanti Corp., doing business as Primanti Bros., to end a wage class complaint brought on behalf of tipped employees seeking unpaid wages (Chelsea Koenig, et al. v. Primanti Corporation, et al., No. 16-1402, W.D. Pa.).