LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Magistrate Judge Allows Insurer's Expert To Testify On Cause Of Fire

PHILADELPHIA - An insurance company's expert may testify on the cause of a fire to property, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled May 23, finding that although the expert failed to collect some relevant information and perform tests that would have strengthened the opinion's basis, the challenges go to the weight of his opinions (Allstate Insurance Co. v. Rosa-Lee Anderson and Deandre Patterson, No. 15-2651, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66481).

Mealey's Insurance - Magistrate Judge Recommends Denial Of Motion To Dismiss In Bad Faith Suit

SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on May 17 issued a report and recommendation in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, recommending that the district court deny an insurer's motion to dismiss so that it may file a motion for summary judgment and recommending that the insured in the action file a more definite statement regarding her bad faith claim (Sarah Long v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-2428, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65575).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss State Farm's Amended Fraudulent Billing Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 18 denied a motion to dismiss State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.'s amended lawsuit accusing a medical practice of submitting fraudulent bills, holding that the company need not prove that it justifiably relied on the bills (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Leonard Stavropolskiy, P.T., D.C., et al., No. 15-cv-5929, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65234).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Chemical Injury Plaintiffs: 2nd Circuit Should Reverse Order To Dismiss Claims

NEW YORK - A group of plaintiffs who allege that they have been harmed as a result of exposure to wood treated with creosote from a chemical company's operation in Pennsylvania on May 18 filed a brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that a district court erred when it ordered them to dismiss their claims against the company that treated the wood with chemicals (Tronox Incorporated v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, No. 14-5495, 2nd Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insureds Haven't Shown Insurer Lacked Basis To Deny Coverage

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Dismissal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because insureds failed to show that an insurer lacked a reasonable basis for denying their underinsured motorist coverage claims, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled May 16 (Steven Kiss, et al. v. State Farm Insurance Co., No. 15-6572, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64572).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Motion For Acquittal, New Trial Over Health Care Fraud Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 13 denied a woman's motion for acquittal following her conviction on four counts of health care fraud, ruling that the government sufficiently showed that Medicare is a health care benefit program that affects commerce (United States of America v. Patricia McGill, No. 12-112-01, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63950).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Bars Expert Testimony On Conveyance Of Safety Warnings In Negligence Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A plaintiffs' expert is precluded from testifying that it was unreasonable for the manufacturer of a motorcycle to rely on its dealers to convey safety warnings, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled May 12, dismissing in part testimony in a strict liability and negligence lawsuit (Parvez and Razia Yazdani v. BMW of North America, LLC and BMW Motorrad USA, No. 15-01427, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63006).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Bars Expert Testimony On Conveyance Of Safety Warnings In Negligence Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A plaintiffs' expert is precluded from testifying that it was unreasonable for the manufacturer of a motorcycle to rely on its dealers to convey safety warnings, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled May 12, dismissing in part testimony in a strict liability and negligence lawsuit (Parvez and Razia Yazdani v. BMW of North America, LLC and BMW Motorrad USA, No. 15-01427, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63006).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Partial Dismissal Granted, Arbitration Ordered In FCRA Late Payments Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 10 referred a case by a couple who are accusing three credit-reporting agencies (CRAs) and their lender of falsely reporting multiple late payment to arbitration; the order came just one day after the judge dismissed the couple's defamation claims, as well as part of their claims brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (Beatrice Cicala v. Trans Union, LLC, et al., No. 15-6790, Joseph Cicala v. Trans Union, LLC, et al., No. 15-6801, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61212).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Rejects Motions To Dismiss Wage-And-Hour Claims

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 11 denied motions to dismiss claims brought by ice cream chain employees alleging violations of the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state labor and wage laws (Tisha Reed, et al. v. Friendly's Ice Cream LLC, et al., No. 15-CV-0298, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62197).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Company: Settlement In Groundwater Contamination Case Should Be Enforced

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The hydraulic fracturing company and its affiliates being sued by residents who allege that the companies contaminated the groundwater in their Pennsylvania town on May 10 filed a brief arguing that a settlement between the parties should be enforced (Tammy Manning, et al. v. WPX Energy Appalachia LLC, No. 12-0646, M.D. Pa.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Tyson Foods Prevails In Trademark Dispute Over 'Park's Finest' Franks

PHILADELPHIA - A defense motion for summary judgment was granted May 10 by a Pennsylvania federal judge, who found that "no reasonable factfinder could find" in favor of a plaintiff on its allegations that "Park's Finest" frankfurters infringe the "Parks" trademark as applied to breakfast and dinner sausages (Parks LLC v. Tyson Foods Inc., et al., No. 15-946, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61510).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Rejects Motions To Dismiss Wage-And-Hour Claims

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 11 denied motions to dismiss claims brought by ice cream chain employees alleging violations of the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state labor and wage laws (Tisha Reed, et al. v. Friendly's Ice Cream LLC, et al., No. 15-CV-0298, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62197).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pennsylvania Superior Court Affirms $3M Topamax Birth Defect Verdict

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania Superior Court appeals panel on May 11 denied Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s appeal of a $3 million Topamax birth defect verdict, agreeing with the trial court that the claims are not preempted, that there was no comparative negligence and that the $1.5 million future medical expense award was not "shocking" (Kelly Anderson, et al. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 2330 EDA 2014, Pa. Super.).

Mealey's Insurance - Evidence Supports Insurer's Coverage Denial For Water Damages, Federal Judge Says

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 5 granted judgment in favor of an insurer in a water damage suit after determining that the insurer's denial of coverage was reasonable based on the clear language of the policy's maintenance exclusion (David Dougherty v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-7270, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59667).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - SEPTA To Pay $116,843 For Violating Storage Tank Regulations, EPA Says

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced May 4 that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Public Transit Authority (SEPTA) will pay $116,843 for violating underground storage tank regulations at five of its bus garages in Philadelphia.

Mealey's Insurance - Intervenors Seek To Recover $150,000 From Insurers' Rehabilitation Estate

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Intervenors in a rehabilitation proceeding of two related insurers on May 3 asked a Pennsylvania court to allow them to recover more than $150,000 in fees, costs and expenses incurred in the first quarter of 2016 (In Re: Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company in Rehabilitation and In re: American Network Insurance Company in Rehabilitation, Nos. 1 PEN 2009 & 1 ANI 2009, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Denies Remand Request In Copyright Dispute

PHILADELPHIA - A declaratory judgment action brought in anticipation of a threatened claim of copyright infringement provides a sufficient basis for removal of the case from state court, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled May 5 (TGaS Advisors LLC v. Zensights LLC, No. 16-1870, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59687).

Mealey's IP/Tech - School District Mostly Prevails In Suit Over Discipline For Facebook Post

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 3 mostly granted summary judgment to a school district on claims that it violated the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by disciplining a student for an off-campus Facebook posting related to a bomb threat, with the judge finding the discipline proper because it was reasonable to forecast that the post would cause a substantial on-campus disruption (R.L., et al. v. Central York School District, et al., No. 1:14-cv-00450, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58446).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pennsylvania Superior Court Revives Negligence Claim Against NCAA

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on May 3 found that a trial court erred in dismissing claims against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) because a jury could find that the organization owed a duty to screen a student athlete for a potentially dangerous condition before he died; the panel remanded the suit for further proceedings (Jack Hill Sr., et al. v. Slippery Rock University, et al., No. 180-WDA-2015, Pa Super.; 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 252).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Remand Professional Liability Dispute To State Court

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 28 denied a law firm insured's motion to remand to state court its breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking lawyers' professional liability coverage for an underlying legal malpractice action (Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, et al., v. Westport Insurance Corp., et al., No. 15-322, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56571).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Casino Dismissed From Tour Guides' Wage Class Complaint

NEW YORK - Two travel company employees who allege in a class complaint that they were denied minimum and overtime wages while escorting groups from New York to a casino in Pennsylvania failed to establish personal jurisdiction as to the companies that own the casino and adjacent retail complex, a New York federal judge ruled April 28 (Lin Wai Mao, et al. v. Sands Bethworks Gaming LLC, et al., No. 15-6252, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56742).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Casino Dismissed From Tour Guides' Wage Class Complaint

NEW YORK - Two travel company employees who allege in a class complaint that they were denied minimum and overtime wages while escorting groups from New York to a casino in Pennsylvania failed to establish personal jurisdiction as to the companies that own the casino and adjacent retail complex, a New York federal judge ruled April 28 (Lin Wai Mao, et al. v. Sands Bethworks Gaming LLC, et al., No. 15-6252, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56742).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Federal Jury Renders Defense Verdict In Hot Wax Suit

SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal jury in Pennsylvania on April 27 entered a defense verdict for a company that makes a body wax in a suit brought by a woman who was burned when the tube the wax was in exploded and wax landed on her after she took it out of the microwave (Kelsey Ouelette v. Coty U.S. LLC, No. 3:14-CV-0712, M.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Man Files Class Complaint Against SEPTA Over Job Applicant Checks

PHILADELPHIA - The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) routinely violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA) by obtaining and using job applicants' records in a manner that violates federal and state law, a Philadelphia man who was an unsuccessful job applicant alleges in his class complaint filed against SEPTA in Pennsylvania federal court on April 27 (Frank Long, et al. v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, No. 16-1991, E.D. Pa.).