WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 18 enforced, with some modifications, a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) finding that the social media code of Chipotle Services LLC (doing business as Chipotle Mexican Grill) violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the fast food chain committed further violations by directing an employee to delete certain tweets, prohibiting the employee from circulating a petition challenging the chain's break policy and terminating the employee for his actions (Chipotle Services LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee, a project of the Fast Food Workers Committee, Nos. 04-CA-147314 and 04-CA-149551, NLRB).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal jury in Pennsylvania on Aug. 19 found no negligence in a doctor's failure to properly diagnose and treat a woman's herpes zoster virus after a judge ruled that the jury would not hear testimony regarding the potential availability of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) benefits (Tami Bernheisel v. Martin Mikaya, M.D., Memorial Hospital Inc., et al., No. 13-1496, M.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - In a price-fixing conspiracy lawsuit against egg producers, an economics expert may opine regarding the existence of a unitary egg industry, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 15, denying the motion to exclude the testimony (In re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-md-2002, MDL No. 2002, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107399).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 12 dismissed a class claim for medical monitoring brought by airline workers stationed at the Philadelphia International Airport who allege that they were exposed to toxins, finding that the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act (PWCA) is the exclusive remedy available to the workers (David Smith, et al. v. American Airlines, Inc., et al., No. 16-156, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107402).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 11 dismissed a reinsurance arbitration dispute pursuant to an agreement between the parties (In the Matter of Arbitration Between Excalibur Reinsurance Corporation and Odyssey America Reinsurance Corporation, No. 10-mc-00195, E.D. Pa.).
A second wave of putative class action lawsuits accusing universities of mismanaging their employee retirement plans by charging excessive fees, using multiple record keepers to operate their plans and handle administrative services and offering too many high-cost and poorly performing investment options were filed Aug. 10 and 11 (David Clark, et al. v. Duke University, et al., No. 1:16-cv-01044, M.D. N.C.; Loren L. Cassell, et al. v. Vanderbilt University, et al., No. 3:16-cv-02086, M.D. Tenn.; Jennifer Sweda, et al. v. University of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 2:16-cv-04329; Margaret E. Kelly, et al. v. The Johns Hopkins University, No. 1:16-cv-02835, D. Md.).
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - An insured's faulty workmanship does not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 9, relying on Kvaerner Metals Division of Kvaerner U.S., Inc. v. Commercial Union Ins. Co. (589 Pa. 317, 908 A.2d 888, 896 [Pa. 2006]) to find an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify (Acuity, a mutual insurance company v. Knisely & Sons, Inc., et al., No. 15-76, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104431).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 2 partially denied a life insurance company's motion to dismiss a putative class action for benefits under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan, finding that a section of a state motor vehicle statute "regulates insurance" and is therefore saved from ERISA preemption (Eric Yost, et al. v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 3:16-cv-00079, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101202).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - In a personal injury lawsuit arising out of an auto collision, a trucking industry safety expert may testify that a trucking company's power carrier program did not act as a freight broker, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 3, finding that the expert qualifies to testify on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) related to brokers of property (Francisco Ramos-Becerra and Louisa Ramos v. Ricky L. Hatfield, et al., No. 14-0917, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101579).
PITTSBURGH - Efforts to enforce a patent against myriad defendant insurers failed Aug. 4 when a Pennsylvania federal judge agreed with the insurer that the patent claims ineligible subject matter and "does not clear" the bar set in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l. (134 S. Ct. 2347, 2355 ) (Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Erie Indemnity Company, et al., No. 14-220, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102289).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 29 held that a petroleum refiner insured failed to provide any evidence that it would have acted differently had it known that a petroleum distributor's credit account was not secured, affirming a lower court's ruling that there was no "unlawful taking" to trigger commercial crime coverage for the loss of approximately $90 million worth of fuel (Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company, L.L.C. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, No. 15-50405, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13838).
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on July 27 granted in part a plaintiff company's motion to clarify findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding contamination at a site in Greenville, Pa., explaining that the parties did not present evidence as to how the defendant company's painting operations contributed to contamination on the property (Trinity Industries Inc., et al. v. Greenlease Holding Company, No. 08-1498, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97824).
PHILADELPHIA - A couple's lawsuit against the builder of a home they purchased from another couple in 2011 was reinstated by a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on July 26, after it found that privity was not required for the plaintiffs to bring claims for fraud and violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) (Christopher Adams, et al. v. Hellings Builders Inc., No. 1407 EDA 2015, Pa. Super.; 2016 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2720).
PHILADELPHIA - Twenty-five days after a jury awarded $70 million to a plaintiff in a Risperdal gynecomastia trial, a Pennsylvania state court judge on July 25 denied post-trial motions by both the plaintiff and defendants Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Johnson & Johnson (A.Y. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, No. 130402094, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).