PHILADELPHIA - A commercial general liability insurer did not breach its insurance contract nor did it act in bad faith in denying a claim, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 29 because "deleterious substances" exclusion precluded coverage for grout dust from construction work that led to property damage (Collin R. Ginther v. Preferred Contractors Insurance Company Risk Retention Group LLC, No. 16-686, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161720).
PHILADELPHIA - A couple who prevailed on their claims that their home builder was liable for defects in the construction of their home that caused water intrusion and property damage and for violation of Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Law (UPTCPL) are entitled to a greater award of attorney fees, a Pennsylvania appeals panel ruled Oct. 2, after finding that the trial court judge erred when reducing the amount based on a contingency agreement the plaintiffs had with their attorney (Arun Krishnan, et al. v. The Cutler Group, Inc., Nos. 2614 EDA 2016, 2745 EDA 2016, 2613 EDA 2016, 2828 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 766).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 29 dismissed a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) by two China-based business consultants who say GSK failed to tell them about its bribery activities that resulted in them spending two years in Chinese prisons (Peter Humphrey, et al. v. GlaxoSmithKline, plc, et al., No. 16-5924, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162495).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Pennsylvania man convicted for making threats against co-workers and others on social media saw his second bid at a petition for certiorari denied Oct. 2 when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider his questions related to a reasonableness standard and mens rea in reaching such a conviction (Anthony D. Elonis v. United States of America, No. 16-1231, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 27 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that claims that a pharmacy and its pharmacist were negligent in repackaging single-use syringes of Avastin and Lucentis are related and, therefore, are subject to the $1 million per-claim limit under two health care providers' professional liability insurance policies (American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania v. Samuel Belcher, et al., No. 17-10848, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18664).
PHILADELPHIA - In response to an insurer's breach of contract counterclaims, a reinsurer on Sept. 27 filed an amended answer in a Pennsylvania federal court, asserting a statute of limitations defense and that it did not agree to reinsure an excess umbrella policy (R&Q Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1473, E.D. Pa.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - Expert witnesses for both sides can testify in a design defect case involving an automobile tire that exploded and injured a mechanic, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled Sept. 27 after finding that the challenged opinions are sound, relevant and helpful to the trier of fact (Vincent Dodson, et al v. Beijing Capital Tire Company, Ltd., et al., No. 3:14-cv-01358, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158484).
PHILADELPHIA - The National Football League (NFL) asked a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 25 to dismiss the second amended complaint brought by those who opted out of the concussion settlement reached between the league and players in 2016, saying that those who opted out failed to state a claim and that their claims are preempted by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) the players signed during their time in the league (In Re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 2:12-md-02323, E.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 22 that it is not implausible that a provision allowing a life insurer to consider that future "expenses" for a cost of insurance (COI) calculus would not include reinsurance costs (EFG Bank AG, Cayman Branch, et al. v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., No. 17-02592, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154985).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 21 dismissed all claims against the University of Pennsylvania and the university's vice president of human resources by a group of University of Pennsylvania Matching Plan participants and beneficiaries who allege that the defendants enable third-party service providers to collect excessive fees, increase costs and retain underperforming funds in the plan, finding that the plaintiffs failed to state claim upon which relief could be granted (Jennifer Sweda, et al. v. The University of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 16-4329, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153958).
PITTSBURGH - In a mortgage insurance reinsurance scheme case, mortgagors and a reinsurer are not entitled to judgment on a Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) claim under Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals law, homeowners say in a brief filed Sept. 19 in a Pennsylvania federal court (Linda Menichino, et al. v. Citibank, N.A., et al., No. 12-00058, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86380).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal court jury on Sept. 21 found that Zimmer Biomet Inc. did not wrongfully discharge a sales representative and found that the sales representative instead breached his duty not to disclose information about Zimmer and its customers and owes his former employer $125,000 (Dominick Pistone v. Zimmer Biomet, Inc., No. 16-3526, E.D. Pa., Allentown Div.).
PHILADELPHIA - A reinsurer argues in a Sept. 20 reply brief that a Pennsylvania federal court should allow it leave to amend its answer to an insurer's breach of contract counterclaims so that it can assert a statute of limitations defense and that it did not agree to reinsure an excess umbrella policy (R&Q Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1473, E.D. Pa.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 19 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss as it pertained to the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith because the insured presented sufficient evidence that she sustained damages as a result of the insurer's conduct in the handling of her property damage claim (Jennifer Pratts v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-2385, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151650).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - No coverage is afforded for damages to an insured's property caused by the collapse of liquid propane tanks into a sinkhole because the sinkhole was caused by excess rainfall, which is clearly precluded under the policy's flood exclusion, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Sept. 18 in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment on claims of breach of contract and bad faith (Heller's Gas Inc. v. International Insurance Company of Hannover Ltd., et al., No. 15-1350, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151072).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 18 denied an automobile insurer's motion to sever and stay its insureds' bad faith claim after determining that bifurcation would not promote judicial economy and that the insurer would not be prejudiced if the claims are tried together (David Newhouse et al. v. GEICO Casualty Co., No. 17-477, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150793).
PHILADELPHIA - The operator of the conservative-leaning Gab social network claims that Google LLC removed its app from the Google Play Store under false "hate speech" pretenses, asserting that it was purely a move to squelch a potential rival, bringing antitrust claims against the tech giant in Pennsylvania federal court (Gab AI Inc. v. Google LLC, No. 2:17-cv-04115, E.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - The operator of the conservative-leaning Gab social network claims that Google LLC removed its app from the Google Play Store under false "hate speech" pretenses, asserting in a Sept. 14 complaint that it was purely a move to squelch a potential rival, bringing antitrust claims against the tech giant in Pennsylvania federal court (Gab AI Inc. v. Google LLC, No. 2:17-cv-04115, E.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on Sept. 18 found that a trial court did not err in granting summary judgment to a university and its affiliates in a wrongful death suit because a woman who claimed that her husband developed cancer and died from radiation exposure during research did not show that her claims were not governed by The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act (Estate of Jeffrey H. Ware v. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 16-3801, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17992).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Sept. 14 said an insurer is responsible for paying for 25 percent of a judgment entered against its insured in an underlying lead-paint injury case after determining that the allocation must be calculated based on the time period during which the tenant lived in the insured's property (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co., v. Jacob Dackman & Sons LLC, et al., No. 16-2640, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148907).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania did not err when dismissing an insurance company's claims that two attorneys and their law firm conspired to submit two fraudulent insurance claims for damage at a church, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 15, finding that the insurer's claims were barred by judicial privilege (Church Mutual Insurance Company v. Alliance Adjustment Group, et al., No. 16-3302, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17864).