LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appeals Panel Affirms Summary Judgment In Slip-And-Fall Suit

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on July 13 affirmed summary judgment for an airport and the cleaning service it contracted to clean its bathrooms after finding that a woman who slipped and injured herself in a bathroom stall did not show that either defendant knew about the puddle of water on which she slipped (Pamela Vernon v. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board, et al., No. 02-16-00488-CV, Texas App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6450).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Finds Parties Must Arbitrate Claims Over Laos Gaming Operations

WILMINGTON, Del. - Based on a theory of estoppel, a Delaware federal judge on July 12 found that the owners of gaming assets in the Lao People's Democratic Republic are required to arbitrate their claims in Singapore for breach of fiduciary duty and contract against nonsignatories to an underlying deed, granting a motion to dismiss the case (Sanum Investment Limited, et al. v. San Marco Capital Partners, et al., No. 16-320, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107365).

Mealey's Insurance - 1st Circuit Upholds Ruling Denying Arbitration Of Reinsurance Agreement

BOSTON - An arbitrator did not disregard the law when deciding that arbitration is banned for a breach of contract dispute under a reinsurance participation agreement regardless of the parties' intent to arbitrate, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held July 13, affirming the denial of a motion to vacate the arbitrator's decision (Mountain Valley Property Inc. v. Applied Risk Services Inc., et al., No. 16-2189, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12575).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: Plaintiffs' Proffered Expert Should Not Be Permitted To Testify At Trial

JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on July 7 granted defendants' joint motion to exclude the testimony of the plaintiffs' proffered expert in a lawsuit alleging that the plaintiffs suffered damages to their houses and quality of life due to the construction and operation of a "frac sand plant" and an associated multitrack railroad spur (Jeffrey Cad Palmer, et al. v. Sun Coast Contracting Services Inc., et al., No. 15-34, S.D. Miss., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105560).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Breach Of Contract Suit By Rehabilitator Against Mortgage Reinsurer

CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on July 5 dismissed a rehabilitator's lawsuit accusing a reinsurer of breaching its contract with an insolvent mortgage insurance provider by failing to disclose the benefits it derived from a captive reinsurance arrangement because the contract did not impose such a requirement (People of the state of Illinois, ex rel., Acting Director of Insurance, Jennifer Hammer v. Twin Rivers Insurance Co. f/k/a Cherokee Insurance Co., No. 16-7371, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103833).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Says Claims Related To Environmental Remediation Not Timely Filed

BECKLEY, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on July 7 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an environmental remediation coverage suit after determining that the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith were not filed within the applicable statute of limitations (R.T. Rogers Oil Company Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 16-1390, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105150).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Delegating Employer Trust To Reinsurer

CHICAGO - A contract placed no limits on an insurer's discretion to assign its responsibility to an employer's trust and contained no requirements for disclosure of any assignments, an Illinois federal judge ruled July 5, finding that the insurer did not act in bad faith when it delegated to a reinsurer (Midco International Inc. and Employees Profit Sharing Trust v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 14-9470, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103296).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Illinois Appeals Court Finds Affidavit Supported Damages From Construction Defects

CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on June 29 affirmed a trial court's decision to award $206,348.06 in damages to a couple accusing a general contractor of breach of contract and breach of implied warranty, ruling that an affidavit submitted by the husband sufficiently showed the amount of damages they incurred as a result of the contractor's actions (Thomas Herlihy, et al. v. Collins Construction Inc., et al., No. 1-16-1142, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div., 2017 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1338).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Finds Circle K Stores Did Not Misrepresent Purchase Price Of Station

LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on June 26 granted summary judgment in favor of a gas station franchisor on a franchisee's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) fraud, finding that it could not find that the gas station owner misled the franchisee to believe that he would receive a certain purchase price for the property and that no genuine issues of fact existed as to whether a contract was breached (Mark Yi, as successor in interest to OE Sun Yi, v. Circle K Stores Inc., No. 16-2171, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99547).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Judge" Foreign Specialty Reinsurance Must Pay $926,000 In Attorney Fees

NEW YORK - A New York federal bankruptcy judge ruled June 22 that a foreign specialty reinsurance company owes a defunct company $926,000 in attorney fees for its failure to get court permission before filing an action to arbitrate a contract dispute in Bermuda (In re" MF Global Holdings Ltd., et al. MF Global Holdings Ltd. as plan administrator, and MF Global Assigned Assets LLC v. Allied World Assurance Company Ltd., et al., Chapter 11 No. 11-15059, Adv. Proc. No. 16-01251, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 1585).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Foreign Specialty Reinsurance Must Pay $926,000 In Attorney Fees

NEW YORK - A New York federal bankruptcy judge ruled June 22 that a foreign specialty reinsurance company owes a defunct company $926,000 in attorney fees for its failure to get court permission before filing an action to arbitrate a contract dispute in Bermuda (In re: MF Global Holdings Ltd., et al. MF Global Holdings Ltd. as plan administrator, and MF Global Assigned Assets LLC v. Allied World Assurance Company Ltd., et al., Chapter 11 No. 11-15059, Adv. Proc. No. 16-01251, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 1585).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Oklahoma Top Court: No Preemption Where ERISA Plan Is 'Factual Backdrop'

OKLAHOMA CITY - On remand, a trial court must consider whether a woman's class action claiming that a hospital improperly sought collection from her in violation of its contract with her insurer invokes an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan or whether the plan is merely part of the "factual backdrop" of the case, a divided Oklahoma Supreme Court held June 21 (Elizabeth Cates v. INTEGRIS Health Inc., No. 114314, Okla. Sup., 2017 Okla. LEXIS 53).

Mealey's Insurance - Reinsurer, Insurer Settle $6.2M Breach Of Contract Dispute Over Asbestos Claims

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A reinsurer and insurer have resolved their $6.2 million reinsurance dispute involving a settlement of underlying asbestos claims, according to a June 20 status report filed in a Connecticut federal court (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co., f/k/a The Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Century Indemnity Co. as successor to Insurance Company of North America, No. 16-cv-170, D. Conn.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Some Third-Party Claims In Suit Over Employment Practices Exclusion

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on June 20 granted an insurance broker's motion to dismiss an insured's third-party fraud and suppression claims but refused to dismiss the breach of contract claim against it in a coverage dispute over a fatal explosion at the insured's Owens, Ala., plant (James River Insurance Co. v. Ultratec Special Effects, Inc., et al., No. 16-00949, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94319).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Oklahoma Top Court: No Preemption Where ERISA Plan Is 'Factual Backdrop'

OKLAHOMA CITY - On remand, a trial court must consider whether a woman's class action claiming that a hospital improperly sought collection from her in violation of its contract with her insurer invokes an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan or whether the plan is merely part of the "factual backdrop" of the case, a divided Oklahoma Supreme Court held June 21 (Elizabeth Cates v. INTEGRIS Health Inc., No. 114314, Okla. Sup., 2017 Okla. LEXIS 53).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Majority Reverses Denial Of Summary Judgment In Negligence Suit

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana appellate panel on June 19 found that a trial court erred in denying summary judgment for a group of local government defendants in a negligence suit after the majority found that the defendants did not have a duty to protect a man who died after contracting a deadly, brain-deteriorating disease from swimming in a local pond and remanded the case to the trial court (Daviess-Martin County Joint Parks and Recreation Department, et al., v. The Estate of Waylon W. Abel, by John Abel, et al., No. 19A04-1607-CT-1563, Ind. App., 2017, Ind. App. LEXIS 260).

Mealey's Insurance - Georgia Federal Judge Dismisses 2 Claims Against Broker In Food Contamination Suit

ATLANTA - An insured's breach of contract claim against its insurance broker must be dismissed because the insured, seeking coverage for underlying suits arising out of exposure to hepatitis A from food purchased from the insured, failed to show that a valid contract existed between the parties, a Georgia federal judge said June 16 (Sentinel Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Tropical Smoothie Cafe LLC, et al., No. 16-4162, N.D. Ga.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Court Finds Borrower Lacked Standing To Assert UCL Claim

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California appeals court on June 16 affirmed a trial court's dismissal of a borrower's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation, finding that he lacked standing and that he was not a party to any contract with the lender (Ronald Ferguson v. Bank of America, N.A., No. E064100, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4124).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - California Court Finds Borrower Lacked Standing To Assert UCL Claim

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California appeals court on June 16 affirmed a trial court's dismissal of a borrower's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation, finding that he lacked standing and that he was not a party to any contract with the lender (Ronald Ferguson v. Bank of America, N.A., No. E064100, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4124).

Mealey's Insurance - California Federal Judge Orders Insurer To Prove That Parties Are Completely Diverse

LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on June 13 ordered an insurer to show cause as to why an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit should be litigated in federal court and not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Reseda Medical Clinic, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Company, et al., No. 17-3686, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90932).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Panel Affirms Bankruptcy Court Ruling Dismissing UCL Claims Against Lenders

SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 15 affirmed a bankruptcy court's ruling in favor of various lenders, finding that borrowers lacked standing to assert claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and that their breach of contract claims failed (In re Rosanna Mac Turner, No. 15-60046, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10622).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Landlords Seek More Than $1.59M From Verizon For Alleged Property Contamination

HACKENSACK, N.J. - Property owners filed a complaint in the Bergen County Superior Court on June 12 contending that Verizon New Jersey Inc. is liable for $1,591,435 in damages because it failed to remediate contamination on property it leased from the plaintiffs in breach of its rental contract (Joan Rudnick, et al. v. Verizon New Jersey Inc., No. L-4023-17, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Former School Employee's Age Discrimination Suit Survives Judgment Motion

ORLANDO, Fla. - A woman who alleges that her age was the motivating factor in a decision to not renew her employment contract has established a prima facie case of age discrimination, a Florida federal judge ruled June 12, finding that genuine issues of fact precluded granting her former employer's motion for summary judgment (Carmel Saxon v. Seminole County Public Schools, No. 6:15-cv-01854, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89663).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Lawsuits Arose Out Of 'Single Scheme'; No Professional Liability Coverage Due

DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on June 12 entered a final judgment in favor of a professional liability insurer after finding that it has no duty to defend or indemnify against an underlying lawsuit alleging that its insured entered into a "kickback contract" to steer additional subcontractor work to city-employee-controlled companies (Ciber, Inc. v. Ace American Insurance Co., No. 16-1189, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89895).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Magistrate Judge Allows Strict Liability Claims Against Component Maker

MILWAUKEE - A federal magistrate judge in Wisconsin on June 9 ruled that plaintiffs can pursue claims for strict products liability against the manufacturer of a component in a hip replacement system after finding that the Wisconsin Supreme Court would not allow the contract specification defense to bar the plaintiffs' claims (Jerome Janusz, et al. v. Symmetry Medical Inc., et al., No. 15-CV-294, E.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88895).