LINCOLN, Neb. - A reinsurer moved for summary judgment on Feb. 9 in Nebraska federal court, arguing that a promissory note executed pursuant to a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) is void and unenforceable as a matter of public policy (Applied Underwriters Inc. v. Top's Personnel Inc., No. 15-90, D. Neb.).
BOSTON - A condominium association board of trustees can pursue a construction defects claim against a developer, a panel of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Jan. 19, holding that a bylaw in the condominium bylaws requiring the board to obtain the approval of 80 percent of the unit owners was against public policy (Trustees of the Cambridge Point Condominium Trust v. Cambridge Point LLC, No. SJC-12327, Mass. Sup., 2018 Mass. LEXIS 14).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 14 granted a Bulgarian machine-building company's petition to confirm a $2,119,167.79 international arbitral award issued against a California company, finding that enforcement of the award was not against public policy (TMCO Ltd. v. Green Light Energy Solutions R&D Corp., No. 4:17-cv-00997, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188362).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 affirmed a district court's decision refusing to confirm an approximately $43.5 million award that was annulled by an international arbitration court, finding that the arbitration court's setting of fees did not violate public policy under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Getma International v. Republic of Guinea, No. 16-7087, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12138).
ST. LOUIS - The full Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 3 ruled that a company that owns 10 Jimmy John's Franchise LLC sandwich shops in the Twin Cities was within its rights to fire six union workers who circulated posters critical of the company's sick leave policy, saying they made a "sharp, public disparaging attack upon the quality of the company's product and its business policies, in a manner reasonably calculated to harm the company's reputation and reduce its income" (MikLin Enterprises Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al., No. 14-3099, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11792).
LAKELAND, Fla. - An arbitration provision in a sales agreement for a home that the owners claim has defectively installed stucco is against public policy because it prevents the couple from pursuing their allegations that the builder violated the Florida Building Code, a Florida appeals panel ruled May 31 in reversing an order compelling arbitration (Reginald Anderson, et al. v. Taylor Morrison of Florida, Inc., No. 2D16-314, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 7777).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on May 31 granted a construction company's petition to confirm an $8,462,516 arbitral award issued in its favor in relation to payment for subcontracting work on the construction of a power plant in Kabul, finding that the primary contractor on the project failed to show that a public policy exception under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards applied (Venco Imtiaz Construction Co. v. Symbion Power LLC, No. 16-1737, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82480).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 3 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that an underlying lawsuit alleging that a high school mathematics teacher engaged in inappropriate communications with one of his female students fails to trigger "bodily injury" or "property damage" under his homeowners insurance policy (State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Charles Dawson, et al., No. 16-6356, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7836).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on April 19 found that a homeowners insurance policy's "business pursuits" and "civic or public activities performed for pay" exclusions bar coverage for underlying defamation and false light claims brought against its insured, declaring that the insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured (Patricia Beil v. AMCO Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-356, S.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59757).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 7 reinstated a wrongful termination claim by a garbage truck driver who was fired twice by the same employer, finding that the employer's proffered reason for the second firing - the employee's failure to provide proof of his legal right to work in the United States - violated California public policy (Gilberto Santillan v. USA Waste of California, Inc., No. 15-55238, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6027).
LOS ANGELES - The California Supreme Court on April 6 reversed a court's ruling that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not preempt a rule that provides that arbitration agreements for public injunctive relief under California's unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law are not enforceable in California, remanding a credit card user's allegations related to marketing of the card against the lender for further review (Sharon McGill v. Citibank, N.A., No. S224086, Calif. Sup., 2017 Cal. LEXIS 2551).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on March 29 held that Sprint's underlying lawsuit against an insured fails to allege the publication of disparaging material and, therefore, the insurer's duty to defend was not triggered under the policy's "personal and advertising injury coverage" (Unwired Solutions, Inc. v. Ohio Security Insurance Co., No. 16-0405, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46215).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After finding that a London arbitral award did not violate U.S. public policy, the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 31 rejected an appeal by the government of Belize and affirmed confirmation of the $18,470,881 award issued in favor of a Belize bank (Belize Bank Limited v. Government of Belize, Nos. 16-7083 Consolidated with 16-7089, 16-7094, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5587).
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin federal judge on March 16 found several state officials not liable for violation of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) in the seizure of an organization's electronic records as part of an investigation, finding the relevant warrants to have been issued in compliance with the statute and deeming the officials entitled to immunity under the act (The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy Inc. v. Francis Schmitz, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00539, W.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36796).
LANSING, Mich. - The University of Michigan (UM) was hit with a lawsuit in Michigan court March 2, with a research and educational organization claiming that the university failed to comply with its request under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (MFOIA) for copies of emails UM's president sent containing the word "Trump" (Mackinac Center for Public Policy v. University of Michigan, No. 17-000050-MZ, Mich. Clms.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb.28 found that it does not have jurisdiction over a group's challenge to a statement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it would not acquiesce to an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on policies the agency implemented on the discharge of water from publicly owned water treatment facilities outside the circuit, holding that the statement was not a rule that could be challenged in the appeals court (Center for Regulatory Reasonableness v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-1150, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3576).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 13 certified two questions to the California Supreme Court regarding whether California's notice-prejudice rule is a fundamental public policy for the purpose of choice-of-law analysis and whether a consent provision can be interpreted as a notice provision (Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Co., No.. 14-56017, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 668).
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut appeals court found that an insurer's duty to defend was not barred by a public entity errors and omission liability insurance policy's contract exclusion because an underlying complaint left open the possibility that a negligent misrepresentation claim against the insured did not arise out of a contract, reversing and remanding a lower court in an opinion to be officially released Dec. 6 (Town of Monroe v. Discover Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. AC 38332, Conn. App.; 2016 Conn. App. LEXIS 443).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 7 affirmed a district court's decision to deny a petition to vacate an award filed by two subsidiaries of a Venezuela oil company and granting a cross-petition to confirm the award filed by ConocoPhillips Co., finding that the appellants failed to present any evidence that the award violated public policy (PDV Sweeny, Inc., et al. v. ConocoPhillips Co., et al., No. 16-170, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 25 agreed to transfer a breach of contract class complaint to Virginia, finding that the contract's forum-selection clause "does not contravene any anti-waiver provision of California's UCL [unfair competition law] or the strong public policy of California" (Run Them Sweet, LLC v. CPA Global Limited, et al., No. 16-3662, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147803).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A subrogation waiver clause included in a heating oil agreement sent to an insured by the heating oil company contravenes public policy because the average consumer does not have the chance to negotiate the provisions in residential heating oil contracts, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Oct. 5 in finding that an insurer is not barred from asserting negligence claims, as the subrogee of its insured, against the heating oil company (State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., et al. v. Petroleum Heat & Power Co. Inc., et al., No. 13-6732, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138479).