CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Because an underlying lawsuit does not state claims for "personal injury" or "property damage," a North Carolina federal judge ruled Jan. 23 that an insurer has no duty to defend an additional insured (American Reliable Insurance Co. v. Five Brothers Mortgage Company and Securing Inc., No. 16-159, W.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10546).
CINCINNATI - A claim alleging that a disability insurer violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it offset a plan participant's disability benefits was properly dismissed because the claim arose under the disability plan and the claimant was required to administratively exhaust the plan's remedies or plead futility, neither of which the claimant did, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 23 (Oliver H. Barber III, et al. v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., No. 17-5588, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1560).
PHOENIX - Motel 6 Operating L.P. and G6 Hospitality LLC, doing business as Motel 6, maintain a policy of disclosing guest registration information to agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) without requiring a warrant or reasonable suspicion of criminal acidity in violation of the U.S. Constitution, federal civil rights statutes and Arizona statutes, several unnamed Latino guests allege in a class complaint filed Jan. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (Jane V., et al. v. Motel 6 Operating L.P., et al., No. 18-242, D. Ariz.).
CINCINNATI - A trial court erred when it upheld a jury's award of $10,000 in back pay for a fired theater worker despite undisputed evidence that the awarded amount was substantially lower than even the lowest estimate of damages, a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 24, ordering a new trial on damages if the trial court can't approximate the appropriate amount of damages and secure consent from both sides (David Pittington v. Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud, LLC, No. 17-5590, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1676).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Jan. 22 refused to reconsider a July 24 ruling that granted PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's (PwC) motion for judgment on the pleadings in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, reaffirming that the plaintiffs failed to establish that they are entitled to relief under ERISA for their whipsaw claims (Timothy Laurent, et al. v. Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, et al., No. 06-2280, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8995).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Jan. 19 granted preliminary approval of a $75 million cash settlement reached between eight of the 12 class representatives and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) in a lawsuit accusing JPMC of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by mismanaging retirement savings funds (In re J.P. Morgan Stable Value Fund ERISA Litigation, No. 12-2548, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Noting a request for additional negotiation time by a group of plaintiffs opposing rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a California federal judge on Jan. 22 allowed the plaintiffs and the U.S. government to take several days to try to agree on potential narrowing of the scope of a discovery order requiring the government to complete the administrative record with documents it asserts are privileged (The Regents of the University of California, et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al., No. 3:17-cv-05211, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An attorney may brief and argue an appeal of a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that Securities and Exchange Commission administrative law judges (ALJs) are constitutional officers pursuant to the appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 18 (Raymond J. Lucia, et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 17-130, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 22 issued an order inviting the solicitor general to file a brief expressing the views of the United States in an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the petitioner is requesting that the high court decide under which section of Employee Retirement Income Security Act a claim for breach of fiduciary duty may be filed (Jennifer Strang v. Ford Motor Company General Retirement Plan, et al., No. 17-528, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - It is unclear whether a federal district court properly applied the correct standard in determining that defendants in a securities class action lawsuit failed to properly rebut the presumption of reliance by a preponderance of the evidence as required pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Basic Inc. v. Levinson, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 12 in vacating and remanding the lower court's grant of class certification (Arkansas Teachers Retirement System, et al. v. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., et al., No. 16-0250, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 810).
NEW YORK - A data and metrics provider for the media, advertising and marketing industries will pay $110 million to settle claims that it and certain of its current and former officers and directors violated federal securities law by engaging in a massive accounting fraud, lead plaintiffs claim in a motion for preliminary approval of settlement and stipulation of settlement filed Jan. 12 in New York federal court (Fresno County Employees' Retirement Association, et al. v. comScore Inc., et al., No. 16-1820, S.D. N.Y.).
NEWARK, N.J. - Statements made by defendants in a securities class action lawsuit against a pet food company and certain of its executive officers in 2015 investor earnings calls were not forward-looking or protected by the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA), and the lead plaintiff has shown that the defendants knew that their statements were false when they made them, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Jan. 12 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (Gary Curran v. Freshpet Inc., et al., No. 16-2263, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5833).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 16 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a retiree seeking reinstatement of terminated health benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (George W. Mathias v. United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, et al., No. 17-740, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against an energy company and certain of its current and former executive officers failed to plead any material misrepresentation or omissions or scienter to support his federal securities law claim that the defendants concealed that the company's former CEO neglected his responsibilities to the company while secretly exercising control over another company that did significant business with the energy company, a federal judge in New York ruled Jan. 10 in granting the defendants' motions to dismiss (Jeffrey Fries v. Northern Oil & Gas Inc., et al., No. 16-6543, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5307).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Changes by Foot Locker Inc. and Foot Locker Retirement Plan (collectively, Foot Locker) to a pension plan were concealed from employees, and a trial court did not err when it found that the misconduct constituted equitable fraud and violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a plan participant argues in his opposition brief filed Jan. 10 in the U.S. Supreme Court (Foot Locker, Inc., et al. v. Geoffrey Osberg, et al., No. 17-690, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 16 granted a joint emergency motion to defer consideration of a petition for a writ of certiorari in an appeal of a securities class action lawsuit that asks it to provide guidance to lower courts as to the evidence that is necessary under Supreme Court precedent to prove reliance (Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. v. Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited, et al., No. 17-664, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 12 agreed to hear an appeal of a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that Securities and Exchange Commission administrative law judges (ALJs) are constitutional officers pursuant to the appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution (Raymond J. Lucia, et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 17-130, U.S. Sup.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A reinsurance executive accused of engaging in a $2.5 million fraudulent scheme settled claims brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 11 after the SEC filed a complaint in Connecticut federal court (Securities and Exchange Commission v. David S. Haddad, et al., No. 18-00055, D. Conn.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A court can adequately manage its docket without staying proceedings while considering a motion for remand, a motion it should deny and then grant summary judgment, because an insurer's actions complied with the terms of the insured's Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida told a federal judge on Jan. 11 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., Nos. 17-3000, 17-3001, M.D. Fla.).