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).
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 2 affirmed the grant of summary judgment to General Motors Corp. in a lawsuit alleging that GM unlawfully circumvented the Employment Retirement Income Security Act and the Pension Protection Act with its denial of a woman's Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) because the claims are time-barred and without merit (Marva Jane Richardson-Roy v. Abigail Johnson, et al., No. 15-1914, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 14051).
BAY CITY, Mich. - An Indian tribe's claim that its health care plan administrator violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act fails because the tribe cannot establish that the administrator had a fiduciary duty under ERISA to ensure payment of Medicare-like rates (MLRs) for certain health services, a Michigan federal judge ruled Aug. 3 in dismissing the claim (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101610).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A class of consumers suing a health care benefits provider over a data breach must clarify and replead several fraud-based and contract-based claims if they wish to proceed with them, an Oregon federal judge ruled Aug. 1, granting in part and denying in part a motion to partially dismiss the suit (In Re: Premera Blue Cross Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 15-2633, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100198).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 3 affirmed a district court's decision to grant summary judgment for a bank in relation to a scheduled foreclosure, finding that the bank had standing to foreclose (Roderick Robertson, et al. v. U.S. Bank, N.A., as Trustee for Residential Assets Securities Corporation, Home Equity Mortgage Asset-Backed Pass Through Certificates, Series 2006-EMX3, et al., Nos. 15-6286/16-5116, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 14112).
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).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Dismissal of an amended complaint in a securities class action lawsuit is not proper because the lead plaintiffs have pleaded falsity, materiality and scienter in making their federal securities law claims by arguing that a research manufacturing company and certain of its current and former executive officers concealed issues relating to a power failure at one of the company's laboratories, a federal judge in New York ruled July 26 (John Gauquie v. Albany Molecular Research Inc., et al., No. 14-6637, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97295).
MIDDLESEX, Mass. - In a divided opinion, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on July 28 affirmed a lower appellate court's ruling that the mode-of-operation approach to premises liability applies in a suit brought by a woman who was injured when she slipped on a gravel walkway because the plaintiff raised a genuine question of fact about whether the defendant took the proper measures to secure the pathway she slipped on (Linda S. Bowers v. P. Wiles Inc., No. SJC-11923, Sup. Mass.; 2016 Mass. LEXIS 585).
NEW YORK - Shareholders on July 25 filed a notice of appeal in a securities class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company and its former CEO, seeking Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals review of a federal judge's ruling dismissing the action for failure to plead an actionable misrepresentation, scienter or loss causation (In re Sanofi Securities Litigation, No. 16-2573, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 26 affirmed that Dignity Health's pension plan was not subject to the requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and did not qualify for ERISA's church-plan exception because it was not established by a church or by a convention or association of churches (Starla Rollins, et al. v. Dignity Health, et al., No. 15-15351, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13574).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Dismissal of claims in a securities class action lawsuit is proper because alleged false and misleading statements made by a quick-service restaurant chain, several of its executive officers and directors and others in a 2015 press release were forward-looking and protected under the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) or were mere puffery and were nonactionable, a federal judge in California ruled July 25 (Daniel Turocy v. El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc., et al., No. 15-1343, C.D. Calif.).
BOSTON - Federal securities class action filings climbed to higher than historical averages in the first half of 2016, up 27 percent from the semiannual average observed between 1997 and 2015, according to a semiannual report released July 26 by economic and financial consulting firm Cornerstone Research.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Efforts by a petitioner to secure post-grant review of U.S. patent No. 9,108,890, issued in 2015 to The Johns Hopkins University, were unsuccessful on July 25, when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied the request (David Adebimpe v. The Johns Hopkins University, No. PGR2016-00020, PTAB).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A faulty workmanship exclusion precludes coverage for collapse damages caused by an insured's actions related to the excavation of a basement coupled with the failure to install underpinning to secure the building's foundation, a Virginia federal judge ruled July 21, finding that the ensuing loss exception fails to restore coverage because no independent and covered peril contributed to the collapse other than the insured's excluded conduct (Taja Investments LLC, et al. v. Peerless Insurance Co. a/k/a Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-01647, E.D. Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95760).
LOS ANGELES - A drug maker will pay $95 million to settle claims that it misrepresented certain safety concerns with two of its products in violation of federal securities laws, according to a motion for preliminary approval of settlement filed July 21 in California federal court (In re Amgen Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 07-2536, C.D. Calif.).