NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 affirmed that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act governs a case in which a laid-off employee was denied severance compensation for failing to return all company property as required by a severance agreement (Mark Gomez v. Ericsson Inc., No. 15-41479, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12604).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A plan administrator abused its discretion by failing to consider a disability claimant's functional capacity evaluation and an award of Social Security disability benefits before terminating the claimant's long-term disability benefits, a California federal judge said June 30 in remanding the benefits claim to the plan administrator (Olga Gorbacheva v. Abbott Laboratories Extended Disability Plan et al., No. 14-2524, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85702).
PITTSBURGH - Under Pennsylvania law, commercial general liability insurers have no duty to defend or indemnify insureds for a negligent performance of contract claim arising out of alleged faulty workmanship, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled June 30 (Peerless Insurance Co. and Ohio Security Insurance Co. v. Manown Builders, et al., No. 15-281, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85261).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 1 affirmed dismissal of claims that a Michigan law is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc. v. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 12-2264, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12142).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Appointment of an institutional investor as lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit is proper because the investor has met all statutory requirements to serve in the role and because no other investor has properly rebutted the presumption that the institutional investor is the most adequate lead plaintiff, a federal judge in California ruled June 28 (In re Extreme Networks Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 15-4883, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84005).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on June 24 denied a motion to alter or amend judgment and for leave to file a second amended complaint in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that any amendment would be futile because the shareholders' additional evidence does not cure any of the pleading deficiencies that led to dismissal of the previous amended complaint (In re Sanofi Securities Litigation, No. 14-9624, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82453).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on June 24 denied a motion for a stay in a securities class action lawsuit and several related actions, ruling that the defendants' motion fails to meet the guidelines established in the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Nken v. Holder (In re Petrobas Securities Litigation, No. 14-9662, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82426).
MINNEAPOLIS - A workers' compensation insurer for teams in the National Hockey League (NHL) in a June 21 brief asked the judge overseeing the NHL concussion multidistrict litigation to issue an order limiting further production of independent medical examinations (IMEs) to those it already secured for the former players in the MDL (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on June 22 granted a motion for class certification and denied a defense motion to exclude expert testimony in a case alleging that Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co. breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (John Teets v. Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co., No. 14-02330, D. Colo.).
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on June 21 approved an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a settlement worth at least $126 million in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc. on behalf of patients denied coverage for the prescription drug Harvoni (Eugene Oakes, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 16-80028, SD. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. has agreed to pay $415 million to settle claims that it engaged in a scheme whereby it misused customer cash to generate profits for Merrill Lynch and failed to "safeguard customer securities from the claims of its creditors" in violation of federal securities laws, according to a press release issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 23 (In the Matter of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., et al., No. 3-17312, SEC).
PITTSBURGH - Dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit is not proper because the lead plaintiff in the action has properly pleaded a material misrepresentation or omission, scienter and loss causation, the lead plaintiff argues in a June 20 opposition brief filed in Pennsylvania federal court (James Martin v. GNC Holdings Inc., et al., No. 15-1522, W.D. Pa.).
ATLANTA - Despite a Georgia federal judge's finding that a group of banks and financial institutions (FIs) have standing to sue Home Depot Inc. for negligence related to a massive 2014 data breach, in a June 17 answer to their complaint, the retailer raises affirmative defenses related to lack of standing, as well as double recovery, contributory negligence and failure to mitigate damages (In re: The Home Depot Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:14-md-02583, N.D. Ga.).
PHILADELPHIA - A district court did not err in dismissing a disability claimant's suit because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts his state law contract and fraud claims, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 16 (Andre D. Butler v. Liberty Mutual Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 16-1316, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10889).
SAN DIEGO - In what is being called a record recovery for shareholders, HSBC Finance Corp. has agreed to pay more than $1.5 billion to settle claims that its predecessor-in-interest, Household International Inc., and certain of its executive officers and directors issued a series of misrepresentations concealing Household's involvement in a predatory lending scheme in violation of federal securities laws, according to a press release issued by shareholder counsel June 16 (Lawrence E. Jaffe Pension Plan v. Household International, Inc., et al., No. 02-5893, N.D. Ill.).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Plaintiffs in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act breach of contract lawsuit on June 15 filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of a $30.9 million class settlement in Massachusetts federal court (Dennis Gordon, et al. v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-30184, D. Mass.).