PHOENIX - Two men have agreed to pay nearly $370,000 to settle claims that they engaged in insider trading scheme in violation of federal securities laws, according to a stipulation of settlement filed in Arizona federal court on Dec. 14 (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Lanny Brown, et al., No. 17-4630, D. Ariz.).
FLINT, Mich. - Automobile manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) and certain of its executive officers have failed to show that lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit have not properly pleaded materiality or scienter in claiming that the defendants misrepresented the company's American retail sales in violation of federal securities laws, a federal judge in Michigan ruled Dec. 14 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (Carl Palazzolo, et al. v. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., et al., No. 16-12803, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205572).
DENVER - A retirement plan participant suing a fund operator for various violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act failed to show on the first two claims that the defendant was a fiduciary and failed to meet the required heightened showing that the operator was a party in interest (John Teets v. Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, No. 14-2330, D. Colo.).
CINCINNATI - A federal district court erred in dismissing a shareholder class action against the operator of the country's largest for-profit hospital system and certain of its executive officers for failure to plead loss causation because lead plaintiffs have shown that the filing of a complaint against the company alleging Medicare fraud and the defendants' own disclosures that the company's stock was down were sufficient corrective disclosures, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 13 in reversing and remanding (Norfolk County Retirement System v. Community Health Systems Inc., et al., No. 16-6059, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 25136).
LOS ANGELES - A health insurer waived the right to deny coverage for vertebrate fusion surgery as experimental when it preauthorized the procedure, albeit with a different device, a federal judge in California held Dec. 12, entering judgment for the plaintiff on her Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims (Aubrey Cohorst v. Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky Inc., No. 16-7925, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204362).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Dec. 8, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay request filed by a retiree seeking reinstatement terminated health benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the employer being sued waived its right to respond to the retiree's petition for writ of certiorari (George W. Mathias v. United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, et al., No. 17-740, U.S. Sup.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - After finding that a laboratory failed to show that it received a valid assignment of benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a North Carolina federal judge on Dec. 7 dismissed its claims against a group of insurers in relation to allegedly unpaid amounts for services rendered (AvuTox LLC v. Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 5:17-CV-250, E.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201296).
NEW YORK - A federal judge on Dec. 8 entered judgment for a health insurer in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case, finding that denials issued during the precertification process did not render any further attempts at administrative remedies futile where the plan specifically required an appeal from the explanation of benefits (Sandra A. Peppiatt v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-2444, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199895).
SAN FRANCISCO - An investor group is the most appropriate candidate for lead plaintiff because it has the largest financial stake in the litigation and meets all other statutory requirements to serve in the role, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 8 in appointing the investor group as lead plaintiff (Inchen Huang v. Depomed Inc., et al., No. 17-4830, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202580).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 announced that it will determine whether the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals properly ruled that American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah tolls the statute of limitations to permit a previously absent class member to bring a subsequent class action outside the applicable limitations period (China Agritech Inc. v. Michael Resh, et al., No. 17-432, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Four class representatives in a New York federal lawsuit accusing J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by mismanaging retirement savings funds filed an objection on Dec. 7 to a proposed $75 million cash settlement reached between eight of the class representatives and JPMC, arguing that the amount the class will actually receive is far less than the total class damages (In re J.P. Morgan Stable Value Fund ERISA Litigation, No. 12-2548, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 11 refused to review the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that a New York law barring the offset of a claimant's disability benefits with the proceeds of the claimant's settlement of a personal injury suit is not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Aetna Life Insurance Co. v. Salvatore Arnone, No. 17-416, U.S. Sup.).
SALEM, Ore. - An insurer had a duty to defend an additional insured general contractor in an underlying construction defects case, an Oregon appeals panel ruled Dec. 6, reversing a trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurer (Security National Insurance Co. v. Sunset Presbyterian Church, No. 588, Ore. App., 2017 Ore. App. LEXIS 1501).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 11 declined to hear an appeal by a former hospital security officer seeking sexual orientation discrimination protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Jameka K. Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, et al., No. 17-370, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - Plaintiffs' attempt to bring alternative claims under state law in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class suit that alleges that two defined-benefits plans were improperly classified as "church plans" creates an "absolute conflict," an Illinois federal judge ruled Dec. 5 dismissing the five state law claims (Sheilar Smith, et al. v. OSF Healthcare System, et al., No. 16-467, S.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199805).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 6 reversed and remanded a district court's dismissal of a health care plan participant's claim seeking to recover premiums paid under the plan after determining that a restitutionary claim for premiums under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act may be available if there was a violation of the plan's terms (CeCelia Catherine Ibson v. United Healthcare Services Inc., No. 16-3260, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24608).
HOUSTON - Defendants in a securities class action lawsuit against a worldwide provider of professional services and technologies within the government services and hydrocarbons industries on Dec. 4 asked a federal judge in Texas to dismiss federal securities law claims because shareholders failed to plead a material misrepresentation, scienter of loss causation (In re KBR Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 17-1375, S.D. Texas).
CHICAGO - Dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit against a for-profit college and certain of its current and former senior executives is warranted because the lead plaintiff in the action failed to plead falsity or scienter in making its federal securities law claims against the defendants, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Dec. 6 in granting the defendants' motion (Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers v. DeVry Education Group Inc., et al., No. 16-5198, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200272).