LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Termination Of Benefits Supported By Evidence, Texas Federal Judge Says

BEAUMONT, Texas - A federal magistrate judge correctly found that a disability insurer's termination of disability benefits was not an abuse of discretion, a Texas federal judge said Dec. 6, noting that the evidence clearly supports the insurer's decision (Troy Arrington v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 14-549, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168120).

Mealey's Insurance - Coverage Owed For Vitamin E Supplement Claims, Texas Federal Judge Determines

WICHITA FALLS, Texas - Because an excess liability policy provides coverage for the negligent conduct of an insured arising from the manufacture and distribution of a vitamin E supplement, class plaintiffs are entitled to access $15 million held in the court's registry, a Texas federal judge said Dec. 2 in granting the class plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment (Victoria Klein et al., v. Federal Insurance Co. et al., No. 09-094, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166285).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas High Court Refuses To Rehear Stowers Action Arising From Wrongful Death

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court has denied a motion to rehear a lawsuit alleging that insurers failed to act in good faith to settle a liability claim stemming from a wrongful death, according to its orders pronounced Dec. 2 (Roy Seger, et al. v. Yorkshire Insurance Co. Ltd., et al., No. 13-0673, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 5th Circuit Vacates Injunction, Overturns $340 Million Antitrust Award

NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge erroneously denied Becton Dickinson & Co. (BD) judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on allegations by a plaintiff that BD attempted to monopolize the market for safety syringes through various deceptive practices, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Dec. 2 (Retractable Technologies Inc. v. Becton Dickinson & Company, No. 14-41384, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21556).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - $1B Verdict Returned In 6-Plaintiff Pinnacle Hip MDL Bellwether Trial

DALLAS - A Texas federal jury on Dec. 1 returned a verdict of more than $1 billion in favor of six plaintiffs in the second DePuy Pinnacle hip multidistrict litigation bellwether trial (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2244, No. 13-3631, Rosa Metzler, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 12-2066, Michael Weiser v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3631, Judith Rodriguez v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3938, Linda Standerfer v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 14-1730, Kathleen Davis, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-1767, Marvin Andrews, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-3484, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Plaintiffs In Pinnacle Hip Bellwether Trial Will Seek State Consumer Law Penalties

DALLAS - Six plaintiffs in an ongoing DePuy Pinnacle hip multidistrict litigation bellwether trial on Nov. 28 told a Texas federal court that after the verdict, they intend to ask the court to determine that defendant DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and to order equitable relief (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2244, No. 13-3631, Rosa Metzler, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 12-2066, Michael Weiser v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3631, Judith Rodriguez v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3938, Linda Standerfer v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 14-1730, Kathleen Davis, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-1767, Marvin Andrews, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-3484, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Plaintiffs In Pinnacle Hip Bellwether Trial Will Seek State Consumer Law Penalties

DALLAS - Six plaintiffs in an ongoing DePuy Pinnacle hip multidistrict litigation bellwether trial on Nov. 28 told a Texas federal court that after the verdict, they intend to ask the court to determine that defendant DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and to order equitable relief (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2244, No. 13-3631, Rosa Metzler, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 12-2066, Michael Weiser v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3631, Judith Rodriguez v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3938, Linda Standerfer v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 14-1730, Kathleen Davis, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-1767, Marvin Andrews, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-3484, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Texas Federal Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction Against DOL Wages Rule

SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 22 issued a nationwide preliminary injunction requested by the state of Nevada and 20 other states barring the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wage rule that was to increase the minimum salary level for executive, administrative and professional (EAP) employees who are exempt from receiving overtime pay from $23,660 per year to $47,892 per year from taking effect on Dec. 1 (State of Nevada, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 16-731, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162048).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Texas Federal Judge Withholds Ruling On Proposed $8.8 Million ERISA Class Action Settlement

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 18 withheld ruling on a plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification and preliminary approval of an $8.8 million Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action settlement, saying that he did not have enough information to conclude that the proposed settlement should be approved as being fair, reasonable and adequate to the members of the proposed class (Salvador Ortiz, et al. v. American Airlines Inc., et al., No. 4:16-cv-151, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160588).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Texas Federal Judge Withholds Ruling On Proposed $8.8 Million ERISA Class Action Settlement

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 18 withheld ruling on a plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification and preliminary approval of an $8.8 million Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action settlement, saying that he did not have enough information to conclude that the proposed settlement should be approved as being fair, reasonable and adequate to the members of the proposed class (Salvador Ortiz, et al. v. American Airlines Inc., et al., No. 4:16-cv-151, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160588).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Medical Examiner's Opinion Shows Death By Gunshots, Texas Appeals Panel Finds

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Expert testimony by a medical examiner showed that a defendant's fired gunshots, along with a victim's genetic medical condition, caused the victim's death, a Texas appeals panel ruled Nov. 17, also holding that accomplice witness testimony corroborated by evidence supported the finding that the defendant committed the alleged offense (Johnny Juarez v. The State of Texas, No. 13-15-00248, Texas App., 13th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 12299).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appellate Panel Affirms Premises Liability Ruling For Theater Owner

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Nov. 16 affirmed summary judgment for a movie theater owner in a premises liability case, saying that a moviegoer who says she slipped on a wet substance and fell in the theater could not identify the substance, prove how long it had been on the floor and show whether the theater owner should have had knowledge of the hazard (Melissa Fontenette-Mitchell v. Cinemark USA Inc., No. 03-16-00201-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 12255).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Will Not Order Lift Of Stay Enjoining Litigation Against Insolvent Insurer

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas judge on Nov. 10 denied a creditor's motion to lift an automatic stay of litigation involving an insolvent insurer in liquidation (The State of Texas v. Millennium Closing Services LLC d/b/a Millennium Title, No. D-1-GN-16-000360, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).

Mealey's Health Law - Home Health Agency Owner Convicted For Role In $13M Medicare Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON - A federal jury in Texas on Nov. 10 convicted the co-owner of a home health agency for her role in a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme that operated from February 2006 to June 2015 (United States of America v. Ebong Tilong, et al., No. 15-cr-591, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Insurance - Home Health Agency Owner Convicted For Role In $13M Medicare Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON - A federal jury in Texas on Nov. 10 convicted the co-owner of a home health agency for her role in a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme that operated from February 2006 to June 2015 (United States of America v. Ebong Tilong, et al., No. 15-cr-591, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit Orders Judge To Provide Basis For Clean Water Act Ruling

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Texas was ordered on Nov. 7 to rewrite a decision awarding summary judgment to defendants accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), after a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found that the eight-page opinion was "bereft of citations to record evidence" and that it "provides this court with virtually no guidance as to how the court applied the facts to the law" (United States of America v. Thomas E. Lipar, et al., No. 15-20625, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20095).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Texas High Court Postpones Oral Argument In Discovery Dispute Over Attorney Fees

AUSTIN, Texas - Two days before oral argument was scheduled to begin in a dispute over discovery requests concerning relators' attorney fees in a multidistrict litigation hailstorm property damage coverage dispute, the Texas Supreme Court reset oral argument for Feb. 7, according to a Nov. 8 pronouncement (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Wardlaw Claims Service Inc. and Ideal Adjusting Inc., No. 15-0591, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas High Court Postpones Oral Argument In Discovery Dispute Over Attorney Fees

AUSTIN, Texas - Two days before oral argument was scheduled to begin in a dispute over discovery requests concerning relators' attorney fees in a multidistrict litigation hailstorm property damage coverage dispute, the Texas Supreme Court reset oral argument for Feb. 7, according to a Nov. 8 pronouncement (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Wardlaw Claims Service Inc. and Ideal Adjusting Inc., No. 15-0591, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Dismisses Suit Over Oil Spill Brought By Chinese Fishermen

HOUSTON - A lawsuit brought by 30 Chinese fishermen over an oil spill in the Bohai Sea in June 2011 was dismissed by a federal judge in Texas on Nov. 8, who ruled that "this is a dispute among three Chinese parties about Chinese waters, it belongs in China" (Peiqing Cong, et al. v. ConocoPhillips Company, No. H-12-cv-1976, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154508).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court Denies Petition To Review Ruling Denying Dismissal Of Counties' Suits

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on Nov. 4 denied a petition for interlocutory appeal filed by the state of Texas of a ruling denying its request to dismiss lawsuits brought by 18 counties accusing Volkswagen of violating the Texas Clean Air Act (TCAA) by installing devices designed to cheat emissions tests, finding that a review of the decision would not materially advance the litigation (In re: Volkswagen Clean Diesel Litigation: Texas Clean Air Enforcement Actions, No. 03-16-00673-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Texas App. LEXIS 11978).

Mealey's Insurance - No Coverage For Foundation Damage Caused By Plumbing Leaks, Federal Judge Says

DALLAS - No coverage is afforded to insureds for foundation damage caused by plumbing leaks in their home because the policy specifically excludes coverage for foundation or earth movement and the policy's limited water damage endorsement does not extend coverage for foundation movement, a Texas federal judge said Nov. 2 (John F. Thomas, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 15-1937, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152318).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Argues Settlement Agreement Barred Claims For Cleanup Costs

CINCINNATI - An insurer argues in a Nov. 1 response brief to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a district court correctly found that a 1994 settlement agreement bars coverage for any future claims arising out of coverage for environmental cleanup costs incurred by the insured at a Superfund site in Texas (Arrowood Indemnity Company v. Lubrizol Corporation, No. 16-3463, 6th Cir.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - U.S. High Court Won't Review Texas Panel Ruling Overturning Award Against Domino's

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 31 denied a petition for writ of certiorari to review a Texas appeals court decision that overturned a $31 million jury award against Domino's Pizza LLC, Domino's franchisee MAC Pizza Management Inc. and a Domino's delivery driver for a crash that killed a woman and severely injured her husband (Raghurami Reddy, et al. v. Domino's Pizza LLC, No.16-356, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Health Law - 5th Circuit Panel Upholds 97-Month Sentence For Health Care Fraud

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Texas did not err when sentencing the "prime mover" of a Medicare fraud scheme to 97 months in prison by applying the 2009 U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 26, holding that one of the charges against the defendant involved conduct that occurred after the guidelines amended the term "victim" to include a person whose identity was unlawfully used (United States of America v. Edgar Shakbazyan, No. 15-20426, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Health Law - Texas Federal Judge Lets ERISA Claim Stand In Action Against Employer

DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 24 partially denied a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim in an action in which a man says he was illegally fired by his employer so it could stop paying for his medical expenses under its medical insurance plan, finding that he has sufficiently alleged facts that would support a claim under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 510 (Steve Wesley Culver, et al. v. United Commerce Centers Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-01055, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146939).