AUSTIN, Texas - According to its Sept. 22 pronounced orders, the Texas Supreme Court refused to disturb a lower court's finding that a church insured take nothing on its breach of contract, bad faith and conspiracy allegations against its insurer and a claims adjuster in a dispute over coverage for hailstorm damage to the roofs of two of its buildings (Richardson East Baptist Church v. Philadelphia Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-0347, Texas Sup.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 20 asked the Texas Supreme Court to rule whether a pelvic mesh plaintiff has to know of the defendant's alleged wrongdoing before her claim accrues under the Texas discovery rule (Ann Marie Bergin v. Mentor Worldwide LLC, et al., No. 16-14364, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18199).
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 19 refused to dismiss a plaintiff's breach of fiduciary claims arising out of a health care plan's denial of coverage for autism treatments because the fiduciary claims are not disguised benefits claims and the plaintiff alleged sufficient facts to support the breach of fiduciary claims (Amy Whitley, et al. v. Dr Pepper Snapple Group Health Plan, et al., No. 17-47, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152417).
DALLAS - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Feb. 20 filed a complaint against Shepherd Healthcare in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleging that the Texas medical practice violated federal law when it fired an employee due to her requests to be excused from a daily morning Bible study and fired three other workers for their opposition of the mandatory Bible studies (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Tim Shepherd MD, PA, No. 17-2569, N.D. Texas).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In rejecting a Texas federal judge's interpretation of In re: Cordis Corp., 769 F.2d 733 (Fed. Cir. 1985), the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 21 granted a petition for mandamus and ordered a district court to determine on remand whether the case should proceed in Wisconsin or a different Texas federal court (In re: Cray Inc., No. 17-129, Fed. Cir.).
DALLAS - The fourth DePuy Pinnacle hip multidistrict trial got under way Sept. 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas with six New York plaintiffs (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 11-md-02244, Ramon Alicea, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics., Inc., et al., No. 15-03489, Uriel Barzel v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 16-1245, Karen Kirschner v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 16-1526, Hazel Miura v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-4119, Michael A. Stevens v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 14-1776, Eugene Stevens Jr. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, et al., No. 14-2341, N.D. Texas).
HOUSTON - A health plan beneficiary is owed full coverage for a gastric bypass surgery and a follow-up surgery and care required after she experienced complications, a Texas federal judge ruled Sept. 14, finding that the beneficiary's evidence that she has experienced nausea and vomiting placed her within the health plan's exception to its weight loss surgery exclusion (Karen A. Rittinger v. Health Alliance Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-639, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149394).
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 18 adopted a magistrate's report that recommended granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment in a dispute over directors and officers liability coverage for underlying claims that the insured failed to pay overtime and improperly categorized employees as "exempt" under the Fair Labor Standards Act (ADI WorldLink, LLC v. RSUI Indemnity Co., No. 16-665, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150505).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Sept. 13 consolidated five cases brought by environmental groups against Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt contending that he is in violation of federal law regarding the approval of a permit for ExxonMobil's petrochemical manufacturing facility in Harris County, Texas (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-1439, D. D.C.).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 13 found that an underlying lawsuit alleging that an insured failed to timely negotiate a commercial lease agreement triggered an insurer's duty to defend, granting the insured's motion for summary judgment in a coverage dispute (2200 West Alabama, Inc v. Western World Insurance Co., No. 16-2244, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148492).
DALLAS - A staffing agency that provided a prep cook to a hospital while in the midst of contract negotiations to provide additional staff may not proceed with retaliation and bias claims against the hospital because it lacked an employment relationship, a Texas federal judge ruled Sept. 7 (White Glove Staffing, Inc., et al. v. Methodist Hospitals of Dallas, et al., No. 17-1158, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144706).
HOUSTON - The San Jacinto River Authority mishandled the "controlled release" of water from Lake Conroe following Hurricane Harvey, resulting in the flooding of thousands of homes and businesses, a Harris County, Texas, couple allege in their class complaint filed Sept. 6 in the Harris County District Court (Thomas E. and Beth F. Ross v. San Jacinto River Authority, No. 2017-58385, Texas Dist., Harris Co.).
DALLAS - Allegations of trademark infringement against a nonprofit public charter school network and two entities that oversee the charter schools were dismissed Sept. 7 by a Texas federal judge, on grounds that the complaint fails to allege specific acts of infringement by specific defendants (Springboards to Education Inc. v. KIPP Foundation, et al., No. 16-2436, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144709).
DALLAS - A motion seeking to unseal Russell Budd's 1997 deposition involving a memo allegedly showing his law firm coaching clients for their own depositions should proceed to a ruling on the merits, an attorney told a Texas appeals court on Sept. 5 (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A claimed centralized control system for the management of distribution and sales of electricity in a spot market was targeted for inter partes review (IPR) by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in a Sept. 6 petition (Electric Reliability Council of Texas v. GRID Innovations LLC, No. IPR2017-02033, PTAB).
MARSHALL, Texas - An expert can opine that accused patent infringer T-Mobile "made" a product, rather than just "used" it, but cannot testify that the company never enabled a restoration feature because it was advised against doing so by counsel, a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled Sept. 4 (Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. v. T-Mobile US, Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-00052, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142606).
DALLAS - Generalized knowledge of the risk asbestos posed is sufficient to show that an employer acted with gross negligence in exposing an individual, a divided Texas appeals court held Aug. 30 in affirming a verdict but reducing the economic damages award (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 05-15-00001-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 8382).