LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Employer: No Way To Know Danger Posed By Intermittent Bystander Asbestos Exposure

DALLAS - State-of-the-art knowledge in the 1960s could not have put an employer on notice that a man supervising work cutting asbestos-containing millboard might be at risk of mesothelioma, a helicopter company seeking to overturn a $9 million verdict told a Texas court April 24 (Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Shirley Dickson, et al., No. 05-17-00979-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Final Approval Of $100M Haliburton Securities Class Action Settlement Granted

DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on April 25 granted final approval of a $100 million settlement in a long-running securities class action lawsuit between investors and Halliburton Co. and its CEO, who were alleged to have issued certain misrepresentations regarding the company's asbestos litigation liability, its financial condition and the benefits of a merger deal in violation of federal securities laws (The Erica P. John Fund Inc. v. Halliburton Co., et al., No. 02-1152, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69143).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - ConocoPhillips Says ICC Has Ordered Venezuela To Pay It $2.04B In Damages

HOUSTON - A Texas-based energy company on April 25 said an international arbitral tribunal has awarded it $2.04 billion in damages in an arbitration with Venezuela's national oil company.

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Final Approval Of $100M Haliburton Securities Class Action Settlement Granted

DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on April 25 granted final approval of a $100 million settlement in a long-running securities class action lawsuit between investors and Halliburton Co. and its CEO, who were alleged to have issued certain misrepresentations regarding the company's asbestos litigation liability, its financial condition and the benefits of a merger deal in violation of federal securities laws (The Erica P. John Fund Inc. v. Halliburton Co., et al., No. 02-1152, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69143).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Refuses To Reconsider Ruling In Favor Of Insurer, Agent In Flood Dispute

HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on April 23 denied an insured's motion to reconsider her ruling last month in favor of a federal flood insurer and its insurance agent in a lawsuit arising from flood damage (Al Cohen v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-2484, S.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67681).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Certiorari Denied In Malpractice Case Stemming From Catheterization

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 23 announced that it will not review allegations that a Texas hospital maintained an official policy of concealing or covering up negligent patient care, leaving intact an October 2017 affirmance by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of dismissal of the case for failure to state a claim (Charlie Wilson v. Dallas County Hospital District, No. 17-1223, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Excess Insurer's Suit Will Stay In Texas Federal Court; Transfer Not Appropriate

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on April 20 denied an insured's motion to dismiss or to transfer an excess insurer's complaint seeking a coverage declaration regarding pollution liability costs incurred by the insured after determining that Texas is the proper venue because the excess policy was issued in Texas (Great American Insurance Co. v. Ace American Insurance Co., No. 18-114, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68022).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas High Court Stays Coverage Suit To Decide If Judge Abused His Discretion

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on April 24 granted an insurer's motion for temporary relief to stay a coverage lawsuit over the installation of defective heating ventilation and air conditioning units pending its ruling on the insurer's petition for writ of mandamus seeking to clarify a party's right to object to an assigned judge when the party first learns of the assignment the day of the first hearing or trial (In re Union Insurance Co., No. 18-0353, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured Alleges Viable Claim Against Adjuster; Suit Must Be Remanded, Judge Says

AUSTIN, Texas - An insured's suit seeking coverage for property damages caused by a hail storm must be remanded to Texas state court because complete diversity of citizenship does not exist as the insured states a plausible claim for relief against the insurance adjuster, a Texas federal judge said on Feb. 20 (Melvin Nelson v. State Farm Lloyds et al., No. 17-962, W.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26547).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Supreme Court Vacates, Remands Jurisdiction Issue In Oklahoma Asbestos Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Supreme Court on Feb. 20 vacated a ruling finding jurisdiction in Oklahoma over a Texas-based asbestos defendant and the resulting $6 million verdict and remanded the case for further consideration in light of recent precedent on the issue. In its petition, the drywall materials company had portrayed the Oklahoma court's ruling as "indefensible" and argued that it evidenced the state's continuing disregard for Supreme Court precedent (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Supreme Court Vacates, Remands Jurisdiction Issue In Oklahoma Asbestos Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Supreme Court on Feb. 20 vacated a ruling finding jurisdiction in Oklahoma over a Texas-based asbestos defendant and the resulting $6 million verdict and remanded the case for further consideration in light of recent precedent on the issue. In its petition, the drywall materials company had portrayed the Oklahoma court's ruling as "indefensible" and argued that it evidenced the state's continuing disregard for Supreme Court precedent (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appeals Panel Affirms $250,000 Judgment In Premises Liability Suit

DALLAS - A panel of the Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals on Feb. 14 affirmed $250,000 in damages to a man who claimed that he crashed his motorcycle because of a dangerous condition on a state-owned road after finding that the evidence presented at trial was more than enough to show that the Texas Department of Transportation knew about the danger in the road and failed to warn drivers about it (Texas Department of Transportation v. Brain Milton, No. 05-16-00955-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 1240).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - County Says Judge's Widow's Asbestos Action Is Untimely Under Texas Law

HOUSTON - Texas law requires that claimants give notice of a workers' compensation claim within six months of the incident, rendering untimely a woman's asbestos action filed years after her husband retired as a judge, the county told a Texas appellate court on Feb. 12 (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - County Says Judge's Widow's Asbestos Action Is Untimely Under Texas Law

HOUSTON - Texas law requires that claimants give notice of a workers' compensation claim within six months of the incident, rendering untimely a woman's asbestos action filed years after her husband retired as a judge, the county told a Texas appellate court on Feb. 12 (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Efforts To Save Lee Statue With Copyright Claim Fail In Texas Federal Court

DALLAS - In a Feb. 7 ruling, a Texas federal judge rejected an attempt to prevent the city of Dallas from removing a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee from city property on grounds that the removal would constitute copyright infringement (Hiram Patterson, et al. v. Mike Rawlings, No. 17-2361, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19873).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Finds Property Foreclosure Was Not Barred By Limitations Period

DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 6 granted summary judgment for a loan servicer and lender on a borrower's claims for violation of Texas law, finding that a foreclosure was not barred by a four-year statute of limitations (Steven Crear Sr. v. Select Portfolio Servicing Inc., et al., No. 3:17-CV-0159, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19108).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Judge Trims Expert's Testimony In Trade Secrets, Patent Dispute Over Antennas

SHERMAN, Texas - An expert's opinions on the state of mind of defendants in a misappropriation of trade secrets suit and the legal definition of a trade secret are prohibited, although the expert's remaining testimony, as well as that of a second expert regarding damages, is admissible, a Texas federal judge held Jan. 30 (Quintel Technology Ltd. v. Huawei Technologies USA, Inc., et al., No. 4:15-cv-307, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14485).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Trims Expert's Testimony In Trade Secrets, Patent Dispute Over Antennas

SHERMAN, Texas - An expert's opinions on the state of mind of defendants in a misappropriation of trade secrets suit and the legal definition of a trade secret are prohibited, although the expert's remaining testimony, as well as that of a second expert regarding damages, is admissible, a Texas federal judge held Jan. 30 (Quintel Technology Ltd. v. Huawei Technologies USA, Inc., et al., No. 4:15-cv-307, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14485).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Texas Federal Judge Dismisses Remaining Bias Claim In Gender Dysphoria Suit

DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 26 dismissed the remaining discrimination claim in a disability claimant's suit seeking benefits under a short-term disability (STD) plan for breast augmentation surgery to treat the illness of gender dysphoria after determining that the claimant failed to prove that the employer discriminated against her under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Charlize Marie Baker v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3679, N.D. Texas; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12854).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas Federal Judge Dismisses Remaining Bias Claim In Gender Dysphoria Suit

DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 26 dismissed the remaining discrimination claim in a disability claimant's suit seeking benefits under a short-term disability (STD) plan for breast augmentation surgery to treat the illness of gender dysphoria after determining that the claimant failed to prove that the employer discriminated against her under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Charlize Marie Baker v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3679, N.D. Texas; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12854).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Coverage Barred For Suit Arising From Equity Interest Purchase Agreement

SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 24 found that a profit management liability insurer has no duty to defend its insureds against underlying claims that they made false representations during negotiations of and in an equity interest purchase agreement (Tom Gleason, et al. v. Markel American Insurance Co., No. 17-00163, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11608).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Appeals Court: Subsequent Homeowner's Defects Suit Not Subject To Arbitration

HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel on Jan. 25 upheld a trial court judge's ruling denying D.R. Horton-Emerald Ltd.'s (DRH) motion to compel arbitration of a construction defects suit brought by subsequent buyers of a home, finding that they are not successors in interest to an agreement between the builder and the original buyers (D.R. Horton-Emerald Ltd. v. Daniel Mitchell, et al., No. 01-17-00426-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2018 Texas App. LEXIS 731).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Affirms Man's Conviction, Sentence For Auto Accident Scheme

DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on Jan. 23 denied a man's motion to vacate his conviction and sentence for conspiracy to commit health care fraud for orchestrating a scheme to submit false bills to insurers for injuries occurring from automobile accidents, finding that his right to due process was not violated (Frenchitt Su-Dell Collins v. United States of America, No. 16-cv-1472-K, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10997).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Upholds Texas Judge; Patents Survive Section 101 Challenge

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Four claims of two Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. patents directed to a small screen display interface are patent-eligible under Section 101 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 101, a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 25 (Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. LG Electronics Inc., et al., Nos. 2016-2684, 2017-1922, Fed. Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Good Faith Investigation Is Not A Condition Precedent To Invoking Appraisal Clause

SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 22 granted an insurer's motion to compel appraisal after rejecting the insured's argument that the insurer's failure to complete a good faith investigation of the insured's property damage claim precludes the insurer from invoking appraisal (Darold Adami v. Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana, No. 17-574, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9486).