AUSTIN, Texas - At some point not declaring acceptance of a settlement crosses the line into unreasonable, and asbestos plaintiffs' eight- and nine-year delay constitutes a long trip past the line, Union Carbide Corp. told the Texas Supreme Court March 28 (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 16-0648, Texas Sup.).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on March 28 partially granted a motion filed by former property owners to amend their complaint against a loan servicer in relation to a foreclosure action, finding that amendment of their common-law fraud claim would be futile (Roger Law, et al. v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, No.16-2675, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45758).
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge did not err in granting a defendant summary judgment on the question of direct copyright infringement because the judge properly found an absence of volitional conduct, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 27 (BWP Media USA, et al. v. T&S Software Associates, No. 16-10510, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5340).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on March 23 found that an insurance policy's property damage exclusion does not bar directors and officers and entity liability coverage for at least two underlying claims against a homeowners association insured stemming from Hurricane Ike damage (The Landing Council of Co-Owners v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-1902, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42087).
AUSTIN, Texas - On remand from the Texas Supreme Court, a state appellate panel on March 24 found that a tax enacted on nonparticipating manufacturers in a statewide tobacco settlement does not violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and reversed summary judgment granted to the small tobacco companies (Glenn Hegar, et al. v. Texas Small Tobacco Coalition and Global Tobacco Inc., No. 03-13-00753-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2547).
SAN ANTONIO - An expert is qualified to testify on independent marketing organizations (IMOs) in the insurance industry and regarding an IMO's "compliance or lack of compliance with industry standards," a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled March 24 (Wealthmark Advisors Inc. and David Shields v. Phoenix Life Insurance Co. and PHL Variable Insurance Co., No. 16-00485, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42978).
TYLER, Texas - In a patent infringement lawsuit, an expert may provide opinions "based on his technical knowledge and expertise" as to the technical advantages of a claimed process of forming circuitry used in controlling liquid crystal displays (LCDs), a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled March 22 (Eidos Display LLC and Eidos III LLC v. Chi Mei Innolux Corp., et al., No. 11-00201, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41040).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 20 denied a coalition of insurance associations' emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal of a ruling that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has not exceeded its authority in formulating its new "fiduciary rule" and that the new rule does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying that the plaintiffs have not met their burden to satisfy four factors required to obtain an injunction pending appeal (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Edward Hugler, Acting Secretary of Labor, et al., No. 3:16-cv-1476, consolidated with 3:16-cv-1530, 3:16-cv-1537, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39806).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas judge on March 20 approved an application by an insolvent insurer's special deputy receiver (SDR) and declared the disallowance of a certain house fire claim final (The State of Texas and the Texas Department of Insurance v. Vesta Fire Insurance Corporation, et al., No. D-1-GN-002366, Texas Dist., Travis Co.).
MARSHALL, Texas - Although a urologist's testimony on the inefficacy of natural and herbal remedies was barred in a patent infringement case over a drug's marketing, a Texas federal judge on March 17 allowed the urologist to testify as to the drug's marketing (Erfindergemeinschaft UroPep GbR v. Eli Lilly and Co., No. 15-1202, E.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38512).
PITTSBURGH - Trustees for the asbestos trust established by the Chapter 11 case of Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) said March 17 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court that they want to reopen the case to find out whether more than $9 billion in claims from a consolidated Texas litigation qualify for payment by the trust, which has assets of less than $4 billion (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
TYLER, Texas - A judge did not err in allowing a physician's testimony that a woman involved in a car accident needed "neurotomies, stem cell injections, and topical cream," a Texas appeals panel held March 15, because it was reliable under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) (Jeremy Oney and Horizon Cable Service Inc. v. William Crist and Heather Crist, No. 12-16-00045-CV, Texas App., 12th Dist.; 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2216).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 14 instructed a coalition of insurance associations opposed to the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new "fiduciary rule" to file a supplemental brief to their emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal of a ruling that the DOL has not exceeded its authority in formulating the new rule and that the new rule does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Edward Hugler, Acting Secretary of Labor, et al., No. 3:16-cv-1476, consolidated with 3:16-cv-1530, 3:16-cv-1537, N.D. Texas).
SAN FRANCISCO - OpenTV Inc. on March 13 won dismissal of 10 counts of a 13-count declaratory judgment complaint when a California federal judge agreed that plaintiff Comcast Cable Communications LLC failed "to allege facts sufficient to support inferences of non-infringement" (Comcast Cable Communications LLC v. OpenTV Inc., No. 16-6180, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35740).
HOUSTON - Shareholders in a securities class action lawsuit against an energy company, several of its executive officers and directors and others may amend their complaint to add a claim for relief because their motion was filed prior to the deadline for amendments and amendment would not be futile, a federal judge in Texas ruled March 10 in granting the motion (In re Cobalt International Energy Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-3428, S.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34437).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Multidistrict Litigation Panel of Texas on March 10 ruled that 10 separate lawsuits that allege drinking water contamination against a group of refining company defendants should be transferred to a single court for pretrial proceedings (In re: Corpus Christi Tap Water Litigation, MDL No. 17-69, Texas MDL Panel; 2017 Tex. LEXIS 291).
MARSHALL, Texas - In a March 10 verdict, jurors empaneled before U.S. Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas sided squarely with Whirlpool Corp. in a patent infringement dispute over a water treatment component (Whirlpool Corp. v. TST Water LLC, No. 15-1528, E.D. Texas).
DALLAS - Claims arising out of an insured's poor workmanship do not state allegations of property damage caused by an "occurrence," a Texas federal judge ruled March 10, finding that a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify (Atlantic Casualty Insurance Co. v. PrimeLending and First Choice Construction LLC v. Connect Insurance Agency Inc., No. 15-1475, N.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34425).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on March 8 denied a motion filed by participants and beneficiaries of BP entities' employee investment and savings plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to file an amended complaint related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill that resulted in a steep drop in the BP stock price for failure to state a claim (In Re: BP P.L.C. Securities Litigation, In re: BP ERISA Litigation, No. 4:10-cv-4214, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33302).