LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Claims Adjuster Properly Joined In Bad Faith Suit, Federal Judge Rules

SAN ANTONIO - Remand of an insurance bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper because an insured has shown that an insurer's claims adjuster was proper joined in the lawsuit, a federal judge in Texas ruled in an opinion made available Nov. 2 (Spar Enterprises LP, d/b/a Hampton Inn Hotel, v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-0661, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147814).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Finds Court Lacks Jurisdiction Under FIRREA, Dismisses Case

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - After finding that a borrower sued a bank more than 60 days after her proof of claim related to the alleged mishandling of her mortgage was denied by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), a Texas federal judge on Oct. 30 found that the court lacked jurisdiction under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) (Helen Bottis v. First National Bank, No. 2:14-CV-491, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147816).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Runoff From Pile Of Excavated Material Is Grounds For Suit, Judge Rules

AUSTIN, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Nov. 2 denied the City of Austin's motion to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), after finding that stormwater runoff that is causing a pile of excavated material to enter the Colorado River can constitute an ongoing violation of the act (Auspro Enterprises LP, et al. v. City of Austin, No. 15-CV-00497-RP, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147862).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Finding Suit Over Crumbling Foundation Untimely

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Oct. 29 affirmed a trial court judge's ruling awarding summary judgment to a home builder after finding that a man's claims that the foundation of his home was defectively built 30 years ago was untimely because he could not establish that the builder knew that it did not meet the specifications in the purchase agreement (Emory Powitzky Jr. v. Tilson Custom Homes, a/k/a Tilson Home Corporation, No. 13-15-00137-CV, Texas App., 13th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 11047).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Dismisses Appeal By Attorneys In Patent Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Allegations by two patent attorneys that a Texas federal judge damaged their reputation will not be decided by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which instead on Oct. 30 turned away their appeal on jurisdiction grounds (Tesco Corporation v. National Oilwell Varco L.P. et al., No. 15-1041, Fed. Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas Federal Magistrate Judge Says Insured Failed To Show Additional Coverage Owed

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on Oct. 27 recommended granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment after determining that the insured failed to present any case law or support for his argument that the insurer has an obligation to pay additional payments for mold remediation even though the policy's limits were reached (Charles Igwe v. Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana, No. 14-587, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145237).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Insureds' Damage Caused By Surface Water Barred From Coverage

HOUSTON - A homeowners insurance policy's water damage exclusion precludes coverage for damage to insureds' home caused by surface water, a Texas appeals panel affirmed Oct. 29 (Peter Tsai and Barbara Tsai v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 01-14-00677-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 11147).

Mealey's Insurance - Claims Adjuster Properly Joined In Bad Faith Action, Federal Judge Rules

WACO, Texas - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith action to state court is proper, a federal judge in Texas ruled Oct. 27, because an insured has shown that an insurance adjuster was properly joined in the action (SAI Hotel Group Ltd., d/b/a Americas Best Value Inn, v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-263, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145637).

Mealey's Insurance - No Error In Dismissing Insurer's Coverage Suit Over Defects Claims, Panel Finds

HOUSTON - A Texas trial court did not err in dismissing a commercial general liability insurer's lawsuit regarding coverage for a construction defects lawsuit on forum non conveniens grounds, a Texas appeals panel affirmed Oct. 27, finding that a South Carolina federal lawsuit was a better venue to resolve the issue (Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co. v. Creekstone Builders Inc., et al., No. 01-14-00907-CV, Texas App.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 10983).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Precludes Expert Testimony On Transactions In Fraudulent Loan Dispute

AUSTIN, Texas - An expert cannot testify in a lawsuit alleging a fraudulent business deal that loans constituted the "sale of securities" under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Texas Securities Act (TSA) and that defendants acted as brokers and dealers, a Texas federal judge ruled Oct. 14 (Steven B. Aubrey, et al. v. Peter E. Barlin, et al., No. 10-076, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139961).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Texas Jury Finds No Infringement Of Data Transmission Patent By Google

MARSHALL, Texas - Two messaging services used by Google Inc. in a number of its popular products and services do not infringe a plaintiff's data transmission patent, a Texas federal jury found in an Oct. 12 verdict (SimpleAir Inc. v. Google Inc., et al., No. 2:14-cv-11 and 2:13-cv-937, E.D. Texas).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas Panel Affirms Take-Nothing Judgment In Hurricane Ike Coverage Suit

HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel on Oct. 13 affirmed a lower court's ruling that entered a take-nothing judgment against an insurer in a coverage dispute over the insured's roof and other damage allegedly caused by Hurricane Ike (John Davis d/b/a J.D. House Of Style v. National Lloyds Insurance Co., No. 14-00278, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 10506).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Texas Supreme Court Grants Petition In Dispute Over Tobacco Fees

AUSTIN, Texas - The imposition of a fee on cigarette manufacturers not part of the 1998 nationwide settlement of deceptive advertising and antitrust claims levied against four major tobacco companies will be debated before the Supreme Court of Texas, which granted a petition for review on Oct. 9 (Glenn Hegar, et al. v. Texas Small Tobacco Coalition, et al., No. 14-0747, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss Coverage Dispute Over Defective Flooring Claims

SAN ANTONIO - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 7 denied an insured's motion to dismiss its insurer's lawsuit disputing coverage from an underlying defective wood flooring products claim, finding that jurisdictional discovery relating to the insured's contacts within Texas is appropriate and dismissal in favor of a parallel action is unwarranted (Maxum Indemnity Co. v. BRW Floors Inc., et al., No. 15-00167, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137356).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Bars Medical Experts In Lawsuit Over Alleged Improper Search And Seizure

HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 7 excluded medical experts and certain opinions offered by a former police officer in a woman's lawsuit alleging an improper search and seizure of her home (Perla Carr v. Montgomery County, Texas, et al., No. 13-2795, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136560).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Jury Returns Defense Verdict In Prosima Pelvic Mesh Trial

DALLAS - A Texas state court jury on Oct. 5 returned a defense verdict in a Prosima pelvic mesh trial in favor of defendants Ethicon Inc. and Johnson & Johnson (Carol Cavness v. Teresa Kowalczyk, M.D., et al., No. DC-14-04220, Texas Dist., Dallas Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Trust Cannot Allege Claims Against Auditor As There Was No Privity Between Parties

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 30 dismissed claims against the auditor of a short-term investment fund on the basis that there was no privity between the auditor and the participants in a pension plan whose proceeds were placed in the fund, which was later discovered to be fraudulent (The Administrative Committee of the American Excelsior Company Employee Stock Ownership Trust v. GreatBanc Trust Co., et al., No. 14-825, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133160).

Mealey's Insurance - Deputy Receiver Asks For OK Of $33 Million Settlement With U.S. Government

AUSTIN, Texas - A special deputy receiver on Sept. 28 asked a Texas court to approve a settlement agreement under which an insurer's rehabilitation estate will pay the U.S. government $33 million regarding certain customs bonds (State of Texas v. Highlands Insurance Company, No. D-1-GV-03-004537, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Wisconsin Judge Rules On Various Motions In Apple IPhone, IPad Case

MADISON, Wis. - Finding that reasonable jurors could conclude that processors fabricated in Texas but completed overseas and never sold in or imported into the United States after completion could nonetheless be capable of infringement at the point of manufacture, a Wisconsin federal judge on Sept. 29 reserved a motion by Apple Inc. to limit the royalty base in an upcoming patent trial (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Apple Inc., No. 14-62, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130906).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Despite Remand, Judge Says Damages Calculation Proper In Tainted Groundwater Case

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on Sept. 28, on remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, affirmed use of a pro rata approach to calculating damages for apportioning liability in a groundwater contamination case, ruling that it was equitable (AmeriPride Services Inc. v. Texas Eastern Overseas Inc., No. 00-090113, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130592).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Wisconsin Judge Rules On Various Motions In Apple IPhone, IPad Case

MADISON, Wis. - Finding that reasonable jurors could conclude that processors fabricated in Texas but completed overseas and never sold in or imported into the United States after completion could nonetheless be capable of infringement at the point of manufacture, a Wisconsin federal judge on Sept. 29 reserved a motion by Apple Inc. to limit the royalty base in an upcoming patent trial (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Apple Inc., No. 14-62, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130906).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Claims Against Insurance Adjuster In Bad Faith Lawsuit

FORT WORTH, Texas - Dismissal of claims against an insurance adjuster in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because an insured failed to state a claim for relief, a federal judge in Texas ruled Sept. 28 (Yolanda Aguilar v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 15-565, N.D. Texas; 2-015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130384).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Partly Affirms, Partly Vacates Patent Injunction

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Texas federal judge's preliminary injunction barring a defendant from infringing two asserted claims of a drilling system patent was partly vacated by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 (M-I LLC v. FPUSA LLC, No. 15-1870, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16905).

Mealey's Insurance - Special Deputy Receiver Asks Court To Set Claims Filing Date

AUSTIN, Texas - The special deputy receiver (SDR) of an insurer in liquidation asked a Texas court on Sept. 21 to set a deadline by which all claims must be filed (State of Texas v. Universal Insurance Exchange, et al., No. D-Q-GV-06-000119, Texas, 345th Dist., Travis Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appeals Court Reduces Damages Award In Construction Defects Suit

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on Sept. 23 reduced the amount of actual damages a woman should receive for claims stemming from that defects in the construction of her home after finding that she was unable to sufficiently prove that fees she paid to a structural engineer were necessary and reasonable (CS Custom Homes LLC, d/b/a Callahan Custom Homes LLC, et al. v. Jessica Nicole W. Stafford, No. 03-13-00315-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 9837).