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).
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).
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).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court denied an insurer's writ of mandamus seeking review of an appeals court's denial of its motion to disqualify an attorney and her law firm in a hailstorm coverage dispute, according to its March 10 orders pronounced (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., No. 16-0190, Texas Sup.).
BEAUMONT, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on March 9 affirmed a jury's $15,000 award for breach of contract damages but reversed the jury's $20,000 award of actual damages that resulted from an insurer's alleged unfair settlement practices and the jury's award of additional damages of $60,000 that resulted from the finding that the insurer knowingly engaged in unfair settlement practices, rendering judgment that an insured take nothing as to the claims (State Farm Lloyds v. Dennis Webb, No. 09-15-00408-CV, Texas App., 9th Dist.; 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1997).
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on March 6 granted Dickey's Barbecue Pit Inc.'s motion for preliminary injunctive relief in a dispute with former franchisees who are alleged to have kept selling Dickey's trademarked products after a franchise agreement was terminated, saying that the barbecue franchisor is likely to prevail in its trademark infringement suit (Dickey's Barbecue Pit Inc., et al. v. Celebrated Affairs Catering Inc., et al., No. 4:17-cv-00127, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30814).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - With the admission of a retired prison official's expert testimony, a Texas federal magistrate judge found March 7 that a prison's grooming policy requiring short hair imposes "a substantial burden" on prisoners' religious exercise (Teddy Norris Davis, et al. v. Lorie Davis, director, TDCJ-CID, No. 12-166, S.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31944).
HOUSTON - A man who posed as a physician as part of a $1.3 million Medicare fraud scheme was found guilty on counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud and conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks by a federal jury in Texas on March 3 (United States of America v. Nkiru Ibeabuchi, et al., No. 16-cr-114, S.D. Texas).
AUSTIN, Texas - Settlement negotiations in Texas involving asbestos liabilities do not support the conclusion that the parties sought to avail themselves of the state's laws, even if the company eventually selected to manage a resulting trust is based there, the Texas Supreme Court held March 3 in finding that the state lacked jurisdiction (M&F Worldwide Corp., et al. v. Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company Inc., No. 15-0083, Texas Sup.).