HOUSTON - A method and system patent for "determining the state of well operations" is invalid under 35 U.S. Code Section 101, a Texas federal judge ruled Sept. 11 (TDE Petroleum Data Solutions Inc. v. AKM Enterprise Inc. d/b/a Moblize Inc., No. 15-1821, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121123).
SAN FRANCISCO - A health care provider did not abuse its discretion in denying coverage for treatment that was part of a clinical trial because the health plan clearly excludes coverage for experimental treatments, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Sept. 9 (Lana V. Robertson v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Inc., et al., No. 15-35304, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16028).
GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on Sept. 9 dismissed insureds' breach of contract lawsuit against their federal flood insurer, finding that the action arising from Hurricane Ike damage is time-barred (Alfredo Mamani, et al. v. AIG National Insurance Company Inc., No. 11-106, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119692).
MARSHALL, Texas - A request by defendants Samsung Electronics Co. (SEC) Ltd. and Apple Inc. to transfer patent infringement allegations to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California was rejected Sept. 9 by a Texas federal judge (ZiiLabs Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al., No. 14-203, E.D. Texas.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119478).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 4 overturned CITGO Petroleum Corp.'s convictions for violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA), ruling that a federal judge in Texas erred when instructing the jury about the scope of a regulation concerning oil-water separators and misinterpreted the MBTA's language with regard to unintentional bird kills (United States of America v. CITGO Petroleum Corporation, et al., No. 14-40128, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15865).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A panel of the Second District Texas Court of Appeals found Aug. 28 that a trial court erroneously directed a verdict of negligence because the plaintiff in the case was denied fair notice that a theory of negligence per se would be asserted as a defense (Karen 'Sue' Burnett v. Christina T. Vo, et al., No. 02-14-00297, Texas App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 9169).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel on Aug. 31 upheld an arbitration award finding that a homeowners association was entitled to only $24,490 for alleged construction defects that resulted in the staining of the exterior of some buildings in a condominium complex, after finding that the association was unable to show that the award was the result of a gross mistake or manifest disregard of the law (Casa del Mar Association Inc. v. Williams & Thomas L.P., doing business as Jamail Construction, No. 14-14-00046-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2015 Texas App. LEXIS 9227).
MARSHALL, Texas - Efforts by two patent infringement defendants to transfer the allegations levied against them to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California were rejected Sept. 1 by a Texas federal magistrate judge (Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. LG Electronics Inc. et al., No. 14-911, E.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115801).
NEW ORLEANS - A commercial general insurer has no duty to indemnify an underlying award because the "your work" exclusion bars coverage for damages arising out of the insured's preparation of the soil, the foundation and the house itself, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 27, affirming summary judgment to the insurer on claims for breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and violations of the Texas Insurance Code and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (James Feaster, et al. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 15-20074, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15310).
DALLAS - After finding that an assisted living facility failed to warn a resident about a drainage grate on a walking path and that the resident was improperly using his walker when he fell and sustained injuries that caused his death, a Texas appeals court on Aug. 25 affirmed a jury verdict that found that each party was jointly liable for the accident (Christian Care Centers Inc. v. Rebecca O'Banion, et al., No. 05-12-01407, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 8916).
DALLAS - A plaintiff sufficiently alleged facts in her complaint to support a claim for promissory estoppel but is precluded from asserting a breach of fiduciary duty claim because she has alleged a claim for wrongful denial of benefits, a Texas federal judge said Aug. 25 (Susan M. Repass v. AT&T Pension Benefit Plan, et al., No. 14-2686, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111971).
The operator of the adult dating website AshleyMadison.com was hit with two putative class actions on Aug. 21 as John Doe users of the site filed complaints in California and Texas federal court, respectively, alleging negligence, Stored Communications Act (SCA) violations and other claims related to a recent theft of customer data from the site, which was later released publicly on the Internet (John Doe v. Avid Life Media Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-0405, C.D. Calif.; and John Doe v. Avid Life Media Inc., No. 3:15-cv-02750, N.D. Texas).
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge's decision to deny both a plaintiff and a defendant national rights to the "Test Masters" trademark was not erroneous, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 21 (Test Masters Educational Services Inc. v. Robin Singh Educational Services Inc. and Robin Singh, No. 14-20113, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14733).
SAN ANTONIO - A trial judge erred in granting summary judgment to The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. on negligent and defective design claims in a products liability case, a Texas appeals panel ruled Aug. 19, finding that the judge also erred in excluding the testimony of a tire expert that served to show support for the claims (Rosa Obregon Perez, et al. v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., No. 04-14-00620, Texas App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 8689).
HOUSTON - A father who sued a vehicle manufacturer and others in relation to his daughter's death in a vehicle accident argued Aug. 18 before the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a Texas federal court erred when it dismissed his claims related to allegedly defective air bags (Joseph B. Flynn, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., et al., No. 15-20220, 5th Cir.).
WICHITA, Kan. - A copyright dispute over unauthorized sharing of an e-newsletter should proceed in Texas federal court, U.S. Judge Monti L. Belot of the District of Kansas ruled Aug. 20 (Energy Intelligence Group Inc. et al. v. Frontier El Dorado Refining LLC, No. 15-1152, D. Kan.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110192).
MARSHALL, Texas - A request for attorney fees was denied Aug. 17 by a federal judge in Texas, who found that although a patent infringement defendant qualifies as the prevailing party, the case itself does not qualify as exceptional (Trover Group Inc., et al. v. Dedicated Micros USA Inc., et al., No. 13-1047, E.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107733).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 13 affirmed dismissal of the one claim not abandoned by borrowers against a bank for violation of the Texas Debt Collection Act (TDCA), agreeing with the findings of a district court (Michael Bracken, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank National Association, No. 14-40928, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14368).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Although affirming Aug. 13 that a Texas federal judge properly determined that a patent infringement plaintiff had standing, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that it remains unclear whether the judge abused his discretion in denying the same plaintiff leave to amend its infringement contentions against myriad defendants (Keranos LLC, et al. v. Silicon Storage Technology Inc., et al., Nos. 14-1360, -1500, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14176).
NEW ORLEANS - An expert's opinion on the standard of care was sufficiently reliable to pass a "gatekeeping assessment" for purposes of showing that Wal-Mart Stores Texas L.L.C. was negligent in failing to provide a 72-hour emergency supply of prescriptions when a customer's doctor could not be reached, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 12 (Shan Kovaly v. Wal-Mart Stores Texas LLC, No. 14-20697, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14346).
DALLAS - An apartment complex owner's failure to challenge both grounds on which a trial court judge granted a builder's motion for summary judgment warranted upholding the decision, a Texas appeals panel held Aug. 12 (ZZ&Z Properties Ltd. v. ZCC-ZPL JV LLP, No. 05-14-00812-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Texas App. LEXIS 8442).
HOUSTON - Search warrants and subpoenas that law enforcement personnel served on Facebook Inc. and Yahoo Inc. as part of a child pornography investigation complied with state law and the Stored Communications Act (SCA), a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found Aug. 5, affirming a Texas man's conviction under federal law (United States of America v. Damian Orisakwe, No. 14-40699, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13883).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 5 affirmed a district court's dismissal of claims for violation of Texas law and negligent misrepresentation, finding that they failed to show any actual damages and that they could not have filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid foreclosure (Ernest Bassknight, et al. v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., et al., No. 14-11371, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13872).