DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 6 determined that an insurer is not entitled to summary judgment on its insureds' breach of contract claim because genuine issues of fact exist regarding whether the insureds suffered a direct financial loss and the extent of any damage caused when the insureds' washing machine overflowed (Corrine Michel Johnson, et al. v. Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana, No. 15-1939, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30997).
AUSTIN, Texas - Efforts by a defendant to obtain judgment on the pleadings on allegations that it committed false advertising and trademark infringement should be denied, a Texas federal magistrate judge recommended March 3 (University Loft Company v. Blue Furniture Solutions LLC, No. 15-826, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30767).
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.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Texas federal judge erroneously denied Apple Inc. judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on its assertion that three data storage patents claim ineligible subject matter, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 1 (Smartflash LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 16-1059, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3833).
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge properly ruled that fraud upon the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) does not automatically render a case exceptional, thereby triggering an award of attorney fees, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 1 (Stacey Vetter v. Christine McAtee, No. 15-20575, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3698).
SAN ANTONIO - A plaintiff's expert sufficiently relied "upon his engineering background, knowledge of basic principles and inspection of the winch at issue in this case in formulating his testimony," a Texas federal judge ruled March 1, declining to exclude the testimony in a strict products liability lawsuit (Christopher Villegas v. Cequent Performance Products Inc., No. 15-473, W.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28597).
DURHAM, N.C. - A federal judge in North Carolina on Feb. 27 said that Texas substantive and punitive laws apply in a product defect suit that was transferred to North Carolina because Texas, the home state of the defendant manufacturers, has a greater interest in having its product liability and punitive damages laws applied to the (Danielle Washington v. Trinity Industries Inc., et al., No. 1:15-CV-517, M.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26854).
McALLEN, Texas - U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson on Feb. 24 announced that the owner of a durable medical equipment (DME) company was found guilty by a federal jury in the Southern District of Texas for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, paying illegal kickbacks and other charges in connection with a $2.5 million scheme involving the submission of fraudulent bills to Texas Medicaid.
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas jury on Feb. 24 awarded $989,000 to a woman who claimed that a doctor did not wait for lab results to get back before amputating her leg (Tanya Valentine v. J. John Stasikowski M.D., No. 236-269293-13, Texas, Tarrant Co. 236th Dist.).
MARSHALL, Texas - A Texas infringement plaintiff prevailed Feb. 27 in response to a motion by Broadcom Ltd. and several other defendants to transfer the dispute to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 v. Broadcom Ltd., et al., No. 16-134, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26755).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 24 held that there is no genuine dispute of material fact regarding whether an insurance broker breached its implied contract to secure a total of $975,000 worth of federal flood insurance coverage for an insured, further finding that the amount of potential damages that the breach caused is in dispute (Hudson Henley v. Love Insurance Group, LLC, No. 15-3078, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26244).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Feb. 24 found that an appeals court majority incorrectly interpreted the plain language of an insured vs. insured exclusion in a directors and officers liability insurance policy, reversing the majority's ruling against the insurer (Great American Insurance Co. v. Robert Primo, No. 15-0317, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 212).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court held Feb. 24 that a lower court judge should determine if a landowner can seek an order requiring ExxonMobil Corp. to remediate two sites where it conducted oil drilling and production operations, finding that the issue was not properly raised on appeal (ExxonMobil Corporation v. Lazy R. Ranch, LP, et al., No. 15-0270, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 210).
DALLAS - A Fort Worth, Texas, cellphone repair company will pay $110,000 to settle claims that it engaged in discriminatory hiring practices when it refused to hire two hearing-impaired applicants due to their disability, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Feb. 23 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. S&B Industry, Inc., No. 15-641, N.D. Texas).
MARSHALL, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 21 partially granted a motion to exclude testimony on damages in a patent infringement case, but found that most of the expert's opinions did not justify exclusion under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms. Inc. before trial (Saint Lawrence Communications LLC v. ZTE Corp., et al., No. 2:15-cv-349, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23505).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court refused to revisit its ruling in a hailstorm coverage dispute that directed a lower court to vacate the part of its discovery order compelling production of management reports and emails and to re-evaluate the issue of sanctions against the insurer, according to its Feb. 17 orders pronounced (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., No. 15-0452, Texas Sup.).
HOUSTON - Dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit is proper, a federal judge in Texas ruled Feb. 14, because lead plaintiffs failed to plead any actionable misrepresentations or scienter in arguing that an offshore energy services company and certain of its current and former executive officers misrepresented repair issues with one of the company's well intervention vessels in violation of federal securities laws (Parvis Izadjoo v. Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc., et al., No. 15-2213, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20444).
HOUSTON - The Houston Texans say in a Feb. 14 brief opposing remand that former National Football League player DeMeco Ryans' state law claims that he injured himself because of faulty turf are wrapped up in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) he signed with the league and should be kept in federal court (DeMeco Ryans v. Houston Texans, et al., No. 4:16-cv-03554, S.D. Texas).
AUSTIN, Texas - Expert testimony from three medical doctors on the subject of abusive head trauma was reliable, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Feb. 15, upholding a woman's conviction in a bench trial for first-degree-felony injury to a child after an infant under her care sustained serious internal head injuries (Jennifer Banner Wolfe v. The States of Texas, No. PD-0292-15, Texas App., Crim., 2017 Tex. Crim. App. LEXIS 215).
DALLAS - Finding that an insured improperly joined an insurance adjuster in a dispute over coverage for storm damage, a Texas federal judge on Feb. 14 denied the insured's motion to remand and dismissed the claims against the adjuster without prejudice (Hutchins Warehouse Limited Partners v. American Automobile Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-3336, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20417).