LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Bankruptcy - Special Deputy Receiver Asks Court To OK $9 Million Payment To Asbestos Trust

AUSTIN, Texas - The special deputy receiver (SDR) of an insurer in rehabilitation asked a Texas court on Feb. 16 to approve a nearly $9 million payment to an asbestos bodily injury trust (State of Texas v. Highlands Insurance Company, No. D-1-GV-03-004537, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).

Mealey's Insurance - Parties Settle Gas Well Blowout Coverage Dispute; Insurers' Appeal Dismissed

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Feb. 12 dismissed an insurer's petition for review after the parties notified the high court that they settled the dispute arising out of coverage for damages associated with the blowout of an insured's gas well (St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., et al. v. Petroplex Energy Inc., No. 15-0805, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Special Deputy Receiver Asks Court To OK $9 Million Payment To Asbestos Trust

AUSTIN, Texas - The special deputy receiver (SDR) of an insurer in rehabilitation asked a Texas court on Feb. 16 to approve a nearly $9 million payment to an asbestos bodily injury trust (State of Texas v. Highlands Insurance Company, No. D-1-GV-03-004537, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - No Error In Police Officer Testimony On Gang Membership, Panel Finds

HOUSTON - A trial court did not err in allowing a police officer to testify as an expert witness on the issue of gang membership and in admitting photographs of various gang symbols, a Texas appeals panel ruled Feb. 11, affirming convictions (Jeremy Dion Washington v. The State of Texas, No. 01-13-00227, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 1451).

Mealey's Insurance - Coverage Barred For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claims, Federal Magistrate Says

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal magistrate judge, applying Texas law, on Feb. 12 granted an umbrella liability insurer's motion for summary judgment after determining that the umbrella policy's pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage for injuries arising out of carbon monoxide poisoning regardless of what caused the carbon monoxide to seep into the hotel guests' room (Kenneth E. Shaw, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 15-686, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17626).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Johnson & Johnson Offers Deferred Prosecution Letter In Lieu Of Witnesses

DALLAS - Johnson & Johnson on Feb. 9 offered to avoid having witnesses testify in a Texas federal court Pinnacle hip case about its 2011 deferred prosecution agreement and $21 million criminal penalty by stipulating to a letter about the deal from the U.S. Justice Department (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Product Liability Litigation, No. 11-md-2244, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Magistrate Judge Bars Expert From Testifying On 'Deception' In Patent Case

MARSHALL, Texas - An expert may not testify that a patent owner "deliberately misled the patent office," a Texas federal magistrate judge held Feb. 7, granting in part a motion to exclude the testimony in a patent infringement lawsuit (Emmanuel C. Gonzalez v. Infostream Group, Inc., et al., No. 14-906, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14604).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Handling Of Storm Damage Claim

McALLEN, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Feb. 4 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insureds failed to show that the insurer breached its contract when it timely paid on the insureds' claim for storm damage coverage (Mark Dizdar, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 14-402, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13355).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Handling Of Storm Damage Claim

McALLEN, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Feb. 4 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insureds failed to show that the insurer breached its contract when it timely paid on the insureds' claim for storm damage coverage (Mark Dizdar, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 14-402, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13355).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Magistrate Judge Bars Expert From Testifying On 'Deception' In Patent Case

MARSHALL, Texas - An expert may not testify that a patent owner "deliberately misled the patent office," a Texas federal magistrate judge held Feb. 7, granting in part a motion to exclude the testimony in a patent infringement lawsuit (Emmanuel C. Gonzalez v. Infostream Group, Inc., et al., No. 14-906, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14604).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Expert In Patent Suit Does Not Rely On Rejected Theory, Magistrate Judge Finds

MARSHALL, Texas - A telecommunications plaintiff's expert in a patent infringement lawsuit does not rely on a previously rejected doctrine of equivalents theory, a Texas federal magistrate judge held Feb. 5, refusing to strike paragraphs from the expert's report (Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, LLC v. LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc., No. 13-947, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13881).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Insured's Bad Faith Counterclaim In Storm Repair Coverage Suit

FORT WORTH, Texas - An insured's counterclaims for violation of the Texas Insurance Code, bad faith and declaratory judgment fail against its insurer for denied coverage following a storm to property the insurer says was never repaired from a previous storm, a Texas federal judge ruled Feb. 5, dismissing the claims (Columbia Mutual Insurance Co. v. Trewitt-Reed Funeral Home, Inc. d/b/a Lacy Funeral Home, Inc., et al., No. 15-568, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14037).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Expert In Patent Suit Does Not Rely On Rejected Theory, Magistrate Judge Finds

MARSHALL, Texas - A telecommunications plaintiff's expert in a patent infringement lawsuit does not rely on a previously rejected doctrine of equivalents theory, a Texas federal magistrate judge held Feb. 5, refusing to strike paragraphs from the expert's report (Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, LLC v. LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc., No. 13-947, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13881).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appeals Court Says Plaintiff Attorney Must Arbitrate Avandia Fees Dispute

HOUSTON - A Texas appeals court panel on Feb. 4 reversed a trial court and said a plaintiffs' law firm can compel a former associate to arbitrate his claim that the firm owes him bonuses from the firm's master settlement agreement for Avandia lawsuits (The Branch Law Firm L.L.P., et al. v. W. Shane Osborn, No. 14-14-00892-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 1163).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Freezes Insolvent Title Insurer's Assets

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas judge on Feb. 2 enjoined certain parties' access to the assets of an insolvent title insurer before the parties were notified that the special deputy receiver (SDR) of the insolvent title insurer had moved for a temporary restraining order (The State of Texas v. Millennium Closing Services LLC d/b/a Millennium Title, No. D-1-GN-16-000360, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge: Insured Failed To Plead Factual Allegations In Bad Faith Suit

SHERMAN, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Feb. 4 granted an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because an insured has failed to state any factual allegations to support her claims (Cathy Broxterman v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 14-661, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11824).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Extracontractual Claims In Insurance Bad Faith Suit

SHERMAN, Texas - Without providing further detail, a federal judge in Texas on Feb. 2 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss extracontractual claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit (Cathy Broxterman v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 14-661, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11824).

Mealey's IP/Tech - In Apple FaceTime Patent Retrial, Texas Jury Awards VirnetX $625 Million

TYLER, Texas - A Texas federal jury on Feb. 3 found that Apple Inc. infringed four patents with its FaceTime and VPN OnDemand features, awarding more than $625 million to tech firm VirnetX in the case's second jury trial (VirnetX Inc. v. Apple Inc., No. 6:12-cv-00855, E.D. Texas).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Esurance's Dismissal Motion Denied In TCPA Class Suit

DALLAS - An offer of judgment by an insurance company made to the named plaintiff in a class complaint over allegedly unauthorized sales calls made to cell phones does not moot the claims, a Texas federal judge ruled Jan. 27, denying the company's motion to dismiss or stay the complaint (Tiffney Jamison, et al. v. Esurance Insurance Services, Inc., No. 15-2484, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9294).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appellate Panel Reverses $21M Wrongful Death, Injury Verdict

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on Jan. 28 reversed a more than $21 million verdict in a wrongful death and injury suit against the owner of the facility where an explosion occurred and killed one worker and injured three others, finding that there was no evidence of actual knowledge (Oiltanking Houston, L.P., et al. v. Alberto Delgado, individually and as a Representative of the Estate of Javier Delgado, et al., No. 14-14-00158-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 886).

Mealey's Insurance - Court Erred In Ruling Insureds Bore Burden Of Proof, 5th Circuit Says In Reversal

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 28 ruled that a lower federal court erred in finding that insureds had the burden of establishing the depreciation of their dwelling claim, further concluding that the lower court improperly determined that the insureds' assessment of their personal property replacement costs was not evidence of the "actual cash value" of lost items (Claudia Ayoub, et al. v. Chubb Lloyds Insurance Company of Texas, No. 14-51301, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1365).

Mealey's IP/Tech - VirnetX, Apple Begin Retrial In Texas Patent Litigation

TYLER, Texas - Declaratory judgment counterclaims and affirmative defenses of invalidity with regard to six patents were voluntarily dismissed by Apple Inc. on Jan. 25, on the first day of a retrial to decide whether the software giant infringed via the popular "FaceTime" feature (VirnetX Inc. v. Apple Inc., No. 12-855, E.D. Texas).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - RadioShack Plan Participants' Stock-Drop Suit Partially Settled, Dismissed

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 25 in two separate rulings granted preliminary approval of a $900,000 settlement by the trustees of two RadioShack 401(k) plans and partially dismissed the claims against the RadioShack directors and members of the administrative committee in a consolidated complaint brought by plan participants who allege that the defendants violated ERISA and their duty of loyalty by keeping the employee stock options plans (ESOPs) invested in RadioShack stock even as the company was declining into bankruptcy (In Re 2014 RadioShack ERISA Litigation, No. 14-959, N.D. Texas).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Texas Magistrate Judge Denies Motion To Transfer Patent Case

MARSHALL, Texas - A dispute over five patents relating to the digital labeling of websites will remain in Texas, a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 25 (Emmanuel Gonzalez v. New Life Ventures Inc., No. 14-907, E.D. Texas.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8040).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas High Court Refuses To Rehear Ruling On Whether EPA Action Is A Suit Under Policies

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Jan. 22 denied a motion to rehear its decision that that an administrative action initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency constitutes a "suit" as that term is defined under the insurance policies at issue (McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp. v. The Phoenix Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-0465, Texas Sup.; 2016 Tex. LEXIS 58).