LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Labor & Employment - Texas Federal Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction Against DOL Wages Rule

SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 22 issued a nationwide preliminary injunction requested by the state of Nevada and 20 other states barring the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wage rule that was to increase the minimum salary level for executive, administrative and professional (EAP) employees who are exempt from receiving overtime pay from $23,660 per year to $47,892 per year from taking effect on Dec. 1 (State of Nevada, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 16-731, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162048).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Texas Federal Judge Withholds Ruling On Proposed $8.8 Million ERISA Class Action Settlement

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 18 withheld ruling on a plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification and preliminary approval of an $8.8 million Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action settlement, saying that he did not have enough information to conclude that the proposed settlement should be approved as being fair, reasonable and adequate to the members of the proposed class (Salvador Ortiz, et al. v. American Airlines Inc., et al., No. 4:16-cv-151, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160588).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Texas Federal Judge Withholds Ruling On Proposed $8.8 Million ERISA Class Action Settlement

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 18 withheld ruling on a plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification and preliminary approval of an $8.8 million Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action settlement, saying that he did not have enough information to conclude that the proposed settlement should be approved as being fair, reasonable and adequate to the members of the proposed class (Salvador Ortiz, et al. v. American Airlines Inc., et al., No. 4:16-cv-151, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160588).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Medical Examiner's Opinion Shows Death By Gunshots, Texas Appeals Panel Finds

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Expert testimony by a medical examiner showed that a defendant's fired gunshots, along with a victim's genetic medical condition, caused the victim's death, a Texas appeals panel ruled Nov. 17, also holding that accomplice witness testimony corroborated by evidence supported the finding that the defendant committed the alleged offense (Johnny Juarez v. The State of Texas, No. 13-15-00248, Texas App., 13th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 12299).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appellate Panel Affirms Premises Liability Ruling For Theater Owner

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Nov. 16 affirmed summary judgment for a movie theater owner in a premises liability case, saying that a moviegoer who says she slipped on a wet substance and fell in the theater could not identify the substance, prove how long it had been on the floor and show whether the theater owner should have had knowledge of the hazard (Melissa Fontenette-Mitchell v. Cinemark USA Inc., No. 03-16-00201-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 12255).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Will Not Order Lift Of Stay Enjoining Litigation Against Insolvent Insurer

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas judge on Nov. 10 denied a creditor's motion to lift an automatic stay of litigation involving an insolvent insurer in liquidation (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 Health Law - Home Health Agency Owner Convicted For Role In $13M Medicare Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON - A federal jury in Texas on Nov. 10 convicted the co-owner of a home health agency for her role in a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme that operated from February 2006 to June 2015 (United States of America v. Ebong Tilong, et al., No. 15-cr-591, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Insurance - Home Health Agency Owner Convicted For Role In $13M Medicare Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON - A federal jury in Texas on Nov. 10 convicted the co-owner of a home health agency for her role in a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme that operated from February 2006 to June 2015 (United States of America v. Ebong Tilong, et al., No. 15-cr-591, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit Orders Judge To Provide Basis For Clean Water Act Ruling

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Texas was ordered on Nov. 7 to rewrite a decision awarding summary judgment to defendants accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), after a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found that the eight-page opinion was "bereft of citations to record evidence" and that it "provides this court with virtually no guidance as to how the court applied the facts to the law" (United States of America v. Thomas E. Lipar, et al., No. 15-20625, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20095).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Texas High Court Postpones Oral Argument In Discovery Dispute Over Attorney Fees

AUSTIN, Texas - Two days before oral argument was scheduled to begin in a dispute over discovery requests concerning relators' attorney fees in a multidistrict litigation hailstorm property damage coverage dispute, the Texas Supreme Court reset oral argument for Feb. 7, according to a Nov. 8 pronouncement (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Wardlaw Claims Service Inc. and Ideal Adjusting Inc., No. 15-0591, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas High Court Postpones Oral Argument In Discovery Dispute Over Attorney Fees

AUSTIN, Texas - Two days before oral argument was scheduled to begin in a dispute over discovery requests concerning relators' attorney fees in a multidistrict litigation hailstorm property damage coverage dispute, the Texas Supreme Court reset oral argument for Feb. 7, according to a Nov. 8 pronouncement (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Wardlaw Claims Service Inc. and Ideal Adjusting Inc., No. 15-0591, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Dismisses Suit Over Oil Spill Brought By Chinese Fishermen

HOUSTON - A lawsuit brought by 30 Chinese fishermen over an oil spill in the Bohai Sea in June 2011 was dismissed by a federal judge in Texas on Nov. 8, who ruled that "this is a dispute among three Chinese parties about Chinese waters, it belongs in China" (Peiqing Cong, et al. v. ConocoPhillips Company, No. H-12-cv-1976, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154508).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court Denies Petition To Review Ruling Denying Dismissal Of Counties' Suits

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on Nov. 4 denied a petition for interlocutory appeal filed by the state of Texas of a ruling denying its request to dismiss lawsuits brought by 18 counties accusing Volkswagen of violating the Texas Clean Air Act (TCAA) by installing devices designed to cheat emissions tests, finding that a review of the decision would not materially advance the litigation (In re: Volkswagen Clean Diesel Litigation: Texas Clean Air Enforcement Actions, No. 03-16-00673-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Texas App. LEXIS 11978).

Mealey's Insurance - No Coverage For Foundation Damage Caused By Plumbing Leaks, Federal Judge Says

DALLAS - No coverage is afforded to insureds for foundation damage caused by plumbing leaks in their home because the policy specifically excludes coverage for foundation or earth movement and the policy's limited water damage endorsement does not extend coverage for foundation movement, a Texas federal judge said Nov. 2 (John F. Thomas, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 15-1937, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152318).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Argues Settlement Agreement Barred Claims For Cleanup Costs

CINCINNATI - An insurer argues in a Nov. 1 response brief to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a district court correctly found that a 1994 settlement agreement bars coverage for any future claims arising out of coverage for environmental cleanup costs incurred by the insured at a Superfund site in Texas (Arrowood Indemnity Company v. Lubrizol Corporation, No. 16-3463, 6th Cir.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - U.S. High Court Won't Review Texas Panel Ruling Overturning Award Against Domino's

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 31 denied a petition for writ of certiorari to review a Texas appeals court decision that overturned a $31 million jury award against Domino's Pizza LLC, Domino's franchisee MAC Pizza Management Inc. and a Domino's delivery driver for a crash that killed a woman and severely injured her husband (Raghurami Reddy, et al. v. Domino's Pizza LLC, No.16-356, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Health Law - 5th Circuit Panel Upholds 97-Month Sentence For Health Care Fraud

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Texas did not err when sentencing the "prime mover" of a Medicare fraud scheme to 97 months in prison by applying the 2009 U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 26, holding that one of the charges against the defendant involved conduct that occurred after the guidelines amended the term "victim" to include a person whose identity was unlawfully used (United States of America v. Edgar Shakbazyan, No. 15-20426, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Health Law - Texas Federal Judge Lets ERISA Claim Stand In Action Against Employer

DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 24 partially denied a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim in an action in which a man says he was illegally fired by his employer so it could stop paying for his medical expenses under its medical insurance plan, finding that he has sufficiently alleged facts that would support a claim under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 510 (Steve Wesley Culver, et al. v. United Commerce Centers Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-01055, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146939).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Nurse Who Contracted Ebola From Patient Settles Suit Against Hospital Network

DALLAS - A Texas nurse who contracted Ebola after treating a patient at a Dallas hospital has settled her suit against the company that owns the hospital, according to a dismissal notice filed in Texas state court on Oct. 24 (Nina Pham v. Texas Health Resources Inc., No. DC-15-02252, Texas 68th Jud. Dist., Dallas Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Texas Federal Judge Lets ERISA Claim Stand In Action Against Employer

DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 24 partially denied a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim in an action in which a man says he was illegally fired by his employer so it could stop paying for his medical expenses under its medical insurance plan, finding that he has sufficiently alleged facts that would support a claim under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 510 (Steve Wesley Culver, et al. v. United Commerce Centers Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-01055, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146939).

Mealey's Insurance - 5th Circuit Panel Upholds 97-Month Sentence For Health Care Fraud

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Texas did not err when sentencing the "prime mover" of a Medicare fraud scheme to 97 months in prison by applying the 2009 U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 26, holding that one of the charges against the defendant involved conduct that occurred after the guidelines amended the term "victim" to include a person whose identity was unlawfully used (United States of America v. Edgar Shakbazyan, No. 15-20426, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Alleged Misstatements Contained Required Cautionary Language, Judge Rules

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Oct. 21 ruled that dismissal of an amended complaint in a securities class action lawsuit against parties to a merger deal is proper because lead plaintiffs failed to show that alleged misrepresentations and omissions made by the parties regarding debt and future distributions issues were not publicly available and did not contain the required cautionary language (Irving Braun, et al. v. Eagle Rock Energy Partners, LP, et al., No. 15-1470, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146035).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Texas Federal Magistrate Judge Says Award Of Fees Not Warranted In Patent Case

MARSHALL, Texas - Under the operative standard for awarding attorney fees in a patent case, a Texas federal magistrate judge on Oct. 24 found that allegations that Cabela's Inc. infringed a patented system and method for processing transactions do not qualify as "exceptional" (E2E Processing Inc. v. Cabela's Inc., No. 14-36, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147139).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Alleged Misstatements Contained Required Cautionary Language, Judge Rules

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Oct. 21 ruled that dismissal of an amended complaint in a securities class action lawsuit against parties to a merger deal is proper because lead plaintiffs failed to show that alleged misrepresentations and omissions made by the parties regarding debt and future distributions issues were not publicly available and did not contain the required cautionary language (Irving Braun, et al. v. Eagle Rock Energy Partners, LP, et al., No. 15-1470, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146035).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 5th Circuit Affirms Defense Summary Judgment In Medical Negligence Case

NEW ORLEANS - A federal court in Texas did not abuse its discretion in excluding the testimony of the plaintiff's expert witness in a medical negligence case, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found Oct. 19, affirming summary judgment for the defendants (Jewel Honey-Love, Individually and as a Representative of the Estate of Larry Lavon Love v. United States of America, et al., No. 16-20080, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18829).