WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Texas federal judge's determination that Victoria's Secret Direct Brand Management LLC and Avon Products Inc. infringed two online shopping patents, and that the asserted claims of the patents are not invalid, was reversed Feb. 12 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Soverain Software LLC v. Victoria's Secret Direct Brand Management et al., Nos. 12-1649, 12-1650, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2202).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Texas federal judge properly granted a defendant summary judgment of noninfringement in a dispute over a patented system for providing personal communication services (PCS), the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 12 (Fenner Investments Ltd. v. Cellco Partnership, d/b/a Verizon Wireless, No. 13-1640, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2203).
AUSTIN, Texas - The majority of the Texas Supreme Court on Feb. 13 determined that BP Exploration & Production and its affiliates are covered as additional insureds only for above-surface pollution arising out of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion because the rig owner did not assume any liability for sub-surface pollution (In re: Deepwater Horizon, No. 13-0670, Texas Sup.).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A subrogated insurer did not need a certificate of merit under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 150.002 to file its lawsuit against a contractor regarding damages incurred from settlement of an underlying homeowner's lawsuit arising from a defective foundation, a Texas appeals panel affirmed Feb. 12 (Childress Engineering Services Inc. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., as subrogee to Meritage Homes of Texas LLC, No. 02-14-00332-CV, Texas App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 1425).
SAN FRANCISCO - A judge did not err in applying Texas asbestos causation law to one set of defendants and California's standard to another, nor in concluding that the stricter Texas standard warrants summary judgment, a California appeals court held Feb. 10 (Doyle Green & Yvonne Green v. CertainTeed Corp., et al., No. A134983, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3).
DALLAS - An agreement tolling the statute of limitations in an asbestos action ended when with a decision on the constitutionality of retroactive application of a law shielding Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. from liability, a federal judge held Feb. 5 in dismissing a widow's case (William G. Lett and Maria Lett v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc. and Guardline Inc., No. 14-860, Patricia Lusk, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc. and Guardline Inc., No. 14-861, Debra White, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc. and Guardline Inc., No. 14-862, N.D. Texas).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on Feb. 4 affirmed a state court judge's ruling awarding $29,000 in damages and $7,500 in attorney fees to a salon owner, finding that evidence presented during a bench trial sufficiently showed that the plaintiff company's faulty workmanship could have caused cracks in floor tile that was installed in the salon (Vo Engineering Ltd. Co., et al. v. Nu Cai, No. 03-13-00529-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 1012).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel on Feb. 3 found that a federal district court's June 19 judgment that vacated a jury's $1.5 million punitive damages award against an insured rendered the issue of coverage for those punitive damages moot and, as a result, a controversy ceased to exist and the panel lacked jurisdiction to issue an Aug. 28 opinion and judgment in favor of the insured (Tesco Corporation [US] v. Steadfast Insurance Co., No. 01-13-00091-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 970).
HOUSTON - A health care provider on Feb. 2 sued an insurance company in a Texas federal court for allegedly failing to properly reimburse the provider for services provided to the defendant's insureds (Grand Parkway Surgery Center v. Health Care Service Corp., et al., No. 15-297, S.D. Texas).
HOUSTON - An independent adjuster lacks standing to sue under the False Claims Act (FCA) because he is not an original source, a Texas federal judge ruled Jan. 29, dismissing his qui tam lawsuit alleging that various insurers and adjusters committed fraud in responding to damage claims involving hurricanes Katrina and Ike (United States of America, ex rel. Kermith Sonnier v. The Standard Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-1065, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10006).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - An exception to a Texas law barring failure-to-warn claims in drug injury lawsuits is not preempted by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs' Legal Comm. (531 U.S. 341, 347 ), a federal judge overseeing the Lipitor multidistrict litigation ruled Feb. 2 (In Re: Lipitor [Atorvastatin Calcium] Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2502, No. 14-mn-2502, D. S.C., Charleston Div.).
DALLAS - A third-party sponsor of an Internet contest based on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men's Basketball Tournament, which is at the heart of a contractual and intellectual property dispute, must produce documents in response to the plaintiff's subpoena, a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 30, denying the sponsor's motion to quash (SCA Promotions Inc. v. Yahoo! Inc., No. 3:14-cv-00957, N.D. Texas).
AUSTIN, Texas - A dispute over the "ICS" acronym should proceed in Texas federal court, a magistrate judge recommended Jan. 30 (Innovative Communication Systems Inc. v. Innovative Computing Systems Inc., No. 13-1044, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10792).
DALLAS - In accordance with a jury verdict, a Texas federal judge on Jan. 30 awarded a plaintiff firm $206,000 for two employees' intentional accessing of its computer network without authorization under Texas law, resulting in the copying of hundreds of proprietary files (Merritt Hawkins & Associates LLC v. Larry Scott Gresham, et al., No. 3:13-cv-00312, N.D. Texas).
AUSTIN, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Jan. 27 granted an insurance benefits administrator's motion for summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the benefits administrator is a state instrumentality that is shielded by sovereign immunity (Kerri Kirby v. Health Care Service Corp, No. 14-892, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8953).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Finding that underlying libel claims against an attorney insured fail to arise from activities related to his business, a Texas federal judge on Jan. 29 held that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify the insured and granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment in a declaratory judgment lawsuit (Mark A. DiCarlo v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 2:14-CV-449, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10157).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Jan. 29 held that an insurance adjuster lacked standing to bring claims that a number of insurance companies violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by preparing and submitting inflated claims on flood insurance policies backed by the Federal Insurance Administration's (FIA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), while reducing claims paid on privately backed wind insurance policies, finding that his allegations were based on publicly disclosed information (United States of America, ex rel. Kermith Sonnier v. The Standard Fire Insurance Company, et al., No. H-12-1065, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10006).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 27 upheld a jury verdict for two workers who alleged Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 violations after they were subjected to a work event, scheduled during a Texas holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery, during which the company brought in a gorilla singing telegram (James L. Henry, et al. v. CorpCar Services Houston, Limited, et al., No. 13-20744, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1208).