LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's IP/Tech - Judge Declines To Dispose Of Computer Fraud Claim Against Former Employee

DALLAS - Finding that fact issues exist on a recruiting firm's Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) claim against a former employee who allegedly gave confidential information to his new employer, a Texas federal judge on Jan. 13 denied the ex-employee's motion for summary judgment (Merritt Hawkins & Associates LLC v. Larry Scott Gresham, et al., No. 3:13-cv-00312, N.D. Texas).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Texas Court Hears Arguments In Contemporaneous Negligence Asbestos Case

DALLAS - The Texas Supreme Court heard oral argument Jan. 14 over whether the state's law permits a $2.64 million award to a contractor allegedly exposed to asbestos by a premises owner's contemporaneous acts (Magdalena Adrienna Abutahoun, et al. v. The Dow Chemical Co., No. 13-0175, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit Vacates Ruling Against Cleaning Equipment Supplier In CERCLA Suit

NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 14 vacated a Texas federal judge's ruling that a dry-cleaning equipment supplier was 75 percent liable for cleanup costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) for supplying perchloroethylene (PERC) to a cleaning business, holding that it was not an arranger under the standards set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States (556 U.S. 599 [2009]) (Vine Street LLC v. Borg Warner, No. 07-40440, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 581).

Mealey's Health Law - Owners Of Mental Health Clinic Sentenced For Medicare Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON - Two physician owners of a mental health clinic were sentenced to 148 months and 120 months, respectively, in prison for their roles in a $97 million Medicare fraud scheme, according to docket entries entered Jan. 12 in Texas federal court (United States of America v. Mansour Sanjar, et al., No. 11-cr-00861, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Trims Claims In Insurance Bad Faith Suit Over Wind, Storm Damage

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Jan. 9 granted partial summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insured did not properly plead his statutory bad faith claims because he failed to provide the required summary judgment evidence (Garry Nasti v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 13-1413, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3009).

Mealey's Insurance - Owners Of Mental Health Clinic Sentenced For Medicare Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON - Two physician owners of a mental health clinic were sentenced to 148 months and 120 months, respectively, in prison for their roles in a $97 million Medicare fraud scheme, according to docket entries entered Jan. 12 in Texas federal court (United States of America v. Mansour Sanjar, et al., No. 11-cr-00861, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Finds No Basis For TILA Claims Against Banks

SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 7 granted a motion for summary judgment filed by two banks, finding that claims asserted by former property owners in relation to a foreclosure for violation of the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and breach of contract were unsupported (Ira W. Brewer, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 4:13-CV-638, E.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1986).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Texas Federal Judge Grants New Trial On Patent Inventorship

SHERMAN, Texas - A patent plaintiff won a new trial on Jan. 8, following an adverse March 2013 jury verdict in Texas federal court that each of the asserted patents in suit is invalid for failure to add one or more co-inventors (Oasis Research LLC v. ADrive LLC et al., No. 10-435, E.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1794).

Mealey's Insurance - FEMA Waiver Limited To $7,000 Approved By Adjuster, Magistrate Judge Rules

GALVESTON, Texas - A waiver by the Federal Emergency Management Agency was limited to $7,000 of the $112,000 sought by an insured in his third proof of loss (POL) over Hurricane Ike flood damage, a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 7, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Jason Fennelly v. Texas Farmers Insurance Co., No. 12-024, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1290).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Texas Judge Finds Sellers Did Not Fail To Disclose Mold Contamination

SAN ANTONIO - A Texas appeals court on Jan. 7 affirmed summary judgment in favor of the sellers of a house, finding no material issue of fact as to whether they failed to fully disclose information about water and mold conditions at the time of sale (Mike and Geri Jones v. Robert and Patricia Zearfoss, No. 04-14-00083, Texas App.; 4th Dist., 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 25).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Federal Judge Dismisses Air Bag Suit For Failure To Show Alternative Design

HOUSTON - The failure of the plaintiff in a wrongful death action to produce evidence of an economically feasible alternative to an air bag that failed to deploy properly in a fatal collision warrants entry of summary judgment for American Honda Motor Co. Inc., a federal judge in Texas ruled Jan. 6 (Joseph B. Flynn, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., et al., No. 4:11-CV-3908, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1016).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - DOJ Announces Kaplan Will Pay $1.3M To Settle Claims Of Unqualified Teachers

SAN ANTONIO - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Jan. 5 announced that Kaplan Higher Education will pay $1,329,753.25 to resolve claims that the company employed unqualified instructors at its campuses in Texas (United States of America, et al. v. Kaplan, Inc., et al., No. 12-459, W.D. Texas).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Texas Federal Judge Transfers Some Patent Cases To California Court

MARSHALL, Texas - Although their request for a stay was denied Jan. 6 by a Texas federal judge, several patent infringement defendants nonetheless won transfer of their cases to California federal court (Vantage Point Technology Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., et al., No. 13-909, E.D. Texas).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - 5th Circuit Affirms Bank Of America Provided Proper Notice Of Default

NEW ORLEANS - After finding that claims related to the refinancing of a property did not fall within the scope of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 6 affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of a bank (Nathaniel Perkins v. Bank of America, No. 14-20284, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 102).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Has Limited Duty To Indemnify Based On 'Your Work' Exclusion

PORTLAND, Ore. - An insurer has a limited duty to indemnify an insured for an underlying arbitration award against the insured in a construction defects case, an Oregon federal judge ruled Dec. 30, granting in part summary judgment to the insurer based upon the "your work" exclusion (American Hallmark Insurance Company of Texas v. Journey Built Homes LLC and Jennifer Werner, No. 12-01020, D. Ore.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178111).

Mealey's Health Law - Preliminary Injunction Halts Recoupment Of Medicaid Funds To Pediatric Hospitals

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Dec. 29 granted a preliminary injunction to enjoin the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from recouping any federal disproportionate-share hospital (DSH) funds provided to two pediatric teaching and research hospitals based on a state's noncompliance with a new Medicaid funding rule (Texas Children's Hospital, et al. v. Sylvia Burwell, secretary, United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 14-2060, D. D.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177644).

Mealey's Insurance - 'Damage To Your Work' Bars Insurance Coverage, Texas Appeals Panel Says

DALLAS - A policy's "damage to your work" exclusion precludes an insurer's duty to defend and indemnify claims that insureds' negligently designed a townhome, a Texas appeals panel held Dec. 29, reversing an award in favor of an assignee against the insurer and rendering a take-nothing judgment in favor of the insurer (Oklahoma Surety Co. v. Steve Noviello, et al., No. 05-13-01546, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 13833).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Willful Infringement Claim Survives Motion In Texas Patent Litigation

GALVESTON, Texas - Allegations that a defendant willfully infringed two patents will proceed, thanks to a Dec. 17 ruling by a Texas federal judge (RLIS Inc. v. Cerner Corporation, No. 12-209, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds ExxonMobil Did Not Violate Clean Air Act

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 17 awarded judgment to ExxonMobil Corp. after finding that the company did not violate the Clean Air Act (CAA) when emissions from its Baytown, Texas, refinery exceeded permitted levels and that the company properly investigated and remedied the problems (Environment Texas Citizen Lobby Inc., et al. v. ExxonMobil Corporation, et al., No. 10-cv-4969, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Judge Stays Insurance Coverage Suit After Insurer Is Placed In Liquidation

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 16 stayed a suit against an insolvent insurer, noting that the liquidating court had ordered the end of all litigation against the insolvent insurer (Air Tropiques, S.P.R.L. v. Northern & Western Insurance Company, Ltd., et al., No. 13-cv-01438, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Stays Insurance Coverage Suit After Insurer Is Placed In Liquidation

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 16 stayed a suit against an insolvent insurer, noting that the liquidating court had ordered the end of all litigation against the insolvent insurer (Air Tropiques, S.P.R.L. v. Northern & Western Insurance Company, Ltd., et al., No. 13-cv-01438, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Adopts Recommendation To Accept Guilty Plea In Fraud Case

BEAUMONT, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 15 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation to accept a man's guilty plea for aiding and abetting an insurance fraud scheme after the defendant agreed with the evidence presented by the federal government and testified that he was knowingly entering a plea of guilty (United States of America v. Kenneth Kevin Scott, No. 14-CR-61-8, E.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172881).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Field Adjuster Was Improperly Joined In Bad Faith Lawsuit

DALLAS - Because an insurer, adjusting company and field adjuster have properly shown that the field adjuster was improperly joined in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, the parties in the action are completely diverse and remand of the action to state court is not proper, a federal judge in Texas ruled Dec. 11 (One Way Investments Inc. v. Century Surety Co., et al., No. 14-2839, N.D. Texas; 204 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171357).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - JPMDL Consolidates Greek Yogurt Suits In Texas Federal Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) issued an order Dec. 10 consolidating for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas suits alleging that yogurt sold by Whole Foods Market Inc. under the brand Whole Foods 365 Greek Yogurt contains as much as six times the advertised amount of sugar (In re Whole Foods Market Inc. Greek Yogurt Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 2588, U.S. JPMDL).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - JPMDL Consolidates Greek Yogurt Suits In Texas Federal Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) issued an order Dec. 10 consolidating for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas suits alleging that yogurt sold by Whole Foods Market Inc. under the brand Whole Foods 365 Greek Yogurt contains as much as six times the advertised amount of sugar (In re Whole Foods Market Inc. Greek Yogurt Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 2588, U.S. JPMDL).