GALVESTON, Texas - In a Sept. 30 minute order, a Texas federal judge denied an application for declaratory and injunctive relief by four U.S. states that sought to halt the transfer of the U.S. government's trusteeship of certain name and addressing functions for the Internet domain name system (DNS) under its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to a newly formed private entity (State of Arizona, et al. v. National Telecommunications and Information Administration, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00274, S.D. Texas).
HOUSTON - Even though an insurer has shown that it was prejudiced as a matter of law by an insured's conduct in declining a settlement in an underlying lawsuit over a faulty flex connector, a question of fact exists as to whether the insured's refusal to settle was reasonable, a Texas federal judge said Sept. 29 in vacating a prior ruling on the issue (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Petroleum Solutions, Inc., et al., No. 09-0422, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133972).
DALLAS - The third bellwether trial in the DePuy Pinnacle hip multidistrict litigation got under way on Oct. 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2244, No. 11-md-2244, Rosa Metzler, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 12-2066, Michael Weiser v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3631, Judith Rodriguez v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3938, Linda Standerfer v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 14-1730, Kathleen Davis, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-1767, Marvin Andrews, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-3484, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 3 denied a motion by five plaintiffs in a DePuy Pinnacle hip trial to find the Texas punitive damages cap unconstitutional and to reinstate their $360 million exemplary damages award (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2244, No. 11-md-2244, Margaret Aoki v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 13-1071, Jacqueline Christopher v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-194, Donald Greer v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 12-1672, Susan Klusmann v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 11-2800, Robert Peterson v. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., et al., No. 11-1941, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Sept. 28 found that a contractor and others that had agreed to indemnify an insurer in liquidation were liable to indemnify the insurer for more than $500,000 of losses the insurer paid when the contractor could not to meet its obligations on a brine storage pond project (Castlepoint National Insurance Company v. Addicks Services, Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-00462, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134761).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 28 dismissed without prejudice a putative class action brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act alleging that Whole Foods Market Inc. breached its fiduciary duty to participants in its 401(k) plan by allowing employees to continue to invest in the company while the company's stock was artificially inflated due to a widespread overpricing scheme (Thomas Martone, et al. v. Whole Foods Market Inc., No. 1:15-CV-877, W.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133703).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Sept. 30 refused to review a mold coverage suit in which a trial court granted an insurer's no-evidence motion for summary judgment because the insureds failed to file a timely and substantive response to the motion (Veronica L. Davis, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds Texas, No. 16-0531, Texas Sup.).
HOUSTON - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Sept. 28 that Vibra Healthcare LLC (Vibra), a Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based national hospital chain, has agreed to pay $32.7 million to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) when billing Medicare for medically unnecessary services (United States of America, ex rel. Daniel v. Vibra Healthcare LLC, No. 10-5099, S.D. Texas).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 26 held that a Texas federal judge erred in holding that a consolidated Employee Retirement Income Security Act action against BP PLC that was filed after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill satisfies the pleading standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (134 S. Ct. 2459 ) because the complaint failed to propose an alternative course of action that a prudent fiduciary would recognize was more likely to help a retirement fund than harm it (Ralph Whitley, et al. v. BP PLC, et al., No. 15-20282, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17501).
TYLER, Texas - A doctor who was recently resentenced to 135 months in prison for submitting false claims to Medicare and Medicaid was ordered by a federal judge in Texas on Sept. 26 to pay $1.3 million to the government for violations of the False Claims Act (FCA) (United States of America v. Tariq Mahmood, No. 15-cv-948, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141158).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 20 affirmed a Texas federal court's award of $3,728,613.91 in a wage-and-hour suit brought by truck drivers (Nicole Olibas, et al. v. John Barclay, et al., Reginald E. Williams, et al. v. Native Oilfield Services, L.L.C., et al., No. 15-10919, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17359).
HOUSTON - An insured is not entitled to coverage under a one-year casualty insurance policy for losses as the result of a burglary because the insured failed to pay the premium by the required deadline, failed to disclose that he has filed similar claims under the terms of a previous policy and failed to properly maintain his business's security system, a federal judge in Texas ruled Sept. 22 (Perfit Vision, et al. v. Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Co., No. 15-408, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129865).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 21 vacated a Texas federal judge's denial of enhanced damages in a patent infringement dispute (WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., Nos. 2013-1527, 2014-1121, -1526, -1528, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17215).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Sept. 19 ordered parties involved in a disability benefits dispute to submit additional briefing on whether a discretionary clause, included in a disability plan that was issued in the State of Texas, is valid in the State of Washington where the claimant resides (Anthony Flaaen v. McLane Co. Inc., et al., No. 15-5899, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127448).
AUSTIN, Texas - The special deputy receiver (SDR) of an insolvent insurer reported to a Texas court on Sept. 15 the financial status of the liquidation estate and outlined details of reinsurance recoverables and recoveries (The State of Texas v. San Antonio Indemnity Company, No. D-1-GV-13-001153, Texas, 201st Dist., Travis Co.).
TYLER, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Sept. 15 resentenced a doctor to 135 months in prison and ordered him to pay $145,358.23 in restitution to Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas after the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction (United States of America v. Tariq Mahmood, No. 13-cr-00032, E.D. Texas).
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on Sept. 15 denied an insurer's motions to dismiss and for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer failed to plead, in detail, each of an insured's claims it seeks to dismiss (David Giboney v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co., No. 15-3073, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125440).
DALLAS - Efforts by a copyright infringement and false advertising plaintiff to obtain a temporary restraining order barring the construction of a single-family home were unsuccessful Sept. 16, when a Texas federal judge denied the request (The Joseph Paul Corporation d/b/a The Joseph Paul Homes v. Trademark Custom Homes, Inc., et al., No. 16-1651, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126206).
TYLER, Texas - After a seven-day trial in Texas federal court, a jury on Sept. 14 found that Apple Inc. infringed the asserted claims of a patent related to a method for detecting buffer status conditions, awarding the patentee more than $22 million (Cellular Communications Equipment LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 6:14-cv-00251, E.D. Texas).
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge did not err in denying certification of three classes of Super Bowl XLV ticketholders bringing various claims related to seating issues at the 2011 football game, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 9 (Bruce Ibe, et al. v. Jerral Wayne Jones, et al., Ken Laffin, et al. v. National Football League, et al., No. 15-10242, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16583).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court in a Sept. 2 pronouncement granted relators' petition to review a lower court's ruling compelling them to respond to discovery requests concerning their attorney fees in a multidistrict litigation hailstorm property damage coverage dispute (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Wardlaw Claims Service Inc. and Ideal Adjusting Inc., No. 15-0591, Texas Sup.).