AUSTIN, Texas - The Third District Texas Court of Appeals on Aug. 30 reversed and remanded a lower court decision dismissing the claims of a woman who was involved in an auto accident against a woman insured by an insolvent insurer, finding that the lower court had abused its discretion by dismissing the claims based on a discovery noncompliance (Crystal Bingham Hernandez v. Tiffany Polley, No. 03-15-00384-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 9526).
TYLER, Texas - Determining that a securities class action lawsuit meets the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and 23(b)(2) requirements for class certification, a federal magistrate judge in Texas on Aug. 29 recommended that a class certification motion be granted and a pension fund be appointed as lead plaintiff (Alan B. Marcus v. J.C. Penney Co. Inc., et al., No. 13-0736, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115795).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A defendant has failed to show "where, how and why" a plaintiff's planned fiberglass utility body (FUB) would infringe any protectable trade dress belonging to the defendant, thereby entitling the plaintiff to a declaration of noninfringement, a Texas federal judge ruled Aug. 29 (Industrial Models Inc. v. SNF Inc., et al., No. 15-689, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115644).
DALLAS - Although two commercial general liability insurers have a duty to indemnify insureds for an underlying construction defects arbitration award, a Texas appeals panel ruled Aug. 25 that a trial court erred in finding that the insurers are jointly and severally liable for the $2.4 million award (Great American Lloyds Insurance Co. and Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Vines-Herrin Custom LLC, et al., No. 05-15-00230, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 9407).
SAN ANTONIO - A Texas appeals panel on Aug. 24 ruled that a trial court judge erred by awarding a couple $200,394.76 in damages and attorney fees for alleged construction defects, ruling that the evidence did not support the amount of damages awarded and that the Texas Residential Commercial Liability Act (RCLA) limits the amount of attorney fees the plaintiffs could receive (Bryan Smith, d/b/a Vision Design and Build v. Robert Overby, et al., No. 04-15-00436-CV, Texas App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Texas App. LEXIS 9172).
HOUSTON - A Texas state jury on Aug. 25 found in favor of General Motors LLC, determining that the automaker was not responsible for a crash that resulted in the plaintiff sustaining a traumatic brain injury and the death of another nonparty driver (Zachery Stevens, et al. v. General Motors LLC, No. 2015-04442, Texas 152nd Jud. Dist., Harris Co.).
NEW ORLEANS - Following guidance from the Texas Supreme Court, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 22 affirmed a lower court's ruling that granted summary judgment in favor of The Golf Channel Inc. in a clawback lawsuit stemming from the R. Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme, ruling that the Supreme Court's ruling clarified the "reasonably equivalent value" standard established under the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (TUFTA) (Ralph S. Janvey v. The Golf Channel Inc., No. 13-11305, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15407).
DALLAS - An insurance adjuster was properly joined in an insurance bad faith and breach of contract lawsuit because an insured has pleaded a claim against the adjuster for violation of the Texas Insurance Code, destroying diversity jurisdiction, a federal judge in Texas ruled Aug. 22 in remanding the action to state court (Robert Martinez v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 16-0040, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111334).
DALLAS - A Texas appellate panel on Aug. 16 affirmed summary judgment in favor of a general contractor and subcontractors in an injured worker's tort-based lawsuit because, it said, the worker's exclusive remedy was through the Texas Workers' Compensation Act (Juan Carlos Flores v. Chasco Inc., et al., No. 05-14-00531-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 8913).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 15 granted Choice Hotels International Inc.'s (CHI) motion for summary judgment in a suit alleging that former CHI franchisees continued to use CHI trademarks after termination of their franchise agreement for nonpayment of certain fees (Choice Hotels International Inc. v. Frontier Hotels Inc., et al., No. 4:15-2355, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107460).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A request by a patent infringement defendant to transfer its dispute with a competitor to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas should be denied, a Delaware federal magistrate judge recommended Aug. 11 (Smith International Inc. v. Baker Hughes Inc., No. 16-56, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105481).
SHERMAN, Texas - A claims adjuster and adjusting company were improperly joined in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because an insured failed to provide any fact to show that those defendants' actions were in violation of the Texas Insurance Code, a federal judge in Texas ruled Aug. 8 in denying the insured's motion to remand (Lillian Elizondo v. Metropolitan Lloyds Insurance Co. of Texas, et al., No. 16-306, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103878).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patent that is currently the subject of several pending inter partes review (IPR) requests filed by companies including Volkswagen Group of America Inc. and Toyota Motor Co. is under fire again, in light of an Aug. 4 petition for IPR filed by America Honda Motor Co. Inc. (Honda) with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (American Honda Motor Co. v. Blitzsafe Texas LLC, No. IPR2016-01533, PTAB).
DALLAS - Five DePuy Pinnacle hip plaintiffs on Aug. 1 asked a Texas federal judge to reconsider his reduction of their punitive damage awards, arguing that because the state's punitives cap differentiates between high-income and low-income plaintiffs, it is unconstitutional (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, In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2244, No. 11-md-2244, N.D. Texas).
HOUSTON - A cooperation clause applies to an insured's conduct in declining a settlement in an underlying lawsuit over a faulty flex connector, a Texas federal judge ruled July 29, also finding that genuine issues of material fact exist regarding whether the insured breached that duty (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Petroleum Solutions, Inc., et al., No. 09-0422, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99896).
AUSTIN, Texas - The special deputy receiver (SDR) of an insolvent title insurer and the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association (TTIGA) asked a Texas court on July 22 to set a claims-filing deadline and approve their notification and claims-processing procedures (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.).
DALLAS - A Texas diagnostic imaging services company agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) when improperly billing Medicare and Medicaid for services that were provided without proper medical supervision, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas announced July 22 (United States of America, ex rel. Tracy Sifuentes v. Preferred Imaging LLC, No. 14-cv-4555, N.D. Texas).
AUSTIN, Texas - The exclusive remedy provision of the Texas Workers' Compensation Act (TWCA) barred a man's premises liability claims against a general contractor for injuries he sustained while working as a subcontractor on a construction site, a Texas appellate panel ruled July 22, affirming summary judgment for the general contractor (Matthew Eric Kershner v. Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC, No. 03-15-00529-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 7801).
DALLAS - After finding that it is possible that an arbitration clause falling under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards could provide a defense to claims asserted by two entities against former employees, a Texas federal judge on July 21 refused to remand the case to state court (Valtech Solutions Inc., et al. v. Deborah Davenport, et al., No. 3:15-CV-3361, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95098).
HOUSTON - An insurance policy's "your work" exclusion precludes damages awarded in arbitration to homeowners because the insured contractor's work caused the damages, which did not include damages to the pool or work performed by other subcontractors, a Texas federal judge ruled July 19 (Grier Patton and Camille Patton and David A. Fettner v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 15-1371, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93568).
HOUSTON - A nurse at a Texas home health care services company was found guilty on three counts of health care fraud by a unanimous jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on July 19 for her role in an $8 million scheme that involved submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare (United States of America v. Precious Deshield, et al., No. 15cr319, S.D. Texas).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals court on July 19 declined to rehear an asbestos case in which it found that a nine-year gap in accepting a settlement offer did not doom the claim, turning away Union Carbide Corp.'s warning that the ruling "risks creating a dangerous precedent" (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 01-14-00574-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).