SAN ANTONIO - Third-party claimants may not bring a claim for insurance bad faith against an automobile insurance provider because they have failed to show that a duty under G.A. Stowers Furniture Co. v. American Indemnity Co. existed between the insurer and its insured since the claimants had failed to make any settlement demand within the insured's policy limits, a federal judge in Texas ruled Aug. 29 in granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings (Amanda Montoya, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-0005, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138991).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 25 denied a request from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking to transfer to a petition challenging its decision to limit emissions of sulfur dioxide from four areas in Texas to the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, holding that the decision was only regionally applicable (State of Texas, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 17-60088, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16329).
SHERMAN, Texas - Expedited jurisdictional discovery is warranted in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit filed by a health and wellness direct sales company against its competitor and certain of its employees because the individual defendants are alleged to have had contacts with the state of Texas, a federal judge in Texas ruled Aug. 22 in granting the company's motion (AdvoCare International LP v. Modere Inc., et al., No. 17-0194, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133613).
DALLAS - An appellate panel in Texas on Aug. 21 found that a trial court erred in granting summary judgment to a grocery store in a slip-and-fall lawsuit because there was evidence that an employee who slipped on water told a supervisor about the hazard and that the supervisor told another employee to clean the water up (Carmen Velasquez v. Fiesta Mart Inc., No. 05-16-00813-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 7956).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 18 ruled that a trial court did not abuse its discretion when it certified a general class and two subclasses of Texas prisoners suing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and two officials for allegedly failing to properly cool prison housing areas (Marvin Ray Yates, et al. v. Bryan Collier, et al., No. 16-20505, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15847).
BEAUMONT, Texas - A Texas appellate panel majority on Aug. 17 found that a trial court did not err in denying a doctor's motion to dismiss a wrongful death and medical malpractice suit against him because both of the plaintiffs' experts are qualified to opine on the connection between an alleged breach of care and a patient's death (Coye Q. McMillian v. Joe Harris, No. 09-17-00086-CV, Texas App., 9th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 7843).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 16 denied an insurer's motion to sever an insured's extracontractual claims after determining that the insurer failed to prove that it would be prejudiced if the claims are not severed and failed to prove that judicial economy would be promoted if the claims are severed (Elizabeth Hazen v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-3068, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130416).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 15 granted an insured's motion to dismiss its commercial insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for alleged storm damage to the insured's motel, finding that the majority of the factors in Brillhart v. Excess Ins. Co. of Am., 316 U.S. 491, 495, 62 S. Ct. 1173, 86 L. Ed. 1620 (1942), weigh in favor of dismissal (GuideOne National Insurance Company v. Bhav Harri, LLC, No. 16-00740, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129473).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 15 partially reversed a trial court's decision and ruled that Wood v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., 505 S.W.3d 542 (Tex. 2016), and Garofolo v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, L.L.C., 497 S.W.3d 474 (Tex. 2016), constitute intervening changes in law sufficient enough to provide a borrower with post-judgment relief on her claim to preclude foreclosure (Tina Alexander v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 16-20500, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15279).
DALLAS - A Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 15 affirmed the dismissal of a premises liability suit against a city after finding that it was immune from suit under state law (Louis Morgan v. The City of Terrell, No. 05-16-00554-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 7736).
HOUSTON - A registered nurse who owned two home health care companies was found guilty on Aug. 10 by a federal jury in Texas of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud for her role in a $20 million Medicare fraud scheme (United States v. Evelyn Mokwuah, No. 16cr254, S.D. Texas).
HOUSTON - A Texas appellate panel on Aug. 15 upheld a lower court's decision to deny a surgeon's motion to dismiss a health care liability suit because the plaintiff's expert showed in his affidavit that there was a standard of care and that standard was breached (Marston Holt, M.D. v. Kirby Holt, No. 01-17-00008-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 7732).
TYLER, Texas - A Texas federal judge on July 24 preliminarily approved a $97.5 million settlement on claims that retailer JCPenney Co. Inc. and certain of its executive officers misrepresented the company's business and financial condition in violation of federal securities laws and scheduled a settlement hearing for Nov. 29 (Alan B. Marcus v. JCPenney Company Inc., et al., No. 13-0736, E.D. Texas).
SHERMAN, Texas - A plaintiff will be permitted another opportunity to depose the author of a patent opinion letter at the expense of an infringement defendant "as a remedy" for conduct by defense counsel, a Texas federal judge ruled Aug. 11 (Tech Pharmacy Services LLC v. Alixa Rx LLC, No. 15-766, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127965).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 10 denied a motion to remand by insureds seeking coverage under a pollution liability policy after determining that the insurer's adjuster was fraudulently joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction (Waste Management Inc., et al., v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-3676, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126880).
DALLAS - A lead plaintiff's class suit under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) that accuses a supermarket of not properly truncating customers' information on its receipts fails due to no showing of injury in fact, a Texas federal judge ruled Aug. 9 (Sumeet Batra, et al. v. RLS Supermarkets LLC, No. 16-2874, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125877).
HOUSTON - A First District Texas Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 8 affirmed a trial court's order granting summary judgment to a dentist and his practice in a dental malpractice suit after finding that the claims were health care liability claims and subject to a two-year statute of limitations (Lover Compton v. Lance Jue D.D.S, et al., No. 01-16-00412-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 7 declined to exclude testimony from two experts for a pharmaceutical company asserting patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation claims against rival companies, ruling that the experts' opinions meet all standards for expert testimony (Tech Pharmacy Services, LLC v. Alixa Rx LLC, et al., No. 4:15-cv-766, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124423, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123990).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 4 denied a motion to dismiss filed by an insurance agency accused of selling fraudulent commercial general liability policies to a framing contractor, finding that the court has personal jurisdiction over the lawsuit (Rankin Construction National Builders LLC v. Frank H. Reis, Inc., No. 17-CV-530-A, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123096).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on Aug. 3 affirmed a trial court's decision to deny a state-run hospital's plea to jurisdiction because the plaintiffs showed that the hospital staff's misuse of a liquid during a procedure was the proximate cause of a patient's death and, therefore, the hospital is not immune from suit under Texas law (University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center v. Lance McKenzie, et al., No. 14-16-00681-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 7312).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Aug. 3 affirmed a trial court judge's ruling denying a contractor's motion to compel arbitration in a construction defects suit brought by an association of unit owners, finding that the association was not an assignee or successor to the developer (G.T. Leach Builders, LLC v. Sapphire Condominiums Association Inc., No. 13-16-00293-CV, Texas App., 13th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 7367).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 2 denied a motion by the city of Pasadena, Texas, for partial summary judgment, finding that it could face liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) because it owned a wastewater treatment plant for 50 years where spills of hazardous waste occurred (USOR Site PRP Group v. A&M Contractors Inc., et al., No. 14-CV-2441, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121386).