FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on April 6 affirmed a verdict in a premises liability suit in favor of a restaurant and its owner after finding that a woman who sued after her husband died from a fall on the restaurant's property did not present enough evidence to show that patio furniture was the dangerous condition that caused the fall (Margaret Kinsley v. Cartwright's Ranch House LLC, et al., No. 02-16-00149-CV, Texas App. 2nd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 3032).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on April 7 held that a lower court erred when it disregarded a jury's answer to a question in a Hurricane Ike wind coverage dispute and the appeals court erred when it affirmed the trial court's judgment, reversing the court of appeals' judgment and remanding the case for a new trial (USAA Texas Lloyds Co. v. Gail Menchaca, No. 14-0721, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 361).
NEW ORLEANS - With no comment, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 5 denied an emergency motion filed by a consortium of eight national and Texas-based trade associations that sell annuities and other life insurance products for an injunction pending appeal of the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new fiduciary duty rule (Chamber of Commerce of the USA, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 17-10238, 5th Cir.).
TYLER, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on April 1 granted and denied in part testimony from a noninfringement expert and an invalidity expert on the constructions of "metal film" and "gate wiring" in a patent infringement lawsuit (Eidos Display LLC and Eidos III LLC v. Chi Mei Innolux Corp., et al., No. 11-00201, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50167).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 31 granted preliminary approval of a $100 million securities class action settlement between investors and Halliburton Co. and its CEO who were alleged to have issued certain misrepresentations regarding the company's asbestos litigation liability, its financial condition and the benefits of a merger deal in violation of federal securities laws (The Erica P. John Fund Inc. v. Halliburton Co., et al., No. 02-1152, N.D. Texas).
TEXARKANA, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on March 31 affirmed a $700,000 verdict in a dog bite case after finding that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient for the jury to find that dog owners were grossly negligent in training and keeping their dog in their yard (Paula Kaye Turner, et al. v. Jennifer Duggin, No. 06-16-00046-CV, Texas App., 6th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2786).
BOSTON - A Kentucky-based steakhouse chain will pay $12 million to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of class of applicants who allegedly have been denied positions due to their ages, the EEOC announced March 31 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Texas Roadhouse, Inc., et al., No. 11-11732, D. Mass.).
GALVESTON, Texas - After finding that the true party to a lawsuit filed by a borrower in relation to a lien on its property was a business trust and not bank, a Texas federal court remanded a case to state court for lack of jurisdiction (Pechua Inc. v. America's Wholesale Lender, et al., No. 3:16-CV-364, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47486).
HOUSTON - Granting a motion for final entry of judgment, a Texas federal judge ruled March 29 that a commercial general liability insurer owes a contractor $187,604.17 for costs associated with an insured subcontractor's work on a fuel tank (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Petroleum Solutions, Inc., et al., No. 09-0422, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46285).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal magistrate judge on March 27 certified a class of workers paid on a day-rate basis who allege that they worked more than their allotted 12 hours per day but were not paid overtime (Darnell Senegal, et al. v. Fairfield Industries, Inc., d/b/a Fairfield Nodal, No. 16-2113, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43830).
AUSTIN, Texas - At some point not declaring acceptance of a settlement crosses the line into unreasonable, and asbestos plaintiffs' eight- and nine-year delay constitutes a long trip past the line, Union Carbide Corp. told the Texas Supreme Court March 28 (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 16-0648, Texas Sup.).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on March 28 partially granted a motion filed by former property owners to amend their complaint against a loan servicer in relation to a foreclosure action, finding that amendment of their common-law fraud claim would be futile (Roger Law, et al. v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, No.16-2675, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45758).
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge did not err in granting a defendant summary judgment on the question of direct copyright infringement because the judge properly found an absence of volitional conduct, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 27 (BWP Media USA, et al. v. T&S Software Associates, No. 16-10510, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5340).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on March 23 found that an insurance policy's property damage exclusion does not bar directors and officers and entity liability coverage for at least two underlying claims against a homeowners association insured stemming from Hurricane Ike damage (The Landing Council of Co-Owners v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-1902, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42087).
AUSTIN, Texas - On remand from the Texas Supreme Court, a state appellate panel on March 24 found that a tax enacted on nonparticipating manufacturers in a statewide tobacco settlement does not violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and reversed summary judgment granted to the small tobacco companies (Glenn Hegar, et al. v. Texas Small Tobacco Coalition and Global Tobacco Inc., No. 03-13-00753-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2547).
SAN ANTONIO - An expert is qualified to testify on independent marketing organizations (IMOs) in the insurance industry and regarding an IMO's "compliance or lack of compliance with industry standards," a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled March 24 (Wealthmark Advisors Inc. and David Shields v. Phoenix Life Insurance Co. and PHL Variable Insurance Co., No. 16-00485, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42978).
TYLER, Texas - In a patent infringement lawsuit, an expert may provide opinions "based on his technical knowledge and expertise" as to the technical advantages of a claimed process of forming circuitry used in controlling liquid crystal displays (LCDs), a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled March 22 (Eidos Display LLC and Eidos III LLC v. Chi Mei Innolux Corp., et al., No. 11-00201, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41040).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 20 denied a coalition of insurance associations' emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal of a ruling that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has not exceeded its authority in formulating its new "fiduciary rule" and that the new rule does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying that the plaintiffs have not met their burden to satisfy four factors required to obtain an injunction pending appeal (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Edward Hugler, Acting Secretary of Labor, et al., No. 3:16-cv-1476, consolidated with 3:16-cv-1530, 3:16-cv-1537, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39806).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas judge on March 20 approved an application by an insolvent insurer's special deputy receiver (SDR) and declared the disallowance of a certain house fire claim final (The State of Texas and the Texas Department of Insurance v. Vesta Fire Insurance Corporation, et al., No. D-1-GN-002366, Texas Dist., Travis Co.).