BOSTON - A divided First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 17 ruled that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employees who were terminated after their facility was closed failed to show that the closing was biased or in retaliation for complaints they made (Francisco Abril-Rivera, et al. v. Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, et al., No. 14-1316, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19908).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Nov. 13 denied a motion for emergency relief filed by an eyeglass retailer accused of violating Ohio state law with its "Buy One Get One Free" ads (Elliott Graiser v. Visionworks of America, Inc., No. 15-2306, N.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153802).
NEW ALBANY, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on Aug. 24 denied a hospital's motion to dismiss it from a former emergency room doctor's False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit, after finding that the plaintiff's allegation that he was subject to retaliatory termination as a result of his complaints that the hospital was fraudulently billing Medicare are not subject to the heightened pleading requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) (James Thomas, M.D. v. EmCare Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-00130-SEB-TAB, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111514).
NEW ORLEANS - An expert's opinion on the standard of care was sufficiently reliable to pass a "gatekeeping assessment" for purposes of showing that Wal-Mart Stores Texas L.L.C. was negligent in failing to provide a 72-hour emergency supply of prescriptions when a customer's doctor could not be reached, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 12 (Shan Kovaly v. Wal-Mart Stores Texas LLC, No. 14-20697, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14346).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) on July 23 filed an amended plan of reorganization that includes two options for emerging from bankruptcy, with the company favoring a plan that includes $12.1 billion of new debt and equity arranged by an ad hoc group and the conversion of EFH into a real estate investment trust (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).
CHICAGO - A state appeals court June 26 denied reconsideration of its ruling affirming the entry of summary judgment for several physicians and a hospital in a suit alleging medical malpractice and violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) (Koni Johnson v. Christine Pabin Bishof, et al., No. 1-13-1122, Ill. App., 1st Jud. Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 492)
LOS ANGELES - A California man filed a class action lawsuit in federal court on June 1, seeking economic losses for commercial fishermen and coastal businesses that suffered damages as the result of the May 15 rupture of a pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline L.P. that resulted in the discharge of more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil along the Santa Barbara, Calif., shoreline, asserting that the company should have installed an emergency shut-off valve for that portion of the pipeline (Stace Cheverez, et al. v. Plains All American Pipeline, No. 15,cv-4113-CBM-JEM, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 1 denied a condominium insured's writ of certiorari seeking to overturn the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' finding that its undisputed failure to strictly obey a federal flood insurance policy's proof-of-loss requirement dooms its Hurricane Irene claim (Admiralty Condominium Association Inc., Petitioner v. Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency, et al., No. 14-1283, U.S. Sup.; 2015 U.S. LEXIS 3680).
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - United Gilsonite Laboratories (UGL), the maker of home improvement products Drylock sealant and ZAR wood finish, emerged from Chapter 11 protection on May 28 with the issuance by a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge of a final decree, closing a case filed four years ago to protect the family-owned business from asbestos personal injury claims (In re: United Gilsonite Laboratories, 11-2032, M.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing litigation stemming from allegedly defective Chinese drywall on May 20 granted in part an emergency motion to compel filed by manufacturers asking the claims resolution firm BrownGreer PLC to produce documents before the deposition of the firm's own witness, as well as a proposed expert for the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) (In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2047, Case No. 09-md-2047, E.D. La.).
DETROIT - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 13 reversed a jury's finding that the owners of a non-emergency ambulance company committed identity theft when submitting false claims to Medicare, holding that the government did not present sufficient evidence to support the verdict (United States of America v. Kathy Medlock, et al., No. 14-5084/5100, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7867).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced April 21 that Citizens Medical Center, a county-owned hospital in Texas, agreed to pay $21.7 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by overcompensating cardiologists for their services and paid bonuses to emergency room employees who improperly took into account the value of their cardiology referrals.
SAN FRANCISCO - A settlement agreement that includes a provision in which the former employee waives his rights to employment with the employer at any facility it currently owns or with which it may contract in the future is ripe for review, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 8 (Donald Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group, et al., No. 12-16514, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5642).
MINNEAPOLIS - A transgendered individual may proceed with a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557 discrimination case because the law creates a singular standard regardless of protected class status, a federal judge in Minnesota held March 16 (Jakob Tiarnan Rumble v. Fairview Health Services d/b/a/ Fairview Southdale Hospital and Emergency Physicians P.A., No. 14-2037, D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31591).
SAN FRANCISCO - A dispute over the trademarked slogans "I've fallen and I can't get up" and "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" will proceed in California federal court with an injunction in place, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 4 (Life Alert Emergency Response Inc. v. Lifewatch Inc., No. 14-55930, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1760).
CINCINNATI - Meal periods during which casino security guards remain on site and monitor their radios in case of an emergency are not compensable, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 7 (Angelia Ruffin, et al. v. MotorCity Casino, d/b/a Detroit Entertainment, L.L.C., No. 14-1444, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 236).
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).
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Dec. 12 denied a motion by the driver of a tractor-trailer owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that struck a limousine in which actor-comedian Tracy Morgan was riding for an emergency order delaying proceedings in Morgan's civil action against Wal-Mart until after the court rules on his request for leave to intervene to seek a stay of the action pending the outcome of criminal charges against him (Tracy Morgan, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-04388, D. N.J.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 9 passed on a 230-182 vote the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014, which would allow the release of water to customers of California's Central Valley Project (H.D. 5781).