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).
NEW YORK - After finding that Luxembourg and Canadian corporations showed the necessary elements for a preliminary injunction, a New York federal judge on Dec. 1 granted their request to enjoin a partnership and a corporation from arbitrating a breach of contract dispute before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) (Pictet Funds [Europe] S.A., et al. v. Emerging Managers Group L.P., et al., No. 14-cv-6854, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166477).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey appellate panel on Nov. 13 vacated an emergency order entered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) allowing it to seize operations of a landfill due to its emissions of hydrogen sulfide, after finding that the agency first needed to obtain judicial approval under the Legacy Landfill Law (Strategic Environmental Partners LLC v. new Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, No. A-5283-12T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. LEXIS 152).
NEW ORLEANS - An agreement between a contractor and a subcontractor did not obligate the subcontractor to test the liquid propane (LP) detector in Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers delivered and installed after hurricanes Katrina and Rita; therefore, neither the agreement nor any act or omission on the part of the subcontractor was a but-for cause of flash fire injuries, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 11 in an indemnification dispute between two insurers (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Westchester Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-30541, 5th Cir.).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A Massachusetts federal judge on Oct. 24 denied an emergency motion for a protective order in a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by grocery store team leaders who allege that they are owed overtime wages (Shelly J. Davine, et al. v. The Golub Corporation, et al., No. 14-30136, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151344).
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. - States with expanded Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) saw a threefold increase in emergency-department visits over nonexpansion states in the second quarter of 2014, according to a Sept. 8 study.
NEW ORLEANS - The Federal Emergency Management Agency expressly limited a waiver to the $13,888.51 that it paid to Louisiana insureds for their Hurricane Isaac loss, and the insureds failed to file a timely proof of loss for any additional amounts claimed, a Louisiana federal judge ruled Aug. 15, granting FEMA's motion for summary judgment (Shannon Villemarette, et al. v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, et al., No. 13-5400, SECTION: R(5), E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113667).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 8 granted insurance agents' motion to dismiss insureds' negligent procurement and negligent misrepresentation claims in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Isaac, further dismissing the insureds' claim against Federal Emergency Management Agency for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Michelle Lopez and Stephen Lopez III v. State Farm General Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-6029, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109803).