SAN FRANCISCO - The variety of contracts at issue and evidence that at least some of the contracted pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) understood that a pharmacy's usual and customary rate did not include the rate offered for generic drugs in its membership program defeat a motion for class certification of insured purchasers of generic drugs, a federal judge in California held March 21 (Christopher Corcoran, et al. v. CVS Health, et al., No. 15-3504, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40783).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on March 22 denied an underlying plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order seeking to ban an insurer and its insured from reaching a settlement for an underlying judgment awarded for personal injuries in a lead paint exposure suit (CX Reinsurance Co. Ltd., v. Benjamin L. Kirson, et al., No. 15-3132, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41230).
MILWAUKEE - Excluding expert testimony on the cause and origin of a fire, a Wisconsin federal judge ruled March 21 that plaintiffs cannot prevail on their claims of strict products liability or negligence because "without competent expert testimony, the jury would be forced to speculate about the cause of the fire" (S.V. Gopalratnam and Hemalatha Gopalratnam, et al. v. Hewlett Packard Co. and ABC Insurance Co. v. Samsung SDI Co. Ltd. and Dynapack Technology Corp., No. 13-618, E.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40386).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 21 granted a motion to dismiss a class complaint accusing Campbell Soup Co. of deceiving customers by labeling soup as healthy even though it contained trans fat but denied motions by both parties seeking sanctions (Harold Brower, et al. v. Campbell Soup Company, No. 16-1005, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40792).
LAS VEGAS - A federal magistrate judge in Nevada on March 21 granted a protective order in a negligence lawsuit to facilitate discovery exchanges and establishing a procedure for the filing of documents that include trade secrets and other confidential information pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a) (Sonia Fernandez-Valdez v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 16-2464, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40492).
SAN FRANCISCO - Health care centers designated to receive direct payment from a health plan administrator for medical services cannot file suit in federal court under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because they lack both direct statutory authority and derivative authority through assignment under ERISA's civil enforcement provisions, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held March 22 (DB Healthcare, LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Inc., No. 14-16518, Advanced Women's Health Center, Inc. v. Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company, No. 14-16612, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5082).
SAN FRANCISCO - An attorney representing the named plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour class complaint must pay $7,706.32 in sanctions after acting in an "unprofessional" and "disrespectful" manner during deposition, a California federal magistrate judge ruled March 21, adding that the attorney "might benefit from mental health treatment and sensitivity training" (Shaon Robinson, et al. v. The Chefs' Warehouse, No. 15-5421, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40824).
ERIE, Pa. - A second expert report filed by the lead plaintiffs in a proposed class action over spying software when they filed their reply brief in support of their renewed motion for class certification was filed too late, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled March 22, striking the new report (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's, Inc., et al., No. 11-101, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41030).
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on March 23 released its 2016 annual report announcing an increase in new arbitration requests and in administered cases.
SUBIACO, Western Australia - An Australian energy firm on March 23 announced that it will commence arbitration with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) against a uranium holding company, asserting claims related to a notice requesting that it determine the value of its shares in a mine.
DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa became the first state to legislatively bar asbestos claims arising from third-party parts on March 23 after its governor signed legislation codifying the bare-metal and component parts doctrine. The law also requires additional transparency in asbestos-related trust filings, imposes medical criteria from bringing asbestos- and silica-related claims, restricts trial consolidation and negates certain forms of successor liability.
CHICAGO - The liquidator of a pair of insolvent insurers told a federal court in Illinois on March 22 that the claims she brings against a mortgage insurance reinsurer are sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss (People of the State of Illinois, ex rel., Acting Director of Insurance, Anne Melissa Dowling v. HMC Reinsurance Company, a Vermont Corporation, No. 16-cv-08156, N.D. Ill.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A government watchdog group on March 21 filed a complaint in District of Columbia federal court against the Environmental Protection Agency, alleging that the agency violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, by not timely providing certain employees' communications that were sent using an encryption application (Cause of Action Institute v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 1:17-cv-00509, D. D.C.).
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on March 21 held that federal flood insurer does not owe coverage for an insured's claim for land and relocation damages arising from a heavy rain that caused a local river to flood (Crawford Nixon v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-00186, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40239).
BOSTON - Three subcontractors owe a defense to a general contractor against negligence and breach of the implied warranties of habitability and good workmanship claims brought by a subrogated insurer for water damage in a condominium building, a Massachusetts federal judge ruled March 22 (Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co. v. Consigli Construction Company Inc., et al. v. Central Ceilings Inc., No. 14-14687, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41444).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on March 22 denied a motion filed by several companies to compel arbitration of claims asserted by an investor in relation to supply and operating agreements, finding that neither of the arbitration provisions in the contracts applies to his claims (Pei Chuang v. OD Expense, et al., No. 1:16-cv-00915, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40913).
CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on March 22 sustained an insurance guaranty association's objection, finding that an insolvent insurer's special deposit cannot be used to pay the guaranty association's general administrative expenses (People of the State of Illinois, ex rel. Andrew Boron, Director of Insurance of the State of Illinois v. Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Co., No. 12-24227, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi Court of Appeals panel on March 21 affirmed summary judgment to a mother in a suit where a daughter sued her after being injured on her property because there is not a genuine issue of material fact on whether the tractor was defective or in an unsafe condition (Delois King v. Willie B. King, No. 2015-CA-01395, Miss. App., 2017 Miss. App. LEXIS 151).
SAN DIEGO - An insurer is entitled to $37,000 in restitution from a man who pleaded guilty to misrepresenting to the company that nurses he sent to work at skilled-nursing facilities were computer programmers to obtain a lower workers' compensation policy premium, a California appeals panel ruled March 22 in affirming the man's conviction (People v. John Paul Riddles, No. D069419, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 1st Div., 2017 Calif. App. LEXIS 259).
DENVER - A Colorado appeals panel on March 23 affirmed summary judgment for a property owner in a suit in which a woman was injured after a car crash on the owner's property because the state Premises Liability Act (PLA) provides the "sole legal remedy for a plaintiff involved in an automobile collision with a defendant landowner on a landowner's private property" (Faith Leah Tancrede v. Duane Freund, et al., No. 16CA0224, Colo. App., 6th Div., 2017 Colo. App. LEXIS 338).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A disability insurer's reliance on a claimant's attendance requirements for a doctoral degree program was properly considered by the insurer when it terminated the claimant's long-term disability benefits on the basis that the claimant was not disabled from performing "any gainful occupation," a Michigan federal judge said March 21 in granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Sherri Black v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 15-1147, W.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40168).