CHICAGO - A racial bias claim brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a sales manager who claimed that he was transferred out of a particular store because he was a different race than the surrounding neighborhood fails as the claimant must show an action that adversely affected his employment status, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 20 (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. AutoZone, Inc., et al., No. 15-3201, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10903).
RICHMOND, Va. - A boiler maker did not need to show that the U.S. Navy specifically rejected additional warnings related to asbestos to successfully remove a case, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held June 22, but on remand, the judge must determine whether Foster Wheeler LLC's removal was timely (Janya Sawyer, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-1530 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11081).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 22 certified a question about the viability of an 11-year-old False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit alleging that Pfizer Inc.'s misrepresentations about use of the antifungal drug Vfend in cancer patients resulted in the submission of false claims to the federal government (The United States of America, et al., ex rel. Catherine A. Brown, et al. v. Pfizer, Inc., No. 05-6795, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96291).
BOSTON - In a dispute over environmental claims, an insurer argues in a June 21 brief filed in a Massachusetts federal court that it should not be forced to accept an umpire proposed by a group of insurance syndicates in arbitration because of "shenanigans" in the appointment process (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London v. Transport Insurance Co., No. 17-10618, D. Mass.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 21 found that a lower court erred in dismissing insurance claims in a dispute over coverage for a maritime collision in the Gulf of Mexico, vacating the lower court in part and remanding for the court to review the insurance policies and determine their scope (International Marine, L.L.C., et al. v. Integrity Fisheries, Incorporated, et al., No. 16-30456, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11041).
ST. LOUIS - The Missouri attorney general on Jan. 21 sued opioid makers Purdue Pharma L.P., Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. for allegedly misrepresenting the addictiveness of their products in violation of state law (The State of Missouri, ex rel. Joshua D. Hawley v. Purdue Pharma, L.P., et al., No. n/a, Mo. Cir., St. Louis City).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 22 denied a judgment of acquittal or a new trial for Barry J. Cadden, the former head of the compounding pharmacy at the center of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak (United States of America v. Barry J. Cadden, et al., No. 14-10363, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96223).
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 22 ruled that a radiation exposure lawsuit brought by U.S. Navy sailors who assisted in relief efforts when the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) melted down in Japan could proceed in a U.S. court, despite the company's argument to the contrary (Lindsay R. Cooper, et al. v. Tokyo Electric Power Company, et al., No. 15-56424, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11075).
NEW YORK - New York asbestos plaintiffs may pursue punitive damage claims going forward under a newly instituted case management order (CMO) that also includes changes to hearsay rules designed to help offset the negative impact such a change will have on defendants, the coordinating justice said June 20 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/88, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Review of a dismissal of a mixed case by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) where, like the present case, an employee complains of adverse action prompted at least in part by the employing agency's violation of federal anti-discrimination laws must occur in the district court, rather than the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a U.S. Supreme Court majority ruled June 23 (Anthony W. Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board, No. 16-399, U.S. Sup.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - On remand, a trial court must consider whether a woman's class action claiming that a hospital improperly sought collection from her in violation of its contract with her insurer invokes an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan or whether the plan is merely part of the "factual backdrop" of the case, a divided Oklahoma Supreme Court held June 21 (Elizabeth Cates v. INTEGRIS Health Inc., No. 114314, Okla. Sup., 2017 Okla. LEXIS 53).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 dismissed the remaining claims in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, saying that the plaintiffs have failed to show that the defendants breached their duties of loyalty and prudence and failed to make a prima facie showing of loss (John Brotherston, et al. v. Putnam Investments LLC, et al., No. 1:15-cv-13825, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93654).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 granted Fidelity Management Trust Co.'s motion for summary judgment in a class action alleging that Fidelity breached its fiduciary duties pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by mismanaging the Fidelity Group Employee Benefit Plan Managed Income Portfolio Comingled Pool (MIP), saying the plaintiffs did not carry their burden to establish a fiduciary breach (John Ellis, et al. v. Fidelity Management Trust Co., No 1:15-14128, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93656).
RICHMOND, Va. - A settlement agreement that was approved by a federal judge in South Carolina in 2015 that resolved 18 class action lawsuits filed against the manufacturer of allegedly defective windows barred a condominium owners association's California state court lawsuit against the manufacturer, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 20 in affirming a ruling that the state court suit violates the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) (In re: MI Windows and Doors, Inc. Products Liability Litigation, No. 16-1146, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10886).
BATON ROUGE, La. - Deposition testimony and not the transcript itself triggers the "other paper" removal clock, a federal judge in Louisiana held June 21 in remanding an asbestos action (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-269, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95308).
UTICA, N.Y. - After an insurer opposed a previous request to move a trial date in a reinsurance late-notice dispute, a reinsurer on June 19 asked a New York federal court to push back the date, this time to after Nov. 10, explaining that all witnesses will be available after that date (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-cv-00853, N.D. N.Y.).
DURHAM, N.C. - An environmental advocacy group on June 20 filed a lawsuit in North Carolina federal court against Duke Energy Progress LLC, alleging that the company's plan to permanently store coal ash and "toxic pollutants" in unlined pits will lead to further contamination of local groundwater (Roanoke River Basin Association v. Duke Energy Progress LLC, No. 17-561, M.D. N.C.).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on June 20 granted a motion filed by two companies accused of contaminating two sites in the San Diego Port to approve a settlement to resolve claims brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) seeking to recover response costs incurred in investigating and remediating the properties (San Diego Unified Port District v. General Dynamics Corporation, No. 07-cv-01955-BAS, San Diego Unified Port District v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, No. 16-cv-02026-BAS, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95076).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal magistrate judge on June 19 recommended that a claim seeking a declaration that long-term disability (LTD) benefits are owed be dismissed because the disability claimant did not file a claim for LTD benefits and did not exhaust all her administrative remedies related to the claim for such benefits (Jamie R. Nagy v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 17-80198, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94819).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A reinsurer and insurer have resolved their $6.2 million reinsurance dispute involving a settlement of underlying asbestos claims, according to a June 20 status report filed in a Connecticut federal court (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co., f/k/a The Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Century Indemnity Co. as successor to Insurance Company of North America, No. 16-cv-170, D. Conn.).
SEATTLE - Jurors who in February deemed Zillow Inc. an infringer of 28,125 copyrighted images did not hear sufficient evidence from which to conclude that Zillow failed to take "simple measures" to remove the works from its "Zillow Digs" mobile app, a Washington federal judge ruled June 20 (VHT Inc. v. Zillow Group Inc., No. 15-1096, W.D. Wash.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95010).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on June 20 awarded a disability claimant more than $38,000 in attorney fees after finding that the claimant is entitled to attorney fees for achieving some success on the merits of his claim (Jeff Schuman v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1006, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94557).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on June 20 granted an insurance broker's motion to dismiss an insured's third-party fraud and suppression claims but refused to dismiss the breach of contract claim against it in a coverage dispute over a fatal explosion at the insured's Owens, Ala., plant (James River Insurance Co. v. Ultratec Special Effects, Inc., et al., No. 16-00949, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94319).
DETROIT - A disability insurer did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in denying a claim for disability benefits because the medical evidence supports the denial of benefits and the claimant failed to provide any evidence to rebut the insurer's evidence, a Michigan federal judge said June 20 (Philip J. Holmes v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-11538, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94258).
ST LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 20 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant judgment in favor of lenders and loan servicers on claims for tortious interference and violation of Missouri law, finding that a former property owner failed to make any argument that a foreclosure was unlawful (Dale E. Wheatley, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. 16-2649, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10819).