CHICAGO - Joining its sister circuits, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 24 held that a health plan trustee's suit against insurers to recoup amounts it paid for the beneficiaries' medical care seeks legal relief, not equitable relief, and as such is not authorized by Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(3) (Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Health and Welfare Fund, et al. v. American International Group Inc., et al., No. 15-2237, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19165).
ATLANTA - A federal judge in Georgia on Oct. 21 granted a pair of insurers' motion to depose certain people to determine if their alleged actions regarding a reinsurer fall under the jurisdiction of the Georgia federal court (Canal Insurance Company, et al. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company, Ltd, et al., No. 15-cv-3331, N.D. Ga.).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Oct. 21 ruled that dismissal of an amended complaint in a securities class action lawsuit against parties to a merger deal is proper because lead plaintiffs failed to show that alleged misrepresentations and omissions made by the parties regarding debt and future distributions issues were not publicly available and did not contain the required cautionary language (Irving Braun, et al. v. Eagle Rock Energy Partners, LP, et al., No. 15-1470, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146035).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A class of current and former McDonald's employees may proceed with their state wage claims against a couple who own and operate 16 franchises in Pennsylvania and pay their hourly employees via JP Morgan Chase Payroll Cards, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled Oct. 21, determining in a question of first impression that that form of payment, which subjects the employees to fees, does not meet requirements of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL) (Alisha Siciliano, et al. v. Albert/Carol Mueller, et al., No. 1321 MDA 2015, Pa. Super.; 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 596).
SILVER SPRING, Md. - The Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 24 said it approved classwide labeling changes for all prescription testosterone products and anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) to warn about the risk of abuse and dependence.
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 24 affirmed that a district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting a certified sexual assault nurse examiner's testimony that a victim's scratching of herself was consistent with sexual assault and domestic abuse victims coping with the trauma they have experienced (United States of America v. Leslie Chapman, Nos. 15-2143 and 15-2173, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19217).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Oct. 25 awarded $20 million in punitive damages to the husband of a woman who died after developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny trial (Alan Konzelman v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CV-019620, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge applied "too narrow" a definition of "repeat infringer" in finding that the former music downloading site MP3Tunes LLC qualified for safe harbor immunity under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 25 (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. MP3Tunes LLC, et al., Nos. 14-4369, -4509, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19236).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Oct. 24 that a skilled nursing facility and its 83-year-old owner have agreed to pay $145 million to resolve allegations that they submitted fraudulent bills to Medicare and TRICARE, which provides health benefits for U.S. Armed Forces personnel (United States of America v. Life Care Centers of America Inc., et al., No. 16-113, E.D Tenn.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Oct. 25 turned away a request by Google Inc. for covered business method (CBM) patent review of five claims of a patent covering a location determination system (Google Inc. v. Locationet Systems Ltd., No. CBM2016-00062, PTAB).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Oct. 24 granted a motion for summary judgment finding that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) did not apply to an underlying loan and remanded various causes of action to a state court for lack of jurisdiction (Anthony Floyd v. PNC Mortgage, a division of PNC Bank, N.A., et al., No. 14-2190, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146679).
NEW YORK - A pro se plaintiff's negotiation of a settlement for himself moots his class claims, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 20 (Todd C. Bank, et al. v. Alliance Health Networks, LLC, FKA Alliance Health Networks, Inc., et al., No. 15-4037, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18849).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - In an Oct. 20 divided opinion, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed an intermediate appellate court and affirmed a trial court's grant of summary judgment to a railroad company in a negligence and premises liability action, finding that there are no issues of material fact to preclude summary judgment (Patrick Joseph Carney v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, No. 118984, Ill. Sup.; 2016 IL 118984; 2016 Ill. LEXIS 1234).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Court of Appeals on Oct. 20 adopted the standards embodied in Federal Rule of Evidence 702 over its previous use of the test set forth in Dyas v. United States (376 A.2d 827 [D.C. 1977]) and Frye v. United States (293 F. 1013 [D.C. Cir. 1923]) to govern the admissibility of expert testimony (Motorola Inc., et al. v. Michael Patrick Murray, et al., No. 14-1350, D.C. App.; 2016 D.C. App. LEXIS 382).
NEW YORK - A neurologist, a psychologist, an economist and a school principal may not testify as to damages from the loss of the role of an orthodox, Hasidic mother, a New York federal magistrate judge ruled Oct. 20, but he allowed the psychologist and economist to testify about the loss of household services that was experienced as a result of the mother's death (Arnold Hersko, individually and as administrator of the estates of Rochel Hersko and Arnold Hersko v. United States of America, et al., No. 13-CV-3255, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145552).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Oct. 20 denied a motion to dismiss five counts in a 10-count complaint brought by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez against Chimes District of Columbia Inc. alleging that an employee benefit plan sponsored by Chimes paid millions of dollars in excessive fees, finding that a plan trustee has joint and several liability for the alleged breaches of her co-fiduciaries (Thomas E. Perez v. Chimes District of Columbia Inc., et al., No. 15-3315, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145272).
NEW ORLEANS - An electrical engineer's failure to test his hypothesis for the cause of a fire on a boat, combined with the engineer's failure to obtain the relevant data, renders his methodology unreliable, a Louisiana federal judge ruled Oct. 20, excluding the testimony (Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co. and Nicholas Chad Gonzalez v. Porter Inc. d/b/a Formula Boats, No. 15-570, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145415).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 20 affirmed a district court's dismissal of a former property owner's wrongful foreclosure claims, finding that she failed to address how an allegedly inadequate notice by a loan servicer caused her to suffer any damages (Sara Bohannon v. PHH Mortgage Corporation, et al., No. 15-14508, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18843).
CINCINNATI - A former grocery store clerk who was fired after almost four decades based on lifting restrictions may proceed with his federal age and disability bias claims, a split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority ruled Oct. 21, finding that the clerk submitted evidence of age discrimination and that there are factual disputes regarding whether the clerk was qualified for his position with or without accommodation (Kenneth W. Camp v. Bi-Lo, LLC, No. 16-5080, 6th Cir.; 216 U.S. App. LEXIS 19053).
SAN FRANCISCO - In what it deemed a "correction in the law," an en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 24 overruled its own precedent in concluding that a review of an award of attorney fees under the Lanham Act should be conducted under an abuse of discretion standard (SunEarth Inc. v. Sun Earth Solar Power Co. Ltd., Nos. 13-17622, 15-16096, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19083).
ST. LOUIS - A letter from plaintiffs' counsel seeking a settlement in excess of $5 million was not sufficient notice to the defendant that the case was removable to federal court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), a divided Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 24 (Carla Gibson, et al. v. Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., No. 16-8012, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19073).
DENVER - A general contractor's second lawsuit seeking indemnification from a flooring subcontractor is barred by the doctrine of claims preclusion, a Colorado appeals court panel found Oct. 20, finding that the contractor's claims arose out of the same contract (Layton Construction Co. Inc. v. Shaw Contract Flooring Services Inc., d/b/a Spectra Contract Flooring, No. 15CA1435, Colo. App.).
COLUMBUS, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge presiding over the Mentor ObTape pelvic mesh multidistrict litigation on Oct. 20 said the plaintiff presented "ample" evidence to support a jury's punitive damages finding but said there was no evidence that Mentor Corp. had specific intent under Florida law to harm the plaintiff and capped the jury's $4 million punitive damages verdict at $2 million (In Re: Mentor Corp. ObTape Transobturator Sling Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2004, No. 08-md-2004, Teresa Taylor v. Mentor Corp., No. 12-176, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145290).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 25 granted plaintiffs' request for final approval of a $14.7 billion settlement to resolve allegations over Volkswagen AG's installation of a defeat device designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive state and federal regulators, ruling that the settlement is fair and reasonable (In re: Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2672, Case No. 15-md-2672, N.D. Calif.).