BOSTON - An Amtrak lineman who claims that he was improperly denied overtime opportunities and was subjected to a hostile environment failed to successfully link either claim to his race, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 16, affirming a trial court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the defendant (Gregory Garmon, Sr. v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation d/b/a Amtrak, No. 15-1803, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22402).
LONDON - An England and Wales court on Dec. 19 rejected the appeal of an investor in a Moscow real estate project of a judgment enforcing a $72,243,000 arbitral award issued in favor of another investor by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), finding that the judge did not err in his interpretation that an underlying arbitration clause existed (Ashot Yegiazaryan v. Vitaly Ivonovich Smagin, No.  EWCA Civ 1290, England and Wales App.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A French social benefit company on Dec. 16 said a tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has awarded it 23 million euros in a dispute with Hungary over a meal voucher program (Edenred S.A. v. Hungary, No. ARB/13/12, ICSID).
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey's banking and insurance commissioner on Dec. 15 asked a state court to order an insolvent Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) consumer-operated and oriented plan insurer's liquidation (Richard J. Badolato, Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance of New Jersey v. Freelancers Consumer Operated and Oriented Program of New Jersey d/b/a Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey, No. MCR-C-000063-16, N.J. Super., Mercer Co., Chancery Div.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A group of oil refining and gasoline companies on Dec. 15 filed a joint brief in Rhode Island federal court contending that the state's lawsuit alleging that the companies are liable for contaminating the state's groundwater with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) should be dismissed because the state "insufficiently alleges" standing and "fails to allege the causation required" for its claims (State of Rhode Island v. Alon Refining Krotz Springs, No. 16-495, D. R.I.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California appeals panel on Dec. 15 affirmed a trial court judge's decision to deny without prejudice a motion to compel arbitration filed by homeowners accusing Froehlich Signature Homes Inc. of construction defects, finding that the consolidation of the plaintiffs' suit with similar actions did not cause judicial reference to become legally unavailable (Ebony Freeman, et al. v. Froehlich Signature Homes Inc., No. F073374, Calif. App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9017).
HONOLULU - Claims based in contract do not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Hawaii federal judge ruled Dec. 16, dismissing counterclaims for breach of contract and reformation against two insurers in a coverage dispute over defects in a construction project (American Automobile Insurance Co. and National Surety Corp. v. Hawaii Nut & Bolt Inc. and Safeway Inc., No. 15-00245, D. Hawaii; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174243).
NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator provided a sufficient explanation for its denial of a rulemaking petition filed by environmental groups seeking standards for the amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen that can be discharged into the Mississippi River and waterways leading into the river, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled Dec. 15 (Gulf Restoration Network v. Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-677, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173459).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 15 reinstated a proposed class complaint accusing a residential mortgage company of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by hiring a third party to send out unsolicited faxed advertisements, finding that unaccepted offers of individual judgment did not moot the claims (Bridging Communities Inc., et al. v. Top Flite Financial Incorporated, No. 15-1572, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22297).
CINCINNATI - An insurer did not act in bad faith in declining to settle a wrongful death lawsuit for policy limits without a release of all claims against its insured because under Kentucky law, the insurer was required to protect its insured from an excess judgment while attempting to settle the claim with the third-party in good faith, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 15 (Joseph Shaheen, ancillary administrator of the Estate of Nadia Shaheen, deceased, v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., No. 15-5863, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22422).
DALLAS - A Texas state jury on Dec. 16 found that a nursing home and hospital were not responsible for the death of an elderly woman whose family filed a wrongful death and negligence suit after she developed bed sores and died from pneumonia (Greg Frausto v. Pennsylvania Rehab LP., et al., No. DC-12-13131, Texas, 68th Jud. Dist., Dallas Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 16 affirmed a decision granting dismissal for a bank of a borrower's claims for rescission under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), finding that the rescission period had expired (Allyson Smith v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 16-611, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22342).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform on Dec. 16 concluded its investigation into the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., and recommended that the House Committee on Appropriations reconsider allocating more than $279.8 million to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for work on climate change so that money could be used to upgrade the nation's drinking water systems to protect people from lead.
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on Dec. 16 affirmed that an insured must reimburse its insurer for more than $2.4 million paid by the insurer for the defense and indemnity of underlying asbestos bodily injury suits but remanded the suit for consideration of the insurer's liabilities that began before the start of the insurance policy and continued during the policy period (Continental Casualty Co., et al. v. Indian Head Industries Inc., No. 15-2217, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22431).
LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Dec. 20 charged four people with felonies in connection with the lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., saying all four were liable for conspiracy to commit false pretenses and two were guilty of committing misconduct and willful neglect of duty in office.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Because the state's workers' compensation system contemplates coverage for mesothelioma, the law's exclusivity provision bars a tort action against an employer, even where the disease arose outside the period for filing a claim, the Arkansas Supreme Court held Dec. 15 in a 4-3 opinion (Brenda Hendrix, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., No. CV-15-558, Ark. Sup.).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 affirmed a court's dismissal of claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and for violation of the Sherman Act against several banks, finding that some of a borrower's claims could not be based on vicarious liability and that she lacked standing (Helen Galope v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee under Pooling and Servicing Agreement dated as of May 1, 2007 Securitized Asset Backed Receivables LLC Trust 2007-BR4, No. 15-55246, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22210).
CHICAGO - A debt collector must pay class damages for unlawful debt collection practices made by a third party on its behalf, an Illinois federal judge ruled Dec. 15 (Mary T. Janetos, et al. v. Fulton Friedman & Gullace, LLP, et al., No. 12-1473, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173718).
DHAKA, Bangladesh - The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Dec. 15 said it has entered a cooperation agreement with the Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC).
WILMINGTON, Del. - An asbestos personal injury trust and two representatives of future asbestos claimants on Dec. 15 asked a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge to reconsider or vacate an order allowing the release of asbestos trust claimant information to Honeywell International Inc. and Ford Motor Co. while eliminating a full review and redaction process for the information (In re W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139; In re Owens Corning, No. 00-3837; In re Armstrong World Industries, Inc., No. 00-4471; In re USG Corp., No. 01-2094; In re US Minerals Products Company, No. 01-2471; In re Kaiser Aluminum Corp., No. 02-10429; In re ACandS, Inc., No. 02-12687; In re Combustion Engineering, Inc., No. 03-10495; In re The Flintkote Company, No. 04-11300, D. Del. Bkcy.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Dec. 14, the Federal Trade Commission and the operator of the Ashley Madison website filed a joint motion in District of Columbia federal court, seeking entry of a stipulated order on claims over the site operator's lapses in security that led to a 2015 data breach and its practice of creating false user profiles to induce customers to purchase its services (Federal Trade Commission v. ruby Corp., et al., No. 1:16-cv-02438, D. D.C.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Dec. 14 petition for certiorari, a group of record labels ask the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides for internet service providers apply to sound recordings from before 1972, which are governed by state law, rather than federal copyright law (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
DENVER - An insured was entitled to a covered benefit of $350,000 under the terms of an underinsured motorist (UIM) provision of an automobile insurance policy, and payment of those benefits to her were unreasonably delayed by her insurer, a federal judge in Colorado ruled Dec. 14 (Wendy L. Peden v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 14-0982, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119978).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Dec. 14 granted a motion to dismiss filed by insurers involved in an environmental contamination coverage dispute because the insurer, which seeks subrogation from the other insurers, failed to allege in a second amended complaint that all of the insurers covered the same insured (Northern Insurance Company of New York v. Travelers Insurance Co. et al., No. 15-1810, S.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172671).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Dec. 15 granted a motion to reconsider what court a class suit over the St. Louis Rams moving to a new city belongs and ordered limited discovery on whether the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) applies (Ronald McAllister v. The St. Louis Rams, LLC, Nos. 16-172, 16-262, 16-297 and 16-189, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).