FRESNO, Calif. - A judge properly admitted expert testimony that every identifiable exposure to asbestos contributes to mesothelioma, a California appeals court held March 17, while also rejecting challenges involving tobacco use and an award of punitive damages (Charity Faith Phillips, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. F070761, Calif. App., 5th Dist.).
TYLER, Texas - A judge did not err in allowing a physician's testimony that a woman involved in a car accident needed "neurotomies, stem cell injections, and topical cream," a Texas appeals panel held March 15, because it was reliable under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) (Jeremy Oney and Horizon Cable Service Inc. v. William Crist and Heather Crist, No. 12-16-00045-CV, Texas App., 12th Dist.; 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2216).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A licensed mechanical and biomedical engineer relied on a sufficient methodology and factual basis to testify in support of proving that an accident scenario "is physically possible," a Louisiana federal judge ruled March 15, declining to exclude the testimony in a personal injury lawsuit against Greyhound Lines Inc. (Yolanda Dennis v. Ernest Collins II, et al., No. 15-2410, W.D. La.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37614).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 17 affirmed dismissal of a complaint filed by a player of a video game, finding that her claims for recovery of money spent in a virtual casino did not constitute money lost under Maryland's loss-recovery statute (Mia Mason v. Machine Zone Inc., No. 15-2469, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4766).
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin federal judge on March 16 found several state officials not liable for violation of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) in the seizure of an organization's electronic records as part of an investigation, finding the relevant warrants to have been issued in compliance with the statute and deeming the officials entitled to immunity under the act (The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy Inc. v. Francis Schmitz, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00539, W.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36796).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on March 16 found that an English insurer's removal of a former machinist's asbestos-related claims from a state court was appropriate, finding that the dispute could relate to an underlying arbitration agreement contained in an insurance policy (James Edward O'Connor v. Maritime Management Corp., et al., No. 16-16201, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37798).
MASON, Mich. - A Michigan judge on March 15 granted a rehabilitator's petition and set aside an earlier final order closing a rehabilitation in error and ordered that the rehabilitation proceeding be reopened (Patrick McPharlin, Director of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services v. Affirmative Insurance Company of Michigan, No. 15-898-CR, Mich. Cir., Ingham Co.).
NEW YORK - The clerk of a federal court in New York on March 16 issued a certificate of default against a holding company that is allegedly responsible for obligations under certain facultative reinsurance contracts (Roger A. Sevigny, the Commissioner of Insurance of the State of New Hampshire, as Liquidator of The Home Insurance Company v. Trygvesta Forsikring A/S, as successor in interest to Skandinavia Insurance Company Ltd., Trygvesta Forsikring A/S v. Cerberus Holding Company, LLC., No. 16-cv-04874, S.D. N.Y.).
PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Supreme Court on March 15 upheld the certification of a defendant class represented by the secretary of the State of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department and comprising individuals who have used or will use the water of two South Dakota lakes in a lawsuit filed by landowners whose property around the lakes was partially submerged in 1993 and who have claimed that the public has no right to access the water and ice over top of their property (Thad Duerre, et al. v. Kelly R. Hepler, et al., No. 27885, S.D. Sup., 2017 S.D. LEXIS 29).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 16 reversed and remanded a lower federal court's ruling as to an insurer's breach of contract and equitable claims in a dispute over professional liability insurance coverage (Charla Aldous, et al. v. Darwin National Assurance Company, No. 16-10537, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4707).
CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on March 16 ordered the rehabilitation of a pair of insolvent insurers, noting that the insurers' directors had consented to the rehabilitation (People of the State of Illinois, ex rel., Jennifer Hammer, Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance v .Public Service Insurance Company, an Illinois domestic stock insurance company, et al., No. 2017-CH-03790, Ill. Cir., Cook Co., Chanc. Div.).
ATLANTA - A majority of the Georgia Court of Appeals on March 16 affirmed the grant of summary judgment to a mall where a man was shot and killed because his death was related to a fight he chose to be a part of, a danger of which the mall was not aware (Michael Fair, et al. v. CV Underground LLC, et al., No. A16A1633, Ga. App., 2017 Ga. App. LEXIS 142).
CLEVELAND - Because a policy's pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage for claims arising out of violations of the Clean Water Act, an Ohio federal judge March 16 granted an insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings and terminated the insured's suit against its insurer (JTO Inc. v. The Travelers Indemnity Company of America, No. 16-648, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38033).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A commercial liability insurer had a partial duty to defend one of two insureds in an underlying construction defects case, an Alabama federal judge ruled March 16, granting in part and denying in part summary judgment to the insurer; however, the judge denied summary judgment on the duty-to-indemnify issue without prejudice to the insurer's right to refile (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Wier-Wright Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Doug Wiersig Homes, et al., No. 15-1118, N.D. Ala.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37477).
TAMPA, Fla. - A couple claiming that the defective construction of their home allowed for water infiltration and mold growth that led to the death of their daughter can amend their allegations that the home builder violated the Florida Building Code and engaged in fraud, a federal judge in Florida ruled March 17 in granting in part the builder's motion to dismiss (Rohan B. Goldson, et al. v. KB Home, et al., No. 17-cv-340-T-24 AEP, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38426).
ATLANTA - A federal court in Georgia on March 20 entered judgment in favor of an insurer on an insured's breach of contract and bad faith claims four days after a judge found that the insured's losses arising from a 2014 hacking incident of its payment-card reloading system did not trigger coverage under the insurance policy's computer fraud provision (InComm Holdings Inc., et al. v. Great American Insurance Co., No. 15-02671, N.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38132).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Acting on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 17 found that a patent dispute requires a new trial on damages in light of Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple Inc., 137 S. Ct. 429 (2016) (Nordock Inc. v. Systems Inc., Nos. 14-1762, -1795, Fed. Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4732).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A North Carolina federal judge's determination that all claims of a hair growth patent are invalid was reversed March 17 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Allergan Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., et al., Nos. 16-1085, -1160, Fed. Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4733).