WASHINGTON, D.C. - A trio of women successfully allege standing in their class action claiming that an insurer improperly charged them for out-of-network lactation services in violation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal judge in the District of Columbia held July 17 (Lindsay Ferrer, et al. v. CareFirst Inc., et al., No. 16-2162, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110304.)
SEATTLE - A settlement agreement between a property owner and a construction company did not bar the owner's claim for breach of contract for failure to adhere to standard good building practices, a Washington appellate panel ruled July 17, holding that the agreement resolved only issues stemming from a lien the contractor put on the building (620 LLC v. Meridian Inc., d/b/a Meridian Construction, No. 75331-2-I, Wash. App., 1st Div., 2017 Wash. App. LEXIS 1664).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on July 17 declined to strike testimony from an insurer's biomechanical expert on the forces required to cause a woman's alleged injuries in a rear-end car accident, finding that the expert meets the admissibility standards established by 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals precedent (Lisa N. Bostick v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, No. 8:16-cv-1400, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110370).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on July 13 granted approval of a $865,000 settlement to be paid by a behavioral health services company to end claims that it misclassified and underpaid its clinicians, consultants and therapists (Sarina Brown, et al. v. Progressions Behavioral Health Services, Inc., No. 16-6054, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108487).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 13 affirmed the dismissal of retired Booz Allen Hamilton officers' Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims because the plan through which Booz Allen distributed its stock to employees was not an employee pension benefit plan within the meaning of ERISA but vacated the judgment to the extent that it denied the motion by one plaintiff for leave to amend to add securities fraud claims (Bruce Pasternack, et al. v. Ralph W. Shrader, et al., No. 16-217, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12513).
BAY CITY, Mich. - A health care plan administrator owes a Michigan Indian tribe more than $8.4 million for violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by charging hidden administrative fees for the tribe's employee benefit program but is not liable for any alleged damages related to the tribe's separate health care plan for all of its members, even though some are also employees, a federal judge held July 14 (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 1:16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109366).
ATLANTA - After finding no reversible error, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 13 affirmed a trial court's dismissal of borrowers' claims for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and other causes of action based on improper service and failure to state a claim (Christopher Lawrence, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., No. 16-15647, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12509).
DALLAS - A Texas appeals court on July 14 affirmed that a Rhode Island plaintiff's law firm consented to the jurisdiction of Texas courts when it signed on as counsel in Kugel hernia mesh cases filed by a Texas law firm (John E. Deaton, et al. v. Barry Johnson, et al., No. 15-16-01221, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6540).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on July 14 granted preliminary approval of a $1.6 million settlement to be paid by Vita-Mix Corp. and Kelly Services Inc. to end a class complaint by workers alleging that they were misclassified and denied overtime wages and benefits (Rainoldo Gooding, et al. v. Vita-Mix Corporation, et al., No. 16-3898, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109863).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 14 affirmed in part and reversed in part a Washington federal judge's judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, saying that an issue regarding hourly contributions to a pension plan had not been fully litigated (Richard Lehman, et al., v. Warner Nelson, et al., Nos. 15-35414, 15-35457, 15-35696, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12619).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 17 ruled that it lacked appellate jurisdiction over a class member's untimely objection to a settlement resolving a merger dispute where class members receive only additional disclosures, confirmatory discovery and attorney fees (Lawrence G. Farber v. Crestwood Midstream Partners L.P., et al. v. David G. Duggan, Isaac Aron, et al. v. Crestwood Midstream Partners L.P., et al. v. David G. Duggan, No. 16-20742, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12765).
ST. LOUIS - The plaintiffs in a putative class action centered on a 2015 breach of the adult dating website AshleyMadison.com moved for preliminary approval July 14 of what they call a "hard fought" $11.2 million settlement with the site's operator (In re Ashley Madison Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 4:15-cv-02669, E.D. Mo.).
LOS ANGELES - The defendants in a $454 million surgical gown state class action on July 14 asked a California federal court to extend its stay of execution of judgment for another 30 days, anticipating that when the judge rules on their post-verdict motions, they will not have to obtain expensive supersedeas bonds (Bahamas Surgery Center, LLC, et al. v. Kimberly-Clark Corporation, et al., No. 14-8390, C.D. Calif., Western Div.).
CHICAGO - AbbVie Inc. and Abbott Laboratories on July 17 moved for judgment as a matter of law in the second AndroGel bellwether trial, arguing that the plaintiff so far has not proven that the testosterone replacement drug caused his heart attack and has not shown that AndroGel' s warnings were inadequate or that the plaintiff or his doctor were misled about the drug (In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2545, No. 14-1748, Jesse Mitchell, et al. v. AbbVie, Inc., et al., No. 14-9178, N.D. Ill.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 12 dismissed the Property & Casualty Insurance Guaranty Corp. (PCIGC) from an insured insulation company's appeal of a partial summary judgment order entered in favor of a number of solvent and insolvent insurers involved in an asbestos coverage case (General Insurance Company of America and The Walter E. Campbell Co. Inc. v. United States Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-1585, 4th Cir.).
RICHMOND, Va. - Defendants on July 13 told the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a multidistrict litigation judge did not err when he excluded three plaintiff causation experts and granted summary judgment on claims that the cholesterol drug Lipitor causes type 2 diabetes (In Re: Lipitor [Atorvastatin Calcium] Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, Nos. 17-1140, 17-1136, 17-1137, 17-1189, 4th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - The owners of two psychological services companies were sentenced by a federal judge in Louisiana for their roles in a $25.2 million Medicare fraud scheme, the U.S. Department of Justice announced July 14 (United States of America v. Rodney Hesson, et al., No. 15-cr-152, E.D. La.).
WHEELING, W. Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on July 14 denied requests by the friend of a college student who was killed during a fight with two other men to exclude testimony by medical and economic experts in a wrongful death action filed by the student's parents (Thomas G. Figaniak and Valerie A. Figaniak v. Fraternal Order Of Owl's Home Nest, Loyal Order Of Owls Nest Lodge 2558, d/b/a The Owl's Nest, et al., No. 5:15-cv-111, N.D. W. Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109477).
CHARLESTON, W. Va. - A woman's medical expert in a transvaginal surgical mesh multidistrict litigation can offer testimony for the plaintiff because his opinions are "sufficiently relevant" and he conducted a proper differential diagnosis, a federal judge in West Virginia held July 14 in mostly denying the device maker's bid to exclude the expert's opinions (In re: Ethicon, Inc. Pelvic Repair Systems Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2327 [Rhonda Cooper v. Ethicon, Inc., et al., No. 2:12-cv-02532], S.D. W. Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109546).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's allegations that he was personally responsible for ordering replacement parts for work on a boiler helps support his claims that he suffered exposure to asbestos from the work, a Delaware judge held July 12 (Clarence Dionne v. ABB Inc., et al., No. N14C-11-062 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 341).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Evidence that a company manufactured valves with frequently replaced asbestos-containing components and that a man worked with that manufacturer's valves would impermissibly require a jury to speculate to find that the man suffered exposure to asbestos parts made or supplied by the company, a Delaware judge held July 12 in applying Massachusetts law (Dorothy Charbonneau, et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks Inc., et al., No. N15C-01-045 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - After finding that borrowers failed to show that two banks violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) or wrongfully foreclosed on their property, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 13 affirmed a district court's dismissal of their complaint (Brock Williams, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., No. 15-17335, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12565).
PHILADELPHIA - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced July 13 that Jubilant Cadista Pharmaceuticals Inc. has agreed to pay a $35,000 penalty for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by improperly storing lab solvents and corrosive cleaner waste at its Salisbury, Md., facility.
WILMINGTON, Del. - Michigan law does not hold a retailer liable for failing to warn about the hazards posed by asbestos in floor tiles it sold, a judge in Delaware concluded July 12 in granting Sears Roebuck Co. summary judgment (Scott Glaser and Sandra Glaser v. Sears Roebuck Co., et al., No. N15C-08-207 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 342).