WILMINGTON, Del. - Agreeing with the reasoning in California Gas Co. v. Syntellect Inc. (534 F. App'x 637, 638-39 [9th Cir. 2013]), a Delaware federal judge on Sept. 22 granted a breach of contract plaintiff - accused in related litigation of patent infringement - summary judgment on a defendant's attempt to invoke the affirmative defenses of apportionment and comparative fault (Seagate Technology Holdings Inc. v. Syntellect Inc., No. 12-1686, D. Del.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126393).
WORCESTER, Mass. - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Sept. 22 granted a building designer's motion to compel arbitration on its claims that a subcontractor defectively installed exterior sheeting, finding that the contract between the parties contained an arbitration clause and because the defendants were unable to show that the plaintiff waived the arbitration provisions (Cutler Associates Inc. v. Palace Construction LLC, et al., No. 15-40021-TSH, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126682).
CHICAGO - After finding that a $4,010,227.78 arbitration award issued in India in favor of a company in relation to a dispute over a contract for the purchase of caustic soda lye was enforceable in Illinois, an Illinois federal judge on Sept. 23 confirmed the award and denied a chemical company's motion for summary judgment denying enforcement (National Aluminum Co. Ltd. v. Peak Chemical Corporation Inc., No. 14-cv-01314, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127060).
NEW YORK - An arbitration clause in an employment agreement signed by workers who were made employees after working as independent contractors is not binding on events that occurred before the signing, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 22, upholding a decision by the district court (Jan P. Holick Jr., et al. v. Cellular Sales of New York, LLC, et al., No. 14-4323, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16815).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Sept. 18 found that a solar corporation's claims against two Chinese entities were directly related to an underlying arbitration agreement and that its breach of contract claims were properly removed to federal court (Sunvalley Solar Inc. v. CEEG [Shanghai] Solar, et al., No. 15-5099, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125199).
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - A Tennessee jury on Sept. 17 returned a defense verdict in a case alleging exposure to asbestos during contract work at a Honeywell International Inc. predecessor's brake-manufacturing facility, sources told Mealey Publications (Nancy Harriss, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. 14C771, Tenn. Cir., Hamilton Co.).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge held Sept. 17 that an underlying lawsuit alleging that an insured's snack trays failed to conform to a contractually specified and required performance standards sounds in breach of contract and fails to allege an "occurrence" pursuant to primary and excess commercial general liability insurance policies, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend its insured (Firemen's Insurance Company of Washington, D.C., Plaintiff, v. Tray-Pak Corporation, No. 13-3711, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124192).
LANSING, Mich. - An insurer and one of its reinsurers told a federal court in Michigan on Sept. 15 that their $1.9 million reinsurance breach of contract suit should be dismissed (Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company v. Westport Insurance Corporation, No. 14-cv-00151, W.D. Mich.).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Sept. 17 upheld a trial court judge's ruling awarding judgment to a home warranty provider and an insurance company seeking reimbursement from a home builder for two claims that it paid over defects in the homes' foundations, finding that the terms of a contract between the parties were unambiguous (Classic C Homes Inc., d/b/a Classic Century Homes, et al. v. Homeowners Management Enterprises Inc., d/b/a Home of Texas, et al., No. 02-14-00243-CV, Texas App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Texas App. LEXIS 9776).
ATLANTA - A global bitcoin processor filed a complaint against its insurer on Sept. 15 in Georgia federal court, asserting breach of contract and bad faith for denial of a claim regarding a loss from the fraudulent transfer of bitcoin that resulted from a December 2014 phishing and hacking incident (Bitpay Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 1:15-cv-03238, N.D. Ga.).
TAMPA, Fla. - At a bench trial, parties in a trademark infringement lawsuit can argue as to the reliability and helpfulness of experts' testimony, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 11, denying a motion to exclude and denying summary judgment on a breach of contract claim (One Hour Air Conditioning Franchising, LLC v. Dallas Unique Indoor Comfort, Ltd., No. 13-3278, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121263).
SAN FRANCISCO - The majority of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 8 affirmed a district court's dismissal of breach of contract claims after determining that the claims are preempted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (Oregon Teamster Employers Trust v. Hillsboro Garbage Disposal Inc. et al., No. 13-35555, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15925).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Sept. 10 that there is no genuine dispute regarding whether a dog grooming and daycare facility insured's Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) was a "duplicate" under the meaning of the SFIP, affirming a lower court's ruling that a federal flood insurer did not commit breach of contract when it denied a Superstorm Sandy claim (Fetch NYC Inc. v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-3431, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16059).
GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on Sept. 9 dismissed insureds' breach of contract lawsuit against their federal flood insurer, finding that the action arising from Hurricane Ike damage is time-barred (Alfredo Mamani, et al. v. AIG National Insurance Company Inc., No. 11-106, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119692).
DENVER - An insurer did not breach its contract with an insured or act in bad faith in delaying payment of underinsured motorist benefits resulting from an automobile accident because it was not provided with the evidence necessary to process the claim until after the insured filed her lawsuit, a federal judge in Colorado ruled Sept. 9 (Wendy L. Peden v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 14-0982, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119978).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal magistrate judge in Ohio on Sept. 3 granted an insurer's motion to stay proceedings pending the outcome of an arbitration process in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insureds' claims against the insurer are subject to the policy's arbitration provision (Joan Kirkland, et al. v. Pan-American Life Insurance Co., No. 14-2536, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117827).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment (ICSID) on Sept. 4 constituted a tribunal that will hear an energy charter treaty arbitration commenced by a Swiss company against Romania in relation to the termination of energy delivery contracts (Alpiq AG v. Romania, No. ARB/14/28, ICSID).
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 3 granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insurer is entitled to summary judgment on the bad faith claim because a third-party beneficiary has failed to show that the insurer acted in bad faith in denying a defense or indemnification to an attorney in a malpractice case (Zhong Zhuang v. The Hanover Insurance Co., No. 15-0481, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118047).
CINCINNATI - Claims by an Employee Retirement Security Income Act plan fiduciary that two corporate defendants are actually the same company, thereby requiring both defendants to adhere to the terms of a union contract, were properly rejected by an Ohio federal judge, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 2 (Board of Trustees of the Local 17 Iron Workers Pension Fund v. Harris Davis Rebar LLC, et al., No. 14-3997, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15571).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Aug. 31 denied a worker's motion for class certification in a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and wage-and-hour violations due to the plaintiff's failure to demonstrate commonality, typicality and adequacy (Michael Troche, et al. v. Bimbo Foods Bakeries Distribution, Inc., f/k/a George Weston Bakeries Distribution, Inc., No. 11-234, W.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115482).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Aug. 28 denied a summary judgment motion brought by the lead plaintiff in a suit over a clothing retailer's voiding of promotional gift cards after finding that the plaintiff's legal theory on which she based her breach of contract claim is fatally flawed (GS Tiffany Boundas, et al. v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., No. 10-4866, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114535).
CHICAGO - A federal district court erred in granting summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit because genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether a company had properly pleaded its breach of contract and bad faith claims, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 31 (Life Plans Inc. v. Security Life of Denver Insurance Co., No. 14-1437, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15424).