WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 29 granted certiorari to review a Connecticut Supreme Court finding that a limousine driver for an Indian casino is protected by the tribe's sovereign immunity from a couple's personal injury claims stemming from a car crash (Brian Lewis and Michelle Lewis v. William Clarke, No. 15-1500, U.S. Sup.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Sept. 27 allowed most claims to proceed in consolidated class actions alleging that Allstate Insurance Co. improperly ended retirees' promised lifetime benefits, saying the plaintiffs have stated a claim that Allstate's plan did not include, or was ambiguous as to whether it included, a provision under which Allstate reserved the right to cancel the retirees' life insurance policies (Garnet Turner, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Company, No. 2:13-cv-685, 2:15-cv-406, M.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132113).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 27 denied a disability plan participant's petition for writ of mandamus directing a Missouri federal judge to disregard the plan's forum-selection clause and transfer her case to Arizona, where she has lived and worked for more than a decade (In re Lorna Clause, No. 16-2607, 8th Cir.).
ATLANTA - A Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) state law class action are permitted in the same proceeding, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 28, reversing a ruling by the trial court finding that those two types of actions are "mutually exclusive and irreconcilable" (Kevin Calderone, et al. v. Michael Scott, No. 15-14187, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17606).
INDIANAPOLIS - Premises owners can be liable for the conduct of their employees and independent contractors where insufficient evidence suggests that an electrician's own work caused his exposure to asbestos, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Sept. 28 (Larry Myers and Loa Myers v. Bremen Casting Inc. and Mastic Home Exteriors Inc., No. 49A04-1503-MI-113, Ind. App.).
PHILADELPHIA - The argument that a valve company did not have a duty to warn about the dangers of third-party asbestos parts ignores both a previous ruling in the case and legal precedent, a federal judge in Philadelphia held Sept. 28 in affirming a $1,085,000 million verdict (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patent that is the subject of a lawsuit pending in Missouri federal court will also be the subject of inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled Sept. 26 (Apple Inc. v. Masa LLC, No. IPR2016-00748, PTAB).
TRENTON, N.J. - A case involving claims of willful design patent infringement will proceed without a preliminary injunction in place, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Sept. 27 (Brandywine Product Group International v. Universal Distribution Center LLC, No. 16-2248, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132195).
SEATTLE - Because it is not clear if a dishwasher leak was the efficient proximate cause of more than $5,000 in mold damage, a Washington federal judge on Sept. 26 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by insureds seeking coverage for mold damage within their home (R.W. and R.J.T., v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 16-465, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131586).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Concluding that the owner of a Brooklyn shopping center failed to file a timely proof of Superstorm Sandy loss, a New York federal magistrate judge on Sept. 28 recommended that the insurer's motion for summary judgment be granted in a coverage dispute arising from the storm (2027, LLC v. Aspen American Insurance Co., No. 14-6751, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181604).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on Sept. 27 held that an underlying cross-complaint against an insured does not give rise to a potential claim for slander, libel or disparagement and, therefore, fails to trigger an insurer's duty to defend under an insurance policy's "personal and advertising injury" provision (Nautilus Insurance Co. v. Access Medical, LLC, et al., No. 15-00321, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132300).
PHOENIX - A woman who became sick after eating seafood at a restaurant filed a first amended complaint in federal court in Arizona on Sept. 27, claiming that the restaurant served her food that was infected with salmonella (Shaina Alice Robinson v. Pappas Restaurant Inc., No. CV-16-03253-PHX-GMS, D. Ariz.).
DULUTH, Minn. - Finding that the complexity and the preliminary nature of underlying defective product lawsuits weigh in favor of temporarily staying an insurance coverage dispute, a Minnesota federal judge on Sept. 26 granted the insured's motion to stay the insurer's declaratory judgment suit (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh v. Viracon, Inc., No. 16-482, D. Minn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131732).
CHICAGO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 28 announced that it had reached an agreement with Sears Home Improvement Products Inc. under which the company will pay $400,000 to settle claims that it violated federal laws pertaining to toxic substances and property renovation involving lead-based paint hazards (United States of America v. Sears Home Improvement Products Inc., No. 16-9302, N.D. Ill.).
SALT LAKE CITY - After a Utah-based charterer failed to respond to a Liberian vessel owner's petition to confirm a $1,669,221 arbitral award that was issued in London in its favor, a Utah federal judge on Sept. 27 found that the award must be confirmed under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Asphalt Trader Ltd. v. Taryn Capital Energy LLC, No. 1:16-cv-00054, D. Utah; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132647).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on Sept. 27 approved the recommendation of a liquidator of an insolvent insurer regarding $8,159,577.46 in directors and officers, professional and general liability claims (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 27 affirmed a district court's dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the purchaser of lip gloss that allegedly contained deceptive packaging, finding that the plaintiff's claims for violation of California law failed because she did not show that the label or packaging of the product was false or misleading (Angela Ebner v. Fresh Inc., No. 13-56644, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17561).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania judge on Sept. 26 signed off on a coverage dispute stemming from underlying sexual abuse claims against now-convicted former Penn State coach Gerald Sandusky after Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and its insurer announced that they reached a settlement (The Pennsylvania State University, et al. v. Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Co., Nos. 04126, 03195 and 03197, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
OWENSBORO, Ky. - A disability insurer did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in terminating a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the evidence shows that the claimant was not totally disabled and was able to perform other occupations, a Kentucky federal judge said Sept. 26 (Sabrina Austin-Conrad v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 14-127, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131047).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Sept. 26 miscellaneous order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a motion by the U.S. solicitor general to participate as amicus curiae in the upcoming oral arguments in a design patent lawsuit between Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. pertaining to Apple smartphone designs (Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-777, U.S. Sup.).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Sept. 26 granted an insured's motion for summary judgment in an asbestos liability coverage suit after determining that an excess insurer cannot use its policy's prior insurance and noncumulation of liability clause to reduce any amount of any payments made to the insured for the underlying liabilities (New England Reinsurance Corp. v. Ferguson Enterprises Inc., et al., No. 12-948, D. Conn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132863).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Sept. 26 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer had no duty to defend its insureds in an underlying lawsuit because the claims were barred by a policy exclusion (Sunrise Specialty Co. Inc., et al. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 16-1461, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131664).