SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on May 11 upheld a magistrate judge's earlier ruling and held that when the magistrate judge allowed a reinsurer to amend its answer and add a counterclaim against its reinsured, the decision was not clearly erroneous (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Century Indemnity Company, No. 13-cv-00995, N.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK - The parents of a teenager killed in a single-vehicle accident caused in which his air bags failed to deploy because of an ignition-switch defect filed a wrongful death action against General Motors LLC (GM) in New York federal court on May 11 (In re General Motors Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-md-2543; Tracy Tucker, et al. v. General Motors LLC, No. 15-cv-03650-UA, S.D. N.Y.)
NEW YORK - A federal bankruptcy court did not err in preventing investors from filing a second amended complaint in a lawsuit connected to Bernard L. Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme, because investors' claims were duplicative and derivative of a suit already brought by Madoff's liquidation trustee, a New York federal judge ruled May 11 (In re Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, [Adele Fox, et al. v. Irving H. Picard, et al.], No. 14-6790, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61490).
ST. LOUIS - A contractor's equitable subrogation and unjust enrichment claims for $53 million paid to settle construction defects with regard to a luxury retirement community are unsupported against the project owner's insurers, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 12, finding the contractor already recovered the monies (The Weitz Co. LLC v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-3744, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7804).
ATLANTA - A federal district court judge did not err in dismissing a securities class action lawsuit because, despite having numerous opportunities to amend their complaint, the lead plaintiffs still failed to properly plead loss causation, a divided 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 11 (Miklen Sapssov, et al. v. Health Management Associates Inc., et al., No. 14-12838, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7731).
RALEIGH, N.C. - Evidence of defendants' conduct after the dates of the last alleged exposure to asbestos from their products may be relevant for some limited purposes, a federal judge held May 11 in largely granting motions to exclude the evidence (Graham Yates and Becky Yates v. Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc., No. 12-752, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61291).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas House of Representatives on May 11 voted 126-11 to approve a bill that would require asbestos and silica personal injury claimants suing to recover damages for their diseases to file all claims they have with asbestos and silica bankruptcy trusts before a trial is held.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The coordinating judge in the federal Engle cases pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on May 11 approved a plan for distributing $100 million in settlement funds to plaintiffs in more than 400 cases (In re Engle Cases, No. 3:09-10000, M.D. Fla.).
ATLANTA - A motion to compel the underlying material in 27 "general" studies produced by the Federal Trade Commission relating to settlements of patent disputes between brand-name and generic drug manufacturers was denied May 11 by a Georgia federal judge (In re: Androgel Antitrust Litigation [No. II], MDL No. 2084 [All Cases], No. 1:09-md-2084, N.D. Ga.; Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc., et al., No. 1:09-cv-955, N.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61076).
RICHMOND, Va. - A federal judge in Virginia erred when granting three pretrial motions to exclude evidence filed by a dermatologist accused of health care fraud, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 11, holding that the rulings restricted the latitude needed by the government to carry its burden of proof (United States of America v. Amir A. Bajoghli, No. 14-4798, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7737).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 8 that the "catalyst theory" of recovery of attorney fees is available under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and that judicial action is not required under that theory in order to establish some degree of success on the merits (Christopher Templin, et al. v. Independence Blue Cross, et al., No. 13-4493, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7624).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts appeals panel on May 12 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an insurer has no duty to defend its egg producer insured against an underlying suit alleging that it conspired to fix the price of eggs, rejecting the insured's argument that some of the claims are covered by the policy's "personal and advertising injury endorsement" (Rose Acre Farms Inc. v. Liberty Insurance Corp., No. 14-P-915, Mass. App.; 2015 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 409).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 7 upheld a verdict and judgment in favor of an insurer in a dispute over claims over a house fire, with the panel also affirming the trial court's discovery and evidentiary rulings (Patricia Jackson v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 14-1755, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7529).
RICHMOND, Va. - A split Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 11 vacated decertification of a class of black steel workers who accuse their employer of discriminatory promotion practices and a hostile work environment, finding that the trial court "misapprehended the reach of Wal-Mart [Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (131 S. Ct. 2541 )] and its application to the workers' promotions class" and remanded with instructions to certify the class (Quinton Brown, et al. v. Nucor Corporation, et al., No. 13-1779, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7739).
PHILADELPHIA - Illinois asbestos plaintiffs originally alleging nonmalignant diseases must file amended complaints alleging subsequent lung cancer, and on remand, the court must determine whether such amendment is proper, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 11 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation; plaintiffs - Collins, Doyle, and Larweth, Nos. 13-2087, 13-2088, 13-2090, 14-1235, 14-1755, 14-1756, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7753).
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Class action claims, which include a California state unfair competition law (UCL) claim, will continue against the producer and seller of food, body care and home care products after a New York federal judge on May 7 held that federal laws did not preempt the plaintiffs' claims that the defendant mislabeled products as "organic," "natural" or "all natural" (Leah Segedie, et al. v. The Hain Celestial Group Inc., No. 14-5029, S. D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60739).
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on May 7 denied a defendant company's motion for summary judgment in a Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suit brought by three groups complaining about discharges of pollutants from valley fills, finding that the groups have jurisdictional standing to bring their action (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Inc., et al. v. Pocahontas Land Corporation, No. 14-11333, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59910).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - After finding that a borrower failed to properly plead her claims asserted against a lender and servicing entity in relation to the denial of a loan modification, a California federal judge on May 11 granted a motion to dismiss the claims (Rafael Villanueva v. Select Portfolio Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-05238, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61596).
BOSTON - A copyright infringement dispute between an aspiring recording artist and a husband-and-wife producer and marketing duo was resolved, in part, on May 8 with a partial grant of summary judgment by a Massachusetts federal judge (Liana Conway, et al. v. Sam Licata, et al., No. 13-12193, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61276).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Delaware federal judge's determination of patent invalidity was reversed May 12 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals with regard to two newly added claims not broadened during reissue (ArcelorMittal France et al. v. AK Steel Corporation et al., No. 14-1189, Fed. Cir.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 11 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment after determining that a policy's endorsement for injuries arising from the aerial application of chemicals provides coverage for underlying claims stemming from the insured's use of an herbicide (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. Florida Crystals Corp., et al., No. 14-81134, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61308).