BOSTON - A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employee filed a class complaint on July 14 in Massachusetts federal court accusing the retailer of unlawfully depriving health benefits to the spouses of employees who are in same-sex marriages (Jacqueline A. Cote, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 15-12945, D. Mass.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on July 14 declined to reconsider his affirmation of a bankruptcy court's grant of summary judgment to Chapter 11 debtor The Flintkote Co. on a corporate property owner's bid for relief from the bankruptcy stay to pursue state and federal environmental claims against Flintkote (8 E. Frederick Place LLC v. The Flintkote Co., et al., No. 12-1176, D. Del.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91005).
LOS ANGELES - In a pair of July 10 in chambers orders, a California federal magistrate judge found deposition-related violations by two lawyer placement firms embroiled in a trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit, awarding sanctions to each (Lateral Link Group LLC v. Habeas Corp., et al., No. 2:14-cv-05695, C.D. Calif.).
ATLANTA - A disability insurer did not wrongfully deny a claim for long-term disability benefits because the claimant did not carry his burden of proving that he was entitled to long-term benefits under the plan at issue, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said July 10 (Greg Oliver v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-15259, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11939).
SALT LAKE CITY - A board-certified psychiatrist can testify as an expert witness for a woman alleging that a drugmaker failed to warn about the danger of suicide when taking the antidepressant drug Lexapro because he "is well qualified to testify about specific causation and his opinions are reliable," a Utah federal judge held July 13 (Elaine J. Shipley v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., No. 1:06-cv-00048, D. Utah; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90699).
GREENSBORO, N.C. - A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a claim for short-term and long-term disability benefits because the objective medical evidence supported the insurer's decision, a North Carolina federal judge said July 10 (Donna Lohr v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., No. 12-718, M.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89525).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee federal magistrate judge on July 14 recommended that an action filed by homeowners against several mortgage entities be dismissed for failure to state a claim, including their allegations for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and fraud claims (John O. Wilson, et al. v. Regions Bank, et al., No. 3:14-cv-02344, M.D. Tenn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91183).
BOSTON - Although a copyright infringement plaintiff appears to own valid copyrights for its website, a Massachusetts federal judge on July 13 found that he is unable to conclude that the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims (IvyMedia Corporation v. iLIKEBUS Inc. et al., No. 15-11918, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91342).
AKRON, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge held July 13 that the June 11, 1998, filing of rape and murder charges against a wrongfully convicted man triggered excess insurance coverage for a malicious prosecution claim against the City of Barberton, Ohio, and its police officers (Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast v. RLI Insurance Co., No. 12-02126, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90572).
CINCINNATI - Only the company that placed allegedly unwanted marketing calls, not the related company on whose behalf the calls were placed, may be named as a defendant in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class complaint, an Ohio federal judge ruled July 10 (Terry Murray, et al. v. Choice Energy, LLC, et al., No. 15-60, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89913).
MINNEAPOLIS - The National Hockey League (NHL), a group of 23 member clubs and the plaintiffs in the brain-injury multidistrict litigation against the league laid out their positions on the release of concussion-related medical records contained in a database maintained by the NHL in briefs filed July 10 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A hydraulic fracturing company engaged in a contract dispute with a drilling company related to their respective liabilities in an underlying groundwater contamination lawsuit on July 15 filed a brief in Ohio federal court, contending that the drilling company is not entitled to a taxation of costs (Warren Drilling Company v. Equitable Production Company, No. 12-00425, S.D. Ohio).
NEW YORK - General Motors LLC (New GM) on July 10 asked the judge overseeing the General Motors Corp. (Old GM) bankruptcy proceedings to deny efforts by the states of Arizona and California to proceed in their respective state courts with ignition-switch actions against the automaker, contending that the suits are governed by a stay issued by a bankruptcy court on June 1 (In re: Motors Liquidation Co., et al., No. 09-50026, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Shiloh Group (TSG), which is intervening in a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by an environmental group, on July 14 filed a notice in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and "brings to the court's attention" a federal appellate court decision that TSG contends has relevance to a pending motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant, Fluor Corp. (Northern California River Watch v. Fluor Corporation, No. 10-05105, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on July 10 denied a disability insurer's motion to dismiss claims for punitive damages because the claimant sufficiently pleaded facts in support of the claims for punitive damages and the insurer failed to prove that the claimant should be precluded from seeking the requested damages (Sarah Copeland v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 15-01487, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90764).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The farm trust that alleges that a group of chemical companies contaminated the trust's property with volatile organic compounds filed a brief on July 13 in Florida federal court, arguing that the claims against two defendants who are employees of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) are valid because they are being sued for acts allegedly committed outside their official employment responsibilities with the FDEP (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
SEATTLE - After finding that a lender did not assume a duty to pay insurance premiums into an escrow when it purchased a loan from a bankrupt lender, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 14 affirmed dismissal of a borrower's breach of contract and fiduciary duty claims (Joel Johnson v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage, et al., No. 13-35596, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12098).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation requiring that testing for new motor vehicles use "commercially available" fuel is not arbitrary and capricious, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 14, overruling a petition by manufacturers of biofuel, arguing that the rule creates a catch-22 (Energy Future Coalition, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-1123, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12078).
LOS ANGELES - Allegations that the producers and distributors of the film "12 Years A Slave" violated the Lanham Act by misrepresenting the authorship of the film's score were dismissed with prejudice on July 10 by a California federal judge, who denied leave to amend after finding that any amendment by plaintiff Richard Friedman would be futile (Richard Friedman v. Hans Zimmer, et al., No. 15-502, C.D. Calif.).
PHOENIX - An Arizona federal judge on July 13 held that underlying claims involving religious discrimination against the Town of Colorado City, Ariz., trigger its insurers' duty to defend (St. Paul Guardian Insurance Company, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Town of Colorado City, et al., No.13-08297, D. Ariz.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90526).