WASHINGTON, D.C. - The State of Vermont and an insurer squared off before the U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 2 in oral arguments over whether the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), preempts state level collection of health insurance data (Alfred Gobeille, in his official capacity as chair of the Vermont Green Mountain Care Board v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-181, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that Apple Inc. unlawfully intercepted messages sent from Apple phones to non-Apple phone users failed to establish that any interception actually occurred, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 30, disposing of their claims under the Wiretap Act and California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Adam Backhaut, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 5:14-cv-02285, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161147).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 1 granted a three-year-old motion by a group of football helmet manufacturers defendants to sever the product liability claims against them from the consolidated multidistrict litigation against the National Football League (NFL) in which former NFL players allege personal injury claims related to concussion injuries sustained while they were players (In Re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 2:12-md-02323, E.D. Pa.).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Although an expert may not know the cause of an elevator's malfunction, a Connecticut federal magistrate judge held Nov. 30 that he may testify in a personal injury lawsuit as to what reasonable care is required when an elevator has a recurring yet undiagnosed problem (Deborah Powell v. Schindler Elevator Corp., No. 14-579, D. Conn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159983).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In an employee discrimination case alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a psychologist may testify on a woman's functional ability to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL) and in English, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 25 (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Placer Arc d/b/a Placer Advocacy Resources & Choices, No. 13-0577, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159585).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge on Dec. 1 denied a motion to clarify, swiping away Ford Motor Co.'s complaints about an opinion addressing experts and specific causation in an asbestos case (Leroy J. Mortimer and Cheryl Mortimer v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 13-4169, E.D. Pa.).
LIMA, Ohio - Sufficient evidence supports a jury's conclusion that lung cancer arose from a man's asbestos exposure at an automaker's facility, an Ohio appeals court said Nov. 30 in affirming a widow's access to the state's workers' compensation system (Loretta S. Bryant, surviving spouse of Ivan Bryant v. General Motors Corp., and Marsha P. Ryan, admr Ohio Bureau of Workers' Comp., et al.,No. 4-15-03, Ohio App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 4768).
CONCORD, N.H. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer moved in a New Hampshire court on Dec. 4 for approval of a $450,000 settlement with an insured over certain environmental and asbestos-related claims (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Dec. 3 granted a shareholder's motion for appointment as lead counsel in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that the shareholder has met all statutory requirements for serving in such a role (Howard Welgus v. TriNet Group Inc., et al., No. 15-3625, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162547).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Dec. 3 granted a company's motion to dismiss various claims in relation to the construction and operation of a luxury resort in Mexico, but granted leave for the plaintiff in the dispute to amend its claim for tortious interference (Desarrolladora Farallon S. DE R.L. DE C.V. v. Cargill Inc., No. 15-cv-0532, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162435).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York appellate panel on Dec. 3 upheld a guilty verdict and the prison sentence against a man found guilty of selling untaxed cigarettes and found the trial court acted properly by denying the defendant's motions to suppress evidence (The People of the State of New York v. Juan Reynoso-Fabian, No. 105234, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8959).
CHICAGO - Just three days after VTech Electronics North America LLC announced a breach of its customer data, two putative class actions were filed against the electronic educational toy maker in Illinois federal court on Dec. 3 (Ken Tittle v. VTech Electronics North America LLC, No. 1:15-cv-10889, N.D. Ill.; and Heber Bran v. VTech Electronics North America LLC, No. 1:15-cv-10891, N.D. Ill.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Dec. 3 approved a consent decree in which Wyeth Holdings LLC agreed to spend $193.5 million to conduct remedial activities at the American Cynamid Superfund site and pay $1 million to the federal government for cleanup activities already conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, finding that the terms of the agreement are reasonable and consistent with the goals of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (United States of America v. Wyeth Holdings LLC, No. 15-7153, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162117).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Dec. 4 granted a nutrition corporation's motion to dismiss claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and California law in relation the labeling and marketing of a supplement for men but granted the plaintiff leave to amend the complaint (Ryan Vigil v. General Nutrition Corporation, No. 15cv0079, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163115).
MARSHALL, Texas - An umbrella insurer on Dec. 4 filed a notice of appeal to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeking review of a Texas federal judge's finding that it owes more than $2 million in attorney fees and costs to another insurer to cover defense costs incurred in defending an insured in underlying asbestos suits (LSG Technologies Inc., et al. v. U.S. Fire Insurance Co., No. 07-399, S.D. Texas).
BOSTON - On the heels of a November trial that yielded a $13.6 million award on patent infringement claims, prevailing plaintiff the Trustees of Boston University on Dec. 4 moved for an award of $69.3 million in prejudgment interest (Trustees of Boston University v. Everlight Electronics Co. Ltd., et al., Nos. 12-11935, -12326, -12330, D. Mass.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals panel on Dec. 4 affirmed a judgment ordering a concrete subcontractor to pay $589,823 for defective work, finding that a pass-through clause in a $150,000 settlement agreement between the general contractor and plaintiff company allowed the plaintiff company to seek additional damages from the nonsettling party (Toys R Us Inc. v. Schimenti Construction Company LLC, et al., No. A-4040-13T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2792).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A plaintiff company seeking to recover costs it incurred in remediating a former steel-processing site in Fort Wayne was awarded summary judgment on its claim under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Section 107 by a federal judge in Indiana on Dec. 4 after the judge found that the plaintiff company successfully showed that the costs it incurred were necessary under the National Contingency Plan (NCP) (Valbruna Slater Steel Corp., et al. v. Joslyn Manufacturing Company, et al., No. 10-CV-0044-JD, N.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162779).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge erred in concluding that a plaintiff failed to state a claim for false advertising and false designation of origin in connection with an email that falsely implied a partnership between two companies, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 7 (Linda Grubbs, et al. v. Sheakley Group Inc., et al., No. 15-3302, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21146).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An attorney for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians told the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 7 that by voluntarily operating on tribal land, a business owner consents to litigating private tort claims stemming from that business in tribal court (Dollar General Corp., et al. v. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, et al., No. 13-1496, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Dec. 2 appointed an arbitration umpire in a reinsurance dispute in accordance with instructions from the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Odyssey Reinsurance Company v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London Syndicate 53, et al., No. 13-cv-09014, S.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 30 dismissed a borrower's complaint without prejudice to amend, finding that after removal, it lacked jurisdiction over his claims related to a mortgage against the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. assistant attorney general (Ibrahim Abu-Humos v. First Merit Bank, et al., No. 15-cv-06961, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159805).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 30 granted a bank's motion for summary judgment on claims asserted by a land trust for quiet title and injunctive relief to prevent foreclosure, finding that the bank held the note and that the trust was subject to a lien (Saddle Blanket 1316 Land Trust v. The Bank of New York Mellon, F/K/A The Bank of New York, as Trustee For The Certificateholders of Cwalt, Inc. Alternative Loan Trust 2006-31cb Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-31cb, No. 4:15-CV-401, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160363).