WILMINGTON, Del. - The Delaware Supreme Court on June 10 certified questions to New York's top court about whether all sums or pro rata allocation governs an insurance dispute and how insurance policy exhaustion affects access to excess policies. The long-running dispute involves insurance coverage for asbestos claims against Viking Pump Inc. and Warren Pumps LLC (Viking Pump Inc. v. Century Indemnity Co., et al. Warren Pumps LLC v. Century Indemnity Co., et al., Viking Pump Inc. v. John Crane Inc., Houdaille Industries Inc., No. 518,2014; 523,2014; 525,2014; 528,2014, Del. Sup.; 2015 Del. LEXIS 278).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by the widow of a man who claims that her husband's death was caused by cancer that he contracted as a result of exposure to benzene while working for Shell Oil Co. at one of the company's gas stations on June 9 ruled that the plaintiff's medical expert was "unreliable" (Yolande Burst v. Shell Oil Company, No. 14-109, E.D. La.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. may transfer several of their cigarette brands to British tobacco company Imperial Tobacco Group (ITG), a federal judge in the District of Columbia held June 8 (United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 99-2496, D. D.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73464).
INDIANAPOLIS - Finding that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether an accused file-sharer illegally copied six movies, an Indiana federal judge on June 8 denied the copyright holder's motion for summary judgment (Malibu Media LLC v. Michael Harrison, No. 1:12-cv-01117, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73447).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A news and entertainment media operator failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the U.S. Department of State said June 8 in its answer to a complaint by Gawker Media LLC in District of Columbia federal court seeking to compel communications related to Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email account during her tenure as secretary of State under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (Gawker Media LLC, et al. v. Department of State, No. 1:15-cv-00363, D. D.C.).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing litigation stemming from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and ensuing oil spill on June 10 held that a man's motion to sever his personal injury claims from those subject to a settlement agreement was not an effective means of opting out of the agreement, explaining that the motion did not mention that he was allegedly exposed to chemicals used to disperse oil or that he was involved in cleanup activities in the gulf (In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, MDL 2179, Case No. 10-md-2179, DuWayne Mason v. Seacor Holdings Inc., et al., No. 11-826, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74996).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A federal magistrate judge in New York on June 10 ordered that certain discovery material produced in a reinsurance dispute may be designated by the parties as confidential (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. R&Q Reinsurance Company, No. 15-cv-00270, N.D. N.Y.).
NEW ORLEANS - A ship builder on June 9 indicated that it will appeal a federal judge's ruling that removal of an asbestos action ignores the "long list of cases" requiring direct government control for federal officer removal (Lorita M. Savoie v. Pennsylvania General Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1220, E.D. La.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Discovery proposed by Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC seeking information from the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust on the more than 90,000 asbestos claimants in Garlock's bankruptcy case "is patently excessive and should not be permitted," the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants says in a June 8 objection filed in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK - A group of plaintiffs who seek damages for injuries suffered in ignition-switch-related accidents that occurred before the sale of the assets of General Motors Corp. (Old GM) to General Motors LLC (New GM) filed an appeal on June 10 from a bankruptcy court ruling that New GM is shielded from the majority of ignition-switch suits stemming from conduct on the part of Old GM (In re: Chapter 11 Motors Liquidation Co., et al., f/k/a General Motors Corp., et al., No. 09-50026, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 10 found that excess insurance policies must be read "in conjunction" with a Master Service Agreement (MSA) between a well owner and another company, and, as a result, the well owner's excess coverage for two flash fire fatalities is limited to $5 million (Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co. v. Aspen Underwriting, Limited, et al., No. 13-51027, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9696).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Amazon.com Inc. again prevailed on allegations that it infringed a method patent when the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 11 agreed with a California federal judge that the patent in suit claims "no more than an abstract idea coupled with routine data-gathering steps and conventional computer activity" (OIP Technologies Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 12-1696, Fed. Cir.).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - After finding that a bank violated the Texas Financial Code in relation to the attempted foreclosure of a property, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority on June 10 partially affirmed a jury's verdict for the payees of the mortgage loan (David McCaig, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. 14-40114, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9666).
LOS ANGELES - The Profemur R hip implant was advertised by Wright Medical Technology Inc. as a replacement for other devices that had loosened, a plaintiff attorney told a California state court jury on June 10 in closing arguments at the end of an eight-day trial (Alan Warner, et al. v. Brad L. Penenberg, M.D., et al., No. BC 475958, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
SARASOTA, Fla. - A state court jury returned a defense verdict June 10 in a suit alleging that a 33-year-old man's death from a pulmonary embolism stemmed from an electrical accident that occurred at a local school six years earlier (Stephanie Goberman, et al. v. The Out-of-Door Academy, No. 2011CA009250, Fla. 12th Jud. Cir., Manatee Co.).
BOSTON - A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 10 affirmed the conviction and sentencing of man found guilty for his role in a scheme of fraudulently billing Medicare for durable medical equipment (DME), finding that the judge presiding over the case did not err in any of his evidentiary rulings and used the proper guidelines when determining his sentence (United States of America v. Blessing Sydney Iwuala, No. 13-2497, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9685).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The Republic of Ecuador on June 9 filed a petition in a Delaware federal court to confirm an international arbitration award issued in its favor in an investment dispute with a Delaware company (The Republic of Ecuador v. Ulysseas Inc., No. 1:15-cv-00471, D. Del.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Efforts by a copyright infringement plaintiff to hold a former licensee responsible for copying designs that were pitched and rejected failed June 10, when a New York federal judge instead granted the defendant summary judgment (Barbara McDonald v. K-2 Industries Inc. d/b/a Pavilion Gift Company, No. 10-6678, W.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75205).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on June 10 partially granted and partially denied a motion to dismiss a chemical injury lawsuit against Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI), concluding that the determination as to whether expert testimony is needed to prove injury must be made on a plaintiff-by-plaintiff basis (Kraig Bickerstaff v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1305; Frank D. Eldridge v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1306; Robin L. Booth v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1308; Harmen Arlen May v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1309; Leslie T. Campbell v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1311; Evelyn Bernice Southerland v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1312; Stephen G. Jones v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1322; Bruce Wilmes v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1323; Amanda Alexander v Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1343; Terry Cheek v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 13-116, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74774).