WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., - A Florida jury on Nov. 23 ruled in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Phillip Morris Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group Inc., determining that the diseases suffered by a 94-year-old man who had sued them were not caused by his addiction to cigarettes (Robert Shulman v. R.J. Reynolds, et al., No. 502007CA023832, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir.).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Nov. 20 dismissed two payday lending companies from a consumer's putative class action alleging illegal lending practices after finding that the companies are both arms of a Native American tribe entitled to sovereign immunity (Alicia Everette v. Joshua Mitchem, et al., No. 15-1261, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156980).
SEATTLE - An estate's wrongful death asbestos action cannot proceed where the statute of limitations forecloses on the underlying personal injury action, a Washington appeals court held Nov. 23 (Karin Hill, as personal representative of the estate of Heinz Gerhard Schneider v. Bartell's Asbestos Settlement Trust, et al., No. 73960-3-I, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 2887).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Nov. 20 granted final approval of a nearly $25 million securities class action settlement, ruling that the settlement has met all statutory requirements for approval (In re Celera Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 10-2604, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157408).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Nov. 20 denied a motion filed by a maker of vodka for summary judgment on claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and negligent misrepresentation in relation to terms used on its labels, finding that the safe harbor doctrine was not triggered in the case (Gary Hofmann v. Fifth Generation Inc., et al., No. 14cv2569, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157378).
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin federal judge on Nov. 20 said that insureds seeking coverage for damages to a beach house are barred from arguing that the home is a total loss because the cost of rebuilding the home was included in an appraisal award (David S. Gronik Jr., et al. v. Susan Balthasar, et al., No. 10-00954, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157266).
TRENTON, N.J. - Reconsideration of a February ruling by a since-retired New Jersey federal judge that a patent is not invalid for lack of written description or lack of enablement is not warranted, another New Jersey federal judge ruled Nov. 23 (ICI Uniqema Inc. v. Kobo Products Inc., No. 06-2943, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157705).
PHILADELPHIA - A patent infringement plaintiff was awarded more than $680,000 in lost profits on Nov. 23 by a Pennsylvania federal judge, based upon findings that a defendant violated the terms of a consent order already issued in the dispute (CardioNet LLC v. MedNet Healthcare Technologies Inc., et al., No. 12-2517, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158067).
NEW ORLEANS - A department store salesperson who set aside coupons to use later to entice customers to make purchases, in violation of his employer's policy, failed to show that his termination after more than a dozen years of employment was due to age discrimination, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 19 (John Ng-A-Mann v. Sears, Roebuck & Company, No. 15-20083, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20242).
BOSTON - Following 21 days of testimony, the attorneys in a suit deciding if a tobacco company misled consumers by advertising its light cigarette as less harmful on Nov. 23 made closing arguments to a Massachusetts judge over whether a tobacco company falsely advertised one of its cigarettes as having less tar and nicotine than its full-flavor counterpart (Lori Aspinall v. Phillip-Morris Cos., No. SUCV1998-06002, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.).
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. - The Fifth District Illinois Appellate Court on Nov. 20 determined that an insurer has a duty to defend its insured in an underlying lawsuit alleging that the insured's hog farm is a nuisance to neighboring property owners and affirmed the trial court's more than $2 million judgment in favor of the insured (Country Mutual Insurance Co. v. Bible Pork Inc., et al., No. 5-14-0211, Ill. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 870).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Nov. 20 refused to review an appeals court's ruling that an excess insurer owes coverage for environmental contamination cleanup costs because the excess insurer's attachment point of $8 million was reached after the insured settled with its other insurers (Plantation Pipe Line Co. v. Highlands Insurance Co., in receivership, No. 14-0789, Texas Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In five motions to dismiss filed Nov. 23 in California federal court, Anthem Inc. and related entities seek dismissal of a class action over a January 2015 breach of its network, citing of standing, jurisdiction and failure to state a claim (In Re: Anthem Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-02617, N.D. Calif.).
BOISE, Idaho - A trial judge did not err in barring expert testimony challenging the accuracy of a breath test, an Idaho appeals panel held Nov. 19, affirming a drunken driving conviction (State of Idaho v. Thomas Fernandez, No. 42370, Idaho App.; 2015 Ida. App. Unpub. LEXIS 435).
DENVER - A damages expert can testify in a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing lawsuit with regard to an independent sales representative agreement, a Colorado federal judge ruled Nov. 19 (Bio Med Technologies Corp. v. Sorin CRM USA, Inc. f/k/a ELA Medical, Inc., No. 14-0154, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157177).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 20 affirmed a district court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a bank, finding that former property owners lacked standing to challenge the transfer of their mortgage (Ryan Ermisch, et al. v. HSBC Bank, et al., No. 15-50276, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20253).
PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Nov. 20 determined that R.J. Reynolds was not liable for the death of a man whose widow had sought $10 million in damages based on her allegations that her husband died from coronary artery disease caused by an addiction to smoking cigarettes (Ann Cavalier v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2007-CA-023832, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir.).
ATLANTA - The majority of the Third Division Georgia Court of Appeals on Nov. 20 affirmed that an insured failed to timely provide notice of its claim for environmental remediation; however, the majority said that under the applicable excess policy, compliance with the timely notice provision was not a precedent to coverage (Plantation Pipe Line Co. v. Stonewall Insurance Co., No. A15A1359, Ga. App., 3rd Div.; 2015 Ga. App. LEXIS 750).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Nov. 18 granted a Singapore group of company's request to confirm a $765,436.98 arbitral award that was issued in its favor and against a Delaware company in relation to breach of a charter party (Navig8 Chemicals Asia Pte., Ltd., et al. v. Crest Energy Partners LP, No. 15 Civ. 7639, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155820).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In light of the provision of previously unknown and possibly responsive records pertaining to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking to compel communications related to Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email account during her tenure as secretary of State, news and entertainment media website operator Gawker Media LLC moved in District of Columbia federal court on Nov. 18 to compel affidavits from certain government personnel regarding the email use and record production of former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines (Gawker Media LLC, et al. v. Department of State, No. 1:15-cv-00363, D. D.C.).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on Nov. 18 partially granted and partially dismissed a lawsuit brought by a woman against two companies she contended had contaminated the soil and groundwater near her home with various disposed chemicals, ruling that the facts of the case did not demonstrate a "credible" increase in the risk of cancer (Danielle Trujillo, et al. v. AMETEK Inc., et al., No. 15-1394, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156803).