OKLAHOMA CITY - Testimony by a property value expert for Halliburton Co. in a suit filed by homeowners alleging that the company polluted the groundwater under their properties is admissible because it is reliable and will be helpful to a jury, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled July 31 (Amanda Alexander, et al. v. Halliburton Company, et al., Nos. 11-1343, 11-1272, 11-1305, 11-1306, 11-1322, 11-1323, 13-715, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100030).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama on July 31 upheld a trial court judge's rulings awarding $49,960.51 in damages, $17,848.54 in prejudgment interest and $53,052.37 in attorney fees to the owner of a site that houses a boat dealership and repair business, finding that evidence presented at trial showed that a lessee breached the terms of the agreement after petroleum hydrocarbon contamination was discovered and removed from the premises (Tracker Marine Retail LLC v. Oakley Land Company, No. 1240505, Ala. App.; 2015 Ala. Civ. App. LEXIS 180).
NEW YORK - A take-home and friction asbestos exposure case must be tried separately from a pair of trial groups each featuring a couple of cases with similar diseases and sufficient overlap in work histories and time periods, a New York justice held in an opinion filed July 31 (Gwendoline Santos, as executrix of the estate of Robert Flahive, as deceased, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190043/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2752).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on July 31 refused to recognize a Bolivian court judgment in favor of a car dealership, finding that the parties agreed to arbitrate all disputes under a global importer dealer sales agreement (Automotores Galindo, S.A. v. Ford Motor Co., No. 13-CV-23285, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100259).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on July 30 left portions of claims for violations of the state's Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and unfair competition law (UCL), as well as fraud and negligent misrepresentation, but dismissed all other claims in a class action suit accusing the manufacturer of a dog bone product of selling items not safe for its intended purpose (Khristie Reed v. Dynamic Pet Products, et al., No. 15-987, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100540).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 3 refused to dismiss an environmental group's lawsuit against a developer, finding that the group adequately alleged that it would suffer an injury as a result of increased nitrogen and phosphorus in water that would flow into nearby bayous (Galveston Baykeeper v. Trendmaker Homes Inc., No. H 14 1500, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100854).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - While the treating physician for a woman alleging that her leg had to be amputated due to medical malpractice cannot testify as an expert witness on causation because the basis for his opinion is "inherently unreliable," an interventional radiologist can testify as an expert because her testimony creates a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether a botched angiogram caused the amputation, an Alabama federal judge held Aug. 3 (Jessica Marie Muniz v. United States of America, No. 2:13-cv-01163, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100921).
DENVER - Defense counsel for Wright Medical Technology Inc. on July 31 asked a Colorado federal judge to award them $6,579 as a court-ordered sanction against a hip prosthesis plaintiff for failure to comply with the judge's practice standards (Judith Butt, et al. v. Wright Medical Technology, Inc., No. 14-3208, D. Colo.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Although a New York federal judge, acting on remand, erroneously granted a summary judgment of design patent invalidity, she properly granted the same defendant a summary judgment of noninfringement, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 30 (High Point Design LLC et al. v. Buyer's Direct Inc., No. 14-1464, Fed. Cir.).
ATLANTA - Finding no error in a Florida federal judge's decision to uphold a jury's award in favor of a copyright infringement plaintiff, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 30 affirmed in a dispute over photographs designed for use in phone books (Yellow Pages Photos Inc. v. Ziplocal LP, et al., Nos. 14-13355, 14-13401, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13297).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 3 partially reinstated a former City of New York worker's disparate treatment and retaliation claims, finding that she proffered sufficient evidence to withstand motions to dismiss by the city and her former supervisor (Dawn F. Littlejohn v. City of New York, et al., No. 14-1395, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13475).
NEW YORK - In camera review permits an accurate assessment of settlement amounts, and disclosure of abuses in asbestos litigation settlement practices against an unrelated party does not warrant requiring disclosure of confidential settlements, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 31 (Santo Assenzio v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Robert Brunck v A.O. Smith Water Products, Paul Levy v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Cesar Serna v A.O. Smith Water Products, Raymond Vincent v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Nos. 190008/12, 190026/12, 190200/12, 190183/12, 190184/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2743).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on July 30 declined to disqualify an attorney from an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insurer has failed to show that the attorney had a conflict of interest (Pietro Giambrone, et al. v. Meritplan Insurance Co., No. 13-7377, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100000).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A North Carolina federal judge's erroneous construction of two disputed claim terms as they appear in a high-voltage transformer patent was revised by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 (Sociedad Espanola de Electromedicinia y Calidad S.A. v. Blue Ridge X-Ray Co., et al., No. 15-1102, Fed. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge's decision to grant Qualcomm Inc. judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that it did not infringe four patents was affirmed by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 (ParkerVision Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc., Nos. 14-1612, -1655, Fed. Cir.).
BOSTON - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 affirmed a trial court's decision that a drywall company's letter that contained a "layman's choice of words" was still sufficient to terminate the company's agreement with Massachusetts unions and, as a result, the company had no obligation to comply with the unions' audit requests (New England Carpenters Central Collection Agency, et al. v. Labonte Drywall Company, Inc., No. 14-1739, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13386).
CHICAGO - After finding that a district court properly dismissed claims for quiet title and violation of Illinois law, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 affirmed a district court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of several lenders and mortgage entities (David Cocroft, et al. v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., et al., No. 14-1640, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13368).
CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on Aug. 3 held that a class action claimant has failed to show that a list of potential customers for cosmetic surgery services contained personally identifiable financial, credit or medical information, affirming a lower court's finding that a professional liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against the class action (Doctors Direct Insurance Inc. v. David Bochenek, et al., No. 1-14-2919, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 1st Div.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 579).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on Aug. 3 awarded $3.2 million in punitive damages to a woman who alleged that her years of smoking caused her to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that resulted in two lung transplants (Elaine Jordan v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2013-CA-008903, Fla. Cir., 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Aug. 3 returned a defense verdict for two companies accused of exposing a mechanic to asbestos (Pablo Gonzalez v. Caterpillar Inc., et al., No. 2013-CA-031838, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).
PASADENA, Calif. - In a lawsuit where both class claims and nonclass claims are being pursued, the amount sought for the nonclass claims may not be added together with the amount sought for class claims to meet the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) amount-in-controversy requirement, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 30 (Porfiria Yocupicio, et al. v. PAW Group, LLC, et al., No. 15-55878, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13273).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A judge erred in excluding evidence attempting to show that a man's disease arose not from a defendant's conduct but from work at a facility tainted with asbestos dust, an Illinois appeals panel held July 30 (James Smith v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., No. 4-14-0703, Ill. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 573).
ATLANTA - A Georgia appeals court on July 31 denied reconsideration, leaving stand its decision that a pipe maker's duty to household members is irrelevant the question of whether it negligently designed its asbestos-containing pipe (Fletcher v. Water Applications JE-025 Distribution Group Inc., et al., No. A15A0527, Ga. App.; 2015 Ga. App. LEXIS 501).
SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) violates the Sherman Act by monopolizing the market for top-level domains (TLDs) like ".com" and ".net" were properly dismissed, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 31 (name.space Inc. v. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, No. 13-55553, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13360).
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Supreme Court on July 29 slightly modified its April 22 opinion that reversed a lower court and found that certain alleged wrongful acts by a self-insured managed health organization are covered under a number of reinsurance agreements (WellPoint Inc. [f/k/a Anthem, Inc.], et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh PA, et al., No. 49S05-1404-PL-244, Ind. Sup.; 2015 Ind. LEXIS 666).