AUSTIN, Texas - In an April 21 brief to the Texas Supreme Court, filed in response to a post-oral argument brief by the real parties in interest in a dispute over the discovery submission form for electronically stored information (ESI) in an insurance coverage lawsuit, an insurer argues that a trial court's requirement that ESI submission be in the form requested by the plaintiffs did not properly balance relevance, needs and burdens under Texas law (In re State Farm Lloyds, No. 15-0903, Texas Sup.).
PHOENIX - An Arizona court on April 20 affirmed a man's convictions and sentences, finding that a trial court did not err when it allowed two detectives to testify that a substance they found in his car was marijuana (State of Arizona v. Shamar Terrek Norris, No. 16-0238, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2017 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 446).
HOUSTON - After determining that the amount in controversy met federal jurisdictional requirements, a Texas federal judge on April 20 refused to remand claims for breach of contract and fraud asserted by property owners against their mortgage lender (George Holland, et al. v. CitiMortgage Inc., No. 4:16-CV-3219, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60046).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that borrowers who are challenging the foreclosure of their property failed to respond to a motion to dismiss their claims asserted against the current owner of the property, a California federal judge on April 21 granted dismissal with leave to amend (Celia Duenas, et al. v. Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-2824, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62117).
NEW YORK - A New York federal magistrate judge on April 21 recommended that a photographer be awarded $10,000 for each of five images infringed by web host Lycos Inc. - far less than the statutory maximum of $150,000 per infringed work originally sought in the case (Leif Skoogfors v. Lycos Inc., No. 16-2742, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61926).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - While the U.S. government contracted to purchase annuities to make future, monthly and periodic lump-sum payments under a settlement agreement, the government did not guarantee that it would make the future payments in the event of an insurer's insolvency, a judge in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims held April 21 (William T. Hendrickson and Patricia Hendrickson v. The United States, No. 15-1406C, Fed. Clms, 2017 U.S. Claims LEXIS 369).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A jury's finding that Ford Motor Co. did not fail to warn about the dangers of asbestos-containing replacement brakes makes the question of liability for third-party parts irrelevant, Delaware's top court held April 21 (In re: Asbestos Litigation Donna F. Walls, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., No. 389, 2016, Del. Sup.).
DES MOINES, Iowa - An Iowa trial court erred when it stayed a price-fixing class complaint filed by chiropractors against the state's largest health insurer pending resolution of a federal multidistrict litigation in Alabama, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled April 21, vacating the order staying the action and remanding for further proceedings (Bradley A. Chicoine, et al. v. Wellmark, Inc., et al., No. 16-0364, Iowa Sup., 2017 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 38).
OMAHA, Neb. - A proposed expert who planned to testify on the standard of care for dewatering companies in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is unqualified to offer his opinion in support of claims brought by a construction company, a federal judge in Nebraska ruled April 20, finding that the man only worked for the company that was subsequently hired by the plaintiff company to provide dewatering services for a construction site (Judds Brothers Construction Co. v. Mersino Dewatering, Inc., No. 16CV1, D. Neb., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60367).
ST. LOUIS - Recent Missouri Supreme Court precedent finding that registration in the state does not constitute consent to jurisdiction warrants reconsideration of an earlier ruling in an asbestos case and granting the company's motion to dismiss, a federal judge in Missouri said April 21 (Diane MacCormack, Nancy Broudy, and Karen Loftus, as personal representatives of Berj Hovsepian v. The Adel Wiggins Group, et al., No. 16-414, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60898).
NEW YORK - Requiring experts to actually sample and test the release of asbestos fibers from products would be fatal to almost all cases, given the lack of existing products to test and their inherent hazards, a New York justice held in allowing the testimony of three experts in an opinion posted April 20 (Jeanne Evans, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190109/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Supreme Court on April 21 found that a company that owns a McDonalds fast food restaurant did not present enough evidence to show that a puddle a woman slipped on was an open and obvious danger and reversed summary judgment granted to the company by the trial court (Andre Barnwell v. CLP Corp., No. 1151329, Ala. Sup., 2017 Ala. LEXIS 37).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing litigation stemming from defective drywall manufactured in China on April 21 adopted an expert's formula that states that class members should receive $86 per square foot to remediate damage to their homes' electrical and plumbing systems that resulted from the use of the building material that was made by Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and other China-based companies (In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2407, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60911).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida jury on April 21 awarded the widow of a smoker in a tobacco suit a total of $12 million in punitive damages, bringing the total award against a tobacco company to $15 million (Mary Lima v. R.J. Reynolds, et al., No. 2015CA007140, Fla. Cir., 13th Jud. Cir. Hillsborough Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 certified a question to the California Supreme Court on whether high interest rates on consumer loans violated California finance law (Eduardo De La Torre, et al. v. CashCall Inc., Nos. 14-17571, 15-15042, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6997).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 21 affirmed a Texas federal judge's ruling denying coverage for partial hospitalization for mental health treatment, saying that the judge properly reviewed the denial of coverage under an abuse-of-discretion standard (Ariana M. v. Humana Health Plan of Texas Inc., No. 16-20174, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7072).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on April 21 granted Bayer Corp.'s motion for summary judgment in an Aleve case after excluding the plaintiff's two experts from testifying that the over-the-counter pain reliever caused permanent kidney damage (Kenneth Hale, et al. v. Bayer Corporation, et al., No. 15-745, S.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61077).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 24 denied a disability claimant's petition for writ of certiorari, refusing to review the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision that that the remand of a disability retirement claim was not an abuse of discretion or a violation of a previous court mandate (Kyle D. Kennard v. Means Industries Inc., No. 16-1117, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Indian tribe's sovereign immunity does not protect a tribal casino limousine driver from an individual capacity lawsuit filed by a couple injured in a crash with the limo because the driver is the actual party in interest, not the tribe, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held April 25 (Brian Lewis and Michelle Lewis v. William Clarke, No. 15-1500, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge properly rejected a state law unfair competition plaintiff's effort to apply the Lanham Act's "establishment claim" standard outside the context of a Lanham Act claim, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 21 (Serena Kwan, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. SanMedica International, No. 15-15496, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6995).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 reversed a $36 million judgment entered against an insurer in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that an asbestos exclusion is not ambiguous and bars coverage for underlying asbestos-related claims filed against the insured (General Refractories Company v. First State Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3409, 3rd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. have agreed to increase their settlement payment to $142 million, $32 million more than the settlement proposed in March, to end claims by a class of individuals who allege that the banking company opened accounts, enrolled them in products and services and submitted applications for products and services without consent, according to a motion for preliminary approval filed by the plaintiffs on April 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Shahriar Jabbari, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al., No. 15-2159, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - Because a federal court's ruling enforcing a permanent anti-suit injunction issued as part of a $5.5 billion settlement in the Chapter 11 case of Tronox Inc. is not a final order, it cannot be appealed by 4,300 individuals who say they were injured from the company's operation of a wood-treatment plant in Pennsylvania, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 20 (Avoca plaintiffs, et al. v. Kerr-McGee Corp., et al., No. 16-343, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6949).
Medical device companies C.R. Bard Inc. and Becton, Dickinson and Co. (BD) will merge in a $24 billion cash and stock deal, the companies announced April 23.