FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Oct. 13 ruled that a $1.09 million settlement in a lawsuit involving the release of perchloroethylene (PCE) into the groundwater supply was "fair and equitable" because it will provide remediation and future oversight costs for an area that was contaminated by a dry-cleaning business (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170002).
ST. LOUIS - The maker of Red Hot candy failed to show that the amount being sought by a class of consumers alleging "slack-filled" packages or the cost of complying with a potential injunction exceeds the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) $5 million threshold, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 13, affirming a trial court's remand order (Jaclyn Waters, et al. v. Ferrara Candy Co., No. 17-2812, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19977).
EL PASO, Texas - In a lawsuit alleging a scheme to take control over a dealership and to decline selling vehicle-protection products that are reinsured by the reinsurers, defendants argue in their Oct. 11 reply brief to a Texas federal court for dismissal in favor of a state probate court action (Richard C. Poe II, et al. v. Anthony E. Bock, et al., No. 17-00232, W.D. Texas).
LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Property & Casualty Guaranty Association (MPCIGA) could not raise any valid defense as to why it wrongfully failed to pay an amount owed to an estate by an insolvent insurer, a Michigan appeals panel ruled Oct. 12, affirming summary disposition to the estate (Dorothy Hassan v. Michigan Property & Casualty Guaranty Association, No. 332738, Mich. App., 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1593).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals court affirmed on Oct. 12 that an insured's environmental claim submitted to an insolvent insurer is barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel, based on prior rulings on the same claim and issues (Northern States Power Co. v. Maria T. Vullo, No. 41294/86, N.Y. App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7195).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A majority of a panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Oct. 13 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment to a hospital after finding that a woman's negligence suit was based on medical malpractice and therefore required expert testimony over what options the hospital had to prevent a man from falling out of his hospital bed (Kathleen Chamis v. Ashland Hospital Corporation, No. 2015-CA-001071-MR, Ky. App., 2017 Ky. App. LEXIS 613).
ATLANTA - A Georgia federal judge approved on Oct. 12 an amended forbearance agreement in a dispute between a Bermuda reinsurer and an insurer and administratively closed the case (TIG Insurance Co. v. Appalachian Reinsurance [Bermuda] Ltd., No. 17-02938, N.D. Ga.).
TAMPA, Fla. - An insured failed to show that injuries he sustained in an automobile accident were permanent in nature during negotiations with his automobile insurance provider, and thus, the insurer did not act in bad faith in the handling of his claim, a federal judge in Florida ruled Oct. 13 in granting the insurer's summary judgment motion (David Duncan v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 17-40, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169347).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An agreement resolving a couple's asbestosis claim specifically envisions future mesothelioma claims as among the universe of potential claims and bars a subsequent suit, a federal judge in Louisiana held Oct. 13 (Lorita M. Savoie, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 15-1220, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169348).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 12 affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss with prejudice a breach of contract class claim brought by a Pennsylvania resident who claimed that an energy company violated its service contract by raising the rates each month (John D. Orange, et al. v. Starion Energy PA, Inc., et al., No. 16-1949, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19939).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 16 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari in which two men asserted that the term "google" has become generic and, thus, is no longer entitled to trademark protection (David Elliott, et al. v. Google Inc., No. 17-258, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Appeals Court on Oct. 16 vacated a trial court's ruling that an insurer owes its insured more than $2.4 million in defense costs for underlying asbestos bodily injury claims because the insured failed to prove that the insurer was operating under a conflict of interest that would justify the insured's refusal of the insurer's offer to take full control of the insured's defense (OneBeacon America Insurance Co. v. Celanese Corp., No. 16-P-203, Mass. App.).
LOS ANGELES - Three days after the California Supreme Court denied review, a state appeals court on Oct. 13 issued a remittitur of a $48.1 million Motrin skin injury verdict, a move that paves the way for retrial only of the plaintiff's claims for negligent and strict liability failure to warn against one of two defendants (Christopher Trejo v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. B23339, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4).
PHILADELPHIA - A woman cannot seek to rescind her guilty plea on one count of malicious destruction of property by fire, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 12, finding that the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution criminalizes the destruction of the rental property she set fire to in order to submit a fraudulent claim for insurance proceeds (United States of America v. Andrea Forsythe, No. 17-1019, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19941).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Over the opposition of Microsoft Corp., the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 16 granted the U.S. government's petition for certiorari to decide whether a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) can be applied extraterritorially to require an email provider to produce data that is stored on foreign servers (United States v. Microsoft Corp. [In re: Warrant to Search a Certain E-Mail Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corp.], No. 17-2, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - Too many individualized issues predominate in a suit over public employees who were forced to pay fees to a union, even if they were not members, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 11, upholding a trial court's ruling in a case on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court (Theresa Riffey, et al. v. Bruce V. Rauner, et al., No. 16-3487, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19868).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc in a securities class action filed by a pharmaceutical company's shareholders who alleged that the company and certain of its executive officers misrepresented the likelihood of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment drug in violation of federal securities law (Mark A. Corban v. Sarepta Therapeutics Inc., et al., No. 14-10201, D. Mass.).
HARTFORD, Conn. - Investors have properly pleaded each of their state and federal securities laws claims against the co-founder of a virtual currency mining company, a federal judge in Connecticut ruled Oct. 11 in denying the defendant's motion to dismiss all claims against him (Denis M. Audet, et al. v. Stuart A. Fraser, et al., No. 16-0940, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167830).
SCRANTON, Pa. - An insured seeking uninsured motorist benefits for injuries sustained in a hit-and-run accident provided sufficient evidence in support of claims for bad faith against the auto insurer, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Oct. 10 in denying the insurer's motion to dismiss (Thomas Meyers et al., v. Protective Insurance Co., No. 16-1821, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166955).
NEWARK, N.J. - A judge's sister's access and control over company documents while employed by a defendant require that the judge recuse herself from a case alleging asbestos contamination of talc and spoliation of evidence, the company claims in an Oct. 10 memorandum (Audrey Sampson, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. MID-L-5384-11AS, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A company existing for the last 30 years merely to litigate asbestos claims lacks the type of contacts in a state necessary to overcome diversity removal or to create jurisdiction in the state, a federal judge in Minnesota held Oct. 10 (Michael P. McGill, et al. v. Conwed Corp., No. 17-01047, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167165).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Thirty claims of a patent covering methods of treating arthritis through oral administration of a pharmaceutical comprised of zoledronic acid are "extremely broad," and the patent's specification "simply fails to enable their full scope," a petitioner for post-grant review told the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Oct. 10 (Grunenthal GmbH v. Antecip Bioventures II LLC, PGR2018-00001, PTAB).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patented method for generating an edited video data stream will be the subject of an upcoming inter partes review (IPR), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board announced Oct. 11 (Samsung Electronics America Inc. v. Prisua Engineering Corp., No. IPR2017-01188, PTAB).