DALLAS - A Texas appeals panel on April 20 upheld a trial court judge's decision to revoke a woman's sentence for four years of community supervision and sentence her to 10 years in prison for insurance fraud, ruling that there was sufficient evidence showing that she committed a new offense of theft from an elderly person (Christine Zimmerman Shearer v. State of Texas, No. 05-16-00317-CR, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 3584).
DETROIT - Consumers who purchased Volkswagen vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests cannot seek restitution from the auto manufacturer as part of criminal proceedings brought by the federal government against the company because it would unduly prolong the sentencing process, a federal judge in Michigan ruled April 21 (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).
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).
CINCINNATI - Allegations that Kentucky Downs LLC infringed the trademarks of other horse racing venues when operating an historical horse-race gambling platform were properly dismissed, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 19 (Oaklawn Jockey Club Inc., et al. v. Kentucky Downs LLC and Exacta Systems LLC, No. 16-5582, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7078).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 19 reversed a trial court's summary judgment ruling in favor of an employer, finding that it had not been established as a matter of law that the Fair Labor Standard Act's (FLSA) seaman exemption applies to the plaintiff, who operated a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) (Kyle Halle, et al. v. Galliano Marine Service, L.L.C., et al., No. 16-30558, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6833).
CINCINNATI - An employee with mental health issues who was demoted and then fired after taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may proceed with his retaliation claims brought under the FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 20, partially reversing a trial court's ruling (Gloria Marshall v. The Rawlings Company LLC, No. 16-5614, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6854).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 vacated certain aspects of a final decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, agreeing that the underlying request for inter partes re-examination should not have been granted pursuant to Section 317(b) of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 317(b) (Fairchild [Taiwan] Corporation v. Power Integrations Inc., No. 17-1002, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6998).
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).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Affirming a trial court's ruling, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 21 found an investigative demand served by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on a college accreditation organization to be unenforceable because it did not comply with the notification requirements of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, No. 16-5174, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6966).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its April 24 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari to the American Civil Liberties Union in the organization's request for clarification of the standard for when a document becomes an "agency record" that is subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests (American Civil Liberties Union, et al. v. Central Intelligence Agency, et al., No. 16-629, U.S. Sup.).
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.).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a homeowners insurer did not violate its policy when it depreciated labor costs in determining the actual cash value of an insured's loss following hail and water damage (Margaret Graves v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-3187, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6980).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on April 21 ordered Volkswagen AG to pay a $2.8 billion fine for equipping its diesel vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests after the company pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).
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.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Rhode Island federal judge on April 18 adopted a report by a magistrate judge who recommended dismissal of an amended complaint arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act alleging that CVS Health Corp., its employee benefits plan committee and the manager of one of the plan's investment options breached their fiduciary duties because new material in the complaint is insufficient to permit an inference of imprudence and dismissed the complaint with prejudice (Mary Barchock, et al. v. CVS Health Corp., et al., No. 1:16-cv-00061, D. R.I., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59083).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 20 granted a motion filed by the owner of certain trademarks for summary judgment on its other claims for infringement and counterfeiting of a registered mark, awarding it $1 million in damages (UL LLC v. The Space Chariot Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-08172, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56147).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on April 19 certified a class of retirees in a suit filed by an employer seeking a court declaration that a union has the authority to agree to changes in retiree medical benefits for those persons who retired after a 1996 class action settlement that provided the retirees with medical benefits without violating federal law (Barnes Group, Inc. v. International Union United Automobile Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, et al., No. 16-559, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59761).
TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington jury awarded $81.5 million April 17 to a widow and her two daughters in their case alleging that their decedent suffered exposure to asbestos in automobile friction products, sources told Mealey's Publications (Gerri Coogan, et al. v. Genuine Parts Co. et al., No. 15-2-09504-3, Wash. Super., Pierce Co.).
NEW YORK - An English energy supplier on April 18 filed an ex parte application in a New York federal court, seeking assistance in obtaining certain evidence held by a bank for use in an international arbitration commenced by it in relation to a dispute over the alleged forced taking of power-generating equipment by the Commonwealth of Australia (In re Application of APR Energy Holdings Limited for Judicial Assistance in obtaining Evidence in this District for Use in a Foreign and International Proceeding Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1782, No. 1:17-cv-02784, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW ORLEANS - Because an insured failed to prove that heavy rains caused engine damage to a recreational vehicle and because the insured failed to submit a proof of loss for the claim, a Louisiana federal judge on April 19 granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment on the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith (Henry Rosenthal v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-13732, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59564).
RALEIGH, N.C. - Substantial evidence supports an industrial commission's conclusion that a mechanic's last injurious exposure to asbestos occurred during his work at his own business, a North Carolina appeals panel held April 18 (Melissa Lovelace, et al. v B&R Auto Service Inc., et al., No. COA16-1045, N.C. App., 2017 N.C. App. LEXIS 310).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Utah woman filed a putative class complaint April 18 against the provider of a physician consultation smartphone app, telling a Florida federal court that the app shares users' sensitive medical information with a third-party firm, breaching the app maker's duty to keep this information confidential (Joan Richards v. MDLive Inc., No. 0:17-cv-60760, S.D. Fla.).
CHICAGO - Bose Corp. was hit with a putative eavesdropping class complaint in Illinois federal court April 18, when a customer alleged that the stereo equipment manufacturer has been collecting and sharing, via a smartphone application, records of its customers' private music and audio selections (Kyle Zak v. Bose Corp., No. 1:17-cv-02928, N.D. Ill.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on April 18 registered an application filed by Hungary to annul an arbitral award that was issued in favor of a French social benefit company (Edenred S.A. v. Hungary, No. ARB/13/21, ICSID).