NEW YORK - Enforcement of a sale order and injunction entered as part of General Motors LLC's (New GM) acquisition of the assets of General Motors Corp. (Old GM) will violate the due process rights of plaintiffs in the ignition switch litigation against New GM, a group of GM vehicle owners argue in a memorandum filed Dec. 16 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (In re: Chapter 11 Motors Liquidation Co., et al., f/k/a General Motors Corp., et al., No. 09-50026, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
SALT LAKE CITY - The government's loss of computer data from a women's health care clinic operated by a woman accused of defrauding Medicare by coaching illegal aliens to apply for benefits under the Baby Your Baby (BYB) program warrants the dismissal of her indictment, a federal judge in Utah ruled Dec. 12, ruling that the loss of the information prevents the defendant from defending herself (United States of America v. Larohnda Dennison, No. 13CR805DAK, D. Utah; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173303).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 16 stayed a suit against an insolvent insurer, noting that the liquidating court had ordered the end of all litigation against the insolvent insurer (Air Tropiques, S.P.R.L. v. Northern & Western Insurance Company, Ltd., et al., No. 13-cv-01438, S.D. Texas).
CHICAGO - Class representatives in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) concussion litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Dec. 16 renewed their motion to add athletes in noncontact sports as representatives of the settlement class (In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2492, Master Docket No. 1:13-cv-09116, N.D. Ill.).
BOSTON - A class of smokers who want Philip Morris USA Inc. to pay for low-dose computer tomography (LDCT) to detect early signs of smoking-related diseases has not produced sufficient evidence to prove that the company could have marketed a safer cigarette, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled Dec. 12 (Kathleen Donovan, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 1:06cv12234, D. Mass.).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Dec. 15 granted in part and denied in part an insurer's motion for a protective order in a breach of contract and insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer is not required to "produce loss reserve documents that are entitled to work product or attorney-client privilege" (Theresa L. Schreib v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-0165, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172973).
MIAMI - A federal district court erred in granting summary judgment in an insurance coverage dispute because there was at least a question of fact as to whether an insurer acted in bad faith in refusing to settle an underlying claim, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 15 (GEICO General Insurance Co. v. Elliot Gould, et al., No. 14-10913, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23488).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 16 affirmed the denial of a diet drug heart valve injury settlement claim that was found to be medically unreliable (In Re: Diet Drugs [Phentermine/Fenfluramine/Dexfenfluramine Products Liability Litigation, No. 14-1780, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23639).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A federal jury in Florida on Dec. 16 returned a defense verdict in a suit alleging that a Florida man's lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were caused by his years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. (William Starbuck v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-CV-13250-WGY-HTS, M.D. Fla.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - In the first day of deliberation after 10 days of oral arguments, a California federal jury on Dec. 16 found that firmware and software updates that Apple Inc. made to its iTunes and iPod products were "genuine product improvements" and, therefore, did not constitute efforts to monopolize the digital music market by precluding the play of music purchased from other digital retailers on Apple devices in violation of federal antitrust law (The Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation, No. 4:05-cv-00037, N.D. Calif.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Dec. 12 granted final approval of a $250,000 settlement of a class complaint accusing a New Jersey employer of failing to pay for travel time and the correct prevailing wage rate (John Mulroy, et al. v. National Water Main Cleaning Company of New Jersey, No. 12-3669, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171904).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A split Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 15 rejected a claim of "trial by formula" and upheld the certification of 187,979 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam's Club (collectively, Wal-Mart) workers who brought a wage-and-hour suit and a more than $187 million award for those workers (Michelle Braun, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., No. 32 EAP 2012, Dolores Hummel, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 33 EAP 2012, Pa. Sup.; 2014 Pa. LEXIS 3324).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 15 declined to hear arguments in a lawsuit where a federal court had overruled a chemical company's challenge regarding the credibility of a plaintiff's expert in a groundwater contamination case. The company had contended that the federal court's ruling conflicted with Supreme Court precedent (SQM North America Corp. v. City of Pomona, Calif., No. 14-297, U.S. Sup.).
DES MOINES, Iowa - In a majority ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court on Dec. 12 found that the implied warranty of workmanlike construction did not extend to a bank that sought to recover costs related to a mold infestation in an apartment complex it acquired through foreclosure (Luana Savings Bank v. Pro-Build Holdings Inc., et al., No. 13-0060, Iowa Sup.; 2014 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 109).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 15 reversed a trial court's ruling dismissing homeowners' claims that their insurer acted negligently when it made false assurances in relation to the toxicity of mold in their house and remanded the case for further proceedings (David Bruno, et al. v. Erie Insurance Co., et al., No. 25 WAP 2013, Pa. Sup.; 2014 Pa. LEXIS 3319).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Dec. 12 partially dismissed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act actions filed by two health insurers seeking to represent a class of third-party payers who allegedly paid for fraudulent prescriptions for the antidepressants Lexapro and Celexa but allowed other claims to continue against Forest Laboratories Inc. (In Re: Celexa and Lexapro Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 09-2067, Painters and Allied Trade District Council 82 Health Care Fund v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 13-13113, New Mexico UFCW Union's and Employer's Health and Welfare Trust Fund v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 14-10784, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172176).
TRENTON, N.J. - Insurers owe no coverage for injuries sustained as a result of toxic mold because a fungus exclusion clearly bars coverage for the injuries, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court said Dec. 11 (William Hurst, et al. v. American Zurich Insurance Co., et al., No. A-5447-12T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2866).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 11 granted conditional certification in a wage suit filed by a home health care aide but limited the class to those individuals within Pennsylvania, finding that the lead plaintiff failed to produce evidence supporting a nationwide class (Markisha Gordon, et al. v. Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., No. 13-7175, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172054).
NEW YORK - A New York City jury on Dec. 12 found that a boiler maker failed to warn about the hazards of asbestos and awarded a man's estate $20 million while holding the defendant 30 percent liable (Charlene Hillyer, as executrix for the estate of Charles F. Hillyer v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190132/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 11 denied a petition for a panel rehearing and a petition for rehearing en banc in a case in which the court affirmed a district court's award of restitution and denial of prejudgment interest in a case alleging that Wells Fargo Bank NA violated the state's unfair competition law (UCL) by misleading consumers by posting debit transactions in highest-to-lowest order, but vacated the lower court's injunction and remanded for entry of an injunction consistent with its decision. On Dec. 15, Wells Fargo moved to stay the mandate pending its filing a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court and the court's final disposition of the case (Veronica Gutierrez, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nos. 13-16195, 13-16598, 9th Cir.).