BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Having found that a plaintiff has an exclusive right to a "Peoplelink" trademark and logo and that a defendant's use of a virtually identical "PeopleLinkHR" mark constitutes infringement, an Alabama federal judge on June 30 rejected the defendant's counterclaims of trademark infringement and common law deceptive trade practices (Peoplelink LLC v. Birmingham Personnel Services Inc. d/b/a PeopleLink HR, No. 14-1549, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84575.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A third-party defendant in a lawsuit brought by two men who contend that they were injured when a lithium battery exploded during a hydraulic fracturing operation filed an answer June 30 denying the allegations and contending that its product either was not the product at issue in the lawsuit, or the product was misused after it was manufactured (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al., and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.)
PHILADELPHIA - An expert may opine regarding, among other things, how Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) medical loss ratio (MLR) regulations affect class ascertainability, a federal judge held June 30 in decertifying a class of indirect purchasers of Wellbutrin XL (In re: Wellbutrin XL Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-2433, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84444).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on June 30 dismissed a former inmate's civil rights action which claimed a prison's drinking water was contaminated. The judge said that the plaintiff failed to state a claim (Rhea Michelle Walker v. Camp Brighton Prison, No. 15-12153, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84529).
LOS ANGELES - Class plaintiffs in a suit alleging that the electric power steering (EPS) system in certain Toyota Corollas is defective joined the automaker June 26 in asking a federal judge to grant preliminary approval of a proposed settlement (Irene Corson, et al. v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., et al., No. 12-8499, C.D. Calif.).
LONDON - The United Kingdom Supreme Court on July 1 upheld the majority of an arbitration award issued in favor of the purchasers of Russian milling wheat, but found that the damages awarded to the buyers should be altered (Bunge S.A. v. Nidera B.V., No.  UKSC 43, U.K. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Louisiana Supreme Court on June 30 refused to reconsider its May 5 ruling that reversed and remanded an appeals court's finding that a patient has proven that a doctor insured's actions in rushing to implant a pacemaker fell below the standard of care, according to the high court's new release (Clyde Snider Jr., et ux. v. Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 2014-C-1964, La. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 30 ruled that a former BP Exploration & Production Inc. engineer who was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice for deleting text messages and emails related to the calculations of the amount of oil spilling out of the Macondo well following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 is entitled to a new trial, ruling that a federal judge in Louisiana did not err when finding that the jury foreperson was exposed to prejudicial extrinsic evidence (United States of America v. Kurt Mix, No. 14-30837, 5th Cir.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 30 denied as moot a hydraulic fracturing company's motion to partially dismiss a complaint filed by residents who contend that the company contaminated their groundwater (Tammy Manning v. WPX Energy Appalachia LLC, No. 12-0646, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84473).
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 let stand a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a district court did not err in ordering a disability insurer to pay attorney fees incurred by a plan on behalf of a participant because the plan supported the participant and assumed the same position as a plaintiff in the participant's lawsuit (Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada v. Group Disability Benefits Plan for Gynecologic Oncology Associates Partners, LLC, No. 14-1251, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A group of plaintiffs suing Chevron Corp. alleging that the company is liable for damages caused by the explosion of a natural gas rig filed a brief in California federal court on June 29, opposing the company's motion to strike or dismiss the plaintiffs' third amended complaint, contending that it is appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 15 (Foster Ogola v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit is warranted, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled June 29, because insureds' signing of a settlement agreement barred all future claims under a commercial lines policy (Antonio Giaccone, et al. v. Canopius US Insurance Co., No. 14-6939, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83682).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 declined to review a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the burden of proof on the issue of causation and the proper standard to assess causation in a 401(k) breach of fiduciary duty case under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, following the solicitor general's finding that the Fourth Circuit correctly decided both issues and that "there is no clear circuit split on either question" (RJR Pension Investment Committee, et al. v. Richard G. Tatum, No. 14-656, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 granted review of a divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts Vermont's health care data collection law, which requires health care payers to report claims and health care-services data to a state agency, as applied to a self-funded ERISA benefit plan or its third-party administrators (Alfred J. Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, No. 14-181, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 affirmed that primary and excess commercial general liability insurers' motion to intervene in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) lawsuit after a $20 million settlement was reached was untimely (CE Design Ltd., et al. v. King Supply Co., LLC, et al., No. 12-2930, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11117).
SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Inc. did not establish that AT&T Mobility, its alleged co-conspirator in a putative antitrust class action related to service for Apple's iPhones, was a necessary party to the action, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority ruled June 29, reversing a trial court's dismissal of the case for failure to join AT&T, per Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 (Zack Ward, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 12-17805, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11065).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 30 agreed to hear an appeal of a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling remanding a securities class action lawsuit over the alleged illegal "naked" short selling of a company's stock back to state court Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., et al. v. Greg Manning, et al., No. 14-1132, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Remand of a securities class action suit to state court is proper because the defendants were prohibited from removing the action to federal court in the first place, a federal judge in California ruled June 25 (Alexander Liu v. Xoom Corp., et al., No. 15-0602, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82830).
PHILADELPHIA - The wife of a man killed in the May 12 derailment of an Amtrak passenger train filed suit in federal court on June 29 on her own behalf and on behalf of her husband's estate (Danna Gildersleeve, et al. v. National Railroad Passenger Corp. a/k/a Amtrak, No. 2:15-cv-03626, E.D. Pa.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 found that allegations in an underlying amended counterclaim against a test-preparation provider insured do not potentially include a trade dress infringement claim, affirming a lower federal court's ruling in favor of the insurer in an advertising injury coverage dispute (Test Masters Educational System Inc. v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 14-20473, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11148).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on June 29 ruled that testimony by two experts for a woman alleging that she was wrongfully terminated is admissible, but that testimony by the woman herself, acting as an expert, is not because she did not properly disclose her intended opinions and she is not qualified as an expert on the issues at hand (Tamela Cleo Saldana v. Texas Department of Transportation, et al., No. 1:14-cv-282, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83815).
NEW YORK - U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) umpires are independent contractors, not employees, for the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL), the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 29, affirming a trial court's decision (Steven Meyer, et al. v. United States Tennis Association, No. 14-3891, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11037).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A judge overseeing an asbestos case nearing trial on June 29 barred an expert from testifying that "every exposure" leads to disease and excluded another expert's testimony regarding causation, finding it insufficiently specific (Graham Yates and Becky Yates v. Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc., No. 12-752, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83991).