OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Dec. 5 granted in part and denied in part an insurer's motion to dismiss in a breach of contract and insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that although an insured may not seek punitive damages on a breach of contract claim, if successful, they may be sought on the insured's bad faith claim (SAB One Inc. v. The Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut, No. 14-1085, W.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169036).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A California federal judge properly dismissed a declaratory judgment patent action on grounds that no controversy yet exists between the parties under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 5 (Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen Inc., No. 14-1693, Fed. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22903).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A New York federal judge's final judgment, following a jury verdict, that Nintendo Co. Ltd. infringed a valid patent was partly affirmed Dec. 8 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Tomita Technologies USA LLC, et al. v. Nintendo Co. Ltd., No. 14-1244, Fed. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 denied BP Exploration & Production Inc.'s (BP) request for review of a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling allowing business and economic loss (BEL) claimants to receive payments from a $9.2 billion settlement agreement to resolve claims stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico without submitting causation evidence (BP Exploration & Production Inc. v. Lake Eugenie Land & Development, et al., No. 14-123, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit have failed to plead any false or misleading statements in arguing that Tesla Motors Inc. and its CEO misrepresented the risk of fire in Tesla's Model S car in violation federal securities law, a California federal judge ruled Dec. 5 (In re Tesla Motors Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 13-5216, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168857).
ATLANTA - After finding that all jurisdictional prerequisites were met and that a seaman's claims against his employer fell within the scope of a collective bargaining agreement, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 3 affirmed a court's ruling compelling arbitration under Italian law (Ralph Jonathan Alvarado Vera v. Cruise Ships Catering and Services International, et al., No. 14-12494, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23004).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A trial judge improperly entered a directed verdict for two tobacco companies on claims of negligence and strict liability asserted by a smoker who alleged that design defects in the companies' cigarettes caused her lung cancer, a Florida appeals court ruled Dec. 5 (Karen Whitney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 1D13-3709, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 19847).
DENVER - A disability insurer did not act arbitrarily or capriciously by terminating benefits under the any-reasonable-occupation disability standard of a plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, despite a contrary determination by the Social Security Administration (SSA) under the SSA all-occupation disability standard, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Dec. 3 (Christy M. Liebel v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 14-6046, 10th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Dec. 3 denied class certification in a case alleging that a juice maker violated the state's unfair competition law (UCL) by placing a false and misleading "No Sugar Added" statement on its 100 percent apple juice product and also denied the defendant's motion to reconsider a previous summary judgment ruling finding that the plaintiff established sufficient evidence to establish "actual damages" under the UCL (Mohammed Rahman v. Mott's LLP, No. 13-3482, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167744).
SALEM, Ore. - An Oregon Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 3 held that an appeal of a ruling dismissing a third-party complaint file by developers against various subcontractors in a construction defects lawsuit was moot following a settlement of the original lawsuit between the developer and a homeowners association (Liberty Oaks Homeowners Association v. Liberty Oaks LLC, et al., No. A149141, Ore. App.; 2014 Ore. App. LEXIS 1696).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 3 reversed a nearly $2.48 million jury verdict for a warehouse worker who alleges age discrimination, finding several errors that necessitate a new trial (Alfonso W. January v. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., et al., No. 12-56171, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22695).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Illinois federal judge did not err in granting patent defendants Motorola Solutions Inc. and Motorola Mobility Inc. (Motorola, collectively) summary judgment of noninfringement, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 5 (Memorylink Corp. v. Motorola Solutions Inc., et al., No. 14-1186, Fed. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Dec. 8 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that an April ruling by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of that a patent covering the hypertension drug Tarka is not invalid will stand (Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc. USA et al. v. Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH et al., No. 14-417, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 4 vacated convictions of conspiracy and false statements against a defendant found guilty of violating the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, after finding that a jury instruction was clearly erroneous and prejudicial (United States of America v. Dominick Mazza, et al., Nos. 13-2540, 13-2710, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22766).
DENTON, Texas - Two environmental groups on Dec. 4 moved in Texas court to intervene in the lawsuit brought against the City of Denton by an oil and gas trade association that contends that the city's ban on hydraulic fracturing is unconstitutional (Texas Oil and Gas Association v. City of Denton, No. 14-08933-431, Texas Dist., 431st Jud. Dist., Denton Co.).
NEW YORK - A plan sponsor breached its obligations under a supplemental retirement plan by terminating monthly benefits and paying a lump sum to the plan participants pursuant to a change-in-control provision, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by ordering the plan to reinstate the monthly benefits and take a credit for the amount of the lump sums paid, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Dec. 3 in an unpublished opinion (Daniel E. Gill, et al. v. Bausch & Lomb Supplemental Retirement Income Plan I, et al., No. 14-1058, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22980).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Answering three certified questions from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in the affirmative, the Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 4 found that although the estate of a deceased employee of an insured has standing to bring a breach of contract lawsuit against the insured's employer's workers' compensation and employer liability insurer, a workers' compensation exclusion and release prevent the estate from collecting a $9.5 million wrongful death judgment from the insurer (Leticia Morales, et al. v. Zenith Insurance Co., No. SC13-696, Fla. Sup.; 2014 Fla. LEXIS 3555).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Dec. 2 denied the motion of two insolvent insurers' insured to stay a $90,000 judgment while awaiting a decision in a case pending in a New York liquidation proceeding (Dale M. Wallis, D.V.M., et al. v. Centennial Insurance Company Inc. and Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company Inc., No. 08-2558, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167043).