CAMDEN, N.J. - A group of New Jersey residents who sued railroad companies seeking damages related to a chemical spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek on July 13 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court contending that the defendants cannot argue that preemption bars the plaintiffs' claims (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
NEW YORK - General Motors LLC (New GM) and King & Spalding (K&S) filed separate memoranda July 10 opposing a motion by plaintiffs in the multidistrict ignition-switch litigation against GM to compel the production of documents from the automaker and its counsel based on the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client and attorney work product privileges (In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, MDL No. 2543, No. 14-md-2543, S.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES - California's insurance commission asked a California court on July 9 to approve a $200 million settlement on behalf of an insolvent insurer with a foreign-owned bank (Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. Executive Life Insurance Company, No. BS 006912, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - The federal judge in Oklahoma presiding over a chemical injury lawsuit against Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) brought by residents who contend that their groundwater was contaminated with perchlorate on July 10 ruled that the plaintiffs' claims were ripe, and she ruled that the company was not entitled to summary judgment on its affirmative defenses that any alleged injuries were caused by contributory negligence (Kraig Bickerstaff v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1305; Frank D. Eldridge v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1306; Robin L. Booth v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1308; Harmen Arlen May v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1309; Leslie T. Campbell v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1311; Evelyn Bernice Southerland v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1312; Stephen G. Jones v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1322; Bruce Wilmes v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1323; Amanda Alexander v Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1343; Terry Cheek v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 13-116, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74774).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Employees of a shipping broker may partially proceed with claims that they were improperly classified as exempt from receiving overtime pay; however, they failed to prove that the alleged violations were willful or that they should proceed as a class, a Kansas federal judge ruled July 10 (Nancy Koehler, et al. v. Freightquote.com, Inc., et al., No. 12-2505, D. Kan.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89691).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on July 10 substantially dismissed a shareholder class action lawsuit against Navistar International Corp. and certain of its officers and directors, ruling that the lead plaintiff in the action failed to plead an actionable misrepresentation or scienter (Construction Workers Pension Trust Fund, et al. v. Navistar International Corp., et al., No. 13-2111, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90152).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on July 13 dismissed without prejudice most claims in a class action complaint accusing a beverage manufacturer of placing misleading antioxidant-related statements on their products' labels in violation of the state's unfair competition law (UCL) for failure to meet pleading requirements but said that some of the claims arising from statements on the bottles were preempted and dismissed them with prejudice (Dorinda Vassigh, et al. v. Bai Brands, No. 14-5127, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90675).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Bifurcation of bad faith and unfair trade practices act claims from insurance coverage claims is not warranted because bifurcation would not promote judicial economy or avoid prejudice, a federal judge in West Virginia ruled July 13 (Bronzie Toler v. Government Employees Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-29582, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90274).
ST. LOUIS - Affirming a lower court's findings related to qualified immunity and unauthorized access of emails, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 10 mostly upheld a trial court's judgment against a firefighter who was fired for sending two emails that were deemed "inflammatory" (Stevon Anzaldua v. Northeast Ambulance and Fire Protection District, et al., No. 14-1850, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11906).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 13 affirmed a district court's decision finding that a servicing company violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when it repeatedly called a borrower's neighbor in an attempt to collect a debt and dismissed the appeal (Patricia Evankavitch v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, No. 14-1114, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12024).
NEW YORK - A policy's consent provision requiring an insured to obtain an insurer's consent prior to incurring any expenses for environmental contamination cleanup costs and requiring the insurer not to unreasonably withhold consent is not void as a matter of public policy and must be enforced as written, a New York federal judge said July 13 (SI Venture Holdings LLC v. Catlin Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-2261, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89925).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held July 13 that relators' allegations and trial evidence extend far beyond the realm of one bellwether claim under the False Claims Act and entitles them to at least some additional discovery, reversing a lower federal court in part in a qui tam action alleging that an insurer submitted false Hurricane Katrina flood claims to the U.S. government (U.S., ex rel. Rigsby v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 14-60160, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12060).
MIAMI - A Florida state court jury on July 13 awarded $8.5 million to the family of a woman who died of oral cancer after years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Paul Larkin, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2002-002829-CA, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
LOS ANGELES - Match.com subscribers who claim that they were not provided with the proper notice about their rights to cancel their subscriptions must arbitrate their claims, a California federal judge ruled July 10 (Zeke Graf v. Match.com, LLC, No. 15-3911, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90061).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A motion for judgment on the pleadings by patent infringement defendant Intel Corp. was granted, in part, by an Oregon federal judge on July 13 (Memory Integrity LLC v. Intel Corporation, No. 15-262, D. Ore.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90417).
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma federal judge on July 13 ruled that there is no actual controversy between a commercial general liability insurer and two insurers and an insured with regard to faulty work claims arising from damage to a dental facility (Essex Insurance Co. v. Sheppard & Sons Construction Inc., et al., No. 12-1022, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90401).
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A tribunal for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on July 13 said that it has concluded a hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility of claims asserted by the Republic of the Philippines against the People's Republic of China in a maritime dispute filed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and that it expects to release its decision by the end of the year (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People's Republic of China, PCA).
SAN ANTONIO - A Texas federal judge on July 10 determined that an insured's subsidiary is not a third-party beneficiary under a policy because the policy did not name the beneficiary as an insured and there is no evidence that the insured made any promises to the subsidiary that it would be covered for environmental liabilities under the policy (Chartis Specialty Insurance Co. v. Tesoro Corp., et al., Nos. 11-00927, 12-00256, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89642).
LAS VEGAS - An earth movement exclusion precludes an insurer's duty to defend an underlying construction defects case, a Nevada federal judge ruled July 10; however, the judge declined to grant costs associated with the insurer's right to reimbursement (Probuilders Specialty Insurance Co., et al. v. Double M. Construction d/b/a Classic Homes, No. 13-2156, D. Nev.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90580).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A federal judge in Tennessee on July 10 substantially denied a motion to dismiss filed by defendants in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that the lead plaintiff in the action properly pleaded the elements of his federal securities law claims (William E. Burges, et al. v. BancorpSouth Inc., et al., No. 14-1564, M.D. Tenn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89822).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled July 10, because an insured has failed to show that her insurer failed to comply with the terms of her homeowners insurance policy (Lyndee Harrison v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 14-1219, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89721).
DETROIT - Two experts for an insurer and insured homeowners can testify that a fire that damaged the insureds' home was caused by a faulty charger for a hand-held vacuum cleaner because the experts' methods are reliable and their opinions will help the jury, a Michigan federal judge ruled July 13 (Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, et al., v. Black & Decker [U.S.], Inc., No. 13-cv-14312, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90188).
SAN FRANCISCO - Because a dispute over a patented dispensing system "unmistakably" arises under the patent laws, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 13 ordered transfer of the case to the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Amity Rubberized Pen Company v. Market Quest Group Inc., et al., No. 13-77596, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12027).
CHICAGO - After finding that a borrower's foreclosure-related claims are still pending before a federal district court, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 13 dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction (Wendy B. Adelson v. Ocwen Financial Corporation, et al., No. 14-3707, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11992).
CINCINNATI - A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 13 ordered cancellation of a "BMF Wheels" trademark and a modified injunction (CFE Racing Products Inc. v. BMF Wheels Inc. and Brock Weld, Nos. 14-1357 and 14-1608, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12016).