SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 13 reversed and remanded a lower court ruling and held that a company was permitted to bring an action for recovery of costs for perchlorate contamination of groundwater because it was an action to recover expenses that are separate from those involved in a previous lawsuit pertaining to the same incident (Whittaker Corporation v. United States of America, No. 14-55385, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10660).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A trial judge did not abuse his discretion in excluding expert testimony under the amended Rule 702(a) of the North Carolina Rules of Evidence, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled June 10, upholding a man's first-degree murder conviction (State of North Carolina v. Charles Anthony McGrady, No. 72PA14, N.C. Sup.; 2016 N.C. LEXIS 442).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts appeals panel on June 14 held that a lower court erred in finding that a directors and officers liability insurer has no duty to pay a judgment entered against its insured, finding that there are genuine issues of material fact as to the applicability of the policy's personal profit exclusion (Winbrook Communication Services Inc., et al. vs. United States Liability Insurance Co., No. 15-P-401, Mass. App.; 2016 Mass. App. LEXIS 67).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on June 14 declined petitions to review a 2015 report and order by the Federal Communications Commission by several telecommunications providers (telecoms), finding that the FCC had the authority to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service in its effort to "compel Internet openness," commonly known as "net neutrality" (United States Telecom Association v. Federal Communications Commission, et al., No. 15-1063, D.C. Cir.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal jury in California on June 8 awarded a hookah maker $2 million after finding that a wholesale retailer was selling a copyrighted hookah without the maker's permission (Kaloud Inc. v. Shisha Land Wholesale Inc., No. 2:15-cv-3706, C.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - Comcast Corp., T-Mobile USA Inc. and Google Inc. were ordered by a Pennsylvania federal judge on June 7 to respond to a transportation firm's verified petition seeking pre-action discovery related to learning the identity of an unknown individual that purportedly stole the firm's trade secrets (Estes Forwarding Worldwide LLC v. Comcast Corp., No. 2:16-mc-00132, E.D. Pa.).
PASADENA, Calif. - A law firm, its principals and their shell companies engaged in fraud, vexatious litigation and a money-making scheme by misusing the subpoena power of the courts, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 10, affirming a trial court's sanctions award in favor of the John Doe defendant in one of the many copyright infringement suits the firm initiated related to purported online sharing of adult movies (Ingenuity 13 LLC, et al. v. John Doe, Nos. 13-55859, 13-55880, 13-55881, 13-55882, 13-55883, 13-55884 and 13-56028, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10557).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 8 upheld a trial court's certification of several subclasses of furniture sales associates who allege that they were denied wages for the time they spent engaged in non-sales-related tasks (Ricardo Bermudez Vaquero, et al. v. Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., et al., No. 13-56606, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10365).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 10 quashed a lower court's order that required insureds to disclose their financial information regarding their settlement agreement with their homeowners insurer in a sinkhole coverage dispute (Wayne Allen and Susan Allen v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 2D15-3114, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 8941).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California appeals panel on June 9 refused to vacate a man's sentence of 24 months of probation after pleading guilty to two counts of making a fraudulent claim for payment of a loss under a contract of insurance, holding that he waived his right to appeal as part of the agreement (People of the State of California v. Ivan Romano, No. E064149, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2; 2016 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4225).
DETROIT - Marathon Petroleum Co. on June 9 agreed to reduce air pollution at refineries in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan and Ohio by spending $319 million to install a Flare Gas Recovery System (FGRS) that will capture and recycle gases that would otherwise be sent to combustion devices, according to an amended consent decree filed in Michigan federal court (United States of America v. Marathon Petroleum Company LP, et al., No. 12-cv-11544, E.D. Mich.).
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - A fund established in the Chapter 11 case of Johns-Manville Corp. paid more than $76 million to 17,111 asbestos personal injury claimants before the fund was terminated in May, according to the fund's final report, filed June 10 in New York federal bankruptcy court (In re Johns-Manville Corporation, et al., No. 82-11656, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania appeals court panel on June 9 affirmed a trial court judge's decision to award summary judgment to a home builder, finding that a woman's sales agreement for the house disclaimed any limited warranty for merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, reasonable workmanship or habitability (Patricia Streiner v. Baker Residential of Pennsylvania LLC, No. 1253 EDA 2015, 2016 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2024).
NEW ORLEANS - An excess insurer maintains in a June 8 brief filed in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a Texas federal judge erred by not requiring any actual proof of when underlying individual plaintiffs were exposed to asbestos (Longhorn Gasket and Supply Co., et al. v. U.S. Fire Insurance Co., No. 15-41625, 5th Cir.).
BILLINGS, Mont. - A policy exclusion for hazards of the oil and gas industries precludes coverage for an underlying suit alleging injuries as a result of exposure to petroleum vapors while working for an oil field services company, a Montana federal magistrate judge said June 8 in recommending that an insurer's motion for summary judgment be granted (Janson Palmer, et al. v. Northland Casualty Co., et al., No. 15-58, D. Mont.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74829).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on June 8 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss an insured's claims related to an environmental contamination coverage dispute because it is not clear if the claims alleged against the insurer in a newly filed lawsuit arose after the insured's original 2012 lawsuit was filed against the insurer (Lennar Mare Island LLC v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-2182, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74923).
ABINGDON, Va. - A federal judge in Virginia on June 9 denied a man's motion to vacate his 144-month prison sentence for his role in a workers' compensation insurance fraud scheme, holding that his counsel was effective and that the sentence was properly adjusted based on the defendant's criminal history (United States of America v. Carlos Perry, No. 14CR00003, W.D. Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74977).
PITTSBURGH - An insurer must indemnify a homeowner's total recovery of $174,553.04 for the portion of damages to structural insulated panels (SIPs) that could not be recovered under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL), including the homeowner's failure to mitigate damages, a Pennsylvania federal judge held June 9 (Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Jerry Ellis Construction, et al., No. 14-155, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75405).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - An insurer has no duty to defend an insured plumbing company for an underlying suit arising out of the discharge of hazardous chemicals into nearby homes while the insured was refurbishing a sewer system because the policy's pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage, a New York federal judge said June 10 (Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Roy's Plumbing Inc., et al., No. 13-1000, W.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75958).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board does not need to address in a final written decision patent claims that were not instituted in an inter partes review (IPR), a divided panel of the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 9 (SAS Institute Inc. v. ComplementSoft LLC, Nos. 15-1346, -1347, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10508).
CINCINNATI - A Tennessee federal judge did not abuse his discretion in preliminarily enjoining a karaoke recording distributor from using certain musical compositions belonging to Sony/ATV Publishing LLC and EMI Music Publishing Ltd., the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 9 (Sony/ATV Publishing LLC et al. v. 1729172 Ontario Inc., No. 15-6108, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10592).