JACKSON, Miss. - In a March 22 brief in Mississippi federal court, Google Inc. argues that its subpoena to depose the general counsel of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) should not be quashed, asserting that neither the attorney-client privilege nor the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects lobbying, which goes to the heart of Google's lawsuit against Mississippi's attorney general (AG) (Google Inc. v. Jim Hood, No. 3:14-cv-00981, S.D. Miss.).
BALTIMORE - An expert failed to provide sufficient evidence as to the methodology used in opining about the cause of an accident and alleged defects in a trailer's jack, a Maryland federal judge ruled March 22, granting motions to exclude and summary judgment to the defendant in a products liability lawsuit (Stephen McKerrow v. Buyers Products Co., No. 14-2865, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36590).
NEW ORLEANS - Survivor claims sound in strict liability and require vacating remand of an asbestos action and consideration of whether a ship yard has a colorable federal defense, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 22 (Lorita M. Savoie, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 15-30514, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5328).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 22 denied a health supplement maker's motion for summary judgment in a class action arising over the advertising and sale of a glucosamine-based supplement (Dragan Vasic, et al. v. Patenthealth LLC, et al., No. 13-cv-849, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37305).
NEW YORK - A reinsurer told a federal appellate court on March 21 that it does not object to its reinsured's motion to dismiss an appeal, noting that the only issue remaining regarding their asbestos-related reinsurance dispute is prejudgment interest (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Clearwater Insurance Company, No. 16-484, 2nd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A patent dispute over vacuum toilets commonly used on commercial aircraft was properly rejected on summary judgment, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded March 23 (MAG Aerospace Industries Inc. v. B/E Aerospace Inc., Nos. 15-1370, -1426, Fed. Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer sufficiently asserts claims for subrogation and strict product liability against the manufacturer of allegedly faulty wood plastic composite decking, a California federal judge ruled March 22, declining to dismiss the claims (Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co. v. Danco Builders, et al., No. 15-03945, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37196).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 22 granted the U.S. government's motion to intervene and stay proceedings in the Securities and Exchange Commission's securities fraud lawsuit against alleged Ponzi scheme operator Martin Shkreli and former Retrophin Inc. outside counsel Evan Greebel, ruling that a complete stay is appropriate pending resolution of the government's criminal proceedings against the defendants (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Martin Shkreli, et al., No. 15-7175, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36734).
HARTFORD, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on March 21 dismissed the second amended complaints in two separate consolidated brain injury suits against the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) and dismissed all but one claim from a third complaint (Russ McCullough, et al. v. World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., No. 15-1074, D. Conn.).
DENVER - An insurer in not entitled to partial summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because weighing the insured's testimony against relevant medical records regarding injuries allegedly sustained in an automobile accident is the "province of the jury," a federal judge in Colorado ruled March 22 (Sharolyn Leeper v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-3460, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36104).
NEW YORK - Dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit is proper because shareholders failed to plead scienter in making their federal securities law claims, a federal judge in New York ruled March 21 (In re DNTW Chartered Accountants Securities Litigation, No. 13-4632, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36661).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on March 22 determined that a pro rata method of allocation applies for indemnity costs incurred by an insured in underlying asbestos suits filed against it (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. The Fairbanks Co., Nos. 13-3755, 15-1141, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36662).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania state court judge on March 22 denied a motion by plaintiffs - supported by defendants - to consolidate 31 testosterone replacement therapy cases pending in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and to designate the cases a mass tort (In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, Robert F. Hoehl, et al. v. Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 140301684, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on March 23 granted an insurer's motion to rehear an appraisal dispute over Hurricane Wilma damage, modifying its ruling to hold that the notice requirement in Florida Statutes Subsection 627.7015(2) does not ripen until the insurer is on notice that there is a dispute relating to a material fact issue (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Lime Bay Condominium, Inc., No. 4D13-4802, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 4529).
ATLANTA - An insurer asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to grant the insurer's petition for rehearing in an insurance bad faith lawsuit on March 21, arguing that a panel applied the "wrong standard for bad faith" in issuing its ruling (Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co. v. Mr. Charlie Adventures LLC, et al., No. 15-12657, 11th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A district court abused its discretion in granting summary judgment in favor of a disability insurer because a reasonable insured would have believed that filing an internal appeal of the insurer's denial of benefits would have been futile, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 21 in noting that the futility exception to the exhaustion requirement under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act should have been applied (Richard Carey v. RMB United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 14-55483, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5149).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 22 found that when a trial court issued judgment against benefits plans administrators' claims brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against Wells Fargo Bank N.A. based on a jury's verdict related to non-ERISA plans, it "failed to consider whether the parties waived application of collateral estoppel," leading it to vacate and remand for a determination of whether such waiver occurred (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. 14-3457, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5198).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Virginia federal judge's reversal of a trademark cancellation ordered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)'s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) was vacated and remanded March 23 by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found that under the framework of Lexmark International Inc. v. Static Control Components Inc. (134 S. Ct. 1377 ), a drug maker and foreign trademark owner is authorized under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act to bring an action against the owner of the same mark in the United States (Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG and Bayer Healthcare LLC, No. 15-1335, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5380).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on March 23 reversed a $3.8 million verdict for the plaintiff in a tobacco case and ordered a new trial after finding that the plaintiff's attorneys made improper comments to the jury during closing arguments (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., as successor by merger to Lorillard Tobacco Company v. Kathleen Gafney, as Personal Representative of the estate of Frank Eugene Gafney. No. 4D13-4358. Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 4520).
PHILADELPHIA - Only claims of negligent misrepresentation and negligent failure to warn survived in five consolidated Essure birth control device cases March 22 after a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled on Bayer Corp.'s motion for judgment (Helen McLaughlin v. Bayer Corporation, No. 14-7315, Ruth Ruble v. Bayer Corporation, No. 14-7316, Melda Strimel v. Bayer Corporation, No. 14-7317, Susan Stelzer v. Bayer Corporation, No. 14-7318 and Heather Walsh v. Bayer Corporation, No. 15-384, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. 37516).
LANSING, Mich. - The Flint Water Advisory Task Force (FWATF) commissioned by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder issued a report on March 21, which concluded that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) "bears primary responsibility for the water contamination in Flint." The task force also determined that "the framework" for the specific events that resulted in the water crisis was "a litany of questionable decisions and failures," conducted within the framework of the state's Emergency Manager Law.