CAMDEN, N.J. - The federal judge in New Jersey presiding over a lawsuit brought by residents who sued a group of railroad company defendants seeking damages related to a vinyl chloride spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek on Aug. 18 dismissed two of the defendants from the case (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
YOLO, Calif. - An arbitrator will decide if armed security guards who allege that they were not properly reimbursed by their employer for equipment and training may proceed with their class claims or must arbitrate their claims individually, a California appellate panel ruled Aug. 18 (Universal Protection Service, LP, et al. v. The Superior Court of Yolo County, No. C078557, Calif. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 708).
JACKSON, Tenn. - An insurer has a duty to defend its insured in an underlying suit alleging bodily injuries as a result of mold in a rented home because an exception to the mold exclusion provides that the exclusion does not apply to fungi contained in a good or product intended for human consumption, a Tennessee federal judge said Aug. 19 (Acuity, a mutual insurance company v. Reed & Associates of Tennessee LLC et al., No. 15-2140, W.D. Tenn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109412).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - An Indiana federal judge on Aug. 17 held that insurers do not have to contribute to a law enforcement liability insurer's $5 million settlement of an underlying civil rights lawsuit against the City of Elkhart, Ind., stemming from a wrongful arrest and prosecution, granting their motions for judgment on the pleadings (TIG Insurance Co. v. City of Elkhart, et al., No. 13-902 c/w No. 13-992, N.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107807).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 17 affirmed a district court's dismissal of a second amended class action complaint alleging that Verizon Communications Inc. violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by removing retirees from the company's pension plan and funding their benefits through the purchase of a single premium group annuity contract, finding no error in the transfer of benefits (William Lee, et al. v. Verizon Communications Inc., et al., No. 14-10554, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14588).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Although the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board correctly found that a paw print design mark was not abandoned, it erred in holding that a proposed "nonhuman paw print" mark would create a likelihood of confusion, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 19 (Jack Wolfskin Ausrustung Fur Draussen GmbH & Co. KGAA v. New Millennium Sports S.L.U., No. 14-1789, Fed. Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An arbitration policy distributed to employees of an aviation support company after a wage-and-hour class complaint was already filed is unenforceable against the members of the class because there was insufficient communication regarding its impact and no clear opt-out opportunities, a California federal judge ruled Aug. 17 (Jessica Jimenez, et al. v. Menzies Aviation Inc., et al., No. 15-2392, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108223).
CINCINNATI - Applying a "hybrid approach" to the question of conceptual separability, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 19 reversed a Tennessee federal judge's grant of summary judgment on behalf of a copyright infringement defendant (Varsity Brands Inc., et al. v. Star Athletica LLC, No. 14-5237, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14522).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Following a ruling that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) improperly obtained evidence from a Korean businessman's laptop without a search warrant, a District of Columbia federal judge on Aug. 18 granted the government's motion to dismiss its indictment against him (United States of America v. Jae Shik Kim, et al., No. 1:13-cr-00100, D. D.C.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Aug. 17 refused to dismiss part of a borrower's claim for violation of California's unfair competition law but granted a bank's motion to dismiss his claims for negligent misrepresentation (Edward C. Hendricks v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 15-01299, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108313).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 17 granted an insurer's motion to amend its counterclaim to add an additional nine claims in an environmental remediation dispute after determining that one of the plaintiffs withheld documents on the basis of privilege without producing a privilege log (Lennar Mare Island LLC v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-2182, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108381).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 18 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that debt allegations in an underlying bankruptcy proceeding fail to refer to the kind of conduct that constitutes "lending services" pursuant to a bankers professional liability insurance policy (Greater Community Bancshares Inc., f.k.a. Greater Rome Bancshares, Inc., et al. v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-11806, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14437).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 18 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that an insurer has no duty to defend former directors of a now-defunct company because their business and management indemnity insurance policy's professional services exclusion bars coverage for claims that the insureds engaged in a payroll tax scheme (Darryn Begun, et al. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 13-16211, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14495).
ST. LOUIS - A vocational rehabilitation specialist and a nurse case manager are permitted to testify in a personal injury lawsuit on the plaintiff's future employability and a preliminary life care plan (LCP), a Missouri federal judge ruled Aug. 17 (William A. Sorrells v. ADT, LLC, No. 14-00378, E.D. Mo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107622).
NEW YORK - An expert cannot testify on the proper amount of damages due to Bank of New York Mellon (BoNY) based on agreements concerning residential mortgage-backed securities, a New York federal judge ruled Aug. 18, finding that the agreements provide a formula for recovery before and after liquidation of a loan (The Bank of New York Mellon, solely as Trustee for GE-WMC Mortgage Securities Trust 2006-1 v. WMC Mortgage, LLC and GE Mortgage Holding, LLC, No. 12-7096, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108320).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal magistrate judge on Aug. 18 ruled to allow various experts to testify in a strict product liability lawsuit against General Motors LLC (GM) arising from a vehicle roll-over and roof collapse (Michael Bavlsik, M.D. and Kathleen Skelly v. General Motors LLC, No. 13-509, E.D. Mo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108614).
NEW YORK - Individuals who volunteered at Major League Baseball's FanFest are exempt from receiving wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 14 (John Chen, et al. v. Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., et al., No. 14-1315, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14275).
NEW YORK - The absence of evidence against a defendant does not free it from an asbestos case where potential cross claims exist, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Aug. 18 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation Michael Koulermos and Marian Koulermos v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190406/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The amended disclosure statement for the plan of reorganization of Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) should not be approved because it does not clearly state whether EFH will comply with its obligations under environmental law concerning properties owned and operated by the company and does not notify the public of the health and safety risks posed by noncompliance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says in an Aug. 17 objection filed in Delaware federal bankruptcy court (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).
FRESNO, Calif. - Since a proposed class action in which purchasers asserting violations of California's unfair competition law in relation to allegedly defective styling irons is still in the pre-class stage, a California federal judge on Aug. 17 denied the plaintiffs' motion to compel additional discovery on the irons (Delia Wilson, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, v. Conair Corp., No. 1:14-cv-00894, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109030).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer on Aug. 18 asked a Pennsylvania court to approve a nearly $16 million commutation payment from a reinsurer of certain workers' compensation, general liability and automobile liability policies (In re: Reliance Insurance Co. in liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
NEW YORK - The absence of evidence against a defendant does not free it from an asbestos case where potential cross-claims exist, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Aug. 18 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation Michael Koulermos and Marian Koulermos v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190406/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
TULSA, Okla. - After finding that it was unclear as to whether a roadmaster can be held personally liable for an accident at a railway crossing and that the issue involved state law, an Oklahoma federal judge on Aug. 14 remanded a widow's negligence action to a state court (Terri Watson v. BNSF Railway Company, et al., No. 15-CV-0287, N.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107151).