NEW YORK - The New York federal judge presiding over consolidated litigation related to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's claims against numerous defendants regarding groundwater allegedly contaminated by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on June 16 dismissed the commonwealth's claims for strict liability and negligence (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, No. 00-1898, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Shell Oil Co., et al., No. 07 Civ. 10470, S.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 17 approved a $1.2 billion settlement between Cephalon Inc. and the Federal Trade Commission in an antitrust battle accusing the company of engineering reverse payments with generic-drug makers made in connection with the patented prescription sleep-disorder drug Provigil (Federal Trade Commission v. Cephalon Inc., No. 08-2141, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK - A default judgment entered against a defendant in a copyright and trademark infringement case should be set aside, and the complaint dismissed, a New York federal magistrate judge said in a June 17 report and recommendation (Susan Gench v. Liquid Web Inc. et al., No. 14-3592, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78309).
CHICAGO - A Chicago man on June 17 filed a complaint against photo-sharing website operator Shutterfly Inc., alleging violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting biometric identifying information via facial recognition technology without obtaining the consent of nonusers of its website (Brian Norberg v. Shutterfly Inc., et al., No. 1:15-cv-05351, N.D. Ill.).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on June 16 awarded summary judgment to CSX Transportation Inc. on a train conductor's negligence claims involving a trip-and-fall accident after excluding the conductor's expert witness testimony on the ground that there is no adequate basis for his opinion (William M. Conrad v. CSX Transportation, Inc., No. 1:14-cv-51, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78188).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 17 affirmed a district court's dismissal of claims asserted by borrowers in relation to attempts to obtain a loan modification, finding that the borrowers had no statutory rights to appeal the denial of the modifications and that they failed to properly plead other claims (Jason Deschaine v. KJN IndyMac Mortgage Services, a division of One West Bank, FSB, et al., No. 14-15345, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10194).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on June 17 found that a lower court erred when it compelled appraisal of an insured's supplemental Hurricane Wilma claim because the insured did not comply with his post-loss obligations under the policy, reversing and remanding (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Alfredo Hernandez, No. 3D13-2263, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 9215).
SAN FRANCISCO - Genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether a "false park" defect caused a minivan to shift into reverse, causing the deaths of an elderly couple, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 17 (Karen Ann Pavoni, et al. v. Chrysler Group LLC, No. 13-55761, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A teacher's mandatory reporting obligations do not convert a conversation between a teacher and a student "into a law enforcement mission aimed at gathering evidence for prosecution," the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 18 (State of Ohio v. Darius Clark, No. 13-1352, U.S. Sup.; 2015 U.S. LEXIS 4060).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey on June 17 announced that Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd., the operator of the M/V Murcia Carrier, was fined $750,000 for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) by making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard about the dumping of 20 barrels containing hydraulic oil into international waters off the coast of Florida while the vessel was in transit from Costa Rica to New Jersey.
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 15 granted an unopposed motion for approval of a $180,000 collective action settlement to be paid by Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc. in a wage-and-hour complaint (Leighton Chung, et al. v. Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc., No. 14-490, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77176).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on June 15 granted a motion to dismiss a class complaint accusing a smoke detector manufacturer of failing to warn consumers that ionization smoke detectors are what the plaintiff calls "Hazardous Smoke Detectors" (Cynthia Bird v. First Alert, Inc., et al., No. 14-3585, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77209).
CONCORD, N.H. - A federal judge in New Hampshire on June 16 remanded a suit brought by the liquidator of an insolvent insurer against two reinsurers over more than $1.4 million in asbestos and environmental claim reinsurance billings (N.H. Insurance Department, Commissioner v. British Aviation Insurance Company Limited, et al., No. 15-cv-00127, D. N.H.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Amendment of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith complaint against an insurer is warranted, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled June 16, holding that the amendments to the complaint are not futile (Guy F. Militello v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-0240, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77481).
TAMPA, Fla. - A testing exclusion precludes coverage for an insured's alleged negligence in the performance of a roof test on a condominium building, a Florida federal judge ruled June 17 (Driggers Engineering Services Inc. v. CNA Financial Corp. and Valley Forge Insurance Co., No. 14-3155, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78559).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A determination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board that five claims of a system for increasing the speed of data access are unpatentable was vacated and remanded June 16 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Microsoft Corp. v. Proxyconn Inc., Nos. 14-1542, -1543, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10081).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice announced June 16 that a Florida-based skilled nursing facility, its former president and executive director and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay $17 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) and Anti-Kickback Statute by improperly paying doctors for their referrals of Medicare patients to the defendants' facilities (United States of America, ex. rel. Stephen M. Beaujon v. Hebrew Homes Health Network Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-20951, S.D. Fla.).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Subcontractors' action alleging exposure to asbestos during salvage work improperly targets the company that sold the scrapped synchronous condensers, a federal judge in Tennessee held June 12 (Chris Upton, et al. v. BNFL Inc., et al., No. 12-295, E.D. Tenn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76618).
BALTIMORE - A man suffering from asbestosis lacks evidence that the automobile brakes he encountered contained asbestos or that they lacked sufficient warnings, a federal judge in Maryland held June 12 (Mohamed R. Dashtizadeh v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 14-553, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76142).
CONCORD, N.H. - A New Hampshire justice on June 15 approved a $19 million asbestos bodily injury related settlement between a reorganized company's trust and the liquidator of an insolvent insurer (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on June 15 denied in part a motion by Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. to dismiss a putative class action by former employees related to a 2014 data breach, finding that the plaintiffs had standing to sue and that they sufficiently alleged negligence and unfair competition claims (Michael Corona, et al. v. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., No. 2:14-cv-09600, C.D. Calif.).
PORTLAND, Maine - A Maine federal judge on June 12 conditionally certified a class of call center workers suing for unpaid overtime (Hannah LeVecque, et al. v. Argo Marketing Group, Inc., et al., No. 14-218, D. Maine; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76150).