SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on June 15 granted class certification to a group of plaintiffs seeking reprocessing of mental health insurance claims after their insurer allegedly imposed overly strict definitions of medically necessary care in contravention of the plans' terms (Charles Des Roches, et al. v. California Physicians' Service, et al., No. 16-2848, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92573).
BALTIMORE - A federal jury in Maryland on June 15 found that a doctor was not negligent and did not breach the standard of care to a patient who sued him following a botched surgery (Collins v. Juan Arrisueno, M.D., et al., No. 1:13-CV-55, D. Md.).
PHILADELPHIA - A man who was shot in his home by an off-duty police officer is not entitled to a new trial on his excessive force claims against the officer because the victim's attempt to discredit an expert based on alleged mismanagement of a prior job was properly denied, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled June 19 (Joshua Taylor v. Police Officer Larry Shields, No. 13-2241, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93669).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on June 19 denied a man's request for a new trial over his alleged violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), finding that the prosecution did not engage in misconduct during closing arguments and that the evidence supported the jury's verdict (United States of America v. Bingham Fox, et al., No. 16-cr-100-RSL, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93985).
DENVER - After finding that former property owners were aware of the facts underlying their claim for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) as early as 2011, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 16 affirmed a decision that their claims were precluded by a previous state court lawsuit (Stanley M. Pohl, et al. v. U.S. Bank, et al., No. 16-1144, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10687).
PASADENA, Calif. - A federal district court did not err in denying an insurer's motion for judgment as a matter of law on an insurance bad faith claim because a reasonable jury could have determined that the insurer had a reasonable opportunity to settle the claims against its insured, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 15 in affirming (Carlos Madrigal, et al. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., Nos. 16-55839 and 16-55863, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 16 overruled arguments from a general contractor that a jury was not properly instructed about certain exclusions included in a policy obtained from ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Co., finding that the contactor was reading the exclusions too narrowly (ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Company, RRG v. Valley Corp. B., et al., No. 14-17544, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10716).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Kansas federal judge's reliance, in dismissing on jurisdiction grounds, on a choice-of-law provision in a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) between a patent owner and a potential licensee was not erroneous, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 19 (NexLearn LLC v. Allen Interactions Inc., No. 16-2170, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10735).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its June 19 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a petition for certiorari in a case questioning the general rule that each element in a patent claim is material to an invention's scope when assessing definiteness under Section 112 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S. Code 112 (Cox Communications Inc., et al. v. Sprint Communications Company LP, et al., No. 16-1106, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its June 19 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not review a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals holding that Section 301(a) of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 301(a), preempts state law claims relating to ideas expressed in tangible media (Ultraflo Corp. v. Pelican Tank Parts Inc., et al., No. 16-1085, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a judgment of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a pension fund had no standing to assert breach of fiduciary duty claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against its investment adviser for continuing to recommend investment in a Ponzi scheme when the adviser had privately expressed significant doubts about the continued prudence of that investment vehicle (Trustees of the Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund v. Ivy Asset Management, et al., No. 16-1377, U.S. Sup.).
AUSTIN, Texas - A judgment in an underlying construction defect lawsuit is not binding on an insurer because its insured builder did not have a sufficient financial stake in the outcome due to a pretrial agreement, the Texas Supreme Court ruled June 16, granting a new trial over whether the insurer must cover the construction defect claims (Great American Insurance Co., et al. v. Glen Hamel, et al., No. 14-1007, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 553).
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on June 16 filed its answer to one of the complaints in the multidistrict litigation for Roundup products, in which it denied that exposure to its product, which contains glyphosate, could have caused the plaintiff's alleged non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 19 found that whether a manufacturer of hard-disk drives provided to a set-top box company was a direct supplier of a satellite television provider is a question of fact to be resolved by a jury, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a business interruption coverage dispute arising from the Thailand flood (DirecTV v. Factory Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-55313, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10787).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States filed an amicus curiae brief on June 16 in the U.S. Supreme Court fully supporting the employers in three consolidated appeals challenging the barring of class or collective action waivers in employment agreements, noting that it was changing its position as it had previously filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of the National Labor Relations Board in one of the cases, NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-307, U.S. Sup. (Epic Systems Corp. v. Jacob Lewis, No. 16-285, Ernst & Young, et al. v. Stephen Morris, et al., No. 16-300, NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-307, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A company waived privilege over a redacted attorney-client memo providing advice involving the asbestos-cement pipe business due to its repeated disclosure concessions, but the company's more strenuous efforts regarding an unredacted version keeps it privileged, a New York appeals court held June 15 (Richard Warren v. Amchem Products Inc., et al., No. 4297, 190281/2014, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 4808).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 refused to hear the appeal of a group of Ecuadorian residents and their attorney, who challenged a fraud ruling with regard to an $18.5 billion judgment they previously won against Chevron Corp. for injuries they had alleged were caused by the company's oil field operations in Ecuador (Steven Donziger, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 16-1178, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 14 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a claimant's long-term disability benefits because there is substantial evidence supporting the insurer's termination of benefits (Lashondra Davis v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 16-10895, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10576).
CLEVELAND - Expert testimony attributing a man's mesothelioma to cumulative exposure to asbestos in automobile brakes simply dresses up the theory that every exposure leads to disease in new clothing and is inadmissible under Ohio law, a manufacturer and its amici curiae told the state's highest court on June 15 (Mark Schwartz, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 2016-1372, Ohio Sup.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Evidence that a company did not manufacture the type of fully assembled brake product a witness identified frees the company from an asbestos action, a judge in Delaware held June 14 (Amanda Dullinger and Stephen Dullinger v. American Honda Motor Co., et al., No. N15C-04-281, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 16 partially granted a tax firm's motion to strike parts of an answer to its complaint in which it asserts that various defendants infringed on its trademarks and violated California's unfair competition law (UCL), but refused to strike parts of the answer that assert an affirmative defense such as unclean hands or other equitable defense (Anderson Tax LLC v. Stephane Laffont-Reveilhac, et al., No. 17-cv-01311-EMC, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93298).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 15 affirmed summary judgment for Johnson Controls Inc. in an Employee Income Retirement Act lawsuit, saying that language in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and insurance booklets indicates that the company never intended for retirees' health insurance benefits to vest (William Grove Sr., et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., et al., No. 16-2178, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10615).
MIAMI - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on June 15 recommended denying a man's motion to vacate his 37-month sentence for mail fraud, finding that he should have raised the arguments regarding the ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal (Jason Keith Bailey v. United States of America, No. 16-CIV-23984-UNGARO, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93102).