ATLANTA - An insured's failure to provide prompt notice relieved an insurer of any duty to defend against claims arising from a failed retaining wall at a mall, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Oct. 16, finding that an insurance agent was not acting as a dual agent for the insured and insurer (Johnson Landscapes, Inc. v. FCCI Insurance Co., No. 15-11352, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17951).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Allegations that two individual defendants advertised and sold liquid nicotine products bearing several famous trademarks were accepted as true on Oct. 16, when a North Carolina federal judge granted Reynolds Innovations Inc. (RII) a default judgment (Reynolds Innovations Inc. v. Smoke Anywhere for Penny's LLC, No. 15-273, W.D. N.C.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 19 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court indicated that it would not review a May ruling by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denying a request for attorney fees to a prevailing patent infringement defendant (Bodum, Inc. v. Meyer Intellectual Properties Ltd. and Meyer Corp. U.S., No. 15-185, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - A former fire department lieutenant who was fired for allegedly verbalizing threats to a co-worker failed to show that the board that ultimately terminated him was influenced by a biased department employee, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 15 (John Michael Woods v. City of Berwyn, No. 13-3766, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17913).
NEW YORK - Two of the defendants in the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico against a group of gasoline companies on Oct. 15 filed a brief in New York federal court seeking reconsideration of a district court's ruling that the statute of limitations has not run on the commonwealth's claim (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.).
MADISON, Wis. - Because a policy's pollution exclusion is ambiguous as to whether a certain bacteria is a pollutant, a reasonable insured could expect coverage under the policy, the District Four Wisconsin Court of Appeals said Oct. 15 in reversing a ruling in favor of an insurer (Patrick J. Connors v. Zurich American Insurance Co., et al., No. 2014AP2990, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 755).
HAMMOND, Ind. - A doctor is qualified in the field of human factor engineering for purposes of a negligence lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle accident, an Indiana federal judge ruled Oct. 16, declining to exclude the doctor's testimony (Robert S. Stachon and Robert L. Stachon v. Dock W. Woodward Jr., et al., No. 12-440, N.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140792).
TUCSON, Ariz. - A trial judge did not err in admitting expert testimony on the characteristics of child victims of sexual abuse, and any sentencing error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, an Arizona appeals panel ruled Oct. 16, affirming the convictions and sentences of a wrestling coach for sexual conduct with a minor (The State of Arizona v. Richard Portugal Ortiz, No. 2 CA-CR 2014-0330, Ariz. App., Div. 2; 2015 Ariz. App. LEXIS 262).
MADISON, Wis. - The District Four Wisconsin Court of Appeals on Oct. 15 reversed a ruling in favor of an insurer after determining that a policy's pollution exclusion is ambiguous as to whether a certain bacteria constitute pollutants (Carmen Ramos, et al. v. The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 2014AP2039, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 753).
SAN FRANCISCO - Dismissal of an insured's first amended complaint in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because the insured failed to cure a number of discrepancies that led to the dismissal of the original complaint, a federal judge in California ruled Oct. 16 (Arryanne Moss v. Infinity Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3456, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141311).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 16 dismissed an insurer's breach of contract counterclaim on the basis that the insureds did not breach their contract by filing environmental contamination claims they knew would not be covered under the policy because the insurer reserved the right to deny coverage for any noncovered claims (Lennar Mare Island LLC v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-2182, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141305).
NEW YORK - Because there is no ambiguity in an insurance policy regarding the terms "underground storage tank" and "associated piping," an insurer is required to pay only the policy's $1 million sublimit of liability for underground storage tanks and associated piping, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 16 (Two Farms Inc. v. Greenwich Insurance Co., No. 12-50, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17940).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Joint employer status, without more, cannot bind a nonsignatory to a collective bargaining agreement entered into by another employer to make contributions to employee fringe benefit plans, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Oct. 15 in refusing to extend liability to the nonsignatories under Section 515 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Carpenters Combined Funds Inc. v. Kelly Systems Inc., et al., No. 15-1091, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140278).
SAN FRANCISCO - A former partner-driver of Uber Technologies Inc. failed to plead sufficient injury from the purported theft of his personally identifiable information (PII), a California federal magistrate judge ruled Oct. 19, granting Uber's motion to dismiss the putative unfair competition and failure to secure class claims against it (Sasha Antman v. Uber Technologies Inc., et al., No. 3:15-cv-01175, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141945).
CARSON CITY, Nev. - An employer may be liable for an employee's criminal conduct if it was reasonably foreseeable, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled Oct. 15 reversing the dismissal of claims against a Las Vegas casino by a guest who was sexually assaulted by an employee (Cristie N. Anderson, et al. v. Mandalay Corporation, et al., Nos. 61305 and 61871, Nev. Sup.; 2015 Nev. LEXIS 97).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 15 determined that a health benefits insurer did not wrongfully deny a claim for residential treatment because four physicians noted in the administrative record that residential treatment was not necessary (Neil Tansey, et al. v. Anthem Health Plans Inc., et al., No. 14-3931, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17889).
SEATTLE - In an effort to combat what it calls "an unhealthy ecosystem" of people writing fake user reviews for profit, online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. filed a complaint Oct. 16 in Washington state court against 1,114 John Doe defendants it contends have done just that (Amazon.com Inc. v. John Does 1-1114, No. 15-2-25395-6, Wash. Super., King Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its second ruling in the case, a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 19 affirmed a holding by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that a prior art reference was enabling (In re: Steve Morsa, No. 15-1107, Fed. Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - An insurer was not entitled to summary judgment in its favor on the issue of whether it renewed an insurance policy because the insurer breached its promised by not offering the same terms in the original policy as in the renewal policy, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 15 in vacating a district court's opinion (Indian Harbor Insurance Co. v. F&M Equipment LTD., f/k/a Furnival Machinery Co., No. 14-1897, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17901).
LOS ANGELES - A California state court jury on Oct. 16 found that Janssen Research and Development LLC was negligent in a Risperdal clinical trial that resulted in the death of a 25-year-old schizophrenic man, and the court entered judgment against the defendant for $5.6 million for its share of liability (Augustine Liu, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. BC432264, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 19 granted the motions of the U.S. solicitor general for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument in the appeal of a nearly $5.8 million award for a class of Tyson Foods Inc. workers who successfully brought a donning and doffing suit against the company (Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Peg Bouaphakeo, et al., No. 14-1146, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A New York man on Oct. 14 filed a putative class action against Reebok International Ltd. in New York federal court, seeking to represent a nationwide class of visually impaired consumers that he says have been denied equal access to Reebok's website in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) (Jose Del-Orden v. Reebok International Ltd., No. 1:15-cv-08101, S.D. N.Y.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal magistrate judge on Oct. 14 denied motions from a construction company and an architect to exclude expert testimony on the alleged damages sustained by the construction company in performing extra work due to inadequate designs for a bridge project (Scott Bridge Company, Inc. v. Gresham Smith and Partners, No. 11-1116, M.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139604).
SEATTLE - Lockheed Shipbuilding Co. on Oct. 14 gave notice to a federal judge in Washington that the company has settled a case in which a man allegedly became sick from working with materials containing asbestos on ships the defendant produced less than a week after the judge granted Lockheed partial summary judgment (Glenn M. Hassebrock and Betty Hassebrook v. Air & Liquid Systems Corporation, et al., No. C14-1836RSM, W.D. Wash.; LEXIS 137775 W.D. Wash.).