WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa insurance commissioner will liquidate CoOportunity Health Inc., a consumer-owned health insurance company started with $146 million in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) funds, it announced Jan. 23 (State of Iowa, et al. v. CoOpportunity Health Inc., No. N/A, Iowa Dist., Polk Co.).
LOS ANGELES - In reversing a lower court's decision, a California appeals court on Jan. 21 held that a technician was not a hotel worker who traditionally would have been paid a gratuity for providing services and, therefore, was not among the class of hotel workers entitled to be paid service charges collected by the employer; therefore, the defendant did not violate the state's unfair competition law (UCL) by not paying the service charges to the employee (Audio Visual Services Group Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, et al., No. B256266, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 50).
PHOENIX - An Arizona federal judge on Jan. 22 partially granted a motion for class certification in a lawsuit accusing two pension plans and the administrators and trustees of improperly withholding and miscalculating benefits (Wayne Bryant v. Arizona Pipe Trades Pension Trust Fund, et al., No. 13-1563, D. Ariz.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7291).
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 22 announced that the owners and managers of A&E Salvage were sentenced by a federal judge in Tennessee for conspiring to commit Clean Air Act (CAA) violations when illegally removing asbestos and asbestos-containing material from a site in Tennessee and ordered to pay restitution of $10.3 million (United States of America v. Mark Sawyer, et al, No. 11-cr-00082, E.D. Tenn.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Computer manufacturer Acer America Corp. and a media buying firm mostly saw their motions to exclude expert testimony denied on Jan. 22, with a California federal judge finding their respective damages and advertising experts qualified and their testimony relevant to the contractual claims at issue in the lawsuit (Prime Media Group LLC v. Acer America Corp., No. 5:12-cv-05020, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7515).
OMAHA, Neb. - A technology firm may supplement evidence of its damages and patent validity experts in light of the firm's settlement and licensing agreement with one of the original defendants, a Nebraska federal judge ruled Jan. 23 in four related suits over two wireless network authorization patents (Prism Technologies LLC v. Sprint Spectrum L.P., et al., Nos. 8:12-cv-00123, 8:12-cv-00124, 8:12-cv-00125 and 8:12-cv-00126, D. Neb.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8062).
SEATTLE - Allegations of copyright infringement by BWP Media USA Inc., doing business as Pacific Coast News, were rejected by a Washington federal magistrate judge on Jan. 23 (BWP Media USA Inc., d/b/a Pacific Coast News v. Rich Kids Clothing Company, No. 13-1975, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8034).
CHICAGO - The First District Illinois Appellate Court on Jan. 21 affirmed a trial court's ruling that insurers have no duty to indemnify an insured for environmental investigation costs because environmental investigation costs are not considered damages under Florida law (Premark International LLC v. Continental Casualty Co., et al., No. 1-13-2760, Ill. App., 1st Dist.; 3rd Div.; 2015 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 93).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - All of the injuries alleged in three underlying lawsuits arise out of a pre-workout energy supplement's failure to conform with an insured's statements and, therefore, coverage for the actions is barred by the policy's failure-to-conform exclusion, a New York federal judge ruled Jan. 23 (General Star Indemnity Co. v. Driven Sports Inc., No 14-3579, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7966).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The liability of a corporation that offers membership in a plan providing concierge medical care for negligence on the part of an affiliated doctor was the topic of opening statements Jan. 22 in a suit by the widower of a plan member who alleged that blood clot in her leg went undiagnosed for almost a month, causing her to undergo an above-the-knee amputation (Robert Beber, et al. v. MDVIP Inc., et al., No. 50-2009-CA-034380, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
JACKSON, Miss. - A majority of the Mississippi Supreme Court on Jan. 22 granted a petition for writ of certiorari filed by an insured seeking to reverse an appeals court's rejection of her bad faith and negligence lawsuit arising from her alleged loss caused by a casino barge that collided with her home during Hurricane Katrina (Cherri R. Porter v. Grand Casino of Mississippi Inc., et al., No 2010-CT-00307-SCT, Miss Sup.).
BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 22 announced that Erickson Fuel Co., based in Medford, Mass., agreed to pay a $14,500 civil penalty to resolve allegations that the company failed to prepare an oil spill prevention plan.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The federal judge in Indiana presiding over a lead-based paint dispute on Jan. 22 ruled that a landlord has not met his burden of showing that the subpoena request of the U.S. government is overly burdensome with regard to the status of lead-paint hazards at properties he manages or owns (United States of America v. Ryan Andersen d/b/a Ryno Management, No. 14-MC-11-JEM, N.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7601).
HOUSTON - A trade secret and copyright plaintiff failed to persuade a Texas federal judge on Jan. 22 to revisit her March 2014 take-nothing judgment (Ultraflo Corporation v. Pelican Tank Parts Inc., et al., No. 09-782, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6975).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel on Jan. 23 affirmed a trial court's ruling allowing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) to investigate and remediate contamination at a property housing more than 50 275-gallon home heating oil tanks, finding that the arguments in the property owners' appeal lacked merit or were waived (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Douglas W. Spangler, et al., No. 1917 C.D. 2013, Pa. Cmwlth.; 2015 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 47).
MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Vermont Supreme Court on Jan. 23 reversed a trial court's establishment of a final bar date because an insurer's liquidation estate has ample assets and the final bar date would be unfair to insureds and others with long-tail asbestos-related claims (In re Ambassador Insurance Company, Inc., No. 2013-184, Vt. Sup.).
LAFAYETTE, La. - A Louisiana federal judge held Jan. 22 that a "claim" was made against an insured during its third-party administrator and technology professional liability, network security liability and business interruption insurance policy period, further finding that the insured provided timely notice of the claim (HealthSmart Benefit Solutions, Inc. versus Principia Underwriting, et al., No. 14-00776, W.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8134).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 22 reversed the dismissal of a due process claim in a class action Medicare payment dispute, saying the lower court erred in concluding that the plaintiffs lacked a property interest in being treated as "inpatients." The court affirmed the dismissal of a claim brought under the Medicare Act (Lee Barrows, et al. v. Sylvia Matthews Burwell, secretary of Health and Human Services, No. 13-4179, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 986).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Petitions for certiorari in three patent disputes were granted Jan. 26 by the U.S. Supreme Court for the limited purpose of vacating and remanding to the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Gevo Inc. v. Butamax Advanced Biofuels, No. 13-1286; Lighting Ballast Control v. Universal Lighting Technologies, No. 131536; Shire Development LLC v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, No. 14-206, U.S. Sup.).
MIAMI - A state court jury returned a defense verdict on Jan. 23 in a suit alleging that a longtime smoker's laryngeal cancer was caused by his use of Marlboro cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris USA Inc. (Jose Vila Jr. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2013-12833-CA, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 26 denied a petition from the State of Oklahoma seeking a writ of certiorari before judgment in its challenge to the availability of subsidies in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchanges (State of Oklahoma, ex rel. Scott Pruitt v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 14-586, U.S. Sup.).