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Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit Finds No Merit In Challenges To $81M CITGO Penalty

NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 14 overruled arguments by the federal government and CITGO Petroleum Corp. to a federal judge in Louisiana's ruling that the company should pay an $81 million civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act following a 2006 oil spill...

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - California Judge Overrules Defense Demurrers In Counties' Opioid Lawsuit

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California state court judge on Feb. 13 overruled a demurrer by four opioid drug makers in a lawsuit brought by two counties and said the defendants have 45 days to file answers in the four-year-old case (California v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 30-2014-00725287-CU- BT-CXC...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Whistleblower: Issues Remain About Protected Speech In Flint Water Crisis Case

CINCINNATI - A woman who was formerly the administrator for the city of Flint, Mich., and then became a whistleblower after the lead-contaminated water crisis in that city on Feb. 14 filed a brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that a district court erred when it granted the city's...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Won't Extend Witness, Discovery Deadlines In Asbestos Case

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A rail car company provided no justification for why it could not have identified an expert asbestos state-of-the-art witness prior to the passage of an already extended deadline, a federal judge in Kansas held Feb. 13 in denying a motion to extend discovery and disclosure periods...

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Allows Breach Of Contract Claim Against Insurer To Proceed To Trial

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After dismissing all claims based on a "collapse" from faulty concrete against one homeowners insurer for not occurring during its policy period, a Connecticut federal judge on Feb. 13 dismissed all but a breach of contract claim against another insurer because a reasonable...

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Investor Group Named Lead Plaintiff In Securities Suit, May Aggregate Losses

BOSTON - A group of investors may aggregate their losses and has met all statutory requirements to serve as lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against a biopharmaceutical company and two of its senior officers over misrepresentations that they made regarding the company's prospects...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appeals Panel Reverses Dismissal Of Engle Progeny Suit

MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 found that a trial court erred in dismissing an Engle progeny suit because the 90-day period to substitute a plaintiff had been extinguished when the plaintiff's family filed a motion before an executor of the estate was named...

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Ohio Appeals Panel Affirms Defense Verdict For Doctor And Practice

AKRON, Ohio - A majority of the Ninth District Ohio Court of Appeals on Feb. 14 affirmed a defense verdict in a medical malpractice suit after finding that the evidence supported the defense verdict in a suit where a woman claimed that her husband's heart attack and death was caused by the negligence...

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Rapid-American Denied Protective Order For Insurers' Subpoenas

NEW YORK - Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. and asbestos claimants in its bankruptcy case do not have standing to challenge subpoenas served by insurers to asbestos claims-processing facilities seeking evidence of fraud in the asbestos trust system, and besides, the information sought is relevant...

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Insurer Asks For Relief From Kaiser Gypsum's Stay To Seek Settlement Reimbursement

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An insurer of Chapter 11 debtor Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. sought relief from the automatic bankruptcy stay on Feb. 13 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court so it can pursue $2.8 million in reimbursements from other insurers for settlement payments made to asbestos personal...

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Finds Arbitrator Exceeded Authority In Gold Mining Dispute, Vacates Award

DENVER - After finding that an arbitrator exceeded his authority when he issued an award in a gold mining case, despite a Mexican judge's ruling that found the underlying arbitration clause to be unenforceable, a Colorado federal magistrate judge on Feb. 13 recommended that a petition to confirm...

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Insured Cannot 'Swap Horses Midstream' In Appeal Of No Coverage Ruling

PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 15 rejected an insured's appeal of a lower court's ruling that it was not owed professional liability coverage for an underlying third-party complaint, finding that the insured's primary argument was never raised in the lower...

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Remodelers' Suit Against Federal Flood Insurer

CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 14 affirmed a lower court's dismissal of a breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent inducement and intentional and negligent misrepresentation lawsuit against a federal flood insurer, reiterating that the claims are preempted by...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - California High Court Denies Review Of $1.15B Award In Lead Paint Lawsuit

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Supreme Court on Feb. 14 denied a petition for review filed by the former makers of lead-based paint who contended that the high court should hear their appeal because an appellate court "misstated and omitted material facts" when it found that there was...

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Majority Reverses $493,246 Attorney Fee Award In Sinkhole Coverage Suit

LAKELAND, Fla. - A majority of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 reversed a lower court's $493,246.50 attorney fees award against an insurer in a sinkhole coverage dispute and remanded for further proceedings (Citizens Property Insurance Corporation v. Meghan Anderson, No. 2D16...

Mealey's IP/Tech - Plaintiff Partly Prevails In New York Copyright Dispute Over Embedded Tweets

NEW YORK - Breitbart News Network, Time Inc. and other online publishers were dealt a blow Feb. 15 when a New York federal judge ruled that tweets embedded in news stories can form the basis of a copyright infringement claim (Justin Goldman v. Breitbart News Network Inc., et al., No. 17-3144, S.D. N...

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Missouri Supreme Court Affirms $3.25 Million Verdict In Gunshot Case

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A majority of the Missouri Supreme Court on Feb. 13 affirmed a $3.25 million verdict in a negligence suit after finding that a woman who was shot in the back of the head on her employer's property did not make improper arguments to the jury (Amie Wieland v. Owner-Operator Services...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appeals Panel Reinstates $2 Million Tobacco Verdict

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to allow a plaintiff's expert to testify and reinstated the full $2 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the court erred by reducing the award based...

Mealey's Insurance - Insurers Owe Defense For Claims Arising Out Of Negligence, 11th Circuit Says

ATLANTA - Commercial general liability insurers have a duty to defend allegations that an insured improperly constructed on land without taking reasonable steps to implement a workable drainage system, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 13, reversing and remanding the entry of summary judgment...

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Expert's Prior Exclusion Not Relevant To Admissibility Inquiry, Magistrate Says

NEW YORK - A biomechanical engineer is not precluded from testifying in a personal injury action over a car crash just because his opinions were stricken in another recent auto accident case, a New York federal magistrate judge ruled Feb. 14 in denying a bid by the injured driver to exclude the expert's...

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Declines To Apply 'Fraudulent Misjoinder' Standard In Bad Faith Suit

SAN FRANCISCO - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is necessary because the Ninth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals has yet to adopt the "fraudulent misjoinder" standard established by the 11th Circuit, which an insurer argues is the basis for the action's...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Navajo Nation, New Mexico Claims Against EPA Contractor Survive Dismissal Bid

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A federal judge on Feb. 12 mostly declined to dismiss claims leveled by the Navajo Nation and state of New Mexico against a company that worked on the Gold King Mine, where a 3-million-gallon spill in 2015 turned rivers yellow with acid mine drainage and 800,000 pounds of heavy metals...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Grants Directed Verdict For Defense In Tobacco Lawsuit

MIAMI - Following the closing arguments in an Engle progeny suit on Feb. 15, a judge in Florida state court granted a tobacco company's oral motion for directed verdict in a punitive damages-only trial (Joyce Hardin v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 07-46973-CA-22, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. Miami-Dade...

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appeals Panel Affirms $250,000 Judgment In Premises Liability Suit

DALLAS - A panel of the Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals on Feb. 14 affirmed $250,000 in damages to a man who claimed that he crashed his motorcycle because of a dangerous condition on a state-owned road after finding that the evidence presented at trial was more than enough to show that the Texas...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Crane Co. Says Judgment Warranted Even After 3rd Circuit Bare-Metal Ruling

WILMINGTON, Del. - Recent Third Circuit precedent muddies the bare-metal defense, but ultimately does not save a man's case alleging exposure to third-party asbestos parts added to Crane Co. valves, the company argues in a supplemental brief filed with a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District...