PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge on Dec. 27 agreed to remand a wrongful death suit brought by the daughter of a man who died after contracting COVID-19 in a nursing home, holding that her state law claims were not completely preempted by the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. The judge also denied as moot the defendants’ motion to dismiss.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal chief judge in California on Jan. 11 granted an insured’s motion to stay a commercial general liability insurer’s lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying action arising from an altercation at a punk rock concert, finding that a stay is mandatory because “the same factual disputes are at the foundation of both the state court litigation and the federal coverage action.”
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Parents of a boy allegedly burned by hot coffee at a Waffle House restaurant missed the deadline to designate their medical witnesses as experts, a South Carolina federal judge said Jan. 13, and ruled that the doctors’ testimony is limited to their observations and treatment of the child.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal judge in Missouri on Jan. 12 granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer in its lawsuit challenging coverage for an underlying injury lawsuit brought against its electronic cigarette seller insured, finding that the policy’s products-completed exclusion is unambiguous and “clearly” bars coverage.
DENVER — An expert retained by a former NFL football player accused of assaulting a photographer cannot testify on the reasonableness of incurred medical expenses after a Colorado federal judge on Jan. 6 found that her testimony does not meet the requirements set by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Federal Rule of Evidence 702.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — On remand from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which in July ruled that a trial court may use its sua sponte authority to grant a new trial “only where ‘exceedingly clear error’ results in ‘manifest injustice’ of a constitutional or structural nature,” an intermediate appeals panel on Jan. 5 again affirmed the grant of a new trial in a nursing home negligence case, finding that a nurse’s testimony and a related jury instruction were improper, “misled the jury and contributed to its rendering an unfair compensatory damages verdict.”
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Jan. 8 granted preliminary approval of a more than $73 million settlement reached in a class lawsuit accusing the regents of the University of California (UCLA) and its former gynecologist of sexual exploitation.
NEW ORLEANS — Proposed medical experts in a chemical exposure case do not meet the standards set in Daubert to testify as to causation, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled Jan. 8, granting a company’s motion to exclude.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York justice on Dec. 18 granted a default judgment against an insured and declared that a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify the insured against an underlying lawsuit arising from an injury that occurred at a construction site.
GREENBELT, Md. — A Maryland federal magistrate judge concluded on Dec. 28 that the burden and difficulty in applying the law of Costa Rica, where a plaintiff claims that she was injured in a poolside fall at a Marriott resort, make Costa Rica a more convenient forum for the dispute against the franchisor than Maryland.
WICHITA, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas on Dec. 18 mostly denied a lawn mower manufacturer’s motion to exclude expert testimony proposed by a man who claims that defects in the mower caused an injury.
ABINGDON, Va. — A proposed liability expert witness in a slip-and-fall lawsuit will offer nothing that would be helpful to a jury, a federal judge in Virginia ruled Dec. 18, granting Walmart’s motion to strike but denying its request for summary judgment.
DETROIT — After learning that the parties had reached a settlement, a federal judge in Michigan on Dec. 22 dismissed with prejudice a breach of contract and indemnification lawsuit brought by a nursing home against a kitchen contractor following the 2012 death of a resident who ingested detergent. The settlement came a week after the judge denied the parties’ competing summary judgment motions, finding that triable issues exist (Watermark Senior Living Retirement Communities Inc. v. Morrison Management Specialists Inc., No. 17-11886, E.D. Mich., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 234223).
NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (NPLIGA) filed a cross-claim on Dec. 18 in a New Jersey federal court against other defendants in a woman’s personal injury lawsuit seeking damages caused by a police car chase that led to a collision (Patricia Brinson v. Shakeera S. Williams, et al., No. 20-9606, D. N.J.).
MIAMI — A Florida appellate panel on Dec. 16 for the second time affirmed a trial court’s granting of a tobacco company’s motion for a directed verdict after a smoker’s widow filed a motion for rehearing, again finding that the widow failed to provide sufficient evidence linking the tobacco company’s misconduct to her late husband’s illness and death as was required by the trial court’s jury instructions (Joyce Hardin v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 3D18-0958, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 17881).
NEW YORK — Three women who have accused Harvey Weinstein, a former film producer and convicted sex offender, of assaulting them filed in a federal court in New York on Dec. 2 an opposition to Weinstein’s motion to stay his deposition in their class lawsuit, arguing that a stay would indefinitely postpone discovery for the case (Louisette Geiss, et al. v. The Weinstein Company Holdings, LLC, et al., No 17-9554, S.D. N.Y.).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Dec. 14 denied motions for summary judgment filed by the parties in a breach of contract and indemnification lawsuit brought by a nursing home against a kitchen contractor following the 2012 death of a resident who ingested detergent she was able to obtain from a cabinet, finding that the contractor is not barred from raising a laches defense and that triable issues exist on the claims between the parties (Watermark Senior Living Retirement Communities Inc. v. Morrison Management Specialists Inc., No. 17-11886, E.D. Mich., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 234223).
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Citing a liquidation order against an insurer, a Georgia federal magistrate judge on Dec. 14 stayed for 60 days the insurer’s declaratory judgment case over an underlying $112,466.57 personal injury default judgment (American Service Insurance Company, Inc. v. Webber’s Transportation, LLC, et al., No. 20-13, S.D. Ga., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 234560).
NEW ORLEANS — A trial featured sufficient evidence that a defendant should have known that a man’s exposure to asbestos was harmful, even if it didn’t know mesothelioma would be the exact outcome, and the trial court did not err in admitting an expert’s fiber drift opinion or in awarding damages, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said Dec. 14 (Theresa G. Adams, et al. v. Ethyl Corp., et al., No. 20-30209, Theresa Adams, et al. v. Ethyl Corp., et al., No. 20-30242, 5th Cir.).
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 affirmed summary judgment in a pelvic mesh case, finding that the plaintiff’s injury occurred before Tennessee’s six-year statute of repose period expired and that the plaintiff’s injury claim was untimely (Leslie Clabo v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 20-5168, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 39041).