Legal

Arkansas federal judge to use Delaware law to decide Wal-Mart shareholder suits’ fate

From Westlaw Journal Corporate Officers and Directors Liability: Delaware law will determine whether several shareholder suits claiming Wal-Mart Stores’ directors mishandled reports of a bribery scandal at its Mexican subsidiary can go forward, but a federal judge in Arkansas, where the matter is moving faster, will likely decide the case.

Shareholder suits in Delaware, where Wal-Mart is chartered, and Arkansas, where it is based, say that when Wal-Mart’s directors learned of alleged widespread bribery of Mexican government officials to expedite building permits for new WalMex stores, they began a whitewash rather than an investigation.

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Auto insurer’s exclusion violates public policy, California appeals court says

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Coverage: A passenger injured in a car crash can seek to recover from his roommate-driver’s insurance company despite a non-relative resident exclusion in the policy, a California appeals court has ruled.

In what the injured party’s attorney said was a case of first-impression in the state, the 4th District Court of Appeal said in a published opinion that the exclusion was overbroad and must be stricken as invalid.

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11th Circuit revives Florida property owners’ contamination suits

From Westlaw Journal Toxic Torts:  The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated claims by hundreds of residents of Palm Beach County, Fla., that toxic and carcinogenic chemicals from an aircraft manufacturing plant migrated to their properties via groundwater.

The three-judge panel unanimously held that a federal judge improperly dismissed the second amended complaints in two lawsuits against United Technologies Corp. for failure to show actual contamination or causation.

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Mexican agency accuses medical device company of $8.7 million bribery scheme

From Westlaw Journal Health Care Fraud: A Mexican agency responsible for providing medical care to the country’s citizens has alleged in a federal court complaint that a Texas-based medical device company, has paid bribes to Mexican officials to sell more of the company’s products.

Orthofix International has netted $4.9 million in profits on the $8.7 million in sales it made as a result of the illegal bribes, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social claims in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

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Florida federal court allows testimony on addiction, advertising; case settles

From Westlaw Journal Tobacco Industry: Three tobacco companies have agreed to settle a smoker’s personal injury lawsuit, about a week after a Florida federal court allowed her expert to testify about nicotine addiction, as well as on cigarette marketing and advertising.

The tobacco company defendants — R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. — accepted plaintiff Penny Dover’s offer of judgment Oct. 1.  The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

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Class action says Cigna employs ‘bait and switch’ on in-network providers

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Bad Faith: A California woman claims in a putative class-action lawsuit that Cigna Health & Life Insurance Co. and Cigna Healthcare of California Inc. acted in bad faith by using a “bait and switch” tactic to misrepresent to consumers that their physicians and hospitals are in-network providers.

In a lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Sheila Davidson says Cigna subjected her and members of the class “to inadequate networks of physicians and hospitals, causing delays and interruptions in accessing needed health care.”

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EPA should implement climate recovery plan, teens tell Supreme Court

From Westlaw Journal Environmental: A group of teenagers is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a District of Columbia Circuit ruling that the “public trust” doctrine does not require federal agencies to immediately implement a science-based climate recovery plan to protect the atmosphere.

The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in June that the public trust doctrine arises under state law and therefore federal courts have no jurisdiction.  Alec L. et al. v. McCarthy et al., No. 13-5192, 2014 WL 3013301 (D.C. Cir. June 5, 2014).

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Nonprofit awarded $1 in high-frequency trading spat

From Westlaw Journal Derivatives: A nonprofit foundation can recover only $1 and a computer program despite claiming it lost more than $4 million in a mismanaged high-frequency trading strategy, a Delaware Chancery Court judge has decided.

In an Oct. 10 decision, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster  said he awarded the foundation just $1 because the allegedly stolen computer software was not intellectual property and produced no profits to disgorge.

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Boeing pays $23 million to settle charges it inflated Air Force contract bills

From Westlaw Journal Government Contract: Boeing Co. will pay the federal government $23 million to settle allegations that it overbilled the Air Force while working under contract on maintenance for the C-17 Globemaster aircraft.

Chicago-based Boeing agreed to resolve the lawsuit without admitting any wrongdoing, the Justice Department said in an Oct. 10 statement.

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Supreme Court hears arguments over pay for security checks at Amazon warehouse

From Westlaw Journal Employment:  Attorneys for an Amazon.com warehouse contractor and the warehouse workers presented arguments Oct. 8 before the U.S. Supreme Court over whether companies must pay workers for the time they spend going through security checks at the end of their shifts.

While counsel for Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. likened the security check process to clocking out, which traditionally is not compensable, the workers’ attorney said the case involves employees working off-the-clock.

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