Legal

Suit over insufficient-funds fee will proceed against Minnesota payment center

From Westlaw Journal Bank & Lender Liability: A property management payment processing company must face a class-action lawsuit accusing it of charging an insufficient-funds fee to an apartment rental applicant without obtaining his consent, a federal judge has decided.

U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim of the District of Minnesota declined to dismiss Jeremy Cobb’s suit against PayLease LLC on July 22, saying the complaint adequately alleged violations of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693.

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Connecticut police say they downed man’s drone, not his civil rights

From Westlaw Journal Aviation: Police officers’ actions in stopping a drone from flying above an active crime scene did not violate the user’s First or Fourth Amendment rights, according to the Hartford, Conn., police being sued over the incident.

Efforts to prevent a civilian from interfering with an active accident investigation did not amount to violation of his free speech rights or freedom from unlawful seizure, the police say in filings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

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Appeals court upholds dismissal of whistleblower suit against Stryker

From Westlaw Journal Medical Devices: A Missouri federal judge properly rejected a whistleblower suit against Stryker Corp. and other pain pump makers because its allegations were based on information that had already been made public, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected orthopedic surgeon and former Stryker consultant Dr. Lonnie Paulos’ allegation that his False Claims Act suit against Stryker and two other pain pump manufacturers should proceed because his allegations against them are based on firsthand, previously unknown information.

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Is the SEC encouraging unethical whistleblowing by counsel?

By Nick Morgan, Esq., and Haley Greenberg, DLA Piper

From Westlaw Journal Securities Litigation & Regulation: Nick Morgan and Haley Greenberg of DLA Piper discuss how attorneys can receive whistleblower awards from the Securities and Exchange Commission for reporting a public company’s securities law violations, and how that reporting may conflict with state ethics laws.

A complaint filed in June in a Chicago federal court revealed the identities of three people who allegedly claim a portion of the largest ever bounty awarded by the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Dodd-Frank whistleblower program.1  A dispute between two of the three purported whistleblowers over the $14 million bounty announced last October resulted in litigation, shedding unusual light on an issue otherwise shielded from public view.

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Obamacare subsidies at the center of rehearing petitions , Supreme Court review

By Michael Scott Leonard, Senior Legal Writer

From Westlaw Journal Health Law: Less than a month after two federal appeals courts delivered a same-day circuit split concerning the scope of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance subsidies and employer mandate, one of the cases has landed at the U.S. Supreme Court’s doorstep and the other may be headed for rehearing.

In a brief filed Aug. 18 with the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Jacqueline Halbig and her co-plaintiffs have asked the en banc court not to reconsider a divided panel ruling blocking an Internal Revenue Service rule that implemented the subsidies and mandate in all 50 states and Washington.

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Insurer had no duty to indemnify without damages determination, California court says

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Coverage: An insurer is not obligated to indemnify its policyholder because no legal action took place to determine damages, a California appeals court has ruled.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld the Ventura County Superior Court’s summary judgment order in favor of Liberty Surplus Insurance Co.  It found that a contractor that retained subcontractors to renovate apartment interiors was not entitled to indemnification for water damage when the complex owner did not file a lawsuit, commence an arbitration proceeding or initiate an alternative dispute resolution.

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Delaware judge wants more briefing before ruling on new fee-shifting bylaw

From Westlaw Journal Delaware Corporate: In what could become the first court test of the “loser pays” bylaws that a recent Delaware Supreme Court opinion allowed, a Chancery Court judge has requested more briefing before deciding whether Hemispherx Biopharma’s new fee-shifting bylaw applies to dissident investors.

The bylaw — which would force plaintiff shareholders to pay all of Hemispherx’s legal costs if their suit is unsuccessful —would make the litigation’s stakes too high, the plaintiffs told Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard at the Aug. 15 hearing on their bid to invalidate the rule.

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Conrail must face trial in widow’s cancer suit, N.J. appeals court says

From Westlaw Journal Toxic Torts:  A New Jersey trial judge incorrectly granted Consolidated Rail Corp. summary judgment in a toxic exposure case on a finding that the widow of a longtime worker failed to present expert testimony on the railroad’s alleged lack of safety precautions, the state appeals court has ruled.

The plaintiff’s expert testimony by a pathologist and lay testimony by another railroad worker raised a triable issue as to whether Conrail breached its duties to her husband under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. §§ 51-60, the Superior Court Appellate Division said.

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Jesse Ventura wins libel suit against Chris Kyle

Jesse Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, former professional wrestler, former Governor of Minnesota and current television and radio personality and host, claimed he suffered libel and slander defamation damages as a result of a false story/account as written by defendant Chris Kyle in his “American Sniper” book.

Ventura alleged that Kyle, a SEAL that had served numerous deployments to Iraq and whom was assertedly the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, published the number-one bestselling “American Sniper” book that included a false firsthand account of a 2006 California SEAL bar encounter between the two.

According the book, Ventura, Kyle and other SEALs had just attended a wake for a fallen SEAL.  Kyle and Ventura allegedly engaged in a conversation during which Ventura made numerous highly offensive comments including, that SEALs were “killing men and women and children and murdering” in Iraq, that Ventura “hates America,” and that Kyle and/or the SEALs “deserved to lose a few” in Iraq.

Kyle puportedly responded by punching Ventura in the face and causing Ventura to hit the floor; and Ventura may have had a black eye at a SEAL graduation event the next day. (more…)

Judge who had affair with complainant is immune from tort claims, 6th Circuit rules

From Westlaw Journal Professional Liability: The defendant in a felony child-support case cannot sue the presiding judge, who had a sexual affair with the complainant in the case, for violating his due process rights, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the doctrine of judicial immunity bars the suit against former Wayne County, Mich., Circuit Court Judge Wade McCree, affirming a lower court ruling.

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