Los Angeles federal judge returns medical tool infection suits to state court

From Westlaw Journal Medical Devices:  A Los Angeles federal judge has remanded to state court six suits alleging that duodenoscopes made by Olympus America Inc. caused fatal bacterial infections.

U.S. District Judge Beverly R. O’Connell of the Central District of California rejected the medical device maker’s argument that the plaintiffs fraudulently joined three of its sales agents as defendants in order to skirt federal court jurisdiction.

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Lumber Liquidators toxic flooring suits consolidated in Virginia federal court

From Westlaw Journal Products Liability:

A federal judicial panel has consolidated 10 class-action suits against Lumber Liquidators over allegedly toxic wood laminate flooring in a Virginia federal court, noting that the company’s headquarters is located nearby.

The lawsuits hail from seven U.S. district courts in California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Oklahoma, according to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation’s June 12 transfer order. The panel said 113 potentially related suits in other federal courts may soon follow.

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Prosthetic hip plaintiff lacks claim against Connecticut hospital; suit stays in federal court

From Westlaw Journal Medical Devices: 

A Connecticut federal judge says a state court suit against Smith & Nephew filed by the recipient of two failed prosthetic hips belongs in his court because the plaintiff has no valid claim against a Bridgeport hospital named in the action.

Roxanne LaFountain sued the medical device maker and St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport in Connecticut state court in 2014, asserting that each bore responsibility for the failure of two Smith & Nephew hip systems implanted Aug. 25 2009, and Nov. 10, 2009.

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Judge finds industrial hygienist’s benzene exposure estimate unreliable

From Westlaw Journal Expert and Scientific Evidence:  An industrial hygienist cannot testify for the widow of a former gas station employee about her husband’s benzene exposure in the 1960s because he relied too heavily on assumptions and witness accounts in his calculations, a federal judge in Louisiana has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance of the Eastern District of Louisiana on May 14 granted a motion by gasoline manufacturers Shell Oil Co., Texaco Inc. and Chevron U.S.A. to exclude expert testimony by Richard Miller.

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United Airlines settles EEOC’s disability accommodation suit for $1 million

From Westlaw Journal Aviation: United Airlines Inc. has agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s claims the carrier violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing alternate work for disabled employees.

U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber of the Northern District of Illinois on June 8 approved a consent decree under which United will change its policy to consider reassigning workers who cannot perform their current jobs because of a disability to a vacant position as a reasonable accommodation.

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Contractor pays $170,000 to end suit over sale of service members’ stored goods

From Westlaw Journal Government Contract: A San Diego-based storage company will pay $170,000 to end the federal government’s lawsuit alleging it sold service members’ belongings at auction without obtaining a required court order.

The payment by Horoy Inc., doing business as Across Town Movers, and owner Daniel E. Homan resolves allegations that the company violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. App. § 501, the Justice Department said in a May 18 statement.

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Judge: Citibank’s ‘relationship’ with cardholder not grounds for arbitration

From Westlaw Journal Bank & Lender Liability: In a credit card debt collection dispute, a California federal judge has denied a request by Citibank to compel arbitration premised on an alleged “relationship” the bank developed with the plaintiff through cardholder agreements for two unrelated cards.

U.S. District Judge Beth L. Freeman of the Northern District of California rejected the bank’s assertion that cardholder agreements for two Sears cards issued to Scott F. Savage by Citibank should extend to a Macy’s store credit card issued by Department Store National Bank — the retailer’s financing arm and an alleged Citibank subsidiary.

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Justices uphold Oklahoma’s lethal injection by 5-4 vote

From Westlaw Journal PharmaceuticalThe constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment does not prevent Oklahoma from executing prisoners using a three-drug lethal injection cocktail that may cause some of them to feel as if they are burning alive from the inside, a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court has decided.

In a 5-4 ruling that split the high court along ideological lines, the justices on June 29 tossed Eighth Amendment claims by three of the state’s condemned murderers, who argued unsuccessfully that the injection’s first ingredient, which is supposed to anesthetize inmates against the searing pain of the fatal drug, is not fit for its purpose.

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Unsanitary ice cream facilities led to deadly listeriosis outbreak, suit says

By Nicole Banas, Contributor,  Westlaw Journals

From Westlaw Journal Toxic Torts: Blue Bell Creameries’ failure to institute proper sanitation and testing procedures at its production facilities led to a deadly multi-state outbreak of listeria infections, a brain-injured man has alleged in a federal lawsuit.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, says Blue Bell knowingly continued to manufacture and sell ice cream products after testing at its facilities revealed contamination with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

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Iraq vet wins $28.6K in service-dog case


Juan Alonzo-Miranda, a 33-year-old Mechanic Technician Trainee, sued Schlumberger Technology Corporation for disability discrimination and failure to accommodate, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended, 42 U.S.C.A. Secs. 12101 et seq.  According MyUSA San Antonio’s Home Page , this is believed to be the first case of its kind in the country to go to trial.

The plaintiff, a former member of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Army, reportedly served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine, and one tour in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard, during which tours he saw and was involved in active combat. (more…)