Legal

Contractor’s staffer says government liable for back injury

From Westlaw Journal Government Contract: An employee of a government contractor says in a California federal court lawsuit that the United States is liable for personal injuries he sustained while working at an Army base in the Mojave Desert.

The government knew there were broken and missing floor tiles at the Fort Irwin National Training Center but did not repair them, plaintiff Daniel Robertson says in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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Lakers’ suit against insurer hits the rim

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Coverage: A California federal judge has dismissed the Los Angeles Lakers’ lawsuit alleging its insurer acted in bad faith by refusing to defend the team against class-action claims involving unsolicited text messages.

In an in-chambers order, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California agreed with Federal Insurance Co. that it had no duty to defend the Lakers based on an invasion-of-privacy exclusion in its insurance policy.

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Wyoming high court upholds dismissal of state’s fraud suit against credit ratings agencies

From Westlaw Journal Derivatives: The Wyoming Supreme Court has refused to revive a lawsuit accusing Moody’s Investor Service and Standard & Poor’s Financial Services of defrauding the state by inflating the credit ratings of various financial products.

The Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss the suit, saying Wyoming state courts lack personal jurisdiction over the ratings agencies because they did not have sufficient contacts with Wyoming.

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Cyberpolicy excludes coverage for $4 million data breach, insurer says

From Westlaw Journal Computer & Internet: A California health system allegedly posted patients’ personal information online without passwords or encryption and now its insurer seeks a federal court ruling that its cyberpolicy does not cover a related $4 million class-action settlement.

Cottage Health System failed to follow minimum required practices for information security even though it promised Columbia Casualty Co. on its application it would do so, according to the insurer’s complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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Illinois appeals court upholds $6 million verdict against IP firm

From Westlaw Journal Professional Responsibility: A law firm hit with a $6 million malpractice verdict over an investment deal gone wrong has failed to convince an Illinois appeals court that it had an attorney-client relationship with only some of the plaintiffs.

The firm argued unsuccessfully that while it represented a private equity firm that invested $3 million in the deal, it did not represent outside investors that put up another $3 million.

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Texas Supreme Court tosses estate’s $2.6 million meso award

From Westlaw Journal Asbestos: The Texas Supreme Court has refused to reinstate a $2.6 million mesothelioma verdict, ruling that a statute exempting a premises owner from liability for injuries to an employee of a subcontractor applies even when the injuries are caused by the property owner’s negligence.

In an unpublished opinion, the Texas Supreme Court affirmed an appeals court’s “take-nothing judgment,” saying the estate’s claims were barred because the estate failed to show its claims fell outside the law’s scope.

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Inmate’s suit over chemical exposure, medical treatment dismissed

From Westlaw Journal Toxic Torts:  A federal judge in Philadelphia has granted summary judgment to the city and prison services providers on claims they forced an inmate to work with toxic chemicals and denied him medical treatment for exposure-related injuries.
U.S. District Judge Nitza I. Quinones Alejandro of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said plaintiff Chal D. Kennedy Sr. provided insufficient evidence of his injuries and the defendants’ alleged misconduct to proceed with claims for violation of his constitutional rights.

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Notre Dame again denied injunction in contraception case

From Westlaw Journal Health LawReligious exemptions in Obamacare’s “contraceptive mandate” do not make the University of Notre Dame “complicit” in providing its female employees and students with free birth control, a federal appeals court has again decided after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an earlier ruling against the Catholic school.

A divided three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Notre Dame’s preliminary injunction application for the second time May 19, with U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner reiterating much of the reasoning from the appellate court’s original decision, which he also authored.  Univ. of Notre Dame v. Sebelius, 743 F.3d 547 (7th Cir. 2014).

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9th Circuit vacates 30-month sentence for 18-year-old’s ‘lasering’ plane prank

By Melissa J. Sachs, Esq., Senior Legal Writer, Westlaw Journals

From Westlaw Journal Aviation: A California man who pointed a laser beam at a jet flying near his home when he was in high school, momentarily distracting the pilot, has successfully appealed his 30-month prison sentence for the federal crime of recklessly endangering an aircraft.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Adam Gardenhire’s sentence, which was longer than the federal guidelines required, after it found no evidence that he knew about the danger of pointing a laser at an aircraft in 2012.

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Florida appeals court won’t toss $12.5 million verdict over closing remarks

From Westlaw Journal Tobacco: A Florida appeals court has affirmed a $12.5 million verdict favoring a smoker with heart disease after concluding that his counsel’s closing remarks were not so prejudicial that defendant Philip Morris USA Inc. was denied a fair trial.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal also agreed with the trial court that the smoker was not entitled to punitive damages or attorney fees.

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