Westlaw Journals

Judge rejects fraud claim based on State Farm’s ‘good neighbor’ slogan

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Bad Faith: An Alabama federal judge has rejected an insured’s claim that State Farm’s “good neighbor” slogan is fraudulent, finding that a promise made in an advertisement cannot sustain a claim for fraud.

As a result U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of the Middle District of Alabama determined that State Farm and its agent were not liable for fraud based on the slogan and that the agent was, therefore, fraudulently joined.

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Judge tosses discrimination suit against jeweler, faulting EEOC investigation

From Westlaw Journal Employment:  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission failed to conduct a full nationwide investigation before accusing Sterling Jewelers of paying female employees less than their male counterparts, a federal judge in Buffalo, N.Y., has decided.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara of the Western District of New York granted the company’s summary judgment motion March 10, finding that the EEOC improperly relied on data from the women’s expert to support its claims instead of performing its own investigation.

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Escalating U.S.–Russia tensions lead to new sanctions, heightened money-laundering risks

By Lisa A. Prager, Esq., Betty Santangelo, Esq., Gary Stein, Esq., Peter H. White, Esq., and Nora Lovell Marchant, Esq., Schulte Roth & Zabel

From Westlaw Journal Securities Litigation & Regulation: Lisa Prager, Betty Santangelo, Gary Stein, Peter White and Nora Lovell Marchant of Schulte Roth & Zabel analyze President Barack Obama’s executive orders signed in response to the growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine and discuss what the directives mean for banks and public companies going forward.

The United States and others have imposed economic sanctions and issued anti-money-laundering, or AML, advisories in the wake of the growing political tensions between the United States and Russia over the fate of Ukraine.  This analysis summarizes the actions authorities have taken to date and discusses compliance implications for U.S. businesses engaged in transactions with Russian or Ukrainian counterparties.  Firms are advised to continue monitoring developments in this rapidly fluctuating area of heightened sanctions and AML risk.

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Construction firm ends SBA fraud case for $928,000

From Westlaw Journal Government Contract:  A Utah-based construction company will pay the United States $928,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging it defrauded the Small Business Administration while participating in one of the agency’s government contracting programs.

The payment by Okland Construction Co. settles allegations that the business violated the False Claims Act by obtaining SBA contracts that it was not entitled to win because they were reserved for small firms, the Justice Department said in a statement.  The FCA, 31 U.S.C. § 3729, is the government’s primary tool for fighting procurement fraud.

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Supreme Court denies review in coal mining permit case

From Westlaw Journal Environmental: The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the appeal of a West Virginia coal mine operator seeking to overturn an Environmental Protection Agency decision to revoke a dredge-and-fill permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the EPA in April 2013, which caused Mingo Logan Coal Co. to petition the high court for review.

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United Healthcare to drop mail-order requirement for HIV/AIDS drugs

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Coverage: United Healthcare Insurance Co. has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging its mandatory in-house mail-order prescription service for patients who suffer from HIV or AIDS is discriminatory.

As part of a deal reached in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the nation’s largest health insurer will permit such patients to opt out of the mail-order service, Consumer Watchdog announced March 19.

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Ford beats some claims in salesman’s mesothelioma lawsuit

From Westlaw Journal Asbestos: A 1988 state law that restricted the theories of liability that can be raised against manufacturers has spared Ford Motor Co. from facing several claims pursued by the sons of a salesman who died from mesothelioma, a Louisiana federal judge has ruled.

It would be illogical to hold Ford to a legal standard that was repealed years before the salesman was ever exposed to an allegedly asbestos-containing Ford product, U.S. District Judge James T. Trimble Jr. of the Western District of Louisiana said in a March 27 memorandum ruling.

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Homeowners receive $218K for failed termite control

Termites No Credit iStock PhotoSean and Marny Brennan purchased a home in 2004 that purportedly included transfer of a signed 1999 contract with Apex Pest Control, Inc. for a previously applied soil pretreatment against subterranean termites. The contract allegedly included a promise and guarantee to eliminate termite infestation, treat and retreat the property, conduct re-inspections of the property and be responsible for repairs costing up to $1 million.

The Brennans claimed they found significant termite damage to the property with estimate repair costs at $218,600. (more…)

Idaho Supreme Court reverses judge’s ruling in colostomy case

From Westlaw Journal Medical Malpractice:  The Idaho Supreme Court has revived a medical malpractice suit by the family of a man who committed suicide two years after a botched colorectal procedure.

Ruling in a case of first impression, the unanimous five-justice panel held the trial judge erred by denying the family’s motion for a new trial despite finding the jury verdict for the doctor was against the weight of the evidence.  The patient’s bladder was incorrectly stapled to his colon and he underwent eight more surgeries after that, according to the Supreme Court opinion.

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Stan Lee Media wants Supreme Court to return rights to ‘Conan the Barbarian’

From Westlaw Journal Bankruptcy: The former owner of the “Conan the Barbarian” character is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a series of lower court rulings that refused to undo a decade-old bankruptcy court settlement that transferred ownership of the intellectual property to another company.

Stan Lee Media Inc., which transferred the rights to the character over a decade ago during its Chapter 11 case, says in a petition for writ of certiorari that its shareholders were denied due process when they were not given prior notice of the transfer.

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