Westlaw Journals

Oilfield service company exec asks Supreme Court to reverse ruling in mail fraud suit

By Kimberly Sachs, Westlaw Journal Contributor

From Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime: An oilfield equipment company owner convicted of mail fraud is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case, saying the trial court violated his constitutional rights when it refused to let him confront the witnesses against him.

In an Aug. 12 petition for certiorari, Wilbur D. Whitehead of Whitehead Production Equipment says he was unable to provide a complete defense because his lawyer was denied the chance to fully cross-examine two material witnesses during his criminal trial.

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BNY Mellon must face securities lending suit, federal judge rules

From Westlaw Journal Derivatives: A lawsuit alleging that Bank of New York Mellon invested a pension fund’s assets in a Lehman Brothers note and then failed to sell the note before Lehman’s collapse will continue, a federal judge held Sept. 16.

U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah of the Northern District of Illinois said it is too early to toss the case, filed June 18 by a United Food and Commercial Workers pension fund.

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Judge bars evidence of health, environmental risks in GMO property damage suit

From Westlaw Journal Toxic Torts: Hawaii residents who allege that migrating pesticides from test fields for genetically modified organisms have damaged their properties may not present evidence at trial on the potential risks to human health and the environment posed by the chemicals, a federal judge in Honolulu has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi of the District of Hawaii granted the defendants’ motion to strike the proposed testimony of five of the plaintiffs’ experts.  The judge said evidence of potential health and environmental dangers would unnecessarily complicate the case and possibly confuse jurors.

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Insurer refuses to pay true value of damaged artwork, California couple says

From Westlaw Journal Insurance Bad Faith: San Francisco homeowners allege their insurer violated the terms of their policy when it offered $300,000 to restore damaged artwork and compensate them for its loss of market value instead of paying $3.9 million for the loss without restoration.

The insurer’s withholding of payment for the total loss of the market value of the works “is unreasonable and without proper cause,” according to the lawsuit filed in the San Francisco County Superior Court.

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Al Jazeera can pursue malpractice claim against law firm

From Westlaw Journal Professional Liability: Al Jazeera International may proceed with a legal malpractice suit that claims the law firm it hired to represent it in a construction dispute failed to properly prepare for trial, a federal judge in Maryland has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow of the District of Maryland said Al Jazeera sufficiently alleged at this early stage of the case that the law firm’s failure to interview and call the construction project’s architect as a witness at trial may have affected the amount of the judgment levied against the broadcast company.

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Bristol-Myers sues over Merck’s cancer-fighting biologic

From Westlaw Journal Pharmaceutical: The new Merck drug Keytruda, which just received federal approval for use in melanoma patients, violates the patent on a similar medication that Bristol-Myers Squibb and a Japanese company have in development, according to a Delaware federal court lawsuit.

In a declaratory judgment suit filed Sept. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Bristol-Myers and Ono Pharmaceuticals Co. say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration violated their May 10 patent on the immunotherapy drug nivolumab when it decided Sept. 4 to let Merck sell Keytruda (pembrolizumab) as a melanoma treatment.

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Couple accuses attorneys of botching post-Engle suit

From Westlaw Journal Tobacco Industry: A smoker and his wife have claimed in Florida state court that they lost their “Engle progeny” lawsuit as a result of legal malpractice by their attorneys.

They allege in the Duval County 4th Judicial Circuit Court that the attorneys failed to establish that the smoker plaintiff’s shortness of breath and chronic cough were caused by his 30 years of smoking cigarettes.

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New York woman sues over leaky Natrelle breast implants

From Westlaw Journal Medical Devices: Allergan Inc. is the target of a New York state court negligence and failure-to-warn suit filed by a woman who says she fears developing cancer since her Natrelle saline-filled breast implants leaked and required removal.

Seeking unspecified damages, plaintiff Yolanda Ortiz says she learned in December 2013 that her three-year-old Natrelle implants were deflating because of rupture and leakage.

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California labor law only covers wages due on termination date, judge finds

From Westlaw Journal Employment: A California law requiring employers to pay workers pending wages when firing them only applies to wages earned as of the termination date, a Los Angeles federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real of the Central District of California partly dismissed Karen Crosby’s wage suit Sept. 3, finding her Private Attorneys General Act claims — which concerned commissions she earned before Wells Fargo fired her as a mortgage banker — untimely under the law’s one-year limitations period.

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Environmental groups have standing to sue over coal mining at historic site

From Westlaw Journal Environmental: A group of environmental organizations can continue their fight to protect the site of a 1920s labor battle involving coal miners from being destroyed by present-day coal mining, a federal appeals court has decided.

A divided three-judge panel of the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the Sierra Club’s suit Aug. 26, finding that the group and others like it have standing to challenge an agency decision removing West Virginia’s Blair Mountain Battlefield from the National Register of Historic Places.

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