U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Imprudence Claims

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

A putative class of participants in and beneficiaries of the Idearc Retirement Plan brought claims for breach of loylaty and imprudence in the management and administration of the plan – a “defined contribution” or “individual account” plan, allowing participants to contribute to the plan and invest their contributions in a variety of pre-selected investment options, including Idearc stock. The plaintiffs …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Reverses Denial of Life Insurance Benefits where Plan Administrator Fails to Address Beneficiary’s Expert Report

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

Esther White was the beneficiary of her husband’s life insurance policies governed by ERISA, which contained exclusions where death is caused, at least in part, by “intoxication” as defined by Arkansas law, or by the “voluntary ingestion” of any “narcotic” or “drug” that is not prescribed by a physician. Coverage was denied by the Plan Administrator, and summary judgment was …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Allows Hospital to Pursue Assigned Claims for Benefits Against Blue Cross

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

Innova Hospital of San Antonio sued multiple insurance companies and third-party plan administrators in Texas State Court as an assignee of the insurance benefits owed to the patients treated at its facility alleging that the defendants either failed to pay or reduced payment substantially. The action was removed under ERISA. The District Court dismissed the hospital’s claims, but the Fifth …

U.S. Supreme Court Limits Application of American Pipe in Successive Class Actions

In What's New in Class Action Law?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 has both a two-year statute of limitations and a five-year statute of repose. With respect to complaints that China Agritech engaged in fraud and misleading business practices causing the company’s stock price to plummet when the misconduct came to light, the accrual date for purposes of the two-year limitation period was February 3, 2011, …

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Cert from Colorado Supreme Court “Stream of Commerce” Decision

In What's New in Product Liability Law?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

A Colorado resident purchased a replacement main rotor holder for his radio-controlled helicopter from a retailer in Colorado. The main rotor holder was manufactured by Align Corporation, a Taiwanese company, and distributed by Horizon, a Delaware-based corporation. Align has no physical presence in the United States, but it contracts with U.S.-based distributors to sell its products to retailers who, in …

Ohio Board of Professional Conduct Places Restrictions on Settlements Which Include Secrecy Agreements

In Legal Ethics & Professionalism, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct recently opined that: “A settlement agreement that prohibits a lawyer’s disclosure of information contained in a court record is an impermissible restriction on the lawyer’s right to practice. A lawyer may not participate in either the offer or acceptance of a settlement agreement that includes a prohibition on a lawyer’s disclosure of information contained …

Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility Places Restrictions on Settlements which Include Secrecy Agreements

In Legal Ethics & Professionalism, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

The Tennessee Board issued an Ethics Opinion which advises that: “It is improper for an attorney to propose or accept a provision in a settlement agreement that requires the attorney to be bound by a confidentiality clause that prohibits a lawyer from future use of information learned during the representation or disclosure of information that is publicly available or that …

Massachusetts Supreme Court Finds Pharmacy Has Duty to Advise Prescribing Physician of Need for Prior Authorization

In What's New in Product Liability Law?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

Prior authorization was necessary in order for the plaintiff to obtain insurance coverage for Topamax, a medication she needed to control life-threatening seizures. The plaintiff’s insurance company paid for her Topamax prescription twice without issue, but once she reached her nineteenth birthday, the insurer refused to pay for the prescription because it had not received the prior authorization form required …

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Argument that National Labor Relations Act Prohibits Employers from Enforcing Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements with Employees

In What's New in Class Action Law?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

“Should employees and employers be allowed to agree that any disputes between them will be resolved through one-on-one arbitration? Or should employees always be permitted to bring their claims in class or collective actions, no matter what they agreed with their employers? “As a matter of policy these questions are surely debatable. But as a matter of law the answer …

While Reversing Jury Verdict Due to Attorney Conduct, U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Plaintiffs on Personal Jurisdiction, Preemption, and Product Defect in Medical Device Case

In Legal Ethics & Professionalism, What's New in Product Liability Law?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

Plaintiffs who received metal-on-metal hip implants, suffered complications, and required revision surgery, received jury verdict of $502 million against the manufacturer and its parent company. The District Court applied Texas’ statutory exemplary-damages cap, which reduced the $360 million punitive award to $9.6 million. On appeal, the U.S. Fifth Circuit held that: (i) metal-on-plastic hip implants were viable alternative design, (ii) …