CCL Argues In Maryland’s Highest Court

September 10th, 2012

CCL’s John Vail, at oral argument, urged the Maryland Court of Appealsto abolish the common-law doctrine of contributory negligence and adopt comparative negligence. “The doctrine [of contributory negligence] is not justice. This Court’s failure to act will perpetuate the injustice,” Vail told the Court of Appeals, according to a report in the Maryland Daily Caller. The Maryland Daily Caller described the oral argument as “an extraordinary session that lasted nearly two hours.”

The case is Coleman v. Maryland Soccer Association, No. 9 (Md. 2012).

Victory In Constitutional Challenge To Louisiana Law Restricting Compensation for Harm

September 9th, 2012

A trial court in Louisiana has ruled that Louisiana law limiting non-economic damages recoverable in medical malpractice cases violates the Louisiana Constitution. The case is Arrington v. Galen-Med, Inc., No. No. 97-4329, Div-B. CCL’s Valerie M. Nannery assisted with briefing in the trial court, and presented oral argument as well.

Victory in ERISA Reimbursement Case in Eighth Circuit

September 7th, 2012

ERISA does not allow a plan to impose an equitable lien on settlement funds that are not in a law firm's possession, the federal Eighth Circuit ruled today. The unanimous decision marks another win in ERISA litigation for CCL, which represented a plaintiff’s firm in litigation against an ERISA plan. The ERISA plan argued that the law firm was itself responsible for reimbursing the plan for medical expenses incurred by an ERISA beneficiary, which was a client of the law firm. But the court of appeals, like the district court before it, rejected that argument. The court of appeals also affirmed an award of attorneys’ fees in favor of the plaintiffs’ firm.

CCL’s Jeffrey White was lead appellate counsel for the law firm in this appeal, Trustees of Drury Indus., Inc v. Goding, No. 11-2885 (8th Cir. Sep. 7, 2012).

ERISA Victory in the Seventh Circuit

August 21st, 2012

A federal appeals court has vacated an injunction issued by a district court against an attorney and his clients which had barred them from pursuing an Illinois state court claim against an employee health and welfare benefit plan governed ERISA. The unanimous panel agreed with CCL, which represented the attorney on appeal, that the injunction barring the state-court suit did not qualify under an exception to the Anti-Injunction Act and thus was improper. The decision suggests a path for seeking a fair share of fees under the equitable “common-fund” doctrine in state court litigation.

CCL’s Robert S. Peck was lead appellate counsel in the case. With him on the briefs was Jeffrey White. The case is Trustees of the Carpenters’ Health & Welfare Trust Fund of St. Louis v. Darr, Nos. 10-1682, 10-1793 & 10-2579 (7th Cir. Aug. 21, 2012).

Victory in Missouri Supreme Court

July 31st, 2012

In Watts v. Lester Cox Medical Center, the Missouri Supreme Court held that a law limiting compensation for non-economic harm violated the right of trial by jury under the Missouri Constitution. The Court also overruled a 20-year-old precedent that had reached the opposite conclusion. In addition, the Court ruled that the trial court abused its discretion in adopting a periodic payment schedule for future medical damages that failed to assure full recovery.

CCL’s Andre M. Mura was lead appellate counsel for the plaintiffs in this case.

AMA News, Media Matters, and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch have coverage of the decision.

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of $270 Million Class Action Verdict After Staying State Court Proceedings

June 27th, 2012

The Supreme Court has denied review in Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. Jackson, 131 S. Ct. 3057 (2011), after Justice Scalia first issued an order blocking the verdict for plaintiffs from going into effect. With the denial of review, the stay order has lifted. No dissents issued from the denial.

SCOTUSblog has coverage of the denial here, which begins: “An effort by four major tobacco companies to nullify a $270 million program to encourage Louisiana smokers to quit ended quietly in the Supreme Court Monday, as the Justices simply denied review and passed up a chance to clarify the constitutional status of controversial class-action lawsuits. That denial was perhaps the highest-visibility order on a lengthy closing-day list that included 11 new grants[.]”

Petitioners’ counsel included Mr. Alan E. Untereiner of Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck,

Untereiner & Sauber LLP; Mr. Paul Clement of Bancroft LLP; and Mr. Miguel Estrada of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. CCL’s Robert S. Peck and Andre M. Mura represented the respondents.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in J. McIntyre Machinery Ltd. v. Nicastro

June 27th, 2012

The Supreme Court issued a splintered 4-2-3 decision in this (specific) personal jurisdiction case, J. McIntyre Machinery Ltd. v. Nicastro, 131 S. Ct. 2780 (2011)—the first decision to address this issue in a quarter century. CCL’s John Vail, Andre M. Mura, and Valerie M. Nannery represented the respondent. The ABA Journal has initial coverage.

National Law Journal Quotes CCL Attorney in Article on Darvon MDL

June 25th, 2012

The National Law Journal today published an article on the status of the Darvon MDL litigation, “Darvon plaintiffs look to Sixth Circuit.” The article quotes CCL Senior Litigation Counsel Lou Bograd, who is working with the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the MDL and heading up appellate efforts in the Sixth Circuit. In light of a series of adverse rulings from the MDL judge, Judge Denny Reeves of the Eastern District of Kentucky, Bograd says: "The bottom line is: The future of this litigation rests with the Sixth Circuit."

CCL is lead appellate counsel for the plaintiffs in the MDL. Preemption

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review in Class Action Concerning Defective Braking System

June 25th, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a $5.6 million judgment against KIA Motors based on a defect in certain braking systems. The petition in Kia Motors America, Inc. v. Samuel-Bassett, --- S. Ct. ----, 2012 WL 2368701 (2012), was filed by Mr. Carter G. Phillips of Sidley Austin LLP. CCL’s Robert S. Peck was counsel of record for respondents.

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review Louisiana Class Action Case Brought by Katrina Victims

June 25th, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied review of an insurer’s attempt to avoid liability to people whose property was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The case is Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation v. Oubre, --- S. Ct. ----, 2012 WL 1358843 (2012).

Mr. Theodore B. Olsen of Gibson Dunn represented the petitioners. CCL’s Robert S. Peck was counsel of record for respondents.