A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of April 26 – May 2.


Woman Sues Live Nation After Seat Full of Splinters

Julia Marsh | New York Post

A woman got a rude surprise when she politely slid to the other side of a bench to make room for a fellow Westbury concertgoer — a backside full of splinters.


Linda Vanston, a schoolteacher from New Jersey, is suing the NYCB Theater at Westbury on Long Island over the injury.

Full Story.



How a Gulf Settlement That BP Once Hailed Became Its Target

Campbell Robertson and John Schwartz | New York Times

Four years ago the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire and exploded, killing 11 men, spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and staining, seemingly indelibly, the image of BP, the international energy giant responsible for the well.


Its reputation in free fall, the company set aside billions of dollars and saturated the airwaves with contrite pledges to make thousands of businesses and workers whole, from shrimpers to hotel owners to charter boat operators.

Full Story.



Judge Refuses to Dismiss Highland Park Man’s ‘Reverse Discrimination’ Suit Against Petco

Sue Epstein | The Star-Ledger

U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson has rejected efforts by Petco, the pet care giant, to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former employee who said he was a victim of “reverse discrimination.”


Wolfson, sitting in Trenton, issued a 20-page decision on Monday in which she said Frank McQuillan of Highland Park, who is white, made a strong enough argument that he was discriminated against because of his race to allow the lawsuit to proceed.

Full Story.



GM Slams ‘Forum Shopping’ In Ignition Defect Class Actions

Andrew Scurria | Law360

General Motors Co. on Friday fought back against “forum shopping” consumers trying to pull dozens of ignition switch recall lawsuits nationwide into the Central District of California, saying any consolidated litigation belongs in New York, where GM’s bankruptcy court is considering whether to shut down the suits.

Full Story.



Auto Dealership Loses Appeal in Tire-Blowout Lawsuit

Tire Review

Flemington Car & Truck Country, an auto dealership in central New Jersey, lost its appeal in a tire-blowout lawsuit.

The dealership is required to pay $3.9 million to a family injured in a car accident that, according to court documents, was caused by a blown out tire that the dealership’s service department repeatedly failed to replace. The company was sued in 2009.

Full Story.



Opinion Recap: Justices Want Federal Circuit Out of Loop on Fee Disputes in Patent Cases

Ronald Mann | SCOTUSblog

The Court on Tuesday morning issued the first two opinions from its February sitting, Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness and Highmark v. Allcare Health Management Systems. Those opinions resolve the twin patent cases on the topic – dear to the concerns of law firm partners but perhaps a little too boring for ordinary dinner-table conversation – of when prevailing parties can recover attorney’s fees in patent cases. Collectively, the cases sternly rein in the Federal Circuit’s role in deciding when fees are appropriate, adopting a regime that will give federal district courts an almost entirely free hand in determining when fees are appropriate. This is important, because it represents a sea change from the regime of the last decade, in which the Federal Circuit has articulated a set of steadily more stringent standards that have made fee awards in patent cases quite uncommon.

Full Story.



Supreme Court Issues Rulings That Push Against Frivolous Patent Cases

Ashby Jones | Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a pair of rulings that could make it easier for judges to punish lawyers who bring frivolous patent cases.


The decision comes amid worries among companies about the mounting number of infringement cases brought in recent years by patent-holding firms.

Full Story.



Two Rulings May Curb Lawsuits Over Patents

Adam Liptak | New York Times

In a pair of unanimous decisions, the Supreme Court on Tuesday made it easier for the winning side in patent cases to recover its legal fees from the loser. The decisions were welcomed by some technology companies, which said the rulings would help address what they say are abusive and coercive lawsuits brought by “patent trolls,” or companies that buy patents not to use them but to collect royalties and damages.

Full Story.



Patent Suit Losers Should Pay Victors’ Legal Fees: SCOTUS

Susan Decker | Bloomberg

Companies that successfully fight off “unreasonable” patent lawsuits can get their legal fees paid, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a decision that may benefit Google Inc. (GOOG), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and other technology businesses.


The high court today gave trial judges more power to impose fees if they determine the case “stands out from others” in the conduct of the losing party. In a related opinion, the court also limited the ability of an appeals court to overturn a trial judge’s decision in such cases.

Full Story.



MSNJ Hosts First Physicians Advocacy Conference on Friday, May 2nd

The Crowne Plaza Princeton is the location of the Medical Society of New Jerseys 2014 Physicians Advocacy Conference and the House of Delegates Meeting. Governor Chris Christie will deliver the keynote address. A number of highly-respected, subject matter experts representing the American Medical Association, the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, will join with New Jersey physicians and members of the New Jersey legislature to address issues of importance to the physician community. Topics include: Tackling the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic; Whats Next in Medical Liability Reform; Achieving High Value Health Care: Payment Innovations; Collaboration and Transformation; and Ways to Introduce Team-Based Care within Physician Practices.

 Full Story.


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