Westlaw Journal weekly round-up

December 18, 2012

Westlaw Journals Weekly RoundupThe new Westlaw Journals blog brings you litigation headlines in over 30 substantive areas of law.  Here are some highlights from the past week:

The use of eminent domain to write down mortgage notes:  Elizabeth Lemond McKeen, Danielle Oakley and Ashley Pavel of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP discuss a controversial proposal before the San Bernardino Joint Powers Authority to use eminent domain to seize underwater but performing mortgages from securitizations at less than face value and repackage them into new securitized trusts in a recent issue of Westlaw Journal Securities Litigation & Regulation(Securities Litigation & Regulation)

South Carolina hospital wins reversal of $12.3 million award in bedsore suit: South Carolina’s highest court has reversed a $12.3 million jury verdict in a bedsore lawsuit on the ground that the trial court allowed an erroneous and prejudicial jury instruction about a rehabilitation hospital’s duty of care.  A charge that wrongly heightened defendant HealthSouth Corp.’s duty of care to its patient likely influenced the jurors’ decision to award $8 million in punitive damages, the Supreme Court said. The panel of five justices unanimously ordered a new trial on negligence and loss-of-consortium claims brought by the late Vernon Sulton and his wife, Willie M. Scott, in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas. (Medical Malpractice)

Children in masks play near Peru’s La Oroya refinery and metals processing plant in 2000.

Peruvian children’s toxic-exposure suit to proceed: The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed an environmental contamination lawsuit against Doe Run Resources Corp. and affiliated companies over a smelting facility in Peru to go forward despite a related foreign arbitration over indemnity.  The appeals court panel affirmed a lower court ruling in denying Doe Run’s motions to stay the proceedings pending the outcome of arbitration between U.S. investment firm Renco Group and the Peruvian government in connection with the smelting operations.  (Toxic Torts)

Florida court flip-flops on bad-faith claim in car crash settlement: A Florida appeals court has reversed itself and reinstated a case alleging an insurer acted in bad faith by not offering to settle a $2.8 million case involving a comatose car crash victim. A divided three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal said certain issues of credibility regarding the insurance company’s actions should not be resolved by way of summary judgment. In June the same three judges, also divided 2-1, upheld a summary judgment ruling in favor of American Vehicle Insurance Co., which was sued for bad faith over its handling of its insured’s potential liability in the car crash. The panel decided this time that the trial court was wrong in ruling out the possibility of bad faith on American Vehicle’s part. (Insurance Coverage)