LOS ANGELES - A California jury returned an $8,666,000 verdict for the widow of a mesothelioma sufferer, finding Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. liable on Dec. 13 in a case that originally produced a defense verdict in 2007 (Donna Saller, et al. v. Bondex International Inc., et al., No. BC342363, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
LOS ANGELES - The federal bankruptcy judge presiding over the Chapter 9 case of the City of San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 17 certified an appeal by the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) directly to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals regarding the city's eligibility to file for bankruptcy (California Public Employees' Retirement System v. City of San Bernardino, California $(In re: City of San Bernardino, California$), Adv. No. 13-01952, No. 12-28006, Chapter 9, C.D. Calif. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs in a putative class action suit against JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. on Dec. 17 moved in California federal court for approval of a $22 million settlement in which the lender agreed to resolve allegations over its purchasing of force-placed flood insurance policies for borrowers for amounts that exceeded those required by federal law (Shelly Clements, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. 12-cv-02179-JCS, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Dec. 16 dismissed as untimely a couple's claim under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) claiming that a defendant bank failed to inform them that it had been assigned the deed of trust (DOT) to their mortgage loan, after finding that the equitable tolling doctrine was inapplicable because the transfer was properly recorded with the local recorder of deeds (Jeffrey Sokol, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. C-13-2153 EMC, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176370).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Dec. 16 remanded a reimbursement dispute to state court, holding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not preempt the state law claims (Bay Area Surgical Management v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-2512, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176682).
SAN FRANCISCO - A law firm will pay California $418,000 to resolve state unfair competition law (UCL) claims alleging that the firm collected large fees while its attorneys did little or no work on the clients' immigration cases, under a settlement filed Dec. 16 (The People of the State of California, et al. v. Guajardo, Martin, et al., Jamie Hernandez, et al. v. Guajardo, Martin, et al., Nos. 505449, 505450, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
LOS ANGELES - The Younger doctrine and the Anti-Injunction Act bar Monster Beverage Corp.'s California unfair competition law (UCL) action seeking to enjoin San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera from pursuing claims against it in state court, a federal judge held Dec. 16 (Monster Beverage Corp. and Monster Energy Co. v. Dennis Herrera, in his official capacity as City Attorney of San Francisco, No. 13-786, C.D. Calif.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Dec. 11 refused to certify a class for nationwide borrowers and subclasses for California and New York consumers over SunTrust Mortgage Inc.'s purchase of force-placed hazard and flood insurance policies, finding that calculating the replacement value of each class member's homes was an individual issue that predominated over classwide issues (Shelia Gooden, et al. v. SunTrust Mortgage Inc., No. 11-cv-02595-JAM-DAD, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173511).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Dec. 13 ruled that the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) could appeal a ruling that granted the City of San Bernardino, Calif., permission to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. However, the judge said a direct appeal to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals was not warranted (California Public Employees' Retirement System v. City of San Bernardino, Calif. $(In Re: City of San Bernardino, Calif.$), No. 13-01952, Chapter 9, C.D. Calif.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - The federal judge in California presiding over the Toyota unintended acceleration multidistrict litigation issued an order on Dec. 12 setting the stage for a possible settlement of wrongful death and personal injury claims brought against the auto manufacturer (In Re: Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration, Marketing, Sales Practices and Product Liability Litigation, No. 8:10-ml-2151, C.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Dec. 12 granted a motion to remand filed by homeowners seeking insurance coverage for plumbing issues, finding that diversity jurisdiction did not exist (Josie Rodis, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-07686, C.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174276).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Dec. 10 denied a motion by Microsoft Corp. seeking to strike evidence in support of a narrowed class in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) suit (Neil Smith, et al. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 11-1958, S.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173204).
SAN FRANCISCO - Although he found no problems with an insurer's definition of disability, a California federal judge on Dec. 10 held that triable issues of fact surrounding an employee's diagnosis and treatment of her lupus precluded him from granting summary judgment to an insurer on a bad faith claim against it (Cassaundra Ellena v. Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 3:12-cv-05401, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173163).
LOS ANGELES - According to its docket, the California Supreme Court on Dec. 11 granted an employee's petition for review and deferred briefing in his class action against a trucking company pending a ruling in People v. Pac Anchor Transportation Inc. (S194388) (Salvador Rodriguez, et al. v. RWA Trucking Co. Inc., No. S214150, Calif. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A reasonable consumer would expect diapers advertised as "pure and natural" to be free from non-natural materials, and the manufacturer's disclosures elsewhere on the package do not remedy the ambiguity, a federal magistrate judge held Dec. 10 in largely allowing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims to proceed (Dianna Jou, et al. v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., et al., No. 13-3075, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173216).
SAN DIEGO - The operator of a so-called "revenge porn" website was charged with 31 counts of identity theft and extortion in California state court with the filing of a felony complaint by the California attorney general on Dec. 10 (The People of the State of California v. Kevin Christopher Bollaert, No. N/A, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California dismissed a shareholder derivative suit against Wells Fargo & Co. on Dec. 6 because the shareholder failed to show that presuit demand upon the company's board of directors would have been futile (Richard Gulbrandsen, Derivatively on Behalf of Wells Fargo & Company v. John G. Stumpf, et al., No. 12-cv-05968, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172471).
SAN FRANCISCO - Settlement of a Florida action bars California unfair competition law claims involving yogurt and cane juice labeling claims, and it is "implausible" that a reasonable consumer would confuse "soymilk" for a dairy beverage, a federal judge held Dec. 10 (Alex Ang and Kevin Avoy, et al. v. Whitewave Foods Co., et al., No. 13-1953, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 6 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss claims against it related to the insurer's termination of his workers' compensation coverage, finding that the Defense Base Act (DBA) preempted his claims (Anthony Harty v. The Continental Insurance Co., No. 3:13-cv-02545, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172412).
SAN FRANCISCO - A split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 5 partially vacated a California federal court's attorney fees award in an employment bias suit and remanded for reconsideration of fees for a paralegal (Kim Muniz v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 11-17282, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 24189).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Dec. 6 granted final approval of a record-setting $500 million securities class action settlement in three related actions against Countrywide Financial Corp. for misrepresenting the investment quality of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) it offered to investors (David H. Luther v. Countrywide Financial Corp., No. 12-5125; Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Plan v. Countrywide Financial Corp., No. 12-5122; and Maine State Retirement System v. Countrywide Financial Corp., No. 10-0302, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge has struck the affirmative defenses of a tobacco distributor sued for trade mark infringement, saying in a Dec. 5 opinion that the defendant had provided no factual underpinning for the defenses (Starbuzz Tobacco Inc. v. Fuad Naji Saeed, No. 3:13-cv-03837-SI, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171857).
SAN DIEGO - In a pair of Dec. 4 rulings, a California federal judge dismissed all of an Internet-based automotive parts retailer's trademark infringement claims against search engine provider Google Inc. as barred by laches and precluded by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) while permitting a federal infringement claim against rival search engine provider Yahoo! Inc. to proceed (Parts.com LLC v. Google Inc., No. 3:13-cv-01074, and Parts.com LLC v. Yahoo! Inc., No. 3:13-cv-01078, S.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Dec. 3 denied the Securities and Exchange Commission's motion for partial summary judgment in a securities enforcement action against the sponsors of pooled investment funds, ruling that a triable issue of material fact exists as to the each of the SEC's claims that are part of the motion (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Frank Mazzola, et al., No. 12-1258, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170427).