NEWARK, N.J. - An attempt by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to recoup $500 million from Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc. for abatement of asbestos property damage is not limited to just vinyl asbestos floor tile claims as G-I had argued but includes claims involving other asbestos-containing products, a New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge held May 17 in clarifying a previous ruling (In re: G-I Holdings, Inc., et al., (f/k/a GAF Corporation), Nos. 01-30135 and 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy.; 2012 Bankr. LEXIS 2213). A complimentary copy of the opinion is attached below.
NEW ORLEANS - An arbitrator exceeded his powers when he ordered that an online school and a former student must submit to class arbitration in a dispute over the validity of the degrees provided by the school, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 18, reversing the order and remanding with instructions to refer the parties to bilateral arbitration (Jeffrey H. Reed v. Florida Metropolitan University, Incorporated, et al., No. 11-50509, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10048).
VALDOSTA, Ga. - A survey to determine consumer confusion over the creators of Native American crafts was irrelevant and misleading, a federal judge hearing an Indian Arts and Crafts Enforcement Act (IACEA) civil action held May 18 (Native American Arts v. Bud K World Wide, No. 7:10-CV-124 $(HL$), M.D. Ga.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69715).
BOSTON - Plaintiffs in a multidistrict litigation in Massachusetts federal court who claim that Bank of America N.A. failed to permanently modify their home mortgage loans pursuant to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) told the presiding judge on May 21 that the lender has failed to search for and produce any emails or electronically stored information (ESI) from five key employees and information relevant for class certification (In re: Bank of America Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) Contract Litigation, MDL No. 2193, Case No. 10-md-2193, D. Mass.). Subscribers may view the status report available within the full update.
PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia man on May 21 moved for reconsideration after a Pennsylvania federal judge on May 9 denied a request to dismiss the man's class suit accusing a Philadelphia restaurant franchise of overcharging customers by imposing an 8 percent sales tax on alcoholic beverages but stayed the case to allow the plaintiff to file a petition with the Pennsylvania Revenue Department (Alan Johnson v. Famous Dave's of America Inc., et al., No. 12-344, E.D. Pa.). Subscribers may view the motion available within the full update.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Based on Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals precedent, a Tennessee federal judge on May 21 denied a motion to strike an offer of judgment in a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) proposed class suit that provides only the named plaintiff with $25,000 (Jesus R. Sanchez, et al. v. Verified Person, Inc., et al., No. 11-2548, W.D. Tenn.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70128).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on May 18 released two rulings in a dispute between a Cypriot company and the Republic of Turkey in relation to an energy charter treaty, denying the company's request for provisional measures but granting an application for stay of enforcement until a decision is reached on its request to annul a portion of an arbitration award for Turkey (Libananco Holdings Co. Limited v. Republic of Turkey, No. ARB/06/8, ICSID).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Skechers U.S.A. Inc., in a settlement agreement filed in Kentucky federal court on May 16, has agreed to pay $45 million to settle two California federal class action lawsuits alleging that the company's "toning" footwear were falsely advertised to improve posture, promote weight loss, strengthen the back, improve blood circulation, promote sleep, reduce stress and burn calories (In Re: Skechers Toning Shoes Products Liability Litigation, No. 11-2308, W.D. Ky.). Subscribers may view the memorandum and order available within the full update.
SAN JOSE - An amended complaint filed in California federal court on May 17 combining more than 20 similar cases around the county seeks more than $15 billion from Facebook Inc. for allegedly intercepting and tracking users' Internet communications and activity after users log out of their Facebook accounts (In Re: Facebook, Inc. Internet Tracking Litigation, No. 12-2314, N.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the complaint available within the full update.
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana ruled May 16 that the court had personal jurisdiction over a French company because the company had sufficient minimum contacts with Louisiana through its actions as a disability insurance plan administrator and that the plan's arbitration clause, which required a claimant appealing an adverse benefit determination to arbitrate in France and pay costs, was unenforceable under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq. (Otha Michael Williams v. Association de Prevoyance Interentreprises, et al., No. 11-1664, E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68488).
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 18 reversed and remanded a ruling, concluding that the class action claims against bankrupt Owens Corning related to defective roof shingles were not discharged in the company's bankruptcy proceeding (Patricia Wright, et al. v. Owens Corning, No. 11-2026, Chapter 11, 3rd Cir.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 21 denied a petition for rehearing of its denial of a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by indirect purchasers of diamonds that sought review of a divided en banc Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling reinstating a $295 million settlement of a class action lawsuit that alleged that De Beers companies fixed prices in the wholesale market for gem-quality diamonds (David T. Murray, et al. v. Shawn Sullivan, et al., No. 11-1111, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A putative class of former college athletes who are accusing video game manufacturer Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) of conspiring with the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) to use the former athletes names and likenesses in products without compensation in violation of the Sherman Act sufficiently allege a "meeting of the minds," the federal judge in California overseeing the multidistrict litigation ruled May 16 in denying EA's motion for judgment on the pleadings (In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation, No. C 09-1967, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68712).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on May 17 conditionally certified a class of phone company sales representatives who allege that they are owed overtime pay, finding that the two-phase procedure for class certification is appropriate, even though the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has not addressed the issue for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims (Kyle O'Donnell, et al. v. Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages, Inc., No. 4:11-cv-1107, E.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68960).
NEW YORK - Electronic book purchasers may continue their class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. and several e-book publishers alleging that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices of digital books in violation of federal and state antitrust laws, the federal judge in New York overseeing the multidistrict litigation ruled May 15 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (In re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, Nos. 11 MD 2293, 11 Civ. 5576, 11 Civ. 5609, 11 Civ. 5621, 11 Civ. 5707, 11 Civ. 5750, 11 Civ. 5896, 11 Civ. 5898, 11 Civ. 5976, 11 Civ. 6019, 11 Civ. 6079, 11 Civ. 7507, 11 Civ. 7534, 11 Civ. 7323, 11 Civ. 8329, 11 Civ. 8608, 11 Civ. 9016, 11 Civ. 9014, 11 Civ. 9559, 11 Civ. 9560, 11 Civ. 9561, 11 Civ. 9562, 11 Civ. 9563, 11 Civ. 9564, 11 Civ. 9565, 11 Civ. 9566, 11 Civ. 9567, 12 Civ. 0476, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68058).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Bayer Corp. LLC has agreed to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit involving its Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage and Bayer Women's Low Dose Aspirin + Calcium for $15 million, according to a May 16 preliminary approval motion filed in a New York federal multidistrict court (In Re: Bayer Combination Aspirin Products Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 09-md-2023, E.D. N.Y.).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on May 16 certified a nationwide class and 11 regional subclasses of PNC Bank N.A. account holders accusing the bank of using a software scheme to illegally collect excessive overdraft fees (In re Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, No. 09-md-2036, S.D. Fla.).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A policyholder has sufficiently stated her breach of contract claim against her insurer related to an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim, a Missouri federal judge ruled May 14, also finding that permitting her to amend the claim would not be futile (Carol Jameson v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 2:11-cv-04272, W.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66829).
DOVER, Del. - A unanimous Delaware Supreme Court panel issued an opinion May 11 overturning a Delaware Superior Court order denying workers' compensation benefits because the claimant's due process rights were violated in a hearing before the Delaware Industrial Accident Board (Dwight W. Abrahams v. Chrysler Group, No. 519, 2011, Del. Sup.; 2012 Del. LEXIS 260).
NEW YORK - A group of pilots on May 16 filed a brief in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding of AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines, objecting to AMR's opposition to the declaration of an expert witness for the pilots (In Re: AMR Corporation, No. 11-15463, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
LONDON - An England and Wales appeals court on May 16 dismissed an appeal by a group of Brazilian companies against a justice's ruling that granted a request by various insurers to continue an anti-suit injunction that prohibits the insureds from pursuing litigation in Brazil (Sul America Cia Nacional de Seguros S.A., et al. v. Enesa Engenharia S.A., et al., No.  EWCA 638, England and Wales App.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 14 certified a class of medical device company sales representatives who allege that their employer violated state law by failing to reimburse them for ordinary business expenses (John Hopkins, et al. v. Stryker Sales Corporation, No. 5:11-cv-02786, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67101). View a complimentary copy of the opinion attached below.
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on May 11 disqualified the lead named plaintiff in a wage-and-hour class suit filed against a restaurant chain and ordered him to pay more than $15,000 in sanctions (Brittney Calvert, et al. v. Red Robin International, Inc., No. 11-3026, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 66476).
LAS VEGAS - A federal judge in Nevada on May 14 reversed a magistrate judge's recommendation to impose terminating sanctions against defendants in a patent infringement case and ordered the new magistrate judge in the case to conduct an evidentiary hearing based on evidence presented by the parties during the briefing on the defendants' objection (Home Gambling Network Inc., et al. v. Chris Piche, et al., No. 05-cv-00610-DAE-VCF, D. Nev.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66754).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on May 11 dismissed a medicine franchise company's petition to stay arbitration proceedings filed against it by several companies, finding that whether the companies can pursue a joint arbitration case under several franchise agreements should be decided by an arbitrator (Medicine Shoppe International Inc. v. Bill's Pills Inc., et al, No. 4:12CV00158, E.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6639).