CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Some of the defendants in a lawsuit brought by residents who contend that a water company is responsible for contaminating the water supply when it spilled 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River near Charleston filed a joint brief on Aug. 25, arguing that the plaintiffs' expert testimony should be excluded (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1347, S.D. W.Va.).
BOSTON - Parties to a reinsurance dispute asked a federal court in Massachusetts on Aug. 27 to formalize a discovery confidentiality agreement that the parties said they have reached (OneBeacon America Insurance Company v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-14067, D. Mass.).
PASADENA, Calif. - A split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 25 upheld a trial court's rejection of a class claim by consumers under Section 1 of the Sherman Act who allege the largest U.S. retailer of musical instruments conspired with guitar and amplifier manufacturers and a trade association to fix prices, finding that while there may have been conduct that violated antitrust laws, there was no evidence supporting the Section 1 claim (In re: Musical Instruments and Equipment Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-56674, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14960).
CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 26 affirmed summary judgment dismissal of a family's groundwater contamination lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiffs' experts' reports were properly disallowed under rules of evidence established by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals., Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) (C.W., et al. v. Textron Inc., No. 14-3448, 7th Cir.; 20125 U.S. App. LEXIS 15076).
NEW YORK - A federal district court did not err in dismissing a securities class action complaint because it properly determined that the claims failed under the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' three-part test for determining forum non conveniens, a Second Circuit panel ruled Aug. 25 (Rentokil-Initial Pension Scheme v. Citigroup Inc., et al., Nos. 14-2545 and 14-2719, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14925).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Aug. 24 granted a motion to decertify a conditional class of hourly restaurant workers seeking wages for the time they allegedly spent working when restaurants stayed open past their posted hours; however, two days later, the employer moved for clarification, arguing that the lone plaintiff left could not proceed with his own claims without refiling an individual Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) action (Jose Garcia, et al. v. SAR Foods of Ohio, Inc., No. 14-1514, N.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111677).
CHICAGO - A judge properly excluded Arthur Frank's trial testimony as a repackaging of his excluded "every exposure" testimony, and an investigation into a juror did not prejudice a jury's finding that tobacco and not asbestos caused a man's lung cancer, a federal judge in Illinois held Aug. 25 (Charles Krik v. Crane Co.; ExxonMobil Oil Corp.; Owens-Illinois Inc.; and The Marley-Wylain Co., No. 1:10-cv-70435, N.D. Ill.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A group of lease accountants presented sufficient evidence to make a "modest factual showing" that they were similarly situated and should be granted conditional certification in a wage-and-hour complaint, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Aug. 21, rejecting the employers' arguments to the contrary (Paula Robles, et al. v. Vornado Realty Trust, et al., No. 15-1406, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111038).
HAGATNA, Guam - A Guam federal judge on Aug. 24 found that a Delaware company did not waive its right to compel arbitration in South Korea of claims asserted by a widow on behalf of her husband who died aboard one of its vessels, but found that former owner of the vessel was not entitled to compel arbitration of the dispute as a nonsignatory to an underlying employment contract (Esther Margarita Lima Suarez Viuda De Yang, individually and as personal representative of the Estate of Chang Cheol Yang, et al. v. Majestic Blue Fisheries LLC, et al., No. 13-00015, D. Guam; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112040).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on Aug. 21 preliminarily approved a $500,000 settlement in a wage-and-hour suit brought on behalf of a class of financial sales advisers, opining that while the amount is less than 11 percent of the total potential liability estimate given by the plaintiffs, the court's concerns may be addressed later (Cheryl Deaver v. Compass Bank, et al., No. 13-222, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111170).
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A tribunal for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Aug. 24 announced that it has issued an award, finding that Russia violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) when it unlawfully seized a vessel operated by Greenpeace International and that the Netherlands is entitled to damages (The Netherlands v. Russia, No. 2014-02, PCA).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge on Aug. 20 granted a computer maker's motion to dismiss a proposed class action related to a one-year warranty policy, granting the purchaser leave to amend his California law claims to include more particularity and ordering him to show why he is entitled to assert claims under California law (Maury Adkins v. Hewlett-Packard Co., No. 15-cv-02035, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111163).
NEW ORLEANS - A jury properly heard testimony that every asbestos exposure above background can cause disease and found Ford Motor Co. liable for a man's death from mesothelioma, but its verdict against a talc defendant was hopelessly conflicted, a Louisiana appeals court held Aug 20 in partially affirming a $2.3 million verdict (William Oddo Jr. v. Asbestos Corp. Ltd., et al., No. 2014-CA-0004, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2015 La. App. LEXIS 1584).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Negotiations between asbestos claimants and Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC in a failed effort to reach a consensus on a plan of reorganization should remain confidential and out of the reach of discovery in the plan confirmation process, the claimants' committee says in an Aug. 24 motion for a protective order filed in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Relying on previous court rulings that found that the term "handcrafted" on a bottle would not lead a reasonable person to believe that bourbon is actually made by hand, a California federal judge on Aug. 21 granted a bourbon maker's motion to dismiss claims for violation of California's unfair competition law and other claims filed against it in relation to its bottle labels (Scott Welk v. Beam Suntory Import Co., et al., No. 15cv328, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111164).
PHILADELPHIA - In an appellant brief filed Aug. 24 in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, two policyholders of Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. assert that they sufficiently pleaded injury related to the theft of two laptops that contained their personal information, arguing that they have standing to bring a class action against the insurer under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (In Re Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. Data Breach Litigation, No. 15-2309, 3rd Cir.).
LOS ANGELES - In an Aug. 24 brief opposing certification of a class of ex-employees whose data was compromised in a 2014 breach of its network, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. argues in California federal court that "elements of injury and causation" for the plaintiffs "are entirely individualized" and, as such, not suitable for class treatment (Michael Corona, et al. v. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., No. 2:14-cv-09600, C.D. Calif.).
The operator of the adult dating website AshleyMadison.com was hit with two putative class actions on Aug. 21 as John Doe users of the site filed complaints in California and Texas federal court, respectively, alleging negligence, Stored Communications Act (SCA) violations and other claims related to a recent theft of customer data from the site, which was later released publicly on the Internet (John Doe v. Avid Life Media Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-0405, C.D. Calif.; and John Doe v. Avid Life Media Inc., No. 3:15-cv-02750, N.D. Texas).
MADISON, Wis. - Efforts by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to depose in-house counsel for Apple Inc. and to force Apple's production of certain privileged documents in a patent case were partly granted by a Wisconsin federal judge on Aug. 20 (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Apple Inc., No. 14-62, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110059).
MEDFORD, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on Aug. 20 awarded $1,029,814 in attorney fees against an insurer in an executive and organization liability insurance coverage dispute (Daryl J. Kollman, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 04-3106, D. Ore.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109966).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A medical doctor's familiarity with different fibers qualifies him to testify as an expert in an asbestos case, and Illinois precedent does not bar him even if he plans on testifying that every exposure to asbestos leads to disease, a federal judge in Illinois held Aug. 20 (Charles Neureuther v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 13-1327, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108782).
LOS ANGELES - An asbestos defendant's proposal that liability be used to calculate offsets for pre-verdict settlements "is completely at odds" with state precedent, a California appeals panel held Aug. 20 in also affirming 50-50 split of asbestos settlement proceeds between personal injury and any future wrongful death action and denying offsets for potential asbestos bankruptcy recoveries (James Hellam v. Crane Co., No. A140326, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 720).
PARIS - A tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Aug. 19 announced that it will soon hold a hearing on preliminary objections asserted by the Republic of Peru to a treaty dispute filed against it, including arguments that the tribunal lacks jurisdiction (The Renco Group, Inc. v. Republic of Peru, No. [UNCT/13/1], ICSID).
TORONTO - A Canadian resource company on Aug. 19 issued a response to a recent filing by the government of Mongolia in a French appeals court, seeking to annul a $100 million award issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).
ATLANTA - Asserting that they suffered a "quintessential injury-in-fact" from the costs associated with fraudulent charges that sprang from their customers' credit card information being compromised in a 2014 data breach at The Home Depot Inc., a group of financial institutions on Aug. 19 opposed a motion in Georgia federal court by the home improvement retail giant to dismiss their negligence claims against it (In re: The Home Depot Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:14-md-02583, N.D. Ga.).