WASHINGTON, D.C. - An employer's offer of judgment in an amount representing alleged unpaid wages plus attorney fees, costs and expenses under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68 to an employee who brought a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 203, moots the collective action when no other individuals had joined the action and there was no pending motion for collective process, the employer told the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 3, seeking reversal of a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling (Genesis HealthCare Corp., et al. v. Laura Symczyk, No. 11-1059, U.S. Sup.). View a complimentary copy of the transcript in the pdf attached below.
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky on Nov. 30 denied Pilot Travel Centers LLC's motion to dismiss a case in which a consumer alleges that Pilot violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA),117 Stat. 1952, by printing receipts that included all of the digits of customers' credit card numbers, finding that the factors for dismissal for failure to prosecute were not met (Ronnie Gist v. Pilot Travel Centers LLC, et al., No. 08-00293, E.D. Ky.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170867).
LONDON, Ky. - Three experts in detecting stolen motorcycles applied a reliable methodology and are qualified to testify in a criminal case against an alleged bike-theft ring, a federal judge in Kentucky held Dec. 3 (United States of America v. Robert Jason Chapman, et al., No 11-51-GFVT, E.D. Ky., Southern Div.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171075).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Dec. 3 granted a motion to confirm an arbitration award that fell under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and was issued in an asset dispute, finding that the arbitrator did not exceed his authority or that a party was not bound by the award (Jay Nanda v. Atul Nanda, et al., No. 3:12-CV-0011, N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171228).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 30 granted preliminary approval of a settlement reached between a restaurant franchisee and a class of black employees who allege that their employer denied them promotions solely because of their race (Guy M. Vines, et al. v. Covelli Enterprises T/D/B/A, Panera Bread, No. 12-0028, W.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170870).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Nov. 30, in a decision she said is "a close one," certified as a class action claims of unpaid wages and overtime and unjust enrichment filed by sales representatives for two companies that sell extended automobile warranties (Latease Rikard, et al. v. U.S. Auto Protection, LLC, et al., No. 4:11-cv-1580, E.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170050).
NEW ORLEANS - The opinions of a plaintiff's expert regarding concentrations of benzene in paints to which the plaintiff was exposed, as well as the duration of exposure, are speculative and unreliable pursuant to Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (509 U.S. 579, 590 ), a Louisiana federal judge said in a Nov. 30 decision excluding the expert (Craig Moore, et al. BASF Corporation, et al., No. 11-1001 E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170411).
NEW YORK - The law firm Greenberg Traurig (GT) discriminates firmwide against its female shareholders, a female attorney from the firm's Philadelphia office alleges in a class complaint filed Dec. 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking more than $200 million (Francine Friedman Griesing, et al. v. Greenberg Traurig, LLP, No. 12-8734, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 3 declined to review the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that participants in General Motors Corp.'s 401(k) plans - who alleged that State Street Bank and Trust Co., an independent fiduciary and investment manager for the plans, breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq. by waiting until March 31, 2009, to begin divesting the plans of their holdings in company stock - sufficiently alleged causation under ERISA Section 409(a) and that State Street did not meet the requirements for the safe harbor of ERISA Section 404(c) (State Street Bank and Trust Company v. Raymond M. Pfeil, et al., No. 12-256, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - Citing the previously unsettled state of case law regarding the production of insurers' internal documents and a lack of bad faith in an insurer's handling requests for such documents, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 28 upheld a lower court's ruling that had limited an insured's damages against her health plan provider (Sharon Mondry v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co, et al., No. 10-3490 and 11-1750, 7th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24476).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Nov. 30 declined to dismiss a class action lawsuit alleging that a health insurance company's conduct of incorporating "most favored nation" (MFN) clauses into its contracts with hospitals results in antitrust violations; the judge said the plaintiffs sufficiently stated plausible claims of injury under an antitrust case (The Shane Group Inc., et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No.10-14360, E.D. Mich.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170201).
CHICAGO - Motions to exclude testimony and expert supplemental reports about electronic cigarette use filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by a commercial truck driver who alleges respiratory injuries from exposure to solvents and acetate compounds that leaked from drums he was transporting were denied Nov. 27 (Steven Noffsinger v. The Valspar Corp., et al., No. 09-916, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167776).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The named plaintiff in a class complaint is "the master of the complaint" and "determines the content of the class members' claims at the pleading stage, including whether those claims exceed, in the aggregate, CAFA's [Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 USCS § 1711] jurisdictional amount," a respondent argues in a brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 28 (The Standard Fire Insurance Company v. Greg Knowles, et al., No. 11-1450, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Finding no compelling reason to permit a John Doe defendant to proceed under a fictitious name, a New York federal magistrate judge on Nov. 27 ordered that a blogger be named in a copyright infringement lawsuit against him or her (North Jersey Media Group Inc. v. John Doe Nos. 1-5 d/b/a Stoopidhousewives.com, No. 1:12-cv-06152, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167317).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Nov. 27 found that certain claims asserted by cruise ship passengers, including claims related to lost luggage, must be arbitrated pursuant to an arbitration clause in their cruise ticket but dismissed the majority of their claims after determining that they were excluded under the agreement (Gil Alvarez, et al. v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., No. 12-22763, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168019).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Two companies on Nov. 26 filed a petition in a California federal court to confirm a Swedish arbitration award that was issued in an action involving two other firms in a dispute under a patent license agreement (Nokia Corp., et al. v. Research In Motion, et al., No. 12-5992, N.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 27 partially affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action in which consumers alleged that travel club defendants swindled them into buying bogus travel club memberships and credit card companies provided point-of-sale financing for the sale of the memberships, but the panel reversed the dismissal of the consumers' Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 1961 et seq. conspiracy claims against the travel club defendants (Brian Grant, et al. v. Darryl Turner, et al., No. 11-2760, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24316). View a complimentary copy of the opinion in the pdf attached below.
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court panel on Nov. 27 reversed summary judgment for a plaintiff's manufacturing defect claim involving an orthopedic prosthesis, finding that the trial court erred in excluding the plaintiff's metallurgy expert (Todd Garrett v. Howmedica Osteonics Corporation, et al., No. B234368, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 1212).
NEW YORK - Objecting plaintiffs on Nov. 27 filed an appeal and requested a stay, pending appeal, of the order entered the same day by a federal judge in New York granting preliminary approval to the $7.25 billion class action settlement between merchants and Visa, MasterCard and a large number of banks that the proposed class alleges fixed the prices of interchange fees paid by merchants when customers use Visa and MasterCard credit cards (In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation [All Cases], No. 05-MD-1720, E.D. N.Y.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153637.
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 26 agreed to hear an appeal of a New York federal judge's ruling granting class certification in a securities class action lawsuit against underwriter Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and others (Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC v. Vaszurele Ltd., No. 12-4411, 2nd Cir.). View related prior history, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 9567.
BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on Nov. 20 held that a woman lacked standing to pursue a claim under the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Protection Act (MMFPA) against her loan servicer because Trial Period Plan (TPP) payments she made while attempting to modify her home loan did not cause her to suffer a concrete injury (Valerie Stoval, et al. v. SunTrust Mortgage Inc., No. RDB-10-2836, D. Md.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165377).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California magistrate judge on Nov. 20 partially certified a class of Internet virtual world participants in a dispute over "ownership" of virtual land and items (Carl Evans, et al. v. Linden Research, Inc., et al., No. 11-1078, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166006).
PITTSBURGH - After finding that two entities had intended to submit the issue of arbitrability to arbitrators, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 26 dismissed an action in favor of arbitration in which a French entity sought a declaration that it was not liable for a smelter explosion (Silec Cable S.AS v. Alcoa Fjardaal SF, No. 12-01392, W.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167020).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Nov. 21 partially granted a motion to dismiss a class complaint accusing an Internet service provider of violating privacy rights by recording phone calls without consent (Monica Garcia, et al. v. Earthlink, Inc., No. 12-1129, S.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Merck & Co. Inc. on Nov. 20 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review of both its challenge to a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling and the Federal Trade Commission's challenge to an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in Federal Trade Commission v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al. and to set them for parallel briefing and oral argument because both cases present the issue of the appropriate antitrust standard for evaluating settlements involving reverse payments from name-brand drug manufacturers to generic challengers (Merck & Co., Inc. v. Louisiana Wholesale Drug Co., Inc., et al., No. 12-245, U.S. Sup.).