SAN JOSE, Calif. - A manufacturer's statements regarding the "full power and performance" and "ultra-reliable" nature of its computers make no specific claim regarding power and constitute puffery, a federal judge held Oct. 10 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims without prejudice (David Elias, et al. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., et al., No. 12-421, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 9 granted preliminary approval of an amended settlement that adds a $10 cash payment in relief to each class member in a suit accusing Facebook Inc. of using the names and photos of users in advertising on the social network without the users' express permission (Angel Fraley, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., No. 11-1726, N.D. Calif.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116526.
A complimentary copy of the order is attached.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A split en banc Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 5 overruled its 2001 decision in Williams v. United States, (240 F.3d 1019 [Fed. Cir.]) and opined that Congress may not withhold the cost of living adjustments for Article III judges provided for in the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 (Peter H. Beer, et al. v. United States, No. 2010-5012, Fed. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20875).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 9 denied review of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a company is liable for retiree health care benefits and reimbursement for Medicare Part B premiums for retirees of the company's predecessors (Newell Window Furnishings Inc., et al. v. Willard Bender, et al., No. 12-163, U.S. Sup.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A $12.97 million settlement of a lawsuit filed by exotic dancers alleging that their employer misclassified them as independent contractors received final approval Oct. 5 from a California federal judge (Tracy Dawn Trauth, et al., v. Spearmint Rhino Companies Worldwide, Inc., et al., No. 09-01316, C.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144816).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Oct. 4 excluded a plaintiff's only causation expert in a Zometa jaw injury case, finding the expert unqualified to offer a causation opinion and saying his differential diagnosis did not satisfy circuit case law (Yvonne A. Harvey v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, No. 2:06-1140, N.D. Ala., S. Div.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6390.
DES MOINES, Iowa - Although a Hungarian corporation and two Hungarian residents do not have sufficient minimum contacts with Iowa to permit jurisdiction there in a copyright and trademark infringement case, an Iowa federal judge on Oct. 5 granted an alternative request for jurisdictional discovery (Fraserside IP LLC v. Netvertising Ltd. et al., No. 11-3034, N.D. Iowa). Subscribers may view the decision available within the full article.
CHICAGO - In a bank robbery case, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 4 reaffirmed its holding that shoe print identification testimony is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 (United States of America v. Corley Smith, et al., Nos. 11-2128, 11-2398, 7th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20673).
SAN DIEGO - A health-care provider's claims against insurers alleging that the insurers misappropriated his name and made misrepresentations to his patients by holding him out as a contracted provider, which negatively impacted his ability to recover additional amounts owed under his contracts with his patients, are not completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq., a federal judge in California ruled Oct. 2 in remanding the case to state court (Sanjay Ghosh, M.D., v. Aetna Health of California, Inc., et al., No. 3:12-CV-1557-JM (BGS), S.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142673).
SAVANNAH, Ga. - A district attorney does not have to respond to a discovery request for admissions that he is attracted to men and has made sexual advances to men because the request, filed by three women alleging employment gender discrimination, is related to a sexual favoritism claim, which is not actionable, a Georgia federal magistrate judge held Oct. 3 (Charrae Herron, et al., v. Larry Chisolm, No. 4:12-cv-00041, S.D. Ga.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143279).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 3 affirmed the dismissal of a class action lawsuit brought by plaintiffs claiming that HSBC Bank USA N.A. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. breached the terms of Trial Period Plans (TPPs) provided to borrowers during their attempts to modify home equity loans, holding that the lenders did not breach the terms of the plan by not offering a permanent loan modification (Ellery G. Pennington, et al. v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., et al., No. 12-50064, 5th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 1 granted final approval to a $1.9 million settlement in a class suit over debt settlement services fee refunds, finding that the settlement provides class members with recovery similar to or even better than what they could receive if the case were to proceed (Haidee Estrella, et al. v. Freedom Financial Network, LLC, et al., No. 09-3156, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142105).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 2 granted Bank of America N.A.'s (BOA) motion to dismiss a putative class action in which a BOA credit cardholder challenged BOA's increase of her card's annual percentage rate (APR) (Trina M. Search v. Bank of America N.A., No. 12-00052, W.D. Wash.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1426).
NEW YORK - Written statements of the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, although relevant to the defenses of Chinese corporations accused of participating in an illegal cartel to fix prices and limit supply for exports of vitamin C to the United States, are not admissible, a federal judge in New York ruled Oct. 1 (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation [Animal Science Products, Inc., et al. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., et al.], Nos. 06-MD-1738, 05-CV-0453, E.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142558).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 2 granted a cruise line's motion to compel arbitration of a seaman's injury-related claims, finding that the worker failed to show that an arbitration clause in his employment contract was against public policy (Aleixo Estibeiro v. Carnival Corp., No. 12-22713, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143058).
NEW ORLEANS - A motion to commence discovery under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f) filed by seven environmental groups against an energy company over an underwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that has been going on since 2004 was denied Oct. 2 by a federal magistrate judge in Louisiana, after she found that the group failed to present a narrowly tailored request for information to rebut the company's pending motion to dismiss (Apalachicola Riverkeeper, et al. v. Taylor Energy Company LLC, No. 12-0337 Section "E," E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142448).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Class certification was granted Sept. 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in a lawsuit seeking to represent some 100,000 veterans of Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency experiments that exposed the veterans to biological and chemical agents; the class representatives seek release from secrecy oaths they allege prevent class members from learning about their exposures and an order for the United States to provide medical care for class members (Vietnam Veterans of America, et al. v. Central Intelligence Agency, et al., No. 09-37, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142040).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A Massachusetts federal judge on Sept. 28 declined to remand a class complaint over an insurance company's practices of allegedly misleading customers on its website, after determining that the amount in controversy exceeded $5 million (Alexander Sierra, et al. v. Progressive Direct Insurance Company, No. 12-30020, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140864).
LOS ANGELES - A juice maker's California-based headquarters and advertising decisions warrant certifying a nationwide class of consumers under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, and other statutes, a federal judge held Sept. 28 (In re: POM Wonderful LLC Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. MDL 2199, ML 10-02199, C.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141150).
SPOKANE, Wash. - A Washington federal judge on Oct. 1 granted summary judgment in an Aredia/Zometa jaw injury case after excluding the plaintiff's causation expert testimony (Duane E. Luttrell v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, No. 2:07-3015, E.D. Wash.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Sept. 30 denied a motion by the Republic of Argentina to dismiss a petition to confirm a $133.2 million international arbitration award that was issued in favor of an investment company, finding that the court has jurisdiction and that the petition was not time-barred (Blue Ridge Investments LLC v. The Republic of Argentina, No. 10-153, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142016).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 upheld an Oklahoma federal court's rejection of 20-year-old racial discrimination claims, finding that in addition to the claims being time-barred, the plaintiff failed to establish federal subject matter jurisdiction (Solomon Panicker v. State Department of Agriculture, et al., No. 12-6115, 10th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20349).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 28 denied a motion to dismiss or to grant summary judgment in a class action complaint by two periodontal practices against Dentsply International Inc. for producing a dental scaling device that allegedly allows harmful biofilm to form in its water reservoir and water lines (Center City Periodontists, P.C., et al. v. Dentsply International, Inc., No. 2:10-774, E.D. Pa.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full article.
LINCOLN, Neb. - A unanimous Nebraska appeals panel on Oct. 2 overturned no-evidence summary judgment for the defendant in a crop damage lawsuit brought by farmers who allege that an herbicide distributor delivered contaminated glyphosate, which allegedly killed their corn; the panel remanded the lawsuit to the trial court (Allen Hoffbauer, et al. v. Farmers Cooperative, No. 11-962, Neb. App.; 2012 Neb. App. LEXIS 190).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Oct. 1 stayed an action filed by numerous Peruvian children who allege that they were exposed to toxic substances from a smelting and refining site in Peru, pending the outcome of 11 consolidated appeals currently before a U.S. appeals court (Sr. Kate Reid, et al. v. The Doe Run Resources Corp., et al., No. 4:12CV01345, E.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141311).