SAN ANTONIO - A Texas federal judge on May 24 refused to certify a class of automated teller machine (ATM) users who were charged a transaction fee even though there was no physical notice on the ATM (Jimmie Lee Pfeffer, et al. v. HSA Retail, Inc., No. 11-959, W.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73083).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on May 25 conditionally certified a class of mental health workers seeking to recover unpaid overtime from their employer (Henry Harris, et al. v. Pathways Community Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., No. 10-789, W.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73038).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 25 affirmed a district court's decision to dismiss a construction company's petition to confirm a London arbitration award that was issued against the National Port Authority of Liberia, finding that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over the port authority (GSS Group Ltd., also known as Global Security Seals Group Ltd., v. National Port Authority, No. 11-7093, D.C. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10608).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on May 24 approved a $90 million settlement between former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. directors and officers and a proposed class of Lehman investors, settling claims that the executives misled the investors about Lehman's true exposure to subprime mortgages before its 2008 collapse (In re: Lehman Brothers Securities and ERISA Litigation, MDL No. 09-2017, (In re: Lehman Brothers Equity/Debt Securities Litigation, No. 08-5523), S.D. N.Y.). See related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65167. A complimentary copy of the memorandum and order is attached.
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin federal magistrate judge on May 23 refused to dismiss state wage-and-hour claims filed by janitorial workers after finding that supplemental jurisdiction was justified under the efficiency rationale (Vicente Martinez, et al. v. Regency Janitorial Services, Inc., et al., No. 11-C-259, E.D. Wis.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71635).
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on May 23 certified a class and preliminarily granted partial approval of a settlement in a suit in which a defendant was alleged to have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in its attempt to collect a debt purportedly owed to a third-party mortgage receiver, but he rejected the proposed settlement's requirement for class members to submit claim forms (Malka Andes v. G. Moss and Associates, LLP, No. 11-14295, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71661).
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - An Iowa federal judge on May 23 dismissed a class suit brought by individuals arrested on serious misdemeanor charges who claim that they were unconstitutionally strip-searched pursuant to an across-the-board jail policy in Woodbury County, Iowa (Melinda Barkley, et al. v. Woodbury County, Iowa, et al., No. 10-4106, N.D. Iowa; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71747).
LINCOLN, Neb - A psychologist properly was allowed to testify in a custody dispute that the mother was a more fit parent for sole custody, a Nebraska Court of Appeals panel held May 22 (Laura Keiser v. Scott Hohenthaner, No. A-11-590, Neb. App.; 2012 Neb. App. LEXIS 116).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - An expert's testimony that "any exposure" to asbestos substantially contributes to mesothelioma irreparably conflicts with his testimony that mesothelioma is a dose-response disease, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held May 23 in finding that a judge properly held a hearing on the testimony and then excluded it (Diana K. Betz, et al. v. Pneumo Abex LLC, successor-in-interest to Abex Corp., et al., No. 38 WAP 2010, Pa. Sup.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 22 upheld the approval of a $3.41 billion class action settlement in a lawsuit accusing the secretary of the Interior of breach of duty to account for funds held in trust for individual Native Americans (Elouise Pepion Cobell, et al. v. Kenneth Lee Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, et al., No. 11-5205, D.C. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10309).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on May 21 dismissed with prejudice an antitrust action brought by indirect purchasers challenging an alleged patent-licensing arrangement to control the availability and pricing of secure digital memory card (SD card) technologies as an unlawful restraint of trade (Dr. Dan Oliver, et al. V. SD-3C, LLC, et al., No. C 11-01260, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70615).
NEW YORK - Direct and indirect purchasers on May 21 filed for preliminary approval of a $10.5 million settlement with Aland (Jiangsu) Nutraceutical Co. Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer of Vitamin C, on claims that the manufacturer participated in an illegal cartel with other Chinese corporations to fix prices and limit supply for exports of Vitamin C, including those to the United States (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation (All Cases), No. 06-MC-1738, E.D. N.Y.). Subscribers may view the joint motion for preliminary approval available within the full update.
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on May 18 conditionally certified a wage-and-hour action filed against an oil and gas pumping company by employees who claim that they were not properly compensated for hours worked in excess of 40 per week (Nicole Olibas, et al. v. Leslie Kreis, et al., No. 11-2388, N.D. Texas). Subscribers may view the order available within the full update.
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.).