OAKLAND, Calif. - The plaintiffs in a putative class action alleging privacy violations by Facebook Inc.'s purported scanning of users' private messages are not permitted to compel materials from the social network's Irish affiliate, a California federal magistrate ruled July 21, finding that considerations of international comity weighed against such discovery (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95702).
DETROIT - A mechanical engineer can testify as an expert witness that the design of a portable tree-climbing ladder caused the injuries of a hunter who fell from the ladder because the expert is qualified and his opinions are reliable and relevant, a Michigan federal judge held July 23 (Patrick Valente, et al. v. Oak Leaf Outdoors, Inc., No. 14-12892, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95819).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on July 21 denied a motion by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Wal-Mart Transportation LLC (collectively, Wal-Mart) to certify an interlocutory appeal, finding Wal-Mart's questions of law to be "over-broad, argumentative and untethered" (Charles Ridgeway, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., No. 08-5221, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94981).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 22 vacated the certification of several state classes in a lawsuit accusing Volvo Cars of North America LLC and Volvo Car Corp. of selling cars with faulty sunroofs and remanded for further analysis and definition by the trial court (Joanne Neale, et al. v. Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, et al., No. 14-1540, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12629).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - After finding that parties need to provide additional information on a request to seal certain information, including a request for international arbitration, pursuant to local rules, a California federal judge on July 22 ordered a company to submit a declaration showing that parts of the motion to seal that it seeks to redact are sealable (Baysand Inc. v. Toshiba Corp., No. 15-cv-02425, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95724).
SAN FRANCISCO - An inmate who contends that he was poisoned by lead when he was instructed to clean prison facilities containing lead-based paint and asbestos on July 21 filed a brief in California federal court contending that there are genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment dismissal of his case (Norman Walter Hirscher v. Brad Smith, et al., No. 14-0340, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105729).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) on July 21 filed a brief in Florida federal court opposing a farm trust's motion seeking to correct its second amended complaint in a lawsuit in which it alleges that a group of chemical companies contaminated the trust's property with volatile organic compounds (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Two third-party defendants in a lawsuit brought by two men who contend that they were injured when a lithium battery exploded during a hydraulic fracturing operation on July 24 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court, arguing that the third-party case against them should be dismissed (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al., and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A partial final judgment determining an insurer's duty to defend an insured against construction defect claims under certain policy periods but not the insurer's duty to indemnify is not a final appealable order, a Florida appeals panel held July 24 (Florida Farm Bureau General Insurance Co. v. Peacock's Excavating Service Inc., et al., No. 2D14-977, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 11205).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 21 denied a motion by CVS Pharmacy Inc. and CVS Caremark Corp. (collectively, CVS) to dismiss a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by pharmacy technicians and ruled that his order was no longer subject to renewal based on the defendants' "relentless litigation tactics" (Keith Robert Dean, Jr., et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., et al., No. 14-2136, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95248).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - An Indiana federal judge on July 23 granted a German company's petition to confirm a $1,320,641.38 arbitration award and the costs associated with enforcing the decision, noting that the defendants did not oppose confirmation and that the dispute was governed by the parties' underlying agreement (Garmin Wurzburg GMBH v. Automotive Imagineering & Manufacturing LLC, et al., No. 3:14-cv-02006, N.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95959).
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on July 21 denied a motion to remand filed by insureds in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insureds' insurance agent was improperly joined in the action (Renee Davis, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 15-0596, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95086).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 23 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that an insurer has no duty to defend its farm insured against an underlying injury claim brought by an independent contractor because the employers liability coverage extends only to injuries of employees (Danny Swafford v. Forestry Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-6475, 6th Cir.).
DALLAS - No coverage exists for an underlying environmental contamination claim arising out of leaking underground storage tanks because the insured failed to provide notice of the claim within 30 days as required by the policy, the Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals said July 21 (Nicholas Petroleum Inc. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 05-13-01106-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 7489).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The federal judge in South Carolina overseeing litigation over allegedly defective windows made by MI Windows & Doors Inc. (MIWD) on July 23 awarded $7.9 million in fees and costs to attorneys representing homeowners who purchased the windows, after finding that the rates charged by counsel were reasonable (In re: MI Windows & Doors Inc. Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2333, No. 12-md-1, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95889).
CHICAGO - Two opposing damages experts - one for basketball great Michael Jordan and the other for two supermarket chains that Jordan says violated his right of publicity under Illinois state law - can testify on the fair market value of the chains' misappropriation of Jordan's identity in a magazine advertisement, a federal judge in Illinois held July 23 (Michael Jordan, et al. v. Dominick's Finer Foods, et al., No. 10-407, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95921).
PHILADELPHIA - A majority of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 23 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a federal flood insurer could not be held liable for an insurance agent's alleged misrepresentations in a dispute over flood coverage for a Subway franchise (Mahakali Krupa LLC, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 14-3764, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12687).
MIAMI - A Florida state court jury awarded $14.5 million July 23 to a woman who alleged that her oral cavity cancer was caused by her 30 years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris USA Inc. (Carmenza Merino v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 08-1287-CA-25, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on July 22 granted a motion for a new trial in a Children's Tylenol bacterial infection wrongful death case after finding a "reasonable possibility" that extraneous information reviewed by one juror influenced the 2014 defense verdict (Peter Robertson, et al. v. McNeil-PPC Inc., et al., No. 11-9050, C.D. Calif.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - In an opinion of first impression released July 21, the majority of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reinstated a jury verdict entered in favor of an insured and said the insurers are required to reimburse the insurer for an $80 million settlement of a putative class action alleging exposure to fugitive radioactive material released from nuclear fuel refineries near Pittsburgh (The Babcock & Wilcox Co., et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers, et al., No. 2 WAP 2014, Pa. Sup.; 2015 Pa. LEXIS 1551).