LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Paints Rehab Centers' Allegations As Vague, Wants Them Dismissed

LOS ANGELES - Amended complaints from three drug rehabilitation centers contain the same insufficiently broad allegations regarding the formation of contracts and the services provided as a previously dismissed pleading, an insurer told a federal judge in California on Jan. 25 (Casa Bella Recovery International Inc. v. Humana Inc., et al., Nos. 17-1801, 17-1804, 17-1807, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Individuals, Businesses File Class Suit For Losses From Fire, Montecito Mudslides

LOS ANGELES - Southern California Edison Co. and Edison International (collectively, SCE) own, operate and improperly maintained unsafe electrical infrastructure that caused a December 2017 fire in southern California that, in turn, triggered a January 2018 mudslide, killing nearly two dozen people and destroying homes and business, individuals and businesses allege in a Jan. 24 class complaint filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeking an unnamed amount for damages and destruction of property, loss of use of property, loss of business, other damages and attorney fees (Victoria Frost, et al. v. Southern California Edison Company, et al., No. BC691146, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - California Methane Rule Case Should Not Be Moved To Different Venue, Groups Say

SAN FRANCISCO - Environmental advocacy groups on Jan. 23 filed a brief in California federal court arguing that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke's decision to amend the Methane Waste Prevention Rule, which pertains to methane contamination by hydraulic fracturing companies, is "the second illegal step" in his "three step plan to ensure that oil and gas companies never have to comply with the duly promulgated" rule (Sierra Club, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 17-7187, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Refuses To Dismiss UCL, FAL Class Claims Related To Restaurant Surcharge

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Jan. 23 denied motions to remand and dismiss a class action filed by a consumer, who alleges that a surcharge added to a restaurant bill violates California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other laws, finding that the claims were based on factual allegations that were not before the court and that the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional requirement (Kathleen Holt v. Noble House Hotels & Resorts Ltd., et al., No. 17cv2246, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10955).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Refuses To Dismiss UCL, FAL Class Claims Related To Restaurant Surcharge

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Jan. 23 denied motions to remand and dismiss a class action filed by a consumer, who alleges that a surcharge added to a restaurant bill violates California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other laws, finding that the claims were based on factual allegations that were not before the court and that the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional requirement (Kathleen Holt v. Noble House Hotels & Resorts Ltd., et al., No. 17cv2246, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10955).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Paris Attack Victim's Family Says Google Is Not Immune From Terror-Aiding Claims

OAKLAND, Calif. - Google LLC cannot claim immunity from terror-aiding claims under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), the family of a terror attack victim argues in a Jan. 22 brief opposing Google's renewed dismissal motion, telling a California federal court that the immunity provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) does not apply to ATA claims or to acts committed outside the United States (Reynaldo Gonzalez, et al. v. Google LLC, No. 4:16-cv-03282, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Restitution, Attorney Fees Tentatively Out In California State's Opioid Suit

SANTA ANA, Calif. - In a tentative ruling on defense demurrers and motions, a California state judge on Jan. 22 struck a state county's claim for restitution and attorney fees in an ongoing opioid lawsuit against various drug manufacturers (The People of the State of California, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 30-2014-00725287-CT-BT-CXC, Calif. Super., Orange Co.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Federal Judge Refuses To Exercise Jurisdiction Over UCL Contract Claims, Remands

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After finding that no federal claims remained against various lenders and property companies, a California federal judge on Jan. 22 remanded claims asserted by borrowers for breach of contract, fraud and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) to a California state court (John Brooks, et al. v. FCI Lender Services Inc., No. 2:16-cv-02598, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9974).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Health Plan Interpretation Plausible, ERISA Claims Fail, Insurer Argues

SAN FRANCISCO - To prevail on their claims, plaintiffs must show that an insurer's interpretation of plan documents was implausible, a standard a class action challenging guidelines governing mental health and substance abuse coverage cannot meet, an insurer tells a federal judge in California in a Jan. 23 post-trial brief (David and Natasha Wit, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-02346, Gary Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-5337, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Court Compels UCL, Discrimination Claims Against Casino To Arbitration

LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court on Jan. 22 affirmed a trial court's ruling granting a motion to compel and to dismiss in favor of a casino, finding that claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and discrimination asserted by a former employee, whose employment was rescinded before she began work, were subject to arbitration (Brittney Lee v. California Commerce Club Inc., No. B276171, Cal. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 444).

Mealey's IP/Tech - California Federal Judge Orders YouTube, Google To Show Cause For Removal

LOS ANGELES - A recent removal by YouTube LLC and Google Inc. of a purported copyright action to California federal court and subsequent request for dismissal prompted a California federal judge on Jan. 22 to enter an order to show cause for why the case should not be returned to Los Angeles County Superior Court (Akiko Kijimoto v. YouTube LLC, et al., No. 17-8184, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9918).

Mealey's Insurance - Motion To Strike Health Care Provider's Pleading Remains After Briefing Vacated

LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Jan. 23 vacated briefing on a motion to dismiss an emergency health services provider's case against an insurer, but let stand a motion to strike the new filing, which the defendant claims ignores the court's order not to add defendants (Long Beach Memorial Medical Center v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina Inc., et al., No. 17-8181, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Refuses To Exercise Jurisdiction Over UCL Contract Claims, Remands

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After finding that no federal claims remained against various lenders and property companies, a California federal judge on Jan. 22 remanded claims asserted by borrowers for breach of contract, fraud and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) to a California state court (John Brooks, et al. v. FCI Lender Services Inc., No. 2:16-cv-02598, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9974).

Mealey's Insurance - Health Plan Interpretation Plausible, ERISA Claims Fail, Insurer Argues

SAN FRANCISCO - To prevail on their claims, plaintiffs must show that an insurer's interpretation of plan documents was implausible, a standard a class action challenging guidelines governing mental health and substance abuse coverage cannot meet, an insurer tells a federal judge in California in a Jan. 23 post-trial brief (David and Natasha Wit, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-02346, Gary Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-5337, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Finds No Conflict To Support Insured's Right To Independent Counsel

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Any possible or potential conflict is not legally sufficient to require an insurer to provide independent counsel, a California appeals panel ruled Jan. 22, affirming summary judgment against an additional insured regarding a coverage dispute over defense provided in a construction defect lawsuit (Centex Homes, et al. v. St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co., No. C081266, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 45).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Refuses To Dismiss UCL, Contract Claims Against Geico

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Jan. 19 granted the majority of an insurer's motion for summary judgment as to claims for fraud and declaratory relief asserted against it by an insured who sought coverage for vehicle theft, but allowed part of his claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and breach of contract to proceed, finding that issues of triable fact exist as to whether the coverage claim was denied based solely on his inability to produce cell phone records that were not available (Christopher T. Monroe v. Geico General Insurance Company, No. 5:14-cv-05174, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9106).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - McDonald's Argues That It's Not A Joint Employer Of Franchisees' Workers

SAN FRANCISCO - McDonald's Corp. and McDonald's U.S.A. LLC (collectively, McDonald's) are not joint employers under California's wage-and-hour law as they don't meet any one of the three tests sent out in Martinez v. Combs, 231 P.3d 259 (Cal. 2010), McDonald's argues in its appellee brief filed on Jan. 9 in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Guadalupe Salazar, et al. v. McDonald's Corp., et al., No. 17-15673, 9th Cir.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Refuses To Dismiss UCL, Contract Claims Against Geico

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Jan. 19 granted the majority of an insurer's motion for summary judgment as to claims for fraud and declaratory relief asserted against it by an insured who sought coverage for vehicle theft, but allowed part of his claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and breach of contract to proceed, finding that issues of triable fact exist as to whether the coverage claim was denied based solely on his inability to produce cell phone records that were not available (Christopher T. Monroe v. Geico General Insurance Company, No. 5:14-cv-05174, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9106).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - McDonald's Argues That It's Not A Joint Employer Of Franchisees' Workers

SAN FRANCISCO - McDonald's Corp. and McDonald's U.S.A. LLC (collectively, McDonald's) are not joint employers under California's wage-and-hour law as they don't meet any one of the three tests sent out in Martinez v. Combs, 231 P.3d 259 (Cal. 2010), McDonald's argues in its appellee brief filed on Jan. 19 in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Guadalupe Salazar, et al. v. McDonald's Corp., et al., No. 17-15673, 9th Cir.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Ruling Over Discovery Scope In DACA Suit Delayed Pending Negotiations

SAN FRANCISCO - Noting a request for additional negotiation time by a group of plaintiffs opposing rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a California federal judge on Jan. 22 allowed the plaintiffs and the U.S. government to take several days to try to agree on potential narrowing of the scope of a discovery order requiring the government to complete the administrative record with documents it asserts are privileged (The Regents of the University of California, et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al., No. 3:17-cv-05211, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - California Federal Judge: Search Engine Optimization Patents Are Invalid

SAN FRANCISCO - In a Jan. 19 holding, a California federal judge rejected, pursuant to Section 101 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 101, five patents covering the process of search engine optimization (SEO) (BrightEdge Technologies Inc. v. Searchmetrics GmbH, et al., No. 14-1009, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9007).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Temporary Restraining Order Bars Communication With Class In Wage-And-Hour Suit

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Jan. 17 granted a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) barring the defendants' counsel in a wage-and-hour suit from contacting potential class members, finding that there could be irreparable harm (Tyrell Glass, et al. v. FMM Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 17-563, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8364).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Fracking Groups: BLM Decision To Suspend Methane Rule Valid

SAN FRANCISCO - Hydraulic fracturing trade groups filed a brief in California federal court on Jan. 16 arguing that decision by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to amend the compliance deadlines for what is known as the methane waste prevention rule was valid. The groups oppose the motion for preliminary injunction sought by environmental advocacy groups on grounds that it is "an extraordinary remedy" (Sierra Club, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 17-7187, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Temporary Restraining Order Bars Communication With Class In Wage-And-Hour Suit

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Jan. 17 granted a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) barring the defendants' counsel in a wage-and-hour suit from contacting potential class members, finding that there could be irreparable harm (Tyrell Glass, et al. v. FMM Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 17-563, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8364).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - California High Court: Defects Suit Subject To Prelitigation Dispute Resolution

SAN FRANCISCO - The prelitigation requirements established under California's Right to Repair Act apply to an economic loss and property damage lawsuit brought by homeowners against the builder of 37 homes, the California Supreme Court ruled Jan. 18 in affirming a ruling staying the suit subject to the builder's ability to remedy the alleged defects (McMillin Albany LLC v. Superior Court of Kern County, No. S229762, Calif. Sup., 2018 Calif. LEXIS 211).