LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Life Care Needs Expert's Testimony Allowed In Suit Over Woman's Quadriplegia

FRESNO, Calif. - A woman who suffered a spinal cord injury in a car crash, resulting in permanent, complete quadriplegia, won two victories in her product liability suit against a carmaker when a California federal judge on April 26 rejected the company's bid to exclude her life care needs expert testimony and ruled that California law applies to the action (Miriam Michelle Mendoza v. General Motors LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-00967, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70542).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Magistrate Denies Volkswagen Franchise Dealers' Motion To Compel Discovery

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate on April 24 denied Volkswagen-branded franchise dealers' motion to compel withheld production in their lawsuit alleging that Robert Bosch LLC and Robert Bosch GmbH (collectively, Bosch) conspired with Volkswagen to develop the defeat device in Volkswagen's "clean diesel" vehicles to evade emission standards (In Re: Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices, And Products Liability Litigation; No. 16-02086, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69066).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Claim For Record-Keeping Fees Survives Union Retirement Plan's Dismissal Motion

SANTA ANA, Calif. - Plan participants who brought a class complaint against a union retirement plan may proceed with their claim over record-keeping fees, a California federal judge ruled on April 24, finding that the plaintiffs showed that they had standing and properly stated a claim; however, he dismissed the plaintiffs' other claim over the offering of retail shares with leave to amend (Felipe Ybarra, et al. v. Board of Trustees of Supplemental Income Trust Fund, et al., No. 17-2091, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Life Care Needs Expert's Testimony Allowed In Suit Over Woman's Quadriplegia

FRESNO, Calif. - A woman who suffered a spinal cord injury in a car crash, resulting in permanent, complete quadriplegia, won two victories in her product liability suit against a carmaker when a California federal judge on April 26 rejected the company's bid to exclude her life care needs expert testimony and ruled that California law applies to the action (Miriam Michelle Mendoza v. General Motors LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-00967, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70542).

Mealey's Insurance - No Coverage Owed To Trustee For Underlying Contamination Claims

LOS ANGELES - The Second District California Court of Appeal on April 24 affirmed a trial court's ruling that no coverage is owed to a trustee for underlying environmental contamination claims because the trustee was not an additional insured under the insurance policy (Michael Sullivan, et al. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. B281479, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2836).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - NLRB Jurisdiction Over Indian Casinos Affirmed; Violation Ruling Stands

PASADENA, Calif. - The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) governs employment at Indian casinos on tribal land, and the National Labor Relations Board reasonably applied the law in finding that a California tribe violated the NLRA by threatening and disciplining workers for handing out union flyers, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 26 in upholding the board's ruling (Casino Pauma v. National Labor Relations Board, et al., National Labor Relations Board v. Casino Pauma, Nos. 16-70397, 16-70756, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10553).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Niantic Denies Liability For Nuisance, Trespass Claims In Pokemon GO Class Action

SAN FRANCISCO - In an April 24 answer filed in California federal court, Niantic Inc. argues that it cannot be found liable for incidents of nuisance and trespass carried out by players of its Pokemon GO game, raising defenses of consent, lack of standing and absence of proximate cause (In re Pokemon GO Nuisance Litigation, No. 3:16-cv-04300, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Mortgage-Related Claims Were Properly Removed To Federal Court, Judge Holds

LOS ANGELES - Even though the damages sought by a borrower in relation to a loan modification from lenders and a loan servicer were significantly reduced in an amended complaint, a California federal judge on April 24 said the court had to rely on the amount sought in the original state court pleading, which satisfied the amount-in-controversy requirements for federal jurisdiction (Yakov Litinetsky v. Caliber Homes Inc., et al., No. 18-1586, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69014).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Denies Kimono Maker's Motion To Dismiss Contract Claim

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on April 24 granted a jiu-jitsu kimono maker's motion to dismiss claims asserted by a competitor for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), fraud and other claims, but refused to dismiss a claim for breach of contract in relation to a nondisclosure agreement for proprietary data and development materials (Champion Courage Ltd. v. Fighter's Market Inc., et al., No. 17-cv-01855, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69043).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Niantic Denies Liability For Nuisance, Trespass Claims In Pokemon GO Class Action

SAN FRANCISCO - In an April 24 answer filed in California federal court, Niantic Inc. argues that it cannot be found liable for incidents of nuisance and trespass carried out by players of its Pokemon GO game, raising defenses of consent, lack of standing and absence of proximate cause (In re Pokemon GO Nuisance Litigation, No. 3:16-cv-04300, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Insurance - Reinsurer Seeks Federal Court Confirmation Of $82,130.44 Arbitration Award

LOS ANGELES - A reinsurer on April 23 petitioned a California federal court for confirmation of an $82,130.44 arbitration award issued in its favor regarding a bad faith claim made against a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) (Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Company Inc. v. O'Connell Landscape Maintenance Inc., No. 18-00683, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 9th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Trademark Dispute Over 'Sqrat'

SAN FRANCISCO - In an April 25 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Fox Entertainment Group Inc., upholding a dismissal by a California federal judge of allegations that the film studio infringed trademark rights in a half-squirrel, half-rat character known as "Sqrat" (Ivy Silberstein and Silberstein & Silberstein LLC v. Fox Entertainment Group Inc., et al., No. 16-55318, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10447).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge Grants Counsel's Request To Withdraw, Finds Irreparable Breakdown

LOS ANGELES - After finding that an irreparable breakdown has occurred between counsel and employers named in an action filed by former employees who assert claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), fraud and other claims, a California federal judge on April 24 granted the employer's counsel's request to withdraw from the case (Graham Farrar, et al. v. Cupcake Digital Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-04677, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69000).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Grants Counsel's Request To Withdraw, Finds Irreparable Breakdown

LOS ANGELES - After finding that an irreparable breakdown has occurred between counsel and employers named in an action filed by former employees who assert claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), fraud and other claims, a California federal judge on April 24 granted the employer's counsel's request to withdraw from the case (Graham Farrar, et al. v. Cupcake Digital Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-04677, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69000).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Orders Deposition Of Defunct Asbestos Defendant's Representative

SAN FRANCISCO - While a couple did not comply with rules governing discovery in a dispute over a company's failure to disclose a corporate representative, their failure did not alter the outcome or prejudice a defunct shipbuilder's defense of an asbestos case, a federal judge in California held April 20 (John Newton Jones v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 17-5446, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 9th Circuit: Monkey, Other Animals Cannot Sue For Copyright Infringement

SAN FRANCISCO - Although finding that a monkey possesses jurisdictional standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 23 upheld a California federal judge's dismissal of the monkey's copyright claims, citing a lack of statutory standing (Naruto, a Crested Macaque, by and through his Next Friends, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. David John Slater, et al., No. 16-15469, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10129).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Citing Litigation, Business Misconduct, Federal Circuit Agrees: Patent Claims Barred

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A California federal judge's conclusion, following a bench trial, that business and litigation misconduct bars Merck & Co. from enforcing two patents against Gilead Sciences Inc. was not clearly erroneous, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 25 (Gilead Sciences Inc. v. Merck & Co. Inc., et al., No. 16-2302, Fed. Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - California Panel Affirms Rulings In Coverage Suit Arising From Train Crash

LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on April 19 affirmed a lower court's summary judgment rulings in a dispute arising from a Sept. 12, 2008, head-on collision between a commuter train and a freight train that killed 25 people (Those Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, et al. v. Connex Railroad LLC, et al., No. B276373, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2695).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court: Federal Officer Defense Frees Navy Insulation Supplier

SAN FRANCISCO - The government's selection of asbestos-containing insulation is enough for the federal officer defense to bar litigation against an insulation supplier, a California court held April 19 (Paula Tarjani, et al. v. Metalclad Insulation Corp., No. A140577, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2690).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Man Alleges Used-Car Seller, Shell Reinsurer Involved In Fraud Scheme

FRESNO, Calif. - A California man alleges in an April 17 complaint filed in a California trial court that a used-vehicle seller and its affiliates, including an illegal shell reinsurance company, are involved in three fraudulent schemes in the sale of used vehicles and violated California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 (Alejandra Ochoa-Gonzalez v. Paul Blanco's Good Car Company Fresno Inc., et al., No. 18CECG01311, Calif. Super., Fresno Co.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Grants Dismissal For Banks, Allows Amendment Of HBOR, UCL Claims

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Feb. 20 granted a motion filed by banks to dismiss causes of action asserted against them in relation to a mortgage for failure to state a claim, but granted a borrower leave to amend certain claims for violation of California housing law and California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Kevin Crumley v. U.S. Bank National Association, et al., No. 5:17-cv-07144, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27124).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Grants Dismissal For Banks, Allows Amendment Of HBOR, UCL Claims

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Feb. 20 granted a motion filed by banks to dismiss causes of action asserted against them in relation to a mortgage for failure to state a claim, but granted a borrower leave to amend certain claims for violation of California housing law and California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Kevin Crumley v. U.S. Bank National Association, et al., No. 5:17-cv-07144, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27124).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Restaurant 'Adequately Alleges' Infringement Threat In Franchise Case, Judge Says

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Feb. 20 denied a motion to dismiss a franchise dispute involving two restaurants because the plaintiffs' amended complaint "adequately alleges" a threat of imminent use of a trademark that would constitute infringement (Jgx Inc. v. Jon Handlery, et al., No. 17-cv-00287-BLF, N.D. Calif.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27079).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Allows Investor To Amend UCL, Fraud Complaint To Add Defendant

SAN DIEGO - After finding that there was no undue delay by an investor who alleges that the manager of a nightclub development company violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and committed securities fraud by inducing him into investing money for the development of a club, a California federal judge on Feb. 21 granted him leave to amend his complaint to name another manager as a defendant (Matthias Mueller v. San Diego Entertainment Partners LLC, et al., No. 16cv2997, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28013).

Mealey's Insurance - Long-Term Disability Claim Was Properly Denied As Time-Barred, Judge Rules

SAN DIEGO - Dismissal of an insured's insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is necessary because her claims were not brought within the applicable statute of limitations and she has failed to show that the limitations period was tolled by the discovery rule, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 20 in granting an insurer's motion to dismiss (Laurel Davis v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 17-0738, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27045).