SAN FRANCISCO - A network of "vendors" who perform maintenance and repair services at properties owned by Field Asset Services Inc. (FAS) are employees, not independent contractors, and are owed overtime and business expenses, a California federal judge ruled March 17 in an order granting the vendors' motion for partial summary judgment and denying FAS's motion to decertify the class of vendors (Fred Bowerman, et al. v. Field Asset Services Inc., et al., No. 13-57, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39000).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on March 17 dismissed without prejudice a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against a professional liability insurer in a coverage dispute arising from the insured's alleged breach of a loan agreement (GemCap Lending, LLC v. Scottsdale Indemnity Co., et al., No. 15-09942, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38931).
SAN DIEGO - A safety engineer and accident reconstruction expert may not testify regarding Sea World LLC's liability relating to the safety of an area at the time of a woman's accident while visiting the park, a California federal judge held March 17 (Eusebia Baltazar v. Sea World Parks Entertainment LLC, No. 15-2893, S.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39039).
LOS ANGELES - Because a plaintiff can arguably state a claim against an insurance claims adjuster for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the claims adjuster is not a sham defendant and was not fraudulently joined to defeat federal jurisdiction, a California federal judge said March 17 in remanding the insureds' suit seeking additional coverage for mold damage to California state court (Health Pro Dental Corp., et al. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al., No. 17-637, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38944).
FRESNO, Calif. - A judge properly admitted expert testimony that every identifiable exposure to asbestos contributes to mesothelioma, a California appeals court held March 17, while also rejecting challenges involving tobacco use and an award of punitive damages (Charity Faith Phillips, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. F070761, Calif. App., 5th Dist.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 16 denied an insured's petition to substitute her as the plaintiff in an action in which her husband sought coverage for theft under an insurance policy, finding that she failed to submit sufficient medical evidence to support a finding that he was incompetent to proceed as a plaintiff (Ray Gibson v. Hagerty Insurance Agency, et al., No. 1:16-cv-00677, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38231).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against a drug maker and certain of its executive officers asked a federal judge in California on March 15 to certify a class of investors, arguing that class certification is statutorily appropriate (Hsingching Hsu v. Puma Biotechnology Inc., et al., No. 15-0865, C.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on March 15 substantially dismissed a securities class action complaint against a solar energy products manufacturer and certain of its executive officers, ruling that shareholders failed to plead the requisite elements of a majority of their federal securities laws claims (Kevin T. Know, et al. v. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd., et al., No. 15-4003, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37223).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a March 15 order, a California federal judge denied preliminary approval of a proposed settlement of a class action over Google Inc.'s practice of scanning emails of non-Gmail users, faulting the lack of clear notice and disclosures in the settlement and finding it unclear that the settlement is "fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable" (Daniel Matera, et al. v. Google Inc., No. 5:15-cv-04062, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37370).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 13 held that an insurance policy's financial services exclusion precludes coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging Lanham Act and unfair competition claims against an insured, further finding that the underlying claims asserting that the insured illegally charged up-front fees to homeowners seeking mortgage advice are uninsurable under California law (First One Lending Corporation, et al. v. The Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-01500, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36548).
SAN FRANCISCO - Competing motions for summary judgment on whether licensing agreements asserted in a third amended complaint (TAC) establish that disputed software is subject to the first-sale defense to allegations of copyright infringement were denied March 14 by a California federal judge (Microsoft Corp. v. A&S Electronics Inc., No. 15-3570, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36477).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 14 found that San Francisco Forty Niners Football Co.'s primary commercial general liability insurer has a duty to contribute by equal shares with another insurer to defense costs in an underlying lawsuit against the football team and others (First Mercury Insurance Co. v. Great Divide Insurance Co., No. 16-02114, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36501).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 13 denied a disability claimant's motion to remand and granted a disability insurer's motion to dismiss after determining that a breach of contract claim is completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (James Heldt v. Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, No. 16-885, S.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36490).
LOS ANGELES - A class of customers who purchase skin puncture lancets and test strips used by diabetics and filed a class complaint seeking an order to compel pharmacies to file a claim seeking a refund of the sales tax paid for those items failed to establish that the necessary "unique circumstances" exist that would require a court to create a new tax refund remedy, a California appellate panel ruled March 13 (Michael McClain, et al. v. Sav-On Drugs, et al., Nos. B265011 and B265029, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 217).
SAN FRANCISCO - A motion for a partial stay filed by an employer in a wage-and-hour dispute pursuant to the Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800 (1976), doctrine must be denied because it was an attempt to dismiss "the potentially meritorious" claims of a nationwide class, a California federal judge ruled March 13 (Lacey Hernandez, et al. v. Sephora USA, Inc., No. 16-5392, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35758).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on March 10 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by American Honda Motor Co. Inc. in a proposed class complaint accusing the car maker of selling certain models with defective windows and granted the plaintiffs' motion to amend their complaint to substitute the named plaintiff to represent a narrowed proposed class (Phyllis Grodzitsky, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., No. 12-1142, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185019).