SAN FRANCISCO - A majority of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 9 affirmed a lower federal court's summary judgment ruling in favor of Blue Shield of California in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit challenging the denial of a claim for medical benefits, finding the court did not err in applying ERISA's "unique" abuse of discretion standard (Krysten C. v. Blue Shield of California, No. 16-16958, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 584).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Ruling on dueling summary judgment motions in an insurer's lawsuit seeking equitable contribution from a second insurer, a California federal judge on Jan. 9 found that two underlying lawsuits against Narconon International and its affiliates triggered commercial general liability and improper sexual conduct coverage and, therefore, the second insurer also has a duty to defend (Western World Insurance Company v. Nonprofits Insurance Alliance of California, No. 14-04466, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4720).
SAN FRANCISCO - Insureds' claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit over coverage under a homeowners insurance and a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP) are preempted by federal law, a federal judge in California ruled Jan. 10 in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss (Alicia Martin, et al. v. CSAA Insurance Exchange, No. 17-4066, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4675).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Jan. 10 ruled that claims for unpaid minimum and overtime wages, wage statement violations and violations of California's unfair competition law (UCL) are appropriate for class treatment in a lawsuit brought by Eddie Bauer LLC employees who allege that they were denied pay for time spent undergoing bag checks before they left the stores (Stephanie Heredia v. Eddie Bauer LLC, No. 16-6236, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4747).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Women helped by crisis pregnancy centers and 23 such centers based in Illinois sang the praises of the volunteer organizations in amicus curiae briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11 in an effort to bolster a Jan. 8 opening brief challenging a California law requiring the centers to disclose the availability of abortions (NIFLA, et al. v. Xavier Becerra, et al., No. 16-1140, U.S. Sup.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After finding that an insurer did not violate California's unfair competition law (UCL) when it denied coverage for injuries suffered by an insured in a vehicle accident that had already been paid under a medical plan, a California federal judge on Jan. 8 granted the insurer's motion to dismiss the claim against it without leave to amend (Deborah Quattrocchi v. Allstate Indemnity Company, No. 2:17-cv-01578, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3922).
LOS ANGELES - A building materials supplier accused of selling defective flagstone to a couple's masonry subcontractor cannot obtain attorney fees from the plaintiffs after prevailing on its breach of warranty claim, a California appeals panel ruled Jan. 9, holding that an agreement between the seller and the subcontractor only conferred a right to the parties in the contract to those fees (Jeffrey Prince, et al. v. Thompson Building Materials, No. B280813, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2nd Div., 2018 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 150).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Although upholding a California federal judge's determination of patent eligibility, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 10 deemed a defendant entitled to judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) with regard to a separate patent on grounds that an accused malware detection product does not perform a claimed "policy index" limitation (Finjan Inc. v. Blue Coat Systems Inc., No. 16-2520, Fed. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Car dealership "service advisors" are salesmen primarily engaged in "serving automobiles" and, as a result, are exempt from receiving overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a California dealership argues in its reply brief filed Jan. 8 in the U.S. Supreme Court (Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Hector Navarro, et al., No. 16-1362, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Insureds create standards for lactation support services the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not impose in an attempt to save their suit, an insurance group told a California federal judge on Jan. 5 in support of its motion for summary judgment (Rachel Condry, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 17-183, N.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that a California natural plant company's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and fraud against a group of companies and their officer in relation to a distribution agreement arose directly under an underlying contract, a California federal judge on Jan. 8 compelled the claims against one business entity to arbitration in Hong Kong (Everest Biosynthesis Group LLC, dba Natural Plant Extracts v. Biosynthesis Pharma Group Limited, et al., No. 17cv1466, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3258).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A state labor agency's records related to the drafting of legislation, including the identities of individuals consulted during drafting, are protected from disclosure under the California Public Records Act (PRA), a California appeals panel ruled Jan. 8, deeming such information exempted under the deliberative process privilege and the work product doctrine (Labor and Workplace Development Agency v. Fowler Packing Company Inc., et al., No. C083180, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 15).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California appeals court on Jan. 5 affirmed the dismissal of claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), fraud and other claims asserted against lenders and a loan servicer, finding that borrowers failed to show that their original loan was void (Andrea E. Lucas, et al. v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, et al., No. G053165, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 114).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Jan. 8 found that purchasers of allegedly defective dive computers sufficiently alleged facts to allow their claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) to survive dismissal, but granted the maker of the equipment's motion to strike a third-party complaint against it (Ralph A. Huntzinger, et al. v. Aqua Lung America Inc., et al., No. 15cv1146, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3222).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A commercial general liability (CGL) insurer on Jan. 4 moved for summary judgment in California federal court in a coverage dispute with Yahoo! Inc., arguing that its duty to indemnify was never triggered in underlying privacy lawsuits over the internet firm's former email-scanning practices because no damages award was levied against Yahoo (Yahoo! Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 5:17-cv-00489, N.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - Although a defendant's law firm did not comply with its ethical duty to notify the plaintiff upon its receipt of privileged materials, a California appeals panel on Jan. 4 found that a trial court referee did not err in declining to disqualify the firm because the plaintiff was not greatly damaged by the material's disclosure (1100 Wilshire Property Owners Association v. 1100 Wilshire Commercial LLC, No. B281127, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 100).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals panel on Jan. 8 reversed a trial court judge's ruling that a special causation standard applies to companies accused of being responsible parties for contamination under the Polanco Redevelopment Act, finding that a plaintiff must show only that the manufacturer's improper instructions on disposal were a factor in the contamination (City of Modesto v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. A134419, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div., 2018 Calif. App. LEXIS 13).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A California law governing abortion-related disclosures focuses on content-based noncommercial speech, subjecting it to a strict scrutiny standard the state cannot reach, an advocacy group tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Jan. 8 opening brief (NIFLA, et al. v. Xavier Becerra, et al., No. 16-1140, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 granted a communications networks hardware and software supplier's motion to strike shareholders' supplemental brief challenging a California Superior Court ruling that the shareholders in a securities class action are not preempted by the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA) from bringing their Securities Act of 1933 claims (Cyan Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund, et al., No. 15-1439, U.S. Sup.).