OAKLAND, Calif. - The widow of a woman who died of cancer after a 26-year career with FedEx Corp. can pursue a claim alleging that FedEx violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying the widow benefits under her partner's pension plan based on the plan's definition of spouse as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife," a California federal judge held Jan. 4 (Stacey Schuett v. FedEx Corporation, et al., No. 15-cv-0189, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 244).
SAN FRANCISCO - In what he deemed a "thorny" and "somewhat rare policy dilemma," U.S. Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. of the Northern District of California on Dec. 30 granted a plaintiff's request to stay its own patent infringement litigation in favor of a later-filed proceeding before the International Trade Commission (ITC) (Aliphcom d/b/a Jawbone and Bodymedia Inc. v. Fitbit Inc., No. 15-2579, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173078).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Dec. 29 dismissed a class complaint against General Mills Inc. and General Mills Sales Inc. over the companies' use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) with leave to amend but stayed the action pending the Food and Drug Administration's determination of the food additive status of PHOs (Jennifer Red, et al. v. General Mills, Inc., et al., No. 15-2232, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172671).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals court on Dec. 31 affirmed the dismissal of a trustee's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and for wrongful foreclosure, finding that a bank's ineffective attempt to securitize a loan obligation adversely affected the value of her property or that the UCL was violated (Cynthia Heier as Trustee, etc. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. A140847, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3; Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9475).
FRESNO, Calif. - After agreeing with a magistrate judge's recommendation that a proposed class settlement of numerous labor claims and causes of action for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) was unfair, a California federal judge on Dec. 29 denied a motion to approve the settlement (Arturo Salgado, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. Land O'Lakes Inc., et al., No. 1:13-CV-798, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173276).
SAN FRANCISCO - A biopharmaceutical company shareholder filed a securities class action complaint in California federal court on Dec. 18, alleging that the company and certain of its executive officers issued a series of misrepresentations regarding the company's business and financial condition in violation of federal securities laws (Kang Li v. KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 15-5841, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 21 added the asbestos trust created by the Chapter 11 reorganization of The Flintkote Co. as a plaintiff and two insurers as defendants in Flintkote's declaratory judgment action seeking to compel an insurer to enter into arbitration to determine the insurer's responsibility under an agreement with Flintkote to pay insurance proceeds for underlying asbestos claims (The Flintkote Company v. Aviva PLC, No. 15-cv-01638, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170383).
LOS ANGELES - A federal magistrate judge in California on Dec. 18 ordered an officer of the Environmental World Watch Inc. (EWW), which claims that The Walt Disney Co. allows contaminated storm water containing zinc and copper to run off of its property, to address matters over his alleged failure to preserve emails from other officers of the group and attempts to avoid deposition to prevent the imposition of sanctions (Environmental World Watch Inc. v. Walt Disney Company, et al., No. CV 09-04045-DMG, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170303).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 17 granted preliminary approval of a settlement under which Uber Technologies Inc. will halt collecting additional fees for trips to and from certain California airports and refund more than $1.7 million in extra fees paid by customers who were dropped off to or picked up from those airports (Vamsi Tadepalli v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 15-4348, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169076).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California appeals panel on Dec. 16 affirmed a man's conviction and sentencing for two counts of making a false insurance claim, one count of attempted perjury, one count of fraud to obtain aid, one count of perjury, one count of grand theft and one count of insurance fraud, ruling that the judge presiding over the trial did not err in dismissing a juror who was visibly shaken and crying as a result of deliberations (People v. Chip Kyle Bolton, No. H041106, Calif. App., 6th Dist.; 2015 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9031).
SANTA MONICA, Calif. - In a product liability trial that lasted just over a week, a California jury on Dec. 17 found that a woman's injuries from a security door were not the fault of the company that sold the door (Paradee Chularee, et al. v. The Cookson Company Inc., et al., No. S216305, Calif. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES - An expert's opinion that a water tower's gray fuzzy material was asbestos and not the wood as the plaintiff called it is insufficient to create triable issues, a divided California appeals court panel held Dec. 15 (Kenneth Evans, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B257665, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Dec. 16 ruled that a plaintiff land buyer who has not closed escrow on the purchase of a property that is contaminated as a result of dry cleaning operations on an adjacent property can pursue state law claims and a claim under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), finding that the plaintiff has standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution (Jim 72 Properties LLC v. Montgomery Cleaners, d/b/a Montgomery Cleaners & Pressers, et al., No. 15-cv-7543-ODW, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168374).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 16 withdrew its September ruling vacating a California federal judge's denial of an injunction in high-stakes patent litigation and issued a slightly revised opinion in its place (Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. et al., No. 14-1802, Fed. Cir.).
ALAMEDA, Calif. - A California state court jury on Dec. 14 returned a $70 million punitive damages verdict against Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. for a plaintiff who was injured when a surgical stapler allegedly misfired and resulted in additional surgery and complications (Florence Kuhlmann, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 13675753, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Dec. 11 excluded an expert's report and testimony as to dollar figures of his aggregate damages analysis for rest break premiums, meal period premiums and underpaid meal premium classes for damages pursuant to California Labor Code Section 226.7 (Sandrika Medlock, et al. v. Taco Bell Corp., et al., No. 07-01314, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167128).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 11 allowed a plaintiff who filed a wage-and-hour class action against Best Buy Stores L.P. to amend her complaint a second time, despite the retailer's argument that the motion should be denied due to the plaintiff's undue delay (Starvona Harris v. Best Buy Stores, L.P., No. 15-657, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166520).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Dec. 15 granted a motion filed by the owner of a dating social media network application to dismiss claims asserted by a user for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and Dating Service Contracts Act (DSCA) but permitted him leave to amend the complaint (Mark Howell, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. Grindr LLC, No. 15cv1337, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167669).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California appeals panel on Dec. 11 reversed a judge's granting of a directed verdict and remanded for retrial an insured's claims for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing against his insurer for denied coverage of water damage to his rental house, but not the claim for punitive damages (Artyun Vardanyan v. AMCO Insurance Co., No. F069953, Calif. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8925).