PASADENA, Calif. - A split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 23 vacated class certification in a $210 million class settlement reached between consumers and defendants Hyundai Motor America Inc. and its affiliate Kia Motors America Inc. regarding the fuel efficiency of their vehicles, ruling that the District Court abused its discretion in finding that common questions predominate despite variations in state law and certifying the settlement class; the majority remanded for further proceedings (In re Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation, Nos. 15-56014, 15-56025, 15-56059, 15-56061, 15-56064, 15-56067, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1626).
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).
NEW YORK - A Swedish court on Jan. 24 upheld a previous order freezing approximately $100 million in assets of Kazakhstan shares, which will allow a group of Moldovan investors to obtain payment of a $506 million arbitral award issued in their favor.
PHOENIX - Motel 6 Operating L.P. and G6 Hospitality LLC, doing business as Motel 6, maintain a policy of disclosing guest registration information to agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) without requiring a warrant or reasonable suspicion of criminal acidity in violation of the U.S. Constitution, federal civil rights statutes and Arizona statutes, several unnamed Latino guests allege in a class complaint filed Jan. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (Jane V., et al. v. Motel 6 Operating L.P., et al., No. 18-242, D. Ariz.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A split Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 23 vacated a trial court's ruling that a class suit over alleged breach of contract by a North Carolina nursing home belongs in state court due a forum-selection clause in residents' contracts and remanded for further factual development on the question of whether all of the defendants are bound by the clause (Jeanne T. Bartels, et al. v. Saber Healthcare Group, LLC, et al., Nos. 16-2247 and 16-2416, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1565).
EDINBURGH, Scotland - A U.K. energy firm on Jan. 23 gave an update on its pending arbitration with the Indian Income Tax Department, announcing that a final hearing is scheduled for later this year.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - In light of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling and newly submitted evidence suggesting potential criminal misuse of policyholders' personally identifiable information (PII), which was stolen in a breach of their insurer's network, a New York federal judge on Jan. 19 found that sufficient allegations of injury from the risk of future identity theft merited reconsideration of her previous decision to dismiss claims brought by some of the plaintiffs in a putative class action against the insurer (Matthew Fero, et al. v. Excellus Health Plan Inc., et al., No. 6:15-cv-06569, W.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8999).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 18 declined to enforce arbitration agreements distributed by a gentlemen's club to its exotic dancers after a wage-and-hour class complaint was already filed (Alexis Degidio, et al. v. Crazy Horse Saloon and Restaurant Inc., et al., No. 17-1145, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1178).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal magistrate judge on Jan. 19 determined that an insurer is required to produce documents related to its knowledge of any lead paint conditions at its insured's buildings prior to the date on which the insured's insurance application and endorsement became effective (CX Reinsurance Company Limited, f/k/a CNA Reinsurance Company Limited v. Devon S. Johnson, No. 15-3132, D. Md., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8594).
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.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 22 held that a directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance policy's professional services exclusion unambiguously bars coverage for claims in an underlying Facebook IPO class action lawsuit, affirming a lower court's ruling against an excess errors and omissions (E&O) insurer seeking coverage from the D&O insurer (Beazley Insurance Co. Inc. v. Ace American Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2812, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1372).
TAMPA, Fla. - After a zoo and its owners failed to submit timely discovery responses in relation to allegations that they violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a Florida federal judge on Jan. 19 partially granted a motion filed by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals Inc. (PETA) for sanctions (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Dad City's Wild Things, No. 16-2899, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8761).
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.).
DOVER, Del. - Attorneys for two chemical companies and those representing a class of plaintiffs on Jan. 17 debated before the Delaware Supreme Court the question of whether a long-standing class action related to alleged injuries from chemical exposure on banana plantations was still active (Luis Antonio Aguilar Marquinez, et al., v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 231, 2017, Del. Sup.).
PITTSBURGH - Blank Rome on Jan. 18 announced that a new partner has joined its commercial litigation group in Pittsburgh.
LOS ANGELES - Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton on Jan. 19 announced that it has entered into a cooperative agreement with a law firm in Saudi Arabia.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 22 denied a petition for certiorari filed by an online data aggregator seeking review of a follow-up question related to standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution that it claimed was not resolved in a 2016 ruling by the Supreme Court in the same case (Spokeo Inc. v. Thomas Robins, No. 17-806, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A chemical company filed a brief in New York federal court on Jan. 16 arguing that the district court should reconsider its ruling that determined that personal injury claims related to chemical exposure allegedly suffered on banana plantations were not barred by the statute of limitations (Tobias Bermudez Chavez, et al. v. Occidental Chemical Corporation, No. 17-3459, S.D. N.Y.).
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).
GREENVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi residents who sued a company alleging that it is liable for groundwater contamination filed a brief in Mississippi federal court on Jan. 16 seeking to compel the production of documents related to expert testimony (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-053, N.D. Miss.).
CHICAGO - A network of nursing home facilities on Jan. 12 filed a class action complaint in an Illinois federal court on behalf of nursing home residents who filed applications for Medicaid benefits, arguing that the director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) failed to comply with an obligation to provide Medicaid benefits in violation of the federal Medicaid Act and other laws (Alden Management Services Inc. v. Felicia F. Norwood, No. 1:18cv238, N.D. Ill.).
MARSHALL, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on Jan. 17 granted in part a motion by a patent holder to exclude testimony from a ticket distributor's computer-programming expert in a dispute over a license agreement, ruling that the expert cannot offer opinions about a key term in the agreement because the meaning of the term is a question of law for a jury to determine (CEATS, Inc. v. TicketNetwork, Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-01470, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7214).
PHILADELPHIA - Aetna Inc. and related entities (Aetna, collectively) have agreed to pay $17,161,200 to settle privacy claims by more than 13,400 class members whose HIV status was revealed by the insurer through an indiscreet mailing, according to a motion for preliminary approval of a class action settlement filed Jan. 16 (Andrew Beckett, et al. v. Aetna, Inc., et al., No. 17-3864, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK - It is unclear whether a federal district court properly applied the correct standard in determining that defendants in a securities class action lawsuit failed to properly rebut the presumption of reliance by a preponderance of the evidence as required pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Basic Inc. v. Levinson, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 12 in vacating and remanding the lower court's grant of class certification (Arkansas Teachers Retirement System, et al. v. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., et al., No. 16-0250, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 810).
NEW YORK - A data and metrics provider for the media, advertising and marketing industries will pay $110 million to settle claims that it and certain of its current and former officers and directors violated federal securities law by engaging in a massive accounting fraud, lead plaintiffs claim in a motion for preliminary approval of settlement and stipulation of settlement filed Jan. 12 in New York federal court (Fresno County Employees' Retirement Association, et al. v. comScore Inc., et al., No. 16-1820, S.D. N.Y.).