BALTIMORE - A liability expert is unqualified to offer opinions on railroad industry safety practices based on his lack of experience, a Maryland federal magistrate judge held Jan. 19, further finding that in the absence of that testimony, an injured employee failed to demonstrate reasonable foreseeability of harm in his employer's liability lawsuit (Lou Montgomery, et al. v. CSX Transportation, et al., No. 14-1520, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7299).
MOBILE, Ala. - A certified public accountant may testify as to the value of assets and liabilities of a husband and wife at the time of their transfers and the value of the assets when they were transferred, an Alabama federal judge ruled Jan. 19 (SE Property Holdings LLC v. Tammy T. Center, et al., No. 15-0033, S.D. Ala.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7224).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on Jan. 20 found that the plaintiffs in a putative class action against their health care provider sufficiently alleged a concrete injury under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in alleging the dissemination of their personally identifiable information (PII) due to a theft of laptops, leading the majority to vacate a trial court's dismissal of the suit for lack of standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution (In Re Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. Data Breach Litigation, No. 15-2309, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1019).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Jan. 23 granted final approval of a $1.67 billion settlement of a class action against Volkswagen Group of America Inc. that creates a $1.21 billion settlement fund and provides additional benefits to hundreds of VW franchise dealers in the United States that suffered as a result of the diesel emissions cheating scandal (In re: Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2672; Napleton Orlando Imports LLC, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc., et al., No. 3:16cv2086, N.D. Calif.).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Finding that a lower court erred in permitting a plaintiff to argue and present evidence that a doctor breached her duty of care by providing samples of the antibiotic Levaquin to a patient who later died of meningitis, a Florida appeals panel on Jan. 20 reversed the wrongful death medical malpractice dispute and remanded for a new trial (Doctors Company, et al. v. Nancy Plummer, individually and as personal representative of the estate of William Plummer, and on behalf of B.A.P. and L.J.P., minors, No. 5D15-1963, Fla. App., 5th Dist.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An employer that includes a disclosure required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in the same document as a liability waiver willfully violates the FCRA, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 20 in a case that it noted presented a question of first impression (Sarmad Syed, et al. v. M-I, LLC, et al., No. 14-17186, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1029).
HAMBURG, Germany - The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on Jan. 16 announced that it will hold a hearing on the merits in a dispute over the maritime boundary between Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire next month (Ghana v. Cote d'Ivoire, No. 23, ITLOS).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Jan. 18 released a decision in which it denied the third request of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for reconsideration of a decision that it breached a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) when it expropriated an investment by a group of companies in oil projects (ConocoPhillips Petrozuata B.V., et al. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, No. ARB/07/30, ICSID).
CINCINNATI - In a Jan. 13 appellee brief filed in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, an adult entertainment company says that its abandoned infringement claim against an accused file sharer was properly dismissed with prejudice because of the defendant's dilatory discovery conduct and to serve judicial economy (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 18 vacated a district court's decision to refuse enforcement of a $48 million arbitral award issued by the International Chamber of Commerce's (ICC) International Court of Arbitration, finding that a group of Brazilian companies was not required to first attempt to confirm the award before seeking enforcement (CBF Industria de Gusa S/A, et al. v. AMCI Holdings Inc., No. 15-1133, 15-1146, 2nd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 899).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Jan. 17 in a single opinion vacated orders denying class certification in two substantially similar complaints alleging that oil and gas leases were breached and payments were never made, finding that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motions (Lucinda A. Cardinale, et al. v. R.E. Gas Development, LLC, et al., No. 1186 WDA 2015, Mary R. Billotte, et al. v. R.E. Gas Development, LLC, et al., No. 1187 WDA 2015, Pa. Super.; 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 34).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Jan. 13 denied a reinsurer's challenge to a magistrate judge's ruling, finding that the magistrate judge's finding that a certain document was privileged was not clearly erroneous (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, and Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., v. Utica Mutual Insurance Company, No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California woman on Jan. 13 filed a class action complaint in federal court alleging that she and other women have been wrongfully denied access to and coverage for a vital women's preventive service - breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling - for which coverage is mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Rachel Condry, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 4:17-cv-00183, N.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - A month after a Pennsylvania federal judge granted final approval of a settlement in a class action alleging unfair trade practices related to the paid reviews feature on Angie's List Inc.'s website, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted dismissal of an objector's appeal of that settlement after it was voluntarily withdrawn (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 16-4430, 3rd Cir.)
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Jan. 17 refused to vacate a $1,305,131 arbitral award issued in favor of a maker of solar panels, finding that the award was not ambiguous and that the tribunal did not act in bad faith (Trina Solar US, Inc. v. JRC Services LLC, et al., No. 16-CV-2869, S.D. N.Y.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6134).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Despite recalling certain top-load washers, Samsung Electronics America Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. are failing to perform repairs, the only recall option available to consumers that won't cost them anything out of pocket, an Oklahoma man alleges in a class complaint filed Jan. 13 in an Oklahoma federal court (Jerry Wells, et al. v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc., et al. No. 17-46, W.D. Okla.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A cell phone reseller's third attempt at class certification for counterclaims accusing Sprint Nextel Corp. of restraining trade of preowned phones failed when a Kansas federal judge on Jan. 12 ruled that the motion was filed too late (Sprint Nextel Corporation v. The Middle Man, Inc., et al., No. 12-2159, D. Kan.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4931).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Single calls placed to each health insurance customer about policy renewals were not telemarketing or advertising, a California federal judge ruled Jan. 13, granting summary judgment to the insurance provider in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class complaint (Shannon Smith, et al. Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company, No. 16-108, C.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5620).
ATLANTA - A rural electric cooperative that paid out excess revenues to members via account credits rather than cash did not violate Alabama law, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 12, affirming a trial court's dismissal of cooperative members' class complaint (Pamela Caver, et al. v. Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, No. 15-15207, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 549).
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Jan. 13 issued various updates in an arbitration commenced by numerous real estate entities against the Russian Federation in relation to an alleged real estate investment in Crimea, announcing that the Russian Federation did not participate in a recent hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility (Everest Estate LLC, et al. v. The Russian Federation, No. 2015-36, PCA).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 12 determined that Apple Inc. is a distributor of third-party created apps sold in its App Store, leading the panel to find that putative monopolization class claims related to the store could proceed (In re Apple iPhone Antitrust Litigation, No. 14-15000, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 577).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 agreed to hear an appeal of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling affirming that shareholders that filed a securities class action lawsuit after opting out of settlement class against the same defendants were barred from doing so as their claims were outside the statute of repose (California Public Employees' Retirement System v. Moody Investors Service Inc., et al., No. 16-373, U.S. Sup.).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A federal judge in New Mexico on Jan. 11 granted the federal government's motion to exclude the testimony of an expert designated to discuss the medical necessity of tests administered by a holistic doctor who is accused of fraudulently billing Medicare and other insurers, after finding that the proposed testimony is not relevant and does not meet the standards of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (509 U.S. 579, 597 ) (United States of America v. Roy Heilbron, No. 15-CR-2030, D. N.M.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 granted petitions for writ of certiorari filed in three cases challenging the barring of class or collection action waivers in employment agreements, consolidated the three cases and granted a total of one hour for oral arguments (Epic Systems Corp. v. Jacob Lewis, No. 16-285, Ernst & Young, et al. v. Stephen Morris, et al., No. 16-300, NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-307, U.S. Sup.).
CHARLESTON, S.C - The contents of two PowerPoint presentations made by attorneys during town hall meetings held to persuade homeowners to join a proposed class action suit against the builders of their homes over alleged construction defects waived any work product protection over the information, a federal judge in South Carolina ruled Jan. 12 in denying the plaintiffs' motion to quash subpoenas (Jacqueline L. Craft, as Trustee of the Jacqueline L. Craft Trust, et al. v. South Carolina Plastering LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-5080-PMD, D. S.C.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4510).