PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 6 denied most parts of a motion to dismiss a class action complaint accusing a man's former employer, Wawa Inc., of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it forced him and other terminated employees to sell their stock in the company because Wawa's reservation of a right to amend the plan "at any time" did not necessarily give it the authority to reduce the plaintiffs' benefits (Greg Pfeifer v. Wawa, Inc., et al., No. 16-497, E.D. Pa.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A participant in and beneficiary of the Wells Fargo & Co.'s 401(k) Plan filed a putative class action lawsuit in Minnesota federal court Oct. 7, alleging violations of Sections 409 and 502 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for allegedly encouraging and causing employees to sign up customers for unauthorized and unwanted accounts and other banking products to generate inflated share price growth (Francesca Allen, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al., No. 16-3405, D. Minn.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A trial judge did not err in refusing to suppress evidence seized from a storage unit or in permitting an agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to testify regarding drug trade codes, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 7 (United States of America v. Lateef Fisher, Nos. 15-4471 & 15-4550, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18271).
NEW ORLEANS - The exclusion of expert testimony on the mechanics of how a vehicle's fuel tank struck a flange and whether safer alternative designs existed was fatal to prove products liability claims, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 5, affirming summary judgment for the vehicle's manufacturers (Henry Lee Sims Jr., individually and as legal heir to the Estate of Henry Lee Sims Sr., et al. v. Kia Motors of America and Kia Motors Corp., No. 15-10636, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18116).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After finding that claims that arose in a dispute over a distribution agreement related to an underlying arbitration clause, a West Virginia federal judge on Oct. 4 granted a motion to compel arbitration of the case in South Africa (Shilmann Rocbit LLC v. American Blasting Consumables Inc., No. 2:16-cv-06745, S.D. W.Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137412).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - After finding that borrowers had no right to rescind their loan under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), an Arkansas federal judge on Oct. 4 granted a bank's motion to dismiss the case (John Dunn, et al. v. U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for CMSI REMIC Series 2008-02, REMIC Pass-Through Certificates Series 2008-02, No. 4:16-CV-00085, E.D. Ark.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137523).
CHICAGO - A woman bringing cybersquatting, fraud and defamation claims over a website created by her ex-boyfriend filed a motion to quash his discovery subpoenas in Illinois federal court on Oct. 5, asserting that the subpoenas were intended to harass and intrude on her personal life and lack any probative value related to the claims at issue in the case (Emily Mackie, et al. v. Mason Awtry, et al., No. 1:14-cv-09206, N.D. Ill.).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Oct. 4 ordered the U.S. government to provide more information on what its firearms expert will be testifying on in a criminal case but refused to exclude the testimony on the basis that the government stated only the general topics covered by the expert (United States of America v. Santos Peter Murillo, No. CR16-0113, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138595).
SAN FRANCISCO - In light of the concrete injury in fact requirement established by Spokeo Inc. v. Robins (136 S.Ct. 1540 ), a California federal judge on Oct. 5 dismissed an employee's putative Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) class action against ride-sharing service Lyft Inc., finding that the plaintiff's statutory and privacy violation claims were insufficient to establish standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution (Michael Nokchan v. Lyft Inc., No. 3:15-CV-03008, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138582).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Oct. 4 awarded more than $2.5 million in attorney fees, costs and class representative awards in a case alleging that various fiduciaries violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by permitting the Eastman Kodak Employees' Savings and Investment (SIP) and Kodak Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) to offer Kodak stock as an investment option even after an objective investigation would have revealed that the stock represented an "extremely risky investment" (In re: Eastman Kodak ERISA Litigation, No. 6:12cv6051, W.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137744).
OAKLAND, Calif. - The plaintiffs in a class action alleging private message (PM) scanning by Facebook Inc. saw three motions to compel discovery denied Oct. 4, with a California federal judge finding the requests for source code, configuration tables and related documents to be overbroad and not sufficiently tailored to the plaintiffs' allegations of privacy violations (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137936).
WAUKESHA, Wis. - A single judge for a Wisconsin appeals court on Oct. 5 upheld a trial judge's exclusion of expert testimony to refute blood test results showing a "substantial amount of alcohol" in a defendant's system because the experts could not say what effect the presence of anomalies in the tests had upon the reliability of the results (State of Wisconsin v. Ali Garba, No. 2015AP1243-CR, Wis. App., Dist. 2; 2016 Wisc. App. LEXIS 653).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 30 denied a motion to certify a class of beneficiaries of employer-sponsored Prudential Insurance Company of America life insurance policies, saying that the plaintiffs have failed to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3)'s predominance requirement (Clark R. Huffman, et al. v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 2:10-cv-05135, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135349).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two members of a tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Oct. 3 released their decision to reject a third attempt by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to disqualify an arbitrator, finding nothing to support a finding that he manifestly lacks the ability to be impartial in hearing the case (Fabrica De Vidrios Los Andres C.A., et al. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, No. ARB/12/21, ICSID).
PORTLAND, Maine - Email statements made by a deceased man are not hearsay and are admissible in a case of mail fraud and retaliation, a Maine federal judge ruled Sept. 30, also refusing to exclude an expert's testimony that the man died from his own ingestion of a lethal amount of potassium cyanide (United States of America v. Sidney P. Kilmartin, No. 14-00129, D. Maine; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135299).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 3 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari by FCA US LLC, formerly known as Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler), letting stand a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that had vacated the denial of an intervenor's motion to unseal documents related to an injunction motion in a consumer class action (FCA US LLC [f/k/a Chrysler Group LLC] v. The Center for Auto Safety, No. 15-1211, U.S. Sup.; 2016 U.S. LEXIS 4644).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After finding no contradictory reasoning in an award that dismissed a Greek company and bank's investment-related claims against the Hellenic Republic for lack of jurisdiction, an ad hoc committee for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Sept. 30 released a decision in which it refused to partially annul the award (Postova banka, a.s. and Istrokapital SE v. Hellenic Republic, No. ARB/13/8, ICSID).
PHOENIX - Lifting a stay and unsealing documents in a securities class action lawsuit against a solar energy panel manufacturer and certain officers and directors is not proper because the parties seeking to intervene, lift the stay and unseal the documents - investors in a related shareholder derivative lawsuit - would be permitted to "conduct discovery in aid of their demand futility argument," which has been denied twice in that action, a federal judge in Arizona ruled Sept. 30 (Mark Smilovits, et al. v. First Solar Inc., et al., No. 12-0555, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135704).
MIAMI - Efforts by 32 models to obtain, through discovery, the membership list of a defendant "swingers" club were unsuccessful on Oct. 3, when a Florida federal magistrate judge concluded that it remains unclear whether the requested information would assist the plaintiffs in determining the amount of damages available to them on their allegation that the club violated the Lanham Act (Jaime Faith Edmondson, et al. v. Velvet Lifestyles LLC, No. 15-24442, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136866).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Sept. 30 denied the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance's motion to quash a subpoena related to the denial of a woman's mental health treatments, saying a confidentiality provision in the state Health Care Quality Act is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Rachel B. v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, No. 14-cv-01153, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135547).
ORLANDO, Fla. - D.R. Horton Inc. must respond to a subcontractor's request for information regarding other lawsuits the builder has been named a party in over allegedly defective stucco, after a federal magistrate judge in Florida on Oct. 3 ruled that the information is relevant (D.R. Horton Inc. v. H&H Stucco & Stone Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-2063-Orl-40TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136603).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The Delaware Supreme Court on Sept. 29 found no error in the allowance of a police officer's testimony on the smell of marijuana odor, which led to a search of a vehicle, because establishing an intent to deliver drugs requires "something else" such as the officer's testimony beyond proving possession, quantity or packaging (Kenneth Fowler v. State of Delaware, No. 595,2015, Del. Sup.; 2016 Del. LEXIS 506).
PHILADELPHIA - Granting in part a motion to intervene by Bill Cosby, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 3 ruled that the comedian's counsel may attend the deposition of one of his sexual assault accusers in a related defamation suit, finding that Cosby had an interest in protecting certain details in a 2006 confidential settlement agreement (CSA), while making it clear that the counsel may not interfere with the deposition (Andrea Constand v. Bruce Castor, No. 2:15-cv-05799, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136742).
NEW YORK - In a personal injury lawsuit, an employer must provide information concerning its expert witnesses' past compensation in previous cases, a New York federal judge ruled Sept. 29, granting in part motions to exclude (Daniel Whalen v. CSX Transportation Inc., No. 13-3784, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135061).
SAN FRANCISCO - A purchaser of Dole Packaged Foods LLC's fruit products who claims that the company improperly advertises the fruit as "All Natural" may proceed with his individual claim of unjust enrichment but not his class claim, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 30 in a decision partially reversing a trial court's summary judgment ruling for Dole (Chad Brazil, et al. v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, No. 14-17480, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17733).