LAS VEGAS - A federal magistrate judge in Nevada on March 21 granted a protective order in a negligence lawsuit to facilitate discovery exchanges and establishing a procedure for the filing of documents that include trade secrets and other confidential information pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a) (Sonia Fernandez-Valdez v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 16-2464, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40492).
SAN FRANCISCO - An attorney representing the named plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour class complaint must pay $7,706.32 in sanctions after acting in an "unprofessional" and "disrespectful" manner during deposition, a California federal magistrate judge ruled March 21, adding that the attorney "might benefit from mental health treatment and sensitivity training" (Shaon Robinson, et al. v. The Chefs' Warehouse, No. 15-5421, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40824).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 21 granted a motion to dismiss a class complaint accusing Campbell Soup Co. of deceiving customers by labeling soup as healthy even though it contained trans fat but denied motions by both parties seeking sanctions (Harold Brower, et al. v. Campbell Soup Company, No. 16-1005, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40792).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on March 22 denied an underlying plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order seeking to ban an insurer and its insured from reaching a settlement for an underlying judgment awarded for personal injuries in a lead paint exposure suit (CX Reinsurance Co. Ltd., v. Benjamin L. Kirson, et al., No. 15-3132, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41230).
NEW YORK - Comedian Louis C.K.'s company is subject to the "controlling-employee" provisions in three employee benefit plan agreements and therefore must make plan contributions at the 40-hour workweek rate, even though C.K. worked fewer hours as editor of his TV show, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 21 (Pig Newton, Inc. v. Boards of Directors of Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan, Motion Picture Industry Individual Account Plan, Motion Picture Industry Health Plan, No. 15-1029, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4974).
SAN FRANCISCO - Health care centers designated to receive direct payment from a health plan administrator for medical services cannot file suit in federal court under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because they lack both direct statutory authority and derivative authority through assignment under ERISA's civil enforcement provisions, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held March 22 (DB Healthcare, LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Inc., No. 14-16518, Advanced Women's Health Center, Inc. v. Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company, No. 14-16612, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5082).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on March 22 held that an insured's post-appraisal submission of increased costs in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute is not a legally sufficient basis to reopen the existing appraisal or conduct a new appraisal (Orlando Noa v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 3D16-1367, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 3787).
NEW YORK - Rejecting both plaintiffs' larger proposed trial groups and concern of prejudice by defendants, a New York justice in an opinion posted March 21 found that 11 cases' similarities warranted four trial groups and two separate trials (Walter Cunningham, et al. v. Aerco Intl., et al., No. 190136/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
DETROIT - Some of the defendants sued by residents of Flint, Mich., in connection with the lead-contaminated drinking water in that city filed a brief in Michigan federal court on March 21, arguing that the lawsuit meets the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) and, therefore, the court should deny a motion filed by another group of defendants asking it to alter its judgment with regard to exercising its jurisdiction over state law claims (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 22 granted in part a motion for summary judgment by Apple Inc., finding that the plaintiffs in a putative antitrust class action failed to establish the primary alleged aftermarket for iPhone voice and data services related to claimed service exclusivity through AT&T Mobility, but the judge deemed a narrower aftermarket related to iPhones not unlocked for service provider exclusivity sufficiently alleged (Zack Ward, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 4:12-cv-05404, N.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - A child pornography suspect was correctly found to be in contempt when he refused to comply with a court order requiring him to provide law enforcement with access to external hard drives, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 20, finding that the defendant's rights under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution were not violated (United States of America v. Apple Mac Pro Computer, et al., No. 15-3537, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4874).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 dismissed an insured's appeal in an advertising injury coverage dispute after a lower federal court determined on remand that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case (Vogue International, LLC, d.b.a. Vogue International v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-56394, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5011).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 affirmed a lower federal court's $6,080,568 judgment in favor of an insured in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its excess general liability insurer arising from an underlying patent infringement dispute (Teleflex Medical Incorporated v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 14-56366, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4996).
HARTFORD, Conn. - Finding that a plaintiff's expert is not qualified to testify about "handheld circular saw safety, the efficacy or necessity of riving knives on such products, or the sufficiency of warning labels" to support design defect and failure-to-warn claims, a Connecticut federal judge on March 20 granted summary judgment to the manufacturer of a circular saw (Eustathios Karavitis v. Makita U.S.A. Inc., No. 14-00913, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39830).
TYLER, Texas - In a patent infringement lawsuit, an expert may provide opinions "based on his technical knowledge and expertise" as to the technical advantages of a claimed process of forming circuitry used in controlling liquid crystal displays (LCDs), a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled March 22 (Eidos Display LLC and Eidos III LLC v. Chi Mei Innolux Corp., et al., No. 11-00201, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41040).
LONDON - An English exploration company on March 23 announced that it has commenced arbitration against the Republic of Italy, asserting that it breached the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on March 22 overruled objections submitted by lenders and a borrower to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation that some claims related to a foreclosure be allowed to proceed but noted that some of the objections would be better adjudicated on summary judgment (Steven Thomason v. One West Bank, FSB, et al., No. 2:12cv604, M.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41122).
ALBANY, N.Y. - Citing evidence that a defendant acted outside the scope of its licensing agreement with a plaintiff, as well as evidence that the defendant used a trademark identical to that of a plaintiff, a New York federal judge on March 22 granted partial summary judgment in a dispute over sports protective eyewear (Halo Optical Products Inc. v. Liberty Sport Inc., No. 14-282, N.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41084).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A Maryland Court of Special Appeals panel on March 21 affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the parent and grandparent corporation of a hospital in a wrongful death suit because under Maryland law, parent and grandparent corporations are not responsible for establishing hospital protocols (Kimberley Hughes Johnson v. University of Maryland and Medical System Corporation, et al., No. 396, Md. Spec. App., 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 299).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 20 denied a coalition of insurance associations' emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal of a ruling that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has not exceeded its authority in formulating its new "fiduciary rule" and that the new rule does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying that the plaintiffs have not met their burden to satisfy four factors required to obtain an injunction pending appeal (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Edward Hugler, Acting Secretary of Labor, et al., No. 3:16-cv-1476, consolidated with 3:16-cv-1530, 3:16-cv-1537, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39806).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Dismissal of a securities class action against a company and its board of directors for allegedly omitting key information in the Securities and Exchange Commission proxy statement for a proposed acquisition deal in an effort to have the company's stock sell for a lesser price is not proper because lead plaintiffs have shown that the proxy statement was both misleading and material, a federal judge in Oregon ruled March 20 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (Elia Azar, et al. v. Blount International Inc., et al., No. 16-483, D. Ore., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39493).