ERIE, Pa. - Eighteen months after the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed their ability bring class claims against a rent-to-own (RTO) retailer that purportedly installed spyware on their computer, a Wyoming couple on Oct. 14 again moved for class certification to pursue their claims under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Multidistrict litigation stemming from an alleged practice by McCormick & Co. Inc. of "slack-filling" black pepper containers will proceed with a claim of false advertising in place, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled Oct. 18 (In re: McCormick & Company Inc., MDL No. 2665, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143176).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge in an order filed Oct. 17 directed insurer defendants in a class action challenging the lump-sum payment method used to calculate interest earned by pension plan members' accounts to produce several dozen allegedly privileged documents based on the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client and work product privileges (Jennifer Durand, et al. v. The Hanover Insurance Group Inc., et al., No. 3:07-cv-00130, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143064).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 18 held that a fraud scheme involving an email did not constitute computer fraud under a crime protection insurance policy, vacating a lower court's $1.4 million judgment against the insurer (Apache Corp. v. Great American Insurance Co., No. 15-20499, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18748).
BOSTON - A mechanical engineer may testify as to the defects in a lawn mower and the causation of a man's injuries while a doctor of bio-mechanics may testify as to the timing of the accident, a Massachusetts federal judge held Oct. 17 (Anthony Provanzano v. MTD Products Co. and Lowe's Home Centers LLC, No. 15-11720, D. Mass.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143402).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 14 declined to reconsider its earlier ruling in which a split panel dismissed for want of jurisdiction an appeal by unidentified opt-in plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour dispute who were seeking an extension of equitable tolling (Joanna Marie Wilson, et al. v. Navika Capital Group, L.L.C., et al., No. 15-20204, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18552).
NEW ORLEANS - A California state court approved opt-out class settlement that released Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims precludes FLSA claims brought in a federal court on behalf of California plaintiffs, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 14 (Raymond Richardson, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 15-20711, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18528).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Two claimants in Libby, Mont., seeking to hold insurers of W.R. Grace & Co. liable for their asbestos injuries can pursue negligence and bad faith claims in state court against an insurer based on workers' compensation policies not covered by W.R. Grace's Chapter 11 reorganization; however, similar claims in other state court actions are barred by an injunction in W.R. Grace's case channeling asbestos claims to a trust for resolution, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge ruled Oct. 17 (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139 [Ralph Hutt and Carl Osborn v. Maryland Casualty Company, No. 14-50867], [Continental Casualty Company, et al. v. Jeremy B. Carr, et al., No. 15-50766], D. Del. Bkcy.).
HOUSTON - A former professional football player on Oct. 17 filed suit against the Houston Texans in Texas state court, alleging that he suffered a career-ending injury because the turf at the Texans' field was improperly laid (DeMeco Ryans v. Houston Texans, et al., No. 2016-70179, Texas Dist., Harris Co.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Deeming a petitioner likely to succeed on its claim that two claims of a patented clip used in connection with children's play yards are invalid as anticipated, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Oct. 17 granted inter partes review (IPR) (Graco Children's Products Inc. v. Kolcraft Enterprises Inc., No. IPR2016-00911, PTAB).
SAN FRANCISCO - A claim that Google Inc. committed contributory trademark infringement when it failed to remove from Google Play apps from developers previously accused of infringing a plaintiff's "Spy Phone" trademark will proceed in light of an Oct. 14 holding by a California federal judge, who deemed the allegations sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Spy Phone Labs LLC v. Google Inc., No. 15-3756, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143530).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Oct. 14 dismissed a class complaint accusing Starbucks Corp. of falsely advertising the size of its iced beverages by including the ice when advertising its drinks' volume (Steven Galanis, et al. v. Starbucks Corporation, No. 16-4705, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Oct. 14 adopted a magistrate's report that recommended dismissing a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute due to the insured's failure to prosecute (David Valero v. The National Flood Insurance Program, No. 14-3362, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143007).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - In a habeas corpus action, a man convicted of sex crimes failed to show that the admission of a social worker's expert testimony on the dynamics of sexual abuse and common characteristics was contrary to Daubert v. Merrell-Dow Pharmaceuticals (509 U.S. 579 ), a Michigan federal judge ruled Oct. 17 (Duraid Haithem Fathi v. Bonita Hoffner, No. 13-835, W.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143132).
TAMPA, Fla. - A disability insurer correctly determined that a claimant was no longer eligible for long-term care disability benefits because it is clear from the evidence that the claimant no longer qualified for benefits under the policy's cognitive-impairment or functional-disability provisions, a Florida federal judge said Oct. 17 (David Carr v. John Hancock Life Insurance Co. [USA], No. 14-2867, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143050).
CINCINNATI - A federal magistrate judge on Oct. 18 recommended that a former property owner's claims against a mortgage company be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, but declined a lender's request that he be declared a vexatious litigator (Phillips Brantley v. CitiMortgage, No. 1:16-cv-707, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144020).
ROCKFORD, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on Oct. 18 granted a lender's motion to dismiss a case filed by a borrower, finding that all of a former property owner's claims related to a foreclosure could have been raised in a previous state court case (Lorenzo C. Reyes v. CitiMortgage Inc., No. 15-50273, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143653).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on Oct. 18 held that the record fails to contain sufficient concrete evidence showing that an excess insurer acted in bad faith in a coverage dispute arising from an April 27, 2010, grain elevator explosion that injured three workers (West Side Salvage Inc. v. RSUI Indemnity Co., No. 15-0442, S.D. Ill.).
KYIV, Ukraine - A Ukrainian oil and gas company on Oct. 19 said it has commenced arbitration against the Russian Federation, seeking $2.6 billion in damages for an alleged seizure of assets in Crimea.
HARTFORD, Conn. - World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) on Oct. 19 moved to dismiss the complaint of the remaining plaintiffs in a consolidated suit alleging that the WWE failed to warn them about the dangers of concussions, saying the claims brought by the former wrestlers are all time-barred (Russ McCullough, et al. v. World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., No. 15-1074, D. Conn.).
BOSTON - In a false advertisement lawsuit between two pharmaceutical companies over a bowel prep for colonoscopies, a Massachusetts federal judge on Oct. 14 refused to strike a survey examining whether a "superior cleansing efficacy" advertisement conveys a certain message (Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Braintree Laboratories Inc., No. 13-12553, D. Mass.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142636).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An insurer did not breach its contract with its insured because the insurer timely paid the insured policy limit benefits on an uninsured motorist (UM) claim after a bench trial verdict found in favor of the insured, a federal judge in Oregon ruled Oct. 14 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Peggy Foraker v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-0087, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142511).