MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 12 found that a cruise line worker's negligence claims against her employer must be arbitrated in the Bahamas pursuant to the terms of her employment agreement, but remanded claims against another cruise line and her coworker to a state court, because they were not signatories to the arbitration agreement (Michelle Haasbroek v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., No. 17-cv-22370, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204025).
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - In preparation for the issuance of a final award in a treaty dispute over real estate investments in Crimea, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Dec. 13 announced that it has posed certain questions to the investors and the Russian Federation in relation to responsibility and quantum (Lugzor LLC, et al. v. The Russian Federation, No. 2015-29, PCA).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. veterans who were present at the 1966 cleanup of plutonium dust in Palomares, Spain, moved Dec. 11 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims for class certification in a lawsuit alleging that they were improperly denied service-connected disability compensation based on exposure to ionizing radiation (Victor B. Skaar v. David J. Shulkin, M.D., No. 17-2574, Vet. Clms.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 11 upheld a ruling compelling arbitration in a class complaint brought by wireless customers who allege that AT&T Mobility LLC purposely slows data for "unlimited" customers, finding that there is no state action in the case and awarding costs to AT&T (Marcus A. Roberts, et al. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, No. 16-16915, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24946).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Dec. 8 partially granted conditional certification in a class complaint brought by a restaurant franchise assistant manager (AM) who alleges that she and others were misclassified as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Illinois wage laws but granted a motion to dismiss by one of the franchisee defendants and gave the lead plaintiff one month to amend her complaint to show that that the defendant was her employer (Chamora Ivery, et al. v. RMH Franchise Corp., et al., No. 17-1619, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202270).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 12 refused to remand a consumer's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and fraud against a rental car service until the parties can conduct additional discovery on whether the case meets the federal amount-in-controversy requirement for a class action (Jian-Ming "Scott" Zhao v. RelayRides Inc., et al., No. 17-cv-04099, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204415).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 8 granted a motion for conditional certification of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim brought by current and former employees of Sephora USA Inc. but denied the plaintiffs' request for equitable tolling (Lacey Hernandez, et al. v. Sephora USA, Inc., No. 16-5392, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203452).
WARREN, Ohio - A divided Ohio appeals court panel on Dec. 11 upheld certification of a class of sales people suing the employer for "pulling" earned commissions, finding that the fact that the class definition encompasses some employees who signed an arbitration agreement not signed by the class representative does not doom the certification (Edward G. Gembarski, et al. v. PartsSource, Inc., No. 2016-P-0077, Ohio App., 11st Dist., 2017 Ohio App. LEXIS 5383).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Dec. 11 stayed the proceedings in a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by a restaurant employee in which the defendants moved to compel arbitration, pending the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Morris v. Ernst & Young LLP, 834 F. 3d 975 (9th Cir. 2016), certiorari granted, Ernst & Young, LLP v. Morris, 137 S. Ct. 809 (2017) (Jener Da Silva v. Darden Restaurants, Inc., et al., No. 17-5663, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203437).
MIAMI - A Florida magistrate federal judge on Dec. 12 denied a request to reconsider his October ruling in which he re-designated counterclaims by a gun importer facing a class complaint alleging that its .357 revolvers are defective and can misfire as an affirmative defense and refused to strike it (Suzanne M. Bedwell, et al. v. Braztech International, L.C., No. 17-22335, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204027).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 12 allowed a blood spatter expert and a criminal law expert to testify for a couple in their excessive-use-of-force action against several police officers, though she did place limits on both experts' opinions (Michael Bratt, et al. v. Louis Genovese, et al., No. 8:13-cv-3210, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204003).
SAN FRANCISCO - Parties in a trade secrets lawsuit alleging that a former employee of autonomous car development company Waymo LLC stole the company's trade secret information and provided it to his new employer, Uber Technologies Inc., on Dec. 7 refused to agree to stipulate to the findings of a special master tasked with determining whether a letter from a former Uber employee shows that Uber hid evidence so that it could not be used at trial (Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., et al., No. 17-0939, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An investor group is the most appropriate candidate for lead plaintiff because it has the largest financial stake in the litigation and meets all other statutory requirements to serve in the role, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 8 in appointing the investor group as lead plaintiff (Inchen Huang v. Depomed Inc., et al., No. 17-4830, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202580).
SAN DIEGO - An adult entertainment firm has sufficiently established a prima facie copyright infringement case against a John Doe online file sharer, a California federal magistrate ruled Dec. 7, granting the plaintiff's motion to conduct expedited discovery on the Doe's internet service provider (ISP) to identify the defendant for litigation purposes (Strike 3 Holdings LLC v. John Doe, No. 3:17-cv-02312, S.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A nonprofit group on Dec. 11 was given full access to four U.S. Environmental Protection Agency documents and limited information in two agency documents regarding suspected polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination at the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) by a federal judge in the District of Columbia who found that the records did not contain information that was subject to the deliberative process privilege (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-2056, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203068).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 7 granted and denied in part an insured's request to compel an insurer to produce redacted documents pertaining to mediation in an underlying case, as well as reinsurance information (Golon Inc. v. Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, et al., No. 17-0819, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201792).
SAN FRANCISCO - On Dec. 8, the same day that a group of plaintiffs moved for class certification in their claims under Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) against Facebook Inc., the social network moved for summary judgment, telling a California federal court that applying the Illinois law to its out-of-state facial recognition activities would violate the dormant commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution (In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, No. 3:15-cv-03747, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 7 reversed the denial of class certification in a wage-and-hour complaint, finding that the pleadings provided sufficient notice to the employer of violations of California Labor Code Section 226(a) violations, whether direct or derivative, and the district court must conduct a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 analysis (Silken Brown, et al. v. Cinemark USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-15377, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24764).
NEW YORK - A federal judge on Dec. 8 entered judgment for a health insurer in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case, finding that denials issued during the precertification process did not render any further attempts at administrative remedies futile where the plan specifically required an appeal from the explanation of benefits (Sandra A. Peppiatt v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-2444, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199895).
BUTTE, Mont. - After the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' removal of a Montana federal judge for committing several errors, including excluding expert testimony without a sound basis, a different judge held on remand Dec. 11 that the opinions of the challenged expert for an environmentalist who was cited by local police during a buffalo-herding operation at Yellowstone National Park are reliable and relevant enough to be admitted (Anthony Patrick Reed v. Doug Lieurance, et al., No. 2:13-cv-17, D. Mont., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203391).
CHICAGO - Noting that a settlement in a class suit over gift card fees that provided the attorneys with more compensation than the class members was not perfect, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 7 affirmed it nonetheless, ruling that the district court chose the better option (Saul M. Kaufman, et al. v. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., No. 16-1691, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24698).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. Supreme Court majority on Dec. 8 granted a petition for mandamus by the U.S. government, staying a trial court's discovery order requiring completion of the record in a lawsuit by parties opposing the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, with four justices dissenting (In re United States, et al., No. 17-801, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 7365).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 announced that it will determine whether the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals properly ruled that American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah tolls the statute of limitations to permit a previously absent class member to bring a subsequent class action outside the applicable limitations period (China Agritech Inc. v. Michael Resh, et al., No. 17-432, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Four class representatives in a New York federal lawsuit accusing J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by mismanaging retirement savings funds filed an objection on Dec. 7 to a proposed $75 million cash settlement reached between eight of the class representatives and JPMC, arguing that the amount the class will actually receive is far less than the total class damages (In re J.P. Morgan Stable Value Fund ERISA Litigation, No. 12-2548, S.D. N.Y.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Dec. 7 granted a motion to remand a wage-and-hour class complaint by yard hostlers, finding that the federal court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the claims because the amount in controversy, minus an estimate on the damages statement for an unpleaded claim, is below $5 million (Grant Frisch v. Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC, No. 17-2226, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202705).