CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A life insurer's motion to dismiss claims for breach of contract, bad faith and declaratory judgment was denied by an Iowa federal judge on July 11 in a purported class action accusing the insurer of improperly transferring reserve funds through reinsurance transactions (Karen McMahon, et al. v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., No. 17-149, N.D. Iowa, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115260).
SEATTLE - In a water damage and mold coverage suit concerning an insurer's denial of investigation costs, a Washington federal judge on July 12 ordered an in camera review of documents provided by the insurer to determine whether attorney-client privilege applies (Market Place North Condominium Association v. Affiliated FM Insurance Co., No. 17-625, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116381).
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - In a purported class action alleging that a life insurer improperly transferred reserve funds through reinsurance transactions, an Iowa federal judge on July 11 declined to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims (Suzanne Fairlie, et al. v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-32, N.D. Iowa, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115257).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two objectors to the $8.5 million settlement of a privacy class action against Google LLC, tell the U.S. Supreme Court in a July 9 merits brief that the distribution of settlement funds to cy pres recipients, rather than class members, does not constitute a "fair, reasonable, and adequate" settlement of the class claims per Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Theodore H. Frank, et al. v. Paloma Gaos, et al., No. 17-961, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on July 10 ruled that the experts for plaintiffs who have sued Monsanto Co. in multidistrict litigation related to the herbicide Roundup should be admitted because the plaintiffs have presented evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) at "human-relevant doses" (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - A mediation and arbitration services provider on July 11 announced that it will soon open international arbitration centers in New York and Los Angeles.
PHILADELPHIA - Dechert on July 10 announced that two of its lawyers have been appointed to the International Chamber of Commerce's (ICC) International Court of Arbitration.
BALTIMORE - In supplemental briefs filed July 6 in Maryland federal court, Wikimedia Foundation and the U.S. government debate whether an in camera review provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) displaces the state secrets privilege regarding documents withheld from discovery by the government in a lawsuit over communications intercepted by the National Security Agency (NSA) as part of its upstream surveillance program (Wikimedia Foundation v. National Security Agency, et al., No. 1:15-cv-00662, D. Md.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An academic preparation company saw its motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to search the computers and email accounts of three ex-employees denied July 6, with a California federal judge, instead, granting the plaintiff's request for early discovery to determine the extent of the defendants' accused misappropriation of proprietary materials (C2 Educational Systems Inc. v. Sunny Lee, et al., No. 3:18-cv-02920, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112882).
PHOENIX - Motel 6 Operating L.P. and G6 Hospitality LLC, doing business as Motel 6, and guests who filed a class complaint over the motel chain's policy of voluntarily turning over guest registration information to agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) filed a joint notice of settlement on July 6 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona and noted that it needed additional time to finalize the documentation (Jane V., et al. v. Motel 6 Operating L.P., et al., No. 18-242, D. Ariz.).
LOS ANGELES - Class representatives in a securities class action lawsuit against a Canadian precious metals streaming company, its auditor and others argue in a July 6 opposition brief that their second amended complaint should not be dismissed because their claims have been proven through discovery and because the class representatives have properly pleaded scienter and loss causation in making their federal securities law claims (In re Silver Wheaton Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 15-5146, C.D. Calif.).
PHOENIX - A franchisor cannot be vicariously liable for the death of a woman who was killed as a result of an automobile accident caused by a woman who was drunk when she left a franchisee's bar because the jury found that the franchisee was not liable, an Arizona appeals court panel ruled July 5 (Dallas Fisk v. Hurricane AMT LLC, et al., No. 1 CA-CV 17-0256, Ariz. App., 1st Div., 2018 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 970).
NEW YORK - ConocoPhillips Petrozuata B.V. and its affiliate on July 6 sued Venezuela's national oil company, a New York litigation trust and others in a New York federal court, requesting that the court restrain the transfer of any further assets out of the state that could be used to satisfy a $2 billion arbitral award and that it appoint a receiver to oversee the property (ConocoPhillips Petrozuata B.V. v. PDVSA US Litigation Trust, et al., No. 18-6171, S.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA - A plaintiff in a negligence suit against a women's health facility is entitled to discovery of documents the clinic provided to its insurer in a subsequent coverage dispute, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge found July 6, partly granting a motion to compel (MDAdvantage Insurance Company of New Jersey v. Aaron S. Hasiuk, et al., No. 2:16-cv-00969, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112937).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals defied the U.S. Supreme Court's clear holding when it ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) doesn't preempt state law and the lack of reference to class arbitration in an employment agreement is not "silence" as defined by Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds Int'l Corp., 559 U.S. 662, 684 (2010), an employer argues in a petitioner brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on July 9 (Lamps Plus, Inc., et al. v. Frank Varela, No. 17-988, U.S. Sup.).
KANSAS CITY - The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) request for information about other businesses owned by the owners of a Missouri restaurant being investigated for wage violations is a "fishing expedition," an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 3, reversing a trial court's order holding the restaurant in civil contempt (R. Alexander Acosta v. La Piedad Corporation, No. 17-1845, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18148).
HAMMOND, Ind. - The city of East Chicago, Ind., is permitted to withhold from discovery certain portions of a terminated employee's personnel file that are deemed attorney work product or attorney-client communications, an Indiana federal magistrate judge ruled July 5, denying the ex-employee's motion to compel in a wrongful termination suit (Terri G. Martin v. Anthony Copeland, et al., No. 2:16-cv-00059, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111756).
MADISON, Wis. - The city of Madison largely prevailed in discovery disputes in a suit challenging the constitutionality of a sign-control ordinance, with a Wisconsin federal judge on July 3 deeming much of the discovery sought by a billboard firm to be irrelevant, while also declining to find that the city's asserted legislative privilege applied (Adams Outdoor Advertising Limited Partnership v. Madison, et al., No. 3:17-cv-00576, W.D. Wis., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110798).
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine on July 7 said that it has submitted a claim for arbitration in Stockholm, seeking a revision of the tariff in a transit contract with Gazprom of Russia.
SEATTLE - Likening the plaintiffs in a gender bias suit against Microsoft Corp. to those in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 345 (2011), a Washington federal judge in a redacted order released July 6 denied class certification and ruled in part that the "Plaintiffs provide no convincing evidence of 'some glue' holding together the reasons behind the numerous employment decisions they challenge" (Katherine Moussouris, et al. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 15-1483, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112792).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on July 3 allowed plaintiffs in a class action in New York federal court to permissibly intervene in a similar suit in Illinois federal court over Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.'s (MetLife) raising of premiums for individuals over 65, finding that the New York plaintiffs could have greater power during settlement negotiations (Margery Newman v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 16 C 3530, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110762).
SYDNEY - A Canadian gold mining company on July 5 said that its subsidiary has commenced arbitration against Australian mining entities in relation to a dispute over the sale of shares under a royalty agreement.
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Seven teachers who resigned their union memberships filed a class complaint July 2 in a California federal court seeking the return of agency fees they have been required to pay to various unions in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, No. 16-1466 (June 27, 2018) (Scott Wilford, et al. v. National Education Association of the United States, et al., No. 18-1169, C.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - The city of Philadelphia on June 29 filed its opposition to a bank's motion to compel discovery related to loans allegedly issued using discriminatory lending practices targeted at the city's African-American and Latino borrowers, arguing that the information sought relates to a pre-complaint analysis by non-testifying experts that lacks merit and is irrelevant (Philadelphia v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al., No. 17-2203, E.D. Pa.).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 affirmed a more than $40 million attorney fees award for student-athletes who sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and others, alleging that the use of their names, images and likenesses were an illegal restraint of trade under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, and partially prevailed, finding the fee request was reasonable based on the achieved injunctive relief (Edward C. O'Bannon Jr., et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. 16-15803, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17930).