ST. LOUIS - Following a Nov. 20 fairness hearing, a Missouri federal judge issued an order that same day granting final approval to an $11.2 million settlement between the operators of the Ashley Madison website and users of the site whose personally identifiable information (PII) was exposed in a 2015 data breach, with the judge deeming the settlement "to be the product of thorough, serious, informed, and non-collusive negotiations" (In re Ashley Madison Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 4:15-cv-02669, E.D. Mo.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals court on Nov. 15 found that an employee's claims for violation of the California Labor Code and California's unfair competition law (UCL) were excluded from a mandatory arbitration provision, affirming a court's decision refusing to compel arbitration of the claims (Christopher Silva v. Fry's Electronics Inc., No. A146622, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7875).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A group of Facebook Inc. users saw their putative class claims against the social network operator dismissed for a third time Nov. 17, with a California federal judge finding that the plaintiffs still failed to establish that Facebook breached a contractual duty when it purportedly tracked their online activities (In re: Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation, No. 5:12-md-02314, N.D. Calif.).
RICHMOND, Va. - Shareholders in a securities class action lawsuit against an energy provider and its CEO have failed to show that the CEO acted with the requisite scienter in misrepresenting to investors that the company had secured a contract renewal with a large customer because they have not shown that he knew his statements were misleading at the time he made them, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 15 in affirming a federal judge's dismissal of the action (Maguire Financial LP, et al. v. PowerSecure International Inc., et al., No. 16-2163, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22968).
SEATTLE - An employer's use of a workweek average to arrive at the appropriate pay rate for employees doesn't violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it provides employees with wages that meet the minimum wage, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 15, noting that whether the employees have a contract claim is beyond the scope of the interlocutory appeal (Kristy Douglas, et al. v. Xerox Business Services, LLC, et al., No. 16-35425, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22967).
HOUSTON - A Texas oil and gas exploration and production company on Nov. 17 said that enforcement proceedings to confirm a $2,026,126.32 international arbitral award have been completed and that it will receive payment of the total award.
CHICAGO - The owner of assisted living facilities violates the Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting biometric data, one former employee alleges in a class complaint filed Nov. 14 in the Cook County, Ill., Circuit Court (Jonnae Taylor, et al. v. Sunrise Senior Living Management, Inc., et al., No. 2017-CH-15152, Ill. Cir., Cook Co., Chancery Div.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 14 granted a Bulgarian machine-building company's petition to confirm a $2,119,167.79 international arbitral award issued against a California company, finding that enforcement of the award was not against public policy (TMCO Ltd. v. Green Light Energy Solutions R&D Corp., No. 4:17-cv-00997, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188362).
WICHITA, Kan. - A plaintiff in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit against its former employee and direct competitor has failed to show that expedited discovery is warranted in the action under Kansas' reasonableness or good cause test because, among other things, the plaintiff's discovery sought is overly broad, a federal magistrate judge in Kansas ruled Nov. 15 in denying the plaintiff's motion for expedited discovery (HydroChem LLC v. Loren Keating, et al., No. 17-1281, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188467).
HELENA, Mont. - W.R. Grace's bankruptcy order enjoining new litigation tolled the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA) three-year statute of limitations for suing an associated railroad that allegedly exposed a worker to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite, the Montana Supreme Court held Nov. 14 (Kelly G. Watson v. BNSF Railway Co., et al., No. DA 17-0229, Mont. Sup., 2017 Mont. LEXIS 678).
SAN FRANCISCO - Uber Technologies Inc. has failed to perform adequate background checks on its drivers prior to hiring and has failed to monitor them after hiring, resulting in passengers - primarily females - suffering sexual harassment and assaults, two unnamed Jane Does allege in a Nov. 14 class complaint filed in a California federal court alleging violations of the Unfair Fraudulent and Unfair Business Practices Act and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) (Jane Doe 1, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 17-6571, N.D. Calif.).
TOLEDO, Ohio - An architectural expert in a home design copyright infringement action cannot opine that a company's designs do not merit copyright protection because the opinion is an impermissible legal conclusion, though the expert can testify about the similarities and differences between the parties' designs, an Ohio federal judge held Nov. 14 (Design Basics LLC v. Forrester Wehrle Homes, Inc., et al., No. 3:15-cv-00666, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188005).
SHERMAN, Texas - An information technology specialist can testify about whether statements made to investors by the CEO of a computer server development company were false, but cannot opine on whether the statements were misleading, a Texas federal judge ruled Nov. 14 (Securities and Exchange Commission v. William E. Mapp, III, No. 4:16-cv-00246, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188083).
LOS ANGELES - A class complaint filed Nov. 15 in a California federal court by a plaintiff referred to only as Jane Doe 1 seeks damages from The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC (TWC), Miramax LLC, Harvey Weinstein and unnamed John Does for Harvey Weinstein's alleged widespread sexual harassment and rape of women in the film and television industry (Jane Doe 1, et al. v. The Weinstein Company Holdings, LLC, et al., No. 17-8323, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on Nov. 10 filed a brief in the multidistrict litigation for the herbicide Roundup in California federal court, arguing that the evidence offered by the plaintiffs' expert concerning the carcinogenic properties of Roundup's active ingredient glyphosate is "unreliable" and constitutes "junk science" (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - Shareholders in a securities class action lawsuit against car maker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (Chrysler), certain of its executive officers and others have properly pleaded scienter and falsity in making their federal securities law claims by showing that the defendants concealed certain emissions-based issues with several of Chrysler's automobiles, a federal judge in New York ruled Nov. 13 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (Victor Pirnik v. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., et al., No. 15-7199, S.D. N.Y.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187264).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal magistrate on Nov. 14 granted an insurer's motion to overrule objections to its request for the production of documents in a coverage dispute arising from the alleged theft of an insured's employee stock ownership plan assets by a former employee (Barbie Spear, in her capacity as trustee of the Alliance Holdings, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan and Alliance Holdings, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Plaintiffs v. Westfield Insurance Company, No. 15-00582, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188193).
SAN DIEGO - A plaintiff's failure to allege exactly what percentage of latex used in Trojan brand condoms is sourced outside the United States does not doom his class complaint alleging that the packaging stating the items are "Made in U.S.A." violates California law, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 13, finding that the plaintiff only needs to credibly allege that the amount coming from outside the United States is greater than 10 percent (Kenrick Claiborne v. Church & Dwight Co., Inc., No. 17-746, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187343).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Japanese electronics company on Nov. 13 filed a notice of appeal to the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of a judge's finding that a Chinese manufacturer of televisions lacked sufficient contacts to the District of Columbia to maintain a federal lawsuit there and denial of the company's request for a declaration that a gag order issued by a Singapore arbitral tribunal was unenforceable (Sharp Corp., et al. v. Hisense USA Corp., et al., No. 17-1648, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186686).
NEW YORK - After recent appeals court rulings in which panels reversed district court judgments granting ex parte petitions for failure to comply with the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA), a New York federal judge on Nov. 13 reversed his previous ruling confirming a $146,079,996 award issued against the Kingdom of Spain (Eiser Infrastructure, et al. v. Kingdom of Spain, No. 17-3808, S.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 13 denied a motion for attorney fees filed by a class member who filed an objection following a settlement in a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines Co. after it stopped honoring drink vouchers, ruling that any order would undo the settlement that has already been approved by a district court and the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (In Re: Southwest Airlines Voucher Litigation, No. 11-8176, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186937).
PHILADELPHIA - In a dispute over an alleged kickback insurance premium scheme involving insurers, reinsurers and lenders, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 9 granted a joint stipulation and order to extend deadlines pertaining to a class certification motion to allow homeowners to complete relevant discovery and document production (Nelson White Jr., et al. v. The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., et al., No. 11-7928, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135743).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania state appeals court panel on Nov. 13 reversed a Risperdal gynecomastia defense verdict, finding that the trial court erred in not treating physician assistant's testimony as that of a causation expert (W.C. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. 2451 EDA 2015, Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 909).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Express consent from the lead named plaintiff in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) lawsuit to receive up to 10 marketing text messages per month bars her class complaint against Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc. (collectively, A&F), a Michigan federal judge ruled Nov. 13 (Melissa N. Thomas v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., et al., No. 16-11467, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186945).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 10 held in abeyance a motion for collective certification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) filed by a property appraiser alleging that he and others have been misclassified and denied overtime wages and ruled that the plaintiff may renew his motion when he files for class certification of his state law claims (Som Swamy, et al. v. Title Source, Inc., No. 17-1175, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186535).