SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California judge on Jan. 29 granted final approval of a $6.5 million settlement to be paid by Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) to end a class complaint accusing the computer maker of selling faulty laptops (Ed Rutledge, et al. v. Hewlett-Packard Company, et al., No. 1-03-CV-817837, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on Jan. 29 allowed nearly all testimony from vision and rehabilitation experts for a woman alleging that her employer constructively discharged her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) after she lost part of her eyesight due to a stroke, barring only one statement by each expert (Catherine Jones v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, No. 16-cv-340, M.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13545).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 29 reconsidered a denial of class certification in a lawsuit accusing Prudential Insurance Company of America of breaching its fiduciary duty by creating retained asset accounts in lieu of making one payment to the beneficiaries of life insurance policies and found that the subclass was sufficiently ascertainable and may be certified (Clark R. Huffman, et al. v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 10-5135, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13665).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Jan. 26 denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings brought by the franchisors of two New York City locations of Applebee's in a class suit alleging that customers are forced to pay a minimum percentage for tips, holding that the plaintiffs alleged possible harm and tipping as a social norm does not negate the claims (Kendall Ghee, et al. v. Apple-Metro, Inc., et al., No. 17-5723, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13112).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Two restaurants affected by drinking water contamination litigation in West Virginia filed a brief in West Virginia federal court on Jan. 25, arguing that the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association (WVHTA) made no effort to determine if the restaurants were properly represented by counsel in decision to opt out of a $151 million class settlement, and now they want to be included (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1374, S.D. W.Va.).
BOSTON - Emails shared with a contractor who discovered construction defects in a couple's home are protected from disclosure by the work product doctrine, a federal magistrate judge in Massachusetts ruled Jan. 26, holding that the documents contained information about ongoing litigation and litigation strategy (Gregg Wade, et al. v. Touchdown Realty Group LLC, et al., No. 17-10400-PBS, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13069).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Qualcomm Inc. in a Jan.. 26 brief asks a California federal judge to affirm a $25,000-a-day discovery sanction that Apple Inc. called "unduly harsh" in a motion for relief, with Qualcomm arguing that the sanction amount is appropriate in light of Apple's pattern of discovery noncompliance in the antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (Federal Trade Commission, et al. v. Qualcomm Inc., et al., No. 17-cv-00220, N.D. Calif.).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Jan. 25 denied a motion to stay or transfer the second class complaint filed against Whole Foods Market Group Inc. over a data breach, finding that there is no overlap in the state law claims made in the two suits and that the case should proceed without interruption (Patricia Banus, et al. v. Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., No. 17-2132, N.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12289).
LOS ANGELES - A California appellate panel on Jan. 29 "swipe[d] left" and reversed a trial court's ruling for Tinder Inc., finding that the lower court erred when it ruled that the dating application company did not violate the Unruh Act or California's unfair competition law (UCL) by charging older users more for its premium service than younger users (Allan Candelore v. Tinder, Inc., No. B270172, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3, 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 71).
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on Jan. 29 upheld a decision from 1942 and ruled that an unnamed class member may not appeal a settlement or judgment under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 902 unless he or she has formally intervened before the action is final (Mike Hernandez, et al. v. Restoration Hardware, Inc., No. S233983, Calif. Sup., 2018 Cal. LEXIS 538).
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Even though a toxicology expert's opinion on what level of pollutants causes health problems is contrary to federal and Kentucky law, it is still reliable enough to help a jury determine common-law liability, a Kentucky federal judge held Jan. 25 in declining to exclude the expert's testimony (Modern Holdings, LLC, et al. v. Corning, Inc., et al., No. 5:13-cv-00405, E.D. Ky., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11891).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Jan. 26 granted a motion to intervene filed by media organizations in a tenant class complaint against the companies that own more than a dozen Maryland apartment complexes, companies that are owned in part by the son-in-law of the president of the United States; the motion to intervene was filed for the purpose of opposing the defendants' motion for leave to file the supplemental removal statement under seal (Tenae Smith, et al. v. Westminster Management, LLC, et al., No. 17-3282, D. Md., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12780).
NEW YORK - Federal securities class action lawsuit filings reached record numbers in 2017, thanks in large part to the nearly 200 filed federal merger-objection suits, equating to a 44 percent increase over 2016 and a third straight year of securities class action filing growth, according to a report released on Jan. 29 by securities, finance and commerce economic consultant NERA Economic Consulting.
LINCOLN, Neb. - In a dispute over whether a reinsurer owes $152,616.35 under a promissory note executed pursuant to a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA), an insurer argues in its Jan. 24 response that it would be unduly delayed and prejudiced if a Nebraska federal court grants the reinsurer's request for leave to amend an answer and to reopen discovery on a limited basis for class certification (Applied Underwriters Inc. v. Top's Personnel Inc., No. 15-90, D. Neb.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in a Jan. 24 one-page order, denied a petition for permission to appeal a grant of class certification in a lawsuit for a former employee accusing his employer and its retirement plan investment committee of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by charging 401(k) plan participants excessive fees, rejecting the employer's claim that the employee signed away the right to sue in a severance agreement (Marlon H. Cryer, et al. v. Franklin Resources, Inc., et al., No. 17-80213, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1842).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that the question of whether a retailer's price tags on shoes are misleading is a question of fact not appropriate for a motion to dismiss, a California federal judge on Jan. 25 refused to dismiss a purchaser's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other causes of action against it (Brittany Covell v. Nine West Holdings Inc., No. 3:17-cv-01371, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12437).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Employee nonsolicitation and no-hire agreements between Jimmy John's restaurant franchisees have caused employees to suffer from reduced wages and benefits and diminished employment opportunities, a former employee alleges in his class complaint filed Jan. 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (Sylas Butler, et al. v. Jimmy John's Franchise, LLC, et al., No. 18-1333, S.D. Ill.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The $3.89 million settlement of a class action over Facebook Inc.'s practice of scanning users' private messages (PMs) is unfair, an objecting class member tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Jan. 25 brief seeking reversal of the settlement's approval, because most of the award goes to class counsel rather than class members (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 17-16873, 9th Cir.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Jan. 25 rejected objections by an individual who was not a member of the class and granted final approval of a $1.6 million settlement to be paid by Vita-Mix Corp. and a staffing company to end a class complaint by workers alleging that they were misclassified and denied overtime wages and benefits (Rainoldo Gooding, et al. v. Vita-Mix Corporation, et al., No. 16-3898, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13252).
CHICAGO - A federal trial court did not err in admitting expert testimony in a methamphetamine distribution case, but the court's practice of not identifying expert witnesses to the jury "is problematic," the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Jan. 25 in affirming a man's drug dealing and firearms convictions (United States of America v. Ronald Tingle, No. 17-1604, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1935).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A number of Kentucky residents filed a class action suit on Jan. 24 in District of Columbia federal court, challenging a Medicaid work requirement implemented in Kentucky and approved by the federal government under a new approach to Medicaid waivers on the basis that the waiver exceeds the authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Ronnie Maurice Stewart, et al., v. Eric Hargan, et al., No. 18-152, D. D.C.).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 25 partially reversed the denial of class certification in a lawsuit filed by a rental car customer from outside the United States who alleges that the rental car company sold supplemental liability insurance or additional liability insurance (collectively, SLI/ALI) without ever actually purchasing coverage for foreign renters (Heather Venerus, et al. v. Avis Budget Car Rental, LLC, et al., No. 16-16993, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2042).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal magistrate judge on Jan. 24 determined that a third-party claimant in a lead-paint coverage suit must amend certain answers to a request for admission filed by the insurer and provide further information regarding his tenancy with his mother at the property where he was exposed to lead paint (CX Reinsurance Company Limited v. Devon S. Johnson, No. 15-3132, D. Md., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11209).
LOS ANGELES - Southern California Edison Co. and Edison International (collectively, SCE) own, operate and improperly maintained unsafe electrical infrastructure that caused a December 2017 fire in southern California that, in turn, triggered a January 2018 mudslide, killing nearly two dozen people and destroying homes and business, individuals and businesses allege in a Jan. 24 class complaint filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeking an unnamed amount for damages and destruction of property, loss of use of property, loss of business, other damages and attorney fees (Victoria Frost, et al. v. Southern California Edison Company, et al., No. BC691146, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
NEW YORK - Papa John's must turn over documents, except those protected by the attorney-client privilege, from a consultant hired, in part, to analyze alternative approaches to reimbursement of delivery driver vehicle expenses in a class complaint brought by drivers seeking compensation for under-reimbursed deliveries, a New York federal judge ordered Jan. 24 (William Durling, et al. v. Papa John's International, Inc., No. 16-3592, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11584).