NEW ORLEANS - Arbitrabilty is a "threshold question" to be determined at the outset of a case, not following a class certification ruling, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 25, affirming a trial court's dismissal of a delivery driver's wage-and-hour class complaint and enforcement of an arbitration clause in the driver's independent contractor agreement (Dewey Edwards, et al. v. DoorDash, Incorporated, No. 17-20082, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10474).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate on April 24 denied Volkswagen-branded franchise dealers' motion to compel withheld production in their lawsuit alleging that Robert Bosch LLC and Robert Bosch GmbH (collectively, Bosch) conspired with Volkswagen to develop the defeat device in Volkswagen's "clean diesel" vehicles to evade emission standards (In Re: Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices, And Products Liability Litigation; No. 16-02086, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69066).
FRESNO, Calif. - A woman who suffered a spinal cord injury in a car crash, resulting in permanent, complete quadriplegia, won two victories in her product liability suit against a carmaker when a California federal judge on April 26 rejected the company's bid to exclude her life care needs expert testimony and ruled that California law applies to the action (Miriam Michelle Mendoza v. General Motors LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-00967, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70542).
SAN FRANCISCO - In an April 24 answer filed in California federal court, Niantic Inc. argues that it cannot be found liable for incidents of nuisance and trespass carried out by players of its Pokemon GO game, raising defenses of consent, lack of standing and absence of proximate cause (In re Pokemon GO Nuisance Litigation, No. 3:16-cv-04300, N.D. Calif.).
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on April 25 granted final approval of a $100 million settlement in a long-running securities class action lawsuit between investors and Halliburton Co. and its CEO, who were alleged to have issued certain misrepresentations regarding the company's asbestos litigation liability, its financial condition and the benefits of a merger deal in violation of federal securities laws (The Erica P. John Fund Inc. v. Halliburton Co., et al., No. 02-1152, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69143).
LONDON - A U.K. oil and gas company on April 26 reported that the subsidiary of a Chinese oil company has commenced arbitration in London against it related to disputes involving a joint venture for the East Ghazalat Concession Egypt.
CLEVELAND - An Ohio judge on April 23 granted a request to consolidate more than 40 lawsuits filed against University Hospitals (UH) Ahuja Medical Center after human embryos and eggs were destroyed when temperatures in storage tanks in the UH Fertility Center rose on March 3 (John Brickel, et al. v. University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, No. CV 18 894332, Ohio Comm. Pls., Cuyahoga Co.).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 23 granted final approval of a $2.1 million settlement to be paid by Primanti Corp., doing business as Primanti Bros., to end a wage class complaint brought on behalf of tipped employees seeking unpaid wages (Chelsea Koenig, et al. v. Primanti Corporation, et al., No. 16-1402, W.D. Pa.).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on April 24 certified a class and three subclasses in a suit by unnamed plaintiffs seeking to stop the release of unredacted information regarding the University of Washington's (UW) purchase or procurement of fetal tissues, organs and cell products over the last eight years (Jane Does 1-10, et al. v. University of Washington, et al., No. 16-1212, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68797).
HOUSTON - A Texas-based energy company on April 25 said an international arbitral tribunal has awarded it $2.04 billion in damages in an arbitration with Venezuela's national oil company.
CHICAGO - The plaintiffs in two putative class actions alleging violation of Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) lack standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, Google LLC says in an April 23 summary judgment motion in Illinois federal court, arguing that the plaintiffs have not established a concrete injury under the act (Lindabeth Rivera v. Google LLC, No. 1:16-cv-02714, and Joseph Weiss v. Google LLC, No. 1:16-cv-02870, N.D. Ill.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on April 24 released an award in which a committee rejected a request by the Republic of Chile that a stay of enforcement of an award be lifted, requiring the former owner of a newspaper seized by the Chilean military to pay the costs of the award despite a pending annulment proceeding, but ordered that certain parts of the award were binding and could not be stayed (Victor Pey Casado and Foundation Presidente Allende v. Republic of Chile, No. ARB/98/2, ICSID).
LAFAYETTE, La. - An accounting expert cannot testify for a woman who was injured while shopping at a Home Depot store due to the lack of reliability in his opinions, so the retailer is entitled to summary judgment on two of her lost earnings claims, a Louisiana federal judge determined April 23 (Alicia Johnson Butler v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., et al., No. 16-1718, W.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68140).
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A medical expert cannot testify for an ambulance company accused of Medicare fraud because his opinions contradict federal Medicare regulations and are impermissible legal conclusions, a Kentucky federal judge decided April 20 (United States of America v. Arrow-Med Ambulance, Inc., et al., No. 17-cr-73, E.D. Ky., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66556).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on April 20 granted a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by a Louisiana town and its officials in a class complaint by residents alleging improper responses to a 2016 flood but ruled that the plaintiffs may have one chance to amend their complaint to state a claim against the Clinton, La., defendants (People's Workshop, et al. v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, et al., No. 17-107, M.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66912).
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on Feb. 20 denied a plaintiff's class certification motion in a lawsuit accusing an Ohio city of providing functioning sewer lines in a racially discriminatory manner, ruling that the motion was premature (Venicee Howell v. The City of Youngstown, Ohio, et al., No. 17-2320, N.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26864).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Various ConocoPhillips entities and the national oil company of Venezuela on Feb. 20 filed a joint letter in Delaware federal court, submitting arguments over whether a recent appellate court ruling should result in the dismissal of the oil company's claims that the Venezuelan entities violated the Delaware Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (DUFTA) by fraudulently transferring assets in an attempt to avoid paying potential arbitral awards or whether amended complaints should be considered (ConocoPhillips Petrozuata B.V., et al. v. Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., et al., Nos. 16-904 and 17-00028, D. Del.).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 21 cited Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016), and joined the Second and Seventh circuits in ruling that a plaintiff alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) without alleging a concrete injury lacks standing to sue (Steven Bassett v. ABM Parking Services, Inc., et al., No. 16-35933, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 4097).
NEW YORK - Harvey Weinstein and the other defendants in a New York federal lawsuit alleging that Weinstein flashed, fondled, assaulted and raped multiple women filed separate motions on Feb. 20 seeking dismissal of the class complaint alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, battery assault and emotional distress (Louisette Geiss, et al. v. The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, et al., No. 17-9554, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A small business owner who sued Google LLC over alleged misrepresentations about click fraud in its AdWords program, saw his claims of false advertising and unfair competition dismissed a second time Feb. 20, with a California federal judge finding that the plaintiff failed to plead the necessary economic injury to support his claims (Gurminder Singh v. Google LLC, No. 5:16-cv-03734, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27111).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal judge on Feb. 20 refused to dismiss a carwash customer's class action claims for violations of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other California laws, finding that a carwash owner's failure to disclose that its customers who declined to be signed up for a monthly service would automatically be signed up anyway was misleading and deceptive (Dan DeForest, et al. v. Pepper Tree Inc., et al., No. 17-02092, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26937).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 20 granted final approval to a settlement by a Florida casino to issue $15 or $30 settlement checks to fan club members to end a class complaint alleging that the casino charged excessive fees to those members who placed a winning buy bet in certain machines while playing craps (Daniel A. Brna, et al. v. Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., et al., No. 17-60144, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26662).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 20 held that a consumer who claims that a tax preparation company, its franchisee and other entities manipulated tax returns and submitted them to the Internal Revenue Service without tax payers' consent has sufficiently alleged a theory of direct fraud by the franchisor and its subsidiary (Luis Lomeli v. Jackson Hewitt, Inc., et al., No 17-02899, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27087).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. were denied discovery of certain privilege logs listing governmental communications over their proposed merger from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Feb. 20, when a District of Columbia federal judge found that the companies failed to establish evidence of the DOJ's selective enforcement of antitrust claims against them to justify such discovery (United States v. AT&T Inc., et al., No. 1:17-cv-02511, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27004).
BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Feb. 15 dismissed breach of implied warranty claims brought by three of four leading plaintiffs in a class action suit over allegedly faulty composite decking that prematurely swells and cracks, finding that the claims were untimely because they accrued at the time the plaintiffs discovered the defects (Anthony Pagliaroni, et al. v. Mastic Home Exteriors Inc., et al., No. 12-10164-DJC, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 250096).