TULSA, Okla. - An expert electrician's testimony will be relevant to helping a jury determine a lighting company's liability in its customers' house fire, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled March 17, denying a motion to exclude, while holding that certain portions of the electrician's testimony that were not previously disclosed should be stricken (Great Northern Insurance Co. v. John Watson Landscape Illumination Inc., No. 4:12-cv-00025, N.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32511).
GREENBELT, Md. - A Maryland federal judge on March 17 declined to send a class complaint over car repossession notices back to state court and ordered non-class arbitration of the lead plaintiffs' claims (Dreka Swan, et al. v. Santander Consumer USA, No. 14-1906, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32348).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The federal judge in Arkansas presiding over litigation filed by a class of residents who allege injuries related to easements for Exxon Mobil Corp.'s Pegasus Pipeline on March 17 dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiffs' implied duty arguments are "misplaced" and that controlling precedent favors the company (Rudy F. Webb, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., No. 13CV232 BSM, E.D. Ark.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Rideshare application (app) operator Uber Technologies Inc. may subpoena the operator of a third-party website in its effort to uncover the identity of a John Doe defendant responsible for a data breach incident, a California federal magistrate judge ruled March 16, granting Uber's discovery motion (Uber Technologies Inc. v. John Doe I, No. 3:15-cv-00908, N.D. Calif.).
MILWAUKEE - A judge properly excluded layperson co-worker testimony regarding asbestos content, evidence of a defendant's duty and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into a workplace, a Wisconsin court held March 17 while reversing some aspects of the order (June Calewarts, et al. v. CR Meyer and Sons Co., et al., No. 2014AP531, Wis. App.; Dist. 3; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 208).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A judge improperly denied class certification to a group of plaintiffs seeking medical monitoring after allegedly suffering asbestos exposure during employment in a Missouri courthouse, a state appeals court panel held March 17 (David M. Elsea and Jeanne Morgan, et al. v. U.S. Engineering Co., and Jackson Co., Mo., No. WD77687, Mo. App.).
LONDON - An English justice on March 18 granted a shipping company's claim related to the liability of a Chinese company for damages due to the termination of charterparties and found that it was entitled to costs incurred in a Hong Kong arbitration (Spar Shipping AS v. Grand China Logistics Holding [Group] Co. Ltd., No.  EWHC 718, England and Wales High, Comm.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on March 13 certified a class of door-to-door salespersons who allege that they were improperly classified as independent contractors (Levonna Wilkins, et al. v. Just Energy Group, Inc., et al., No. 13-5806, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31902).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Two groups of plaintiffs in consolidated class complaints accusing a payroll service company of breach of contract and other violations following a breach of their computer system lack standing to sue because they present no evidence of actual injury, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 13 (Daniel B. Storm, et al. v. Paytime, Inc., Barbara Holt, et al. v. Paytime Harrisburg, Inc., d/b/a Paytime, Inc., No. 14-1138, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31286).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on March 12 issued a writ of certiorari and quashed a trial court's order compelling the deposition of the state's insurance commissioner in a suit against the accounting firm of three insolvent insurers (Florida Office of Insurance Regulation v. Florida Department of Financial Services, as Receiver for Southern Family Insurance Company, et al., No. 1D14-4417, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).
HAMBURG, Germany - The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on March 12 announced that it will soon release its advisory opinion in relation to a request by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) on illegal and unreported fishing activities (In re Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission, No 21, ITLOS).
LOS ANGELES - A school bus driver bringing various wage claims against her former employer failed to establish that questions of law common to her proposed class predominate over individualized matters, a California federal judge ruled March 12, denying the plaintiffs' motion for class certification (Imelda Vasquez, et al. v. First Student, Inc., et al., No. 14-6760, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30631).
ALAMEDA, Calif. - An Alameda County, Calif., Superior Court judge on March 16 heard opening arguments in a class suit brought by members accusing Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. of violating California Health and Safety Code Section 1367.63 by denying all requests for surgery to remove excess skin following bariatric surgery without first having a physician review each request (Wendy Gallimore, et al. v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., et al., No. RG12616206, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
NEW YORK - After finding that a defendant was dismissed for lack of capacity to be sued, a New York federal judge on March 16 dismissed a petition filed by numerous claimants to confirm an arbitration award (CBF Industria de Gusa S/A, et al. v. Steel Base Trade AG, et al., No. 14-3034, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31988).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on March 13 certified a class of debtors suing a law firm that was hired by a collection agency for failing to properly identify itself and the reason for its phone call in messages left for the people it was hired to sue (Kellie Rhodes, et al. v. Olson Associates, P.C., d/b/a Olson Shaner, No. 14-919, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31145).
PITTSBURGH - After finding that a resource company failed to submit evidence as to why a Chinese arbitral award should not be confirmed, a Pennsylvania federal judge on March 13 granted summary judgment enforcing the award in favor of a mineral company in a dispute over a shipment of alumina (Calbex Mineral Limited v. ACC Resources Co. L.P., No. 13-276, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31105).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In light of the recent revelation that former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton used her personal email account to conduct official government business, Gawker Media LLC on March 13 sued the U.S. Department of State under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking an order compelling disclosure of requested communications between a Clinton staffer and certain media outlets (Gawker Media LLC, et al. v. Department of State, No. 1:15-cv-00363, D. D.C.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a March 13 amicus curiae brief, filed upon invitation of the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. solicitor general recommended that the high court deny an online data aggregation service's petition for certiorari in a dispute over the injury-in-fact requirement to establish standing to bring a suit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) per Article III of the U.S. Constitution (Spokeo, Inc. v. Thomas Robins, et al., No. 13-1339, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON - Fidelity did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by retaining float income earned from plan disbursements because redemption float income was not a plan asset and because Fidelity was not a fiduciary with respect to float, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled March 11 (In re Fidelity ERISA Float Litigation, No. 13-10222, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29825).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 13 reversed a decision dismissing a false advertising class action lawsuit that alleged that the manufacturer of a vegetable oil-based spread violated the unfair competition law (UCL) by declaring that the product contained "no trans fat" when it in fact did, saying that the plaintiff has standing to assert the claims and that the claims were not preempted by federal law (Robert Reid v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 12-56727, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4025).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on March 12 declined to certify a class of workers under the New York Labor Law (NYLL) suing their former employer for various wage violations, finding that the plaintiffs failed to prove predominance and commonality (Christopher D. Griffith, et al. v. Fordham Financial Management, Inc., et al., No. 12-1117, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30869).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After finding that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expropriated the rights of investors in a marine services company, a tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on March 13 issued an award, ordering it to pay the investors $46.4 million in compensation (Tidewater Inc., et al. v. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, No. ARB/10/5 ICSID).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 11 granted certification to a class of cleaning company franchisees who claim that they were misclassified and are actually employees (Pamela Myers, et al. v. Jani-King of Philadelphia, Inc., et al., No. 09-1738, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29566).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 12 dismissed a class complaint accusing an employer of various violations of California wage laws and gave the lead plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint; however, he noted that if an amended complaint is successfully filed, the employer may want to seek an interlocutory appeal because the law addressing whether meal premiums are subject to wage statement and waiting time regulations is not clear (Jerrod Finder, et al. v. Leprino Foods Company, et al., No. 13-2059, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30652).