DOVER, Del. - Attorneys for two chemical companies and those representing a class of plaintiffs on Jan. 17 debated before the Delaware Supreme Court the question of whether a long-standing class action related to alleged injuries from chemical exposure on banana plantations was still active (Luis Antonio Aguilar Marquinez, et al., v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 231, 2017, Del. Sup.).
PITTSBURGH - Blank Rome on Jan. 18 announced that a new partner has joined its commercial litigation group in Pittsburgh.
LOS ANGELES - Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton on Jan. 19 announced that it has entered into a cooperative agreement with a law firm in Saudi Arabia.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 22 denied a petition for certiorari filed by an online data aggregator seeking review of a follow-up question related to standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution that it claimed was not resolved in a 2016 ruling by the Supreme Court in the same case (Spokeo Inc. v. Thomas Robins, No. 17-806, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A chemical company filed a brief in New York federal court on Jan. 16 arguing that the district court should reconsider its ruling that determined that personal injury claims related to chemical exposure allegedly suffered on banana plantations were not barred by the statute of limitations (Tobias Bermudez Chavez, et al. v. Occidental Chemical Corporation, No. 17-3459, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Jan. 17 granted a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) barring the defendants' counsel in a wage-and-hour suit from contacting potential class members, finding that there could be irreparable harm (Tyrell Glass, et al. v. FMM Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 17-563, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8364).
GREENVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi residents who sued a company alleging that it is liable for groundwater contamination filed a brief in Mississippi federal court on Jan. 16 seeking to compel the production of documents related to expert testimony (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-053, N.D. Miss.).
CHICAGO - A network of nursing home facilities on Jan. 12 filed a class action complaint in an Illinois federal court on behalf of nursing home residents who filed applications for Medicaid benefits, arguing that the director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) failed to comply with an obligation to provide Medicaid benefits in violation of the federal Medicaid Act and other laws (Alden Management Services Inc. v. Felicia F. Norwood, No. 1:18cv238, N.D. Ill.).
MARSHALL, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on Jan. 17 granted in part a motion by a patent holder to exclude testimony from a ticket distributor's computer-programming expert in a dispute over a license agreement, ruling that the expert cannot offer opinions about a key term in the agreement because the meaning of the term is a question of law for a jury to determine (CEATS, Inc. v. TicketNetwork, Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-01470, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7214).
PHILADELPHIA - Aetna Inc. and related entities (Aetna, collectively) have agreed to pay $17,161,200 to settle privacy claims by more than 13,400 class members whose HIV status was revealed by the insurer through an indiscreet mailing, according to a motion for preliminary approval of a class action settlement filed Jan. 16 (Andrew Beckett, et al. v. Aetna, Inc., et al., No. 17-3864, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK - It is unclear whether a federal district court properly applied the correct standard in determining that defendants in a securities class action lawsuit failed to properly rebut the presumption of reliance by a preponderance of the evidence as required pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Basic Inc. v. Levinson, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 12 in vacating and remanding the lower court's grant of class certification (Arkansas Teachers Retirement System, et al. v. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., et al., No. 16-0250, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 810).
NEW YORK - A data and metrics provider for the media, advertising and marketing industries will pay $110 million to settle claims that it and certain of its current and former officers and directors violated federal securities law by engaging in a massive accounting fraud, lead plaintiffs claim in a motion for preliminary approval of settlement and stipulation of settlement filed Jan. 12 in New York federal court (Fresno County Employees' Retirement Association, et al. v. comScore Inc., et al., No. 16-1820, S.D. N.Y.).
NEWARK, N.J. - Statements made by defendants in a securities class action lawsuit against a pet food company and certain of its executive officers in 2015 investor earnings calls were not forward-looking or protected by the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA), and the lead plaintiff has shown that the defendants knew that their statements were false when they made them, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Jan. 12 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (Gary Curran v. Freshpet Inc., et al., No. 16-2263, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5833).
DENVER - A Domino's Pizza franchisor employs a flawed method to determine its per-trip reimbursement rate for its delivery drivers, causing their wages to fall below minimum wage during some or all workweeks, a former driver alleges in her class complaint filed Jan. 15 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (Kaylee Wilson, et al. v. DFL Pizza, LLC, No. 18-109, D. Colo.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 11 adopted a federal magistrate judge's recommendations and sent a class complaint alleging that the printing of more than five digits of credit card numbers on receipts violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act back to an Illinois state court (Anita Parker, et al. v. J. Crew Grp., Inc., et al., No. 17-1214, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5360).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 12 granted a joint motion to dismiss a petition to vacate and a cross-petition to confirm a $18,068,685 international arbitral award issued in a dispute over a contract for the excavation of tunnels as part of a project for the construction of a hydroelectric plant in Guatemala (Cobra Infraestructuras Hidraulicas S.A. v. Societa Esecuzione Lavori Idraulici, S.p.A., et al., No. 17-23664, S.D. Fla.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 15 affirmed the guilty verdicts and six-year prison sentence for a woman who kept illegal Mexicans in her home, where she abused them and forced them to perform slave labor, after finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing an expert to testify about "trauma bonds" between abusers and victims (United States of America v. Olga Sandra Murra, No. 17-10117, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 906).
SAN FRANCISCO - Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart favors men in pay, promotions and other opportunities, and leadership fosters an environment where women are marginalized and demeaned, one female attorney and nonequity shareholder of the firm alleges in her class and collective action complaint seeking more than $300 million, filed Jan. 12 in a California federal court (Dawn Knepper, et al. v. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., No. 18-303, N.D. Calif.).
ST. LOUIS - An expert witness for a minor asserting medical malpractice claims cannot offer an opinion that injuries to the minor limit the youth's ability to stand or walk to "perhaps as much as a maximum of four hours per day" because it is only speculation, though the expert's other testimony is admissible, a Missouri federal judge ruled Jan. 12 (J.B. v. Missouri Baptist Hospital of Sullivan, et al., No. 4:16-cv-01394, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5785).
NEW YORK - A lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against an energy company and certain of its current and former executive officers failed to plead any material misrepresentation or omissions or scienter to support his federal securities law claim that the defendants concealed that the company's former CEO neglected his responsibilities to the company while secretly exercising control over another company that did significant business with the energy company, a federal judge in New York ruled Jan. 10 in granting the defendants' motions to dismiss (Jeffrey Fries v. Northern Oil & Gas Inc., et al., No. 16-6543, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5307).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In two putative class actions, a California federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 12 that insurers are not entitled to a protective order regarding submission of a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) (Shasta Linen Supply Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., Nos. 16-00158 & 16-01211, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6079).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Changes by Foot Locker Inc. and Foot Locker Retirement Plan (collectively, Foot Locker) to a pension plan were concealed from employees, and a trial court did not err when it found that the misconduct constituted equitable fraud and violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a plan participant argues in his opposition brief filed Jan. 10 in the U.S. Supreme Court (Foot Locker, Inc., et al. v. Geoffrey Osberg, et al., No. 17-690, U.S. Sup.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal magistrate judge on Jan. 11 denied a motion by Cigna Corp. to strike a proposed class and subclass in a lawsuit accusing the company of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by placing automated calls to individuals who did not give their consent and to wrong numbers (Crystal DeJesus v. Cigna Corporation, No. 17-1208, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5149).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Jan. 12 granted a petition filed by General Electric Co. to confirm a $3,051,817.22 arbitral award issued against Japanese entities in relation to their failure to defend and indemnify GE pursuant to the terms of a manufacturing contract for appliances (General Electric Company v. Sampo Corporation, et al., No. 16-CV-2456, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6017).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Jan. 11 respondent brief, Microsoft Corp. asks the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' finding that the Stored Communications Act (SCA) does not permit the government to seize, via warrant, emails that are stored abroad, arguing that altering of the 30-year old statute's reach to address such modern technological matters should be handled via legislation, not litigation (United States v. Microsoft Corp., No. 17-2, U.S. Sup.).