BATON ROUGE, La. - A trial court erred in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment in a dispute over coverage for water and mold damage because the expert testimony proffered by the insureds was improperly excluded by the trial court, the First Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal said Sept. 8 (Melvin and Anjeanette Adolph v. Lighthouse Property Insurance Corp., No. 2016 CA 1275, La. App., 1st Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 1597).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - On the heels of a motion seeking dismissal of the sole remaining claim against it in a lawsuit over a 2012 data breach, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. on Sept. 7 filed a reply brief in Ohio federal court supporting its request for a protective order governing the discovery of asserted sensitive information related to its computer systems and data protection practices (Mohammad S. Galaria, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2:13-cv-00118, S.D. Ohio).
NEW ORLEANS - An expert for maritime companies that are defendants in a negligence action filed by an injured deckhand can give his opinions at trial about whether the defendants followed proper practices and procedures because his testimony is reliable and does not include legal conclusions, a Louisiana federal judge ruled Sept. 8 (Carlos David v. C and G Boats, Inc., No. 15-1655, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145614).
PITTSBURGH - An individual who purchased nutritional supplements based on false labeling claims failed to show that he suffered a health-related or economic injury, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 8, dismissing the class complaint (Daniel Hubert, et al. v. General Nutrition Corporation, No. 15-1391, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145506).
NEW YORK - Parking production assistants (PPAs) employed by Paramount Pictures Corp. filed a motion on Sept. 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking final approval of a $700,000 settlement to be paid by Paramount to end claims that the PPAs were denied overtime pay, forced to work without any breaks and often forced to go to the bathroom in their cars or pay local businesses in order to use their restrooms (Christian Pellot, et al. v. Paramount Pictures Corporation, et al., No. 16-463, S.D. N.Y.).
BALTIMORE - Workers employed by a landscaping company under the H-2B visa program may proceed with class claims that they were improperly denied wages, paid at a rate less than that mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and denied reimbursement of certain expenses, a Maryland federal judge ruled Sept. 7, noting that to the extent that certain DOL H-2B visa regulations are currently under review, a stay of the action or severance of the claim may be appropriate if those related proceedings are not resolved before the trial in the present case (Aviles-Cervantes, et al. v. Outside Unlimited, Inc., No. 16-1214, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144847).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Sept. 11 granted final approval of a $14.5 million settlement to be paid by American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and AEO Management Co. (collectively, AEO) to end claims that it violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending unwanted text messages; however, the judge trimmed the attorney fees and incentive awards requested by the plaintiffs (Christina Melito, et al. v. American Eagle, Inc., et al., No. 14-2440, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146343).
PHILADELPHIA - Synthes Inc. cannot get access to secret grand jury testimony to impeach testimony in a civil case that company representatives OK'd the off-label use of Norian bone cement in two deadly spinal reconstruction procedures, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Sept. 8 in an opinion affirming a district court's denial (United States of America v. Norian Corporation, et al., No. 16-2240, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17382).
DES MOINES, Iowa - A pair of women may continue with their class action lawsuit claiming that their insurer violated the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by charging for lactation consultation services, but nothing in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act requires insurers to list such providers separately, and the sex discrimination claims fail as well, a federal judge in Iowa held Sept. 6 (Jillian York, et al. v. Wellmark Inc., et al., No. 16-627, S.D. Iowa).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A pension fund has shown that a financial institution and its former CEO's failure to disclose their connection to a convicted fraudster and Ponzi scheme operator were material and that the CEO acted with scienter in failing to disclose his ties to the fraudster, a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 6 in denying the defendants' motions to dismiss in a securities class action lawsuit (In re Banc of California Securities Litigation, No. 17-0118, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145361).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 6 denied a motion by Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. (collectively, Wells Fargo) to strike class allegations filed by two former hourly employees alleging that they had to work outside of normal work hours to meet mandated quotas and were denied compensation for those hours (Juan Carolos Merino, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al., No. 16-7840, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143628).
NEWARK, N.J. - With the Sept. 10 filing of a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, at least 20 federal putative class actions have been filed against Equifax Inc. following the credit-reporting firm's Sept. 7 announcement of a data breach compromising the personally identifiable information (PII) of potentially 143 million of its U.S. customers (Maura Dowgin, et al. v. Equifax Inc., No. 2:17-cv-06923, D. N.J.).
DALLAS - A staffing agency that provided a prep cook to a hospital while in the midst of contract negotiations to provide additional staff may not proceed with retaliation and bias claims against the hospital because it lacked an employment relationship, a Texas federal judge ruled Sept. 7 (White Glove Staffing, Inc., et al. v. Methodist Hospitals of Dallas, et al., No. 17-1158, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144706).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 7 found that a health plan provider bears the burden to allocate a $350 million settlement between a potentially covered lawsuit and a noncovered lawsuit, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of four excess insurers in a coverage dispute over the underlying indemnity and defense costs (United Health Group Inc. v. Executive Risk Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1076, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17324).
SALT LAKE CITY - An engineer can proffer testimony that Chevron Pipeline Co. (CPL) spent approximately $4.4 million to $5.6 million in unnecessary costs when responding to two oil spills in 2010, a federal judge in Utah ruled Sept. 7, finding that he is qualified and that the methodology underlying his opinion is reliable (Chevron Pipeline Company v. Pacificorp, No. 12-CV-287, D. Utah).
CHICAGO - A consumer suing the maker of kefir for allegedly making false claims on its labeling can't proceed with warranty claims as he failed to notify the defendant of his concerns prior to filing suit, an Illinois federal judge ruled Sept. 6, granting a motion of dismissal only as to those two claims (Andrew Block, et al. v. Lifeway Foods, Inc., No. 17-1717, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143828).
HOUSTON - The San Jacinto River Authority mishandled the "controlled release" of water from Lake Conroe following Hurricane Harvey, resulting in the flooding of thousands of homes and businesses, a Harris County, Texas, couple allege in their class complaint filed Sept. 6 in the Harris County District Court (Thomas E. and Beth F. Ross v. San Jacinto River Authority, No. 2017-58385, Texas Dist., Harris Co.).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 5 disallowed testimony by a life-care-planning expert for a man injured in a deer-hunting accident after finding that the expert's opinions are not reliable or based on proper methodology; the judge then excluded testimony by the injured man's expert forensic economist because her opinions were based on the life care expert's now-excluded report (Jordan Queen v. W.I.C., Inc. d/b/a Sniper Treestands, No. 14-cv-519, S.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143087).
ATLANTA - A woman cannot pursue negligence claims against a midwife alleging that she injured the woman's baby during labor and delivery because the mother failed to present admissible expert testimony on medical causation, a Georgia appeals court found Sept. 7 in affirming summary judgment for the midwife (T'Miaya Smith, et al. v. Lauren Braswell, et al., No. A17A1191, Ga. App., 3rd Div., 2017 Ga. App. LEXIS 402).
PORTLAND, Ore. - The same day that Equifax Inc. announced a data breach affecting potentially 143 million U.S. customers, a class complaint was filed against the firm in Oregon federal court on Sept. 7, alleging negligence for Equifax's failure to protect customers' personally identifiable information (PII) (Mary McHill, et al. v. Equifax Inc., No. 3:17-cv-01405, D. Ore.).
PHILADELPHIA - Sunoco Inc. is not a party to the contract between customers and Citibank for Sunoco-branded credit cards and cannot compel arbitration of a customer's class claims over promised promotions under the card agreement's arbitration clause, a split Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 5 (Donald White, et al. v. Sunoco, Inc., No. 16-2808, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17098).
UTICA, N.Y. - In a dispute over an underlying $325 million settlement of asbestos claims, an insurer argues in a Sept. 1 motion that a New York federal judge should exclude testimony from a reinsurer's former employee because he has no personal involvement in the contracts (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-cv-00853, N.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Arguing that he sufficiently alleged that repeated, unwanted text messages from Facebook Inc. were sent using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS), a Montana man tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Sept. 1 brief that a trial court erred in dismissing his putative class action against the social network under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) (Noah Duguid v. Facebook Inc., No. 17-15320, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A shareholder in a securities class action lawsuit against Citigroup Inc. and others over their alleged issuance of misrepresentations regarding the financial institution's exposure to the subprime mortgage lending crisis has shown that he is entitled to $33,412.50 in attorney fees and expenses incurred as part of his objection to the distribution of settlement funds to three cy pres beneficiaries that were designated by class counsel, a federal judge in New York ruled Sept. 1 in granting the investor's motion (In re Citigroup Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 07-9901, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141719).
SEATTLE - Pharmaceutical company CTI BioPharma Corp. will pay $20 million to settle claims that it, its CEO and members of its board of directors and underwriters of two of the company's public offering of stock in 2015 concealed certain adverse information, including patient deaths, in the clinical trial results for CTI's myelofibrosis treatment drug pacritinib in violation of federal securities laws, according to a motion for preliminary approval of a securities class action settlement filed by the lead plaintiff in the action on Sept. 1 in Washington federal court (In re CTI BioPharma Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 16-0216, W.D. Wash.).