PASADENA, Calif. - A waiver of a plaintiff's representative Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim is unenforceable, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 28 and remanded the matter for the parties to decide in the first instance where the claim should be resolved (Shukri Sakkab, et al. v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc., No. 13-55184, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17071).
ATLANTA - In a Sept. 25 brief supporting a motion to dismiss claims brought against it by a putative class of financial institutions (FI plaintiffs) related to a 2014 breach of its network, Home Depot Inc. argued to a Georgia court that the banks need to take responsibility for their role in the losses they claim to have incurred as a result of the breach (In re: The Home Depot Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:14-md-02583, N.D. Ga.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 25 granted approval of a $2.8 million settlement in a class complaint brought by independent contractors who deliver furniture and provide installation services in New Jersey for Macy's Inc. and HomeDeliveryLink Inc. (Henry Badia, et al. v. HomeDeliveryLink, Inc., et al., Nos. 12-6920 and 12-7097, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129033).
SAN DIEGO - Dismissal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because an insured is first required to bring his claims to arbitration under the arbitration provision of the insurance policy, a federal judge in California ruled on Sept. 25 (David Peffer v. Philadelphia Indemnity Co., No. 14-2980, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129531).
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands - The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Sept. 25 reconstituted a tribunal in an arbitration between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Slovenia over a maritime dispute, appointing two new arbitrators to the case (Republic of Croatia v. the Republic of Slovenia, No. 2012-04, PCA).
PHILADELPHIA - A putative class of insureds alleging violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in the theft of two laptops, purportedly containing their personally identifiable information (PII), have not alleged any concrete injury-in-fact, Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. argued in a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals brief Sept. 23, seeking affirmation of a lower court's dismissal of the case (In Re Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. Data Breach Litigation, No. 15-2309, 3rd Cir.).
MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee Bucks cheerleader filed a class complaint Sept. 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin alleging that she and other dance team members and cheerleaders were improperly denied minimum wage and overtime for the work they performed (Lauren Herington, et al. v. Milwaukee Bucks, LLC, formerly known as, Milwaukee Bucks, Inc., No. 15-1152, E.D. Wis.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Deeming a cell phone found at a crime scene to have been abandoned by its owner, a South Carolina appeals panel majority on Sept. 23 found that the owner, therefore, had also abandoned any expectation of privacy in the phone's contents, affirming a trial court's decision to permit evidence obtained from it at the trial that led to the phone owner's burglary conviction (The State v. Lamar Sequan Brown, No. 2013-000725, S.C. App.; 2015 S.C. App. LEXIS 217).
ALAMEDA, Calif. - An Alameda County, Calif., Superior Court judge on Sept. 24 ruled that Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. violated California Health and Safety Code Section 1367.63 by denying all requests for surgery to remove excess skin following bariatric surgery and that certain procedures should be covered where those "procedures would improve function or address an abnormal structure so as to create a more normal appearance to the extent possible" (Wendy Gallimore, et al. v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., et al., No. RG12616206, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Sept. 22 certified a class of plaintiffs alleging that an amendment to a pension plan is illegal under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because it was not enacted in accordance with ERISA's provisions (Juan M. Reyes v. Bakery and Confectionary Union and Industry International Pension Fund, et al., No. 14-05596, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126972).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 22 dismissed with prejudice a class complaint accusing a family of companies that provide prescription benefit administration services of failing to protect the personal information of employees and customers from being stolen by unknown third parties (Joan Longenecker-Wells, et al. v. Benecard Services, Inc., d/b/a Benecard PBF, et al., No. 15-422, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126837).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Sept. 23 declined to certify for interlocutory appeal an opinion permitting a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in a suit filed by employees of Chipotle Mexican Grill who allege that when they work the closing shift, they are automatically timed out but sometimes have to continue working (Leah Turner, et al. v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 14-2612, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127705).
MIAMI - A lawyer's expertise in insurance law does not match the type of expertise needed to render an expert opinion on the internal standards for handling an insurance claim, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 23, excluding the lawyer's testimony in an insurance bad faith lawsuit (Frank Lopez, as personal representative of the Estate of Giraldo Lopez, and Magaly Nunez Delgado, individually and as assignee of Michelle Soto v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-20654, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127495).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 22 granted final approval of a $50 million settlement ending an antitrust lawsuit in which consumers accused Comcast Corp. of conspiring with other cable companies to remain the exclusive provider in certain areas (Stanford Glaberson, et al. v. Comcast Corporation, et al., No. 03-6604, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127370).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Negotiations conducted after Jan. 16 between asbestos claimants and Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC on a plan of reorganization for the debtor will be kept confidential and out of the reach of discovery in the plan confirmation process based on a stipulation between the parties, a North Carolina federal bankruptcy ruled Sept. 23 (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Six California residents filed a class complaint on Sept. 21 in the Santa Barbara County, Calif., Superior Court, alleging that Volkswagen Group of America Inc.'s use of software to hide the true emissions performance of some of its diesel vehicles has caused them to suffer for loss of vehicle value, decreased resale opportunities and degradation of vehicle performance (Peter Park, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al., No. 15CV03138, Calif. Super., Santa Barbara Co.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Sept. 22 declined to exclude an expert's testimony that brake dust causes mesothelioma in a wrongful death lawsuit (Deste C. Relyea, as Executor of the Estate of Jo Ann Relyea v. Borg Warner Corp., et al., No. 12-3564, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126895).
CHICAGO - After finding that a $4,010,227.78 arbitration award issued in India in favor of a company in relation to a dispute over a contract for the purchase of caustic soda lye was enforceable in Illinois, an Illinois federal judge on Sept. 23 confirmed the award and denied a chemical company's motion for summary judgment denying enforcement (National Aluminum Co. Ltd. v. Peak Chemical Corporation Inc., No. 14-cv-01314, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127060).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 22 granted in part and denied in part several motions to exclude expert testimony in a trademark infringement lawsuit concerning Black & Decker Corp.'s DeWalt line of power tools (The Black & Decker Corp., et al. v. Positec USA Inc. and RW Direct Inc., No. 11-5426, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127193).
NEW YORK - An arbitration clause in an employment agreement signed by workers who were made employees after working as independent contractors is not binding on events that occurred before the signing, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 22, upholding a decision by the district court (Jan P. Holick Jr., et al. v. Cellular Sales of New York, LLC, et al., No. 14-4323, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16815).
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - A trial court did not err in refusing to prohibit the State of Ohio from presenting expert testimony that substances were "substantially similar" to controlled substances, an Ohio appeals panel ruled Sept. 21, upholding the conviction on multiple counts of aggravated trafficking in controlled substance analogs (State of Ohio v. Hamza Shalash, No. CA2014-12-146, Ohio App., 12th Dist.; 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 3723).
SAN FRANCISCO - Denying an anti-abortion organization's petition for a writ of mandamus, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 23 found that limited discovery was necessary for a trial court to rule on the parties' motions to strike and for a preliminary injunction motion in a racketeering lawsuit over the group's release of videos that purportedly violated confidentiality agreements (In re: Center for Medical Progress, et al., No. 15-72844, 9th Cir.)
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A federal judge on Sept 21 once again rejected defendants' challenges to an asbestos expert's testimony, including their portrayal of his opinion as overly general "every exposure" testimony (Andrew V. Kochera v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 14-29, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125726).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California magistrate judge on Sept. 22 granted final approval of a $900,000 settlement to pay claims brought by distribution center employees of CVS Pharmacy Inc., settling causes of action related to wages and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL,) and granted the claimants' motion for attorney fees (Leticia Ceja-Corona, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 12-1868, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126885).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Two putative class actions were filed Sept. 18 against Excellus Health Plan Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, alleging negligence in the health insurance provider's failure to safeguard policyholders' personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) from a recently announced data breach (Matthew Fero, et al. v. Excellus Health Plan Inc., et al., No. 6:15-cv-06569; Nicholas Gilbert v. Excellus Health Plan Inc., No. 6:15-cv-06570; W.D. N.Y.).