TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington federal judge on April 26 declined to dismiss a class complaint by immigration detainees seeking minimum wages for their work based on the failure to join government parties, ruling that the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (collectively, ICE) are not necessary or indispensable parties (Chao Chen v. The GEO Group Inc., No. 17-5769, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70664).
BALTIMORE - In an April 28 brief in Maryland federal court, the National Security Agency (NSA) says that discovery Wikimedia Foundation seeks to compel in its suit alleging constitutional violations in the agency's upstream surveillance program comprises "highly sensitive and classified information that is protected by state secrets privilege (Wikimedia Foundation v. National Security Agency, et al., No. 1:15-cv-00662, D. Md.).
ATLANTA - In an April 26 motion to remand, 100 plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation over the 2017 massive Equifax Inc. data breach, told a Georgia federal court that it lacked diversity jurisdiction over them due to damages cap stipulations, seeking to return their respective lawsuits to California state court (In Re: Equifax Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:17-md-2800, N.D. Ga.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Three female attorneys filed a class and collective action complaint on April 30 in California federal court accusing Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) of punishing them for becoming pregnant, having children and taking maternity leave by denying them opportunities for advancement and higher pay and seeking at least $100 million (Jane Doe 1, et al. v. Morrison & Foerster, LLP, No. 18-2542, N.D. Calif.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 27 granted final approval of a settlement up to $3.5 million to be paid by furniture and home decor retailer to end a class suit over its flex-scheduling policy that required employees to report to work but didn't guarantee that they would work the assigned shift (Lauren Mathein, et al. v. Pier 1 Imports [U.S.], Inc., No. 16-87, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71386).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal magistrate judge on April 26 ordered a certified public accountant and a bank to comply with subpoenas in a dispute over a reinsurer's alleged breach of reinsurance agreements because of a series of fraudulent transfers (Odyssey Reinsurance Co. v. Richard Keith Nagby, et al., No. 16-3038, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70641).
BEAUFORT, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on April 26 denied a woman's motion to certify a class for homeowners who claim that a builder improperly installed stucco on their homes, finding that individual issues, such as the extent of damages and the statute of limitations defense, predominated over classwide issues (Jacqueline L. Craft, et al. v. South Carolina Plastering LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-05080-PMD, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70048).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina recognizes an evidentiary privilege for trade secrets, but that privilege is considered a qualified privilege, a split South Carolina Supreme Court ruled April 25 in answering a certified question from the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a wrongful death lawsuit (Theodore Hartsock v. Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America Ltd., et al., No. 27793, S.C. Sup., 2018 S.C. LEXIS 44).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania trial court erred when it awarded a contingency fee to class counsel following a m ultimillion-dollar award for the plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour class suit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam's East (collectively, Wal-Mart) and applied a 3.7 contingency multiplier, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled April 27, remanding for a detailed explanation regarding the use of the contingency multiplier (Michelle Braun, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., Dolores Hummel, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., Nos. 3361 EDA 2016 and 3633 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1332).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 26 declined a plea by plaintiffs to not award Ford Motor Co. costs after a jury verdict was issued in favor of the vehicle manufacturer in a class suit alleging defective vehicles, but reduced the requested amount of $99,406.02 to $74,551.48 (Margie Daniel, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, No. 11-2890, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70545).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A divided Florida Supreme Court on April 26 ordered a new trial in a medical malpractice suit after finding that a subsequent treating physician's deposition testimony about how he would have treated a girl suffering from hydrocephalus symptoms had she arrived at his hospital earlier was irrelevant and inadmissible and could not be considered harmless error (Alexis Cantore, et al. v. West Boca Medical Center, Inc., et al., No. SC15-1926, Fla. Sup., 2018 Fla. LEXIS 953).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 30 granted certiorari in a dispute over the fairness of the settlement of a privacy class action against Google LLC, in which two objectors contend that the distribution of the $8.5 million settlement to cy pres recipients, rather than to class members, does not constitute a "fair, reasonable, and adequate" settlement of the class claims (Theodore H. Frank, et al. v. Paloma Gaos, et al., No. 17-961, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 30 granted a petition for writ of certiorari filed by an employer whose payroll system was hacked and asked the high court justices to decide if the Federal Arbitration Act bars a state law interpretation permitting class arbitration where class arbitration is not specifically mentioned in the agreement (Lamps Plus, Inc., et al. v. Frank Varela, No. 17-988, U.S. Sup.).
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).