OLYMPIA, Wash. - A 7-2 Washington Supreme Court on May 17 found that emails between a county and the Washington Department of Ecology were protected from disclosure under the Public Records Act (PRA) because they were work product and because the sharing of the information between the parties did not constitute a waiver of that privilege (Kittitas County v. Sky Allphin, et al., No. 93562-9, Wash. Sup., 2018 Wash. Sup., 2018 Wash. LEXIS 336).
SAN FRANCISCO - A delivery courier on May 15 filed a class action complaint against a same-day delivery courier service in a California state court, alleging that it violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and labor code when it misclassified employees as independent contractors (Raef Lawson v. Deliv Inc., No. 566577, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A manufacturer and marketer of robotic surgical products asserts in a May 16 petition for inter partes review (IPR) before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that an Ethicon LLC patent relating to a surgical system involving a remote user-controlled actuation console would have been rendered obvious or anticipated by prior art (Intuitive Surgical Inc. v. Ethicon LLC, No. IPR2018-00938, PTAB).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio couple filed a lawsuit in state court on May 16 against the maker of shingles that were installed on their home, claiming that they were defective because they allowed the roof to leak, causing damage to their kitchen (Blanche Forman, et al. v. IKO Industries Inc., No. CV 18 897861, Ohio Comm. Pls., Cuyahoga Co.).
MIAMI - In a May 15 order, a Florida state court judge granted a plaintiff leave to amend his Engle progeny complaint in order to add a claim for punitive damages against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc., rejecting the tobacco companies' assertion that such an amendment would be premature (Michael Jordan Lipp, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 17-018509-CA-10, Fla. 11th Jud Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).
WAUKESHA, Wis. - A Wisconsin appeals panel on May 16 affirmed a lower court's finding that a homeowners insurance policy unambiguously excludes coverage for injuries that were caused by a dog with a prior history of causing injury, rejecting the appellants' argument that the policy is contrary to public policy (Kathryn Baumann-Mader, et al. v. Integrity Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 2017AP1369, Wis. App., Dist. 2, 2018 Wisc. App. LEXIS 496).
GREENBELT, Md. - A dispute between manufacturers of linens for use in the hospitality industry will proceed in light of a May 15 memorandum by a Maryland federal judge that deemed allegations of copyright and trade dress infringement adequately pleaded to survive a motion to dismiss (Garnier Thiebaut Inc. v. Castello 1935 Inc. and Richard William Campbell, No. 17-3632, D. Md., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83294).
NEW YORK - A New York state appeals court on May 15 affirmed a trial court's denial of summary judgment in a lead exposure lawsuit, saying the record demonstrates that lead abatement did not begin until after the plaintiff was diagnosed with high blood-lead levels (Christopher Brown v. Wendy Webb-Weber, et al., Nos. 159252/14 and 595628/16, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3446).
ELGIN, Ill. - The First District Illinois Appellate Court on May 15 affirmed a trial court's finding that insurance policies issued between 1977 and 1985 to an insured who is seeking coverage for an asbestos exposure claim are primary policies with self-insured retentions and cannot be considered excess policies as the insurer contended (Lamorak Insurance Co. v. Kone Inc., No. 1-16-3398, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2nd Div., 2018 Ill. App. LEXIS 279).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The Second Department New York Supreme Court Appellate Division on May 16 reinstated claims of gross negligence and punitive damages against an insurer and a remediation company after determining that the insureds sufficiently stated facts to support the claims (Richard Bennett, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., Nos. 10385/13, 385/14, 602582/14, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3482).
LOS ANGELES - Factually devoid discovery responses and questionable chain of custody over allegedly asbestos-tainted talc samples sinks a man's case, a California appeals court affirmed May 16 (John Wittman v. Coty Inc., No. B286135, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
COLUMBUS, Ga. - An insurer has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying suit alleging damages as a result of odors emanating from an insured's holding pond because the policy's pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage for the underlying suit, a Georgia federal judge said May 16 (Recyc Systems Southeast LLC v. Farmland Mutual Insurance Co., No. 17-225, M.D. Ga., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82248).
NEW ORLEANS - Technical deficiencies in a complaint are not evidence of improper joinder, and a woman will need discovery to flesh out her claims against a retailer she claims sold asbestos-tainted talc, a federal judge in Louisiana held in finding joinder proper and remanding the case on May 17 (Marilyn Rousseau v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 18-2922, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83230).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on May 17 dismissed a class complaint accusing a soda maker of leading customers to believe that its soda would help with weight loss by calling it "diet" soda, ruling that the complaint failed on its merits (Elizabeth Manuel, et al. v. Pepsi-Cola Company, No. 17-7955, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83404).
PHILADELPHIA - Noting that the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) has the authority to remove a case in which it is named as a party to federal court, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 15 found that a district court had jurisdiction over a borrower's claims against lenders and affirmed the dismissal of the case (Kenneth J. Taggart v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., Nos. 17-1836 & 17-2416, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 12558).
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Former lead paint manufacturer NL Industries Inc. has agreed to pay $60.18 million to 11 California counties and municipalities for lead paint remediation, according to a May 16 press release from Santa Clara County (County of Santa Clara, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., No. 1-00-CV-788657, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A borrower who alleged that a bank violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other laws when it refused to accept his untimely mortgage payment as part of a trial period plan on May 16 filed a notice of an appeal to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of a judge's decision granting summary judgment for the bank (Paul Schrupp v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 2:16-636, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82835).
ATLANTA - A Florida federal court did not abuse its discretion in excluding an expert's opinion that pollution from a fertilizer factory caused or worsened a woman's pulmonary diseases, and then awarding the factory judgment for lack of expert causation evidence, because the court correctly found that the expert's "methodology was undermined by multiple defects," the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 14 (Rhonda Williams v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC, No. 17-10894, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 12478).
LOS ANGELES - Wells Fargo Bank N.A. filed a notice of appeal on May 15, a week after a California federal judge awarded a class of Wells Fargo Bank N.A. home mortgage consultants (HMCs) more than $97 million in damages on claims that they were denied rest breaks and a derivative California's unfair competition law (UCL) claim (Jacqueline F. Ibarra, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 17-4344, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78513).
PHILADELPHIA - Anti-assignment provisions in health insurance contracts are enforceable and bar a provider's Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 16 (American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine v. Independence Blue Cross Blue Shield, et al., No. 17-1663, 3rd Cir.).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that a consumer failed to show that her class action claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising in relation to allegedly fake octopus products met the federal amount-in-controversy requirement, a California federal judge on May 15 dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction (Vivian Lejbman v. Transnational Foods Inc., et al., No. 17-CV-1317, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81867).