SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge in an order filed Feb. 16 certified a class of drivers suing Uber Technologies Inc. and its subsidiary Rasier LLC (collectively, Uber) for changing the pricing policy in 2016 and keeping a larger percentage of each fare, allegedly violating its agreement with the drivers (Martin Dulberg, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 17-850, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26222).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - New York's top court on Feb. 15 agreed to hear a dispute over whether a contract involving coke oven batteries are products for the purposes of an asbestos products liability action or whether the construction project constituted services (In the matter of the Eighth Judicial District Asbestos Litigation, Donald J. Terwilliger, et al. v. Beazer East Inc., et al., No. APL-2018-00023, N.Y. App., 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 187).
JACKSON, Miss. - Nothing in the state's precedent or the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) precludes setting off an asbestos verdict with amounts recovered from asbestos trusts, a divided Mississippi Supreme Court held Feb. 15 (Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Bennie Oakes, et al., No. 2015-TS-00644, Miss. Sup., 2018 Miss. LEXIS 67).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Feb. 15 denied a maternity wear company's motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that it would be premature to dismiss another company's claims for trademark infringement and that its claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) was not preempted (Blanqi LLC v. Bao Bei Maternity, et al., No. 3:17-cv-05759, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26069).
TRENTON, N.J. - Two claimants allege in a Feb. 16 complaint filed in the New Jersey federal court that they are entitled to benefits from the New Jersey Property Liability Guaranty Association (NJPLIGA) for injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident involving an unidentified motor vehicle owner and operator (Porfirio Torres, et al. v. New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 18-02290, D. N.J.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In two petitions for inter partes review (IPR) filed Feb. 15, Apple Inc. asserts that various claims of a voiceover internet protocol (VoIP) patent are obvious under Section 103(a) of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 103(a), one year after the Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied without prejudice the software giant's bid to cancel claims of the same patent (Apple Inc. v. Uniloc USA Inc., Nos. IPR2018-00580 and IPR2018-00579, PTAB).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 15 agreed to dismiss breach of fiduciary duty claims against an employer in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act proposed class complaint, finding that the plaintiffs - all retired or former employees - failed to show that the defendant, who was not named a fiduciary under the employee pension benefit plan, was a functional fiduciary (Clifton Marshall, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al., No. 16-6794, C.D. Calif.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Plaintiffs alleging negligence by Intuit Inc. related to incidents of fraudulent tax return filings were denied the opportunity to pursue an interlocutory appeal of an order compelling arbitration on Feb. 16, when a California federal judge concluded that an appeal would not serve to advance resolution of the case (In re Intuit Data Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-01778, N.D. Calif.).
KYIV, Ukraine - The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine on Feb. 19 announced that it has commenced arbitration against the Russian Federation with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), alleging that it has violated its maritime rights.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Supreme Court on Feb. 16 found that a trial court erred in denying a nursing home's motion to compel arbitration because the lease signed by a woman who claimed her mother was injured during an altercation at the home indicates that all claims against the home that do not involve payment of rent are subject to arbitration (STV One Nineteen Senior Living LLC v. Dixie Boyd, No. 1160727, Ala. Sup., 2018 Ala. LEXIS 12).
DADE CITY, Fla. - A jury in Florida state court on Feb. 20 awarded a family of a deceased smoker $15 million in punitive damages in an Engle progeny suit bringing the total award to $24 million in a suit where they claimed that smoking was the cause of a man's lung cancer and death (Rosemarie Graffeo v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2016CA000233, Fla. Cir., 6th Jud., Pasco Co.).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 15 found that a waste-processing company could not pursue claims that a port district violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) when constructing piers in the 1960s and 1970s using contaminated materials because the plaintiff did not provide sufficient presuit notification to inform the district about the alleged violations (Clean Harbors Services Inc. v. Illinois International Port District, No. 12-CV-7837, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24583).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Evidence concerning the recruitment of patients to a chiropractic clinic that allegedly fraudulently billed Medicare, as well as information showing that participants in the scheme put down large cash payments for expensive automobiles, is relevant, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled Feb. 16 in denying in part a defendant's motion in limine (United States of America v. Claudia Lopez, et al., No. 15-CR-00054-JHM, W.D. Ky., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25818).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 16 reversed a summary judgment ruling in favor of borrowers on their claims for violation of federal and Ohio state law, finding that letters sent by a law firm to them did not cause them to suffer an injury and that the district court lacked jurisdiction over the case (James R. Hagy III, et al. v. Demers & Adams, et al., No. 17-3696, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3710).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 16 issued an order granting a rehearing en banc in consolidated cases all concerning employers accused of improperly claiming tip credits toward the required minimum wage (Alec Marsh v. J. Alexander's LLC, No. 15-15791, Crystal Sheehan v. Romulus Incorporated, No. 15-15794, Silvia Alarcon v. Arriba Enterprises Incorporated, No. 15-16561, Sarosha Hogan, et al. v. American Multi-Cinema, Inc., No. 15-16659, Nathan Llanos v. P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc., No. 16-15003, Kristen Romero v. P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc., No. 16-15004, Alto Williams v. American Blue Ribbon Holdings LLC, No. 16-15118, Stephanie R. Fausnacht v. Lion's Den Management, LLC, No. 16-16033, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3781).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a retired worker seeking a ruling on whether the administrator of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed pension plan "may ignore a general rule that is expressly stated in the plan . . . and substitute a different rule, thereby creating an exception to the general rule that does not otherwise exist in the plan itself" (John E. Dowling v. Pension Plan for Salaried Employee of Union Pacific Corporation and Affiliates, et al., No. 17-1010, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - No confusion exists among the courts on the standard for evaluating punitive damages awards, and the one Crane Co. seeks in attempting to overturn a $10 million asbestos award is both self-serving and short-sighted, a woman told the U.S. Supreme Court Feb. 20 (Crane Co. v. Jeanette G. Poage, No. 17-900, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Feb. 15 dismissed breach of implied warranty claims brought by three of four leading plaintiffs in a class action suit over allegedly faulty composite decking that prematurely swells and cracks, finding that the claims were untimely because they accrued at the time the plaintiffs discovered the defects (Anthony Pagliaroni, et al. v. Mastic Home Exteriors Inc., et al., No. 12-10164-DJC, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 250096).
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Feb. 20 remanded a Risperdal gynecomastia verdict to the trial court so the plaintiff can develop an individual record about the unique conflict of laws principles relevant to his case (Nicholas Murray v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., Nos. 1172 EDA 2016 and 1302 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 139).
NEW YORK - Allegations that John Wiley & Sons Inc. exceeded the terms of its license to use certain photographs in textbooks and other educational materials were properly rejected on summary judgment because the plaintiff in the action - a purported assignee of the photographers' rights to sue - lacks standing to maintain an infringement action, a divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 16 (John Wiley & Sons Inc. v. DRK Photo, No. 15-1134, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3758).