PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 7 granted and denied in part an insured's request to compel an insurer to produce redacted documents pertaining to mediation in an underlying case, as well as reinsurance information (Golon Inc. v. Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, et al., No. 17-0819, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201792).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Sierra Club and a Virginia power company filed competing briefs on Dec. 7 in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that a lower court erred in its ruling on the environmental group's groundwater contamination claim. The Sierra Club contends that the company should pay penalties and is liable for violations of federal law, while the company says it is not liable for any pollution (Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric & Power Company f/k/a Dominion Virginia Power, No. 17-1895, 4th Cir.).
CHICAGO - Noting that a settlement in a class suit over gift card fees that provided the attorneys with more compensation than the class members was not perfect, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 7 affirmed it nonetheless, ruling that the district court chose the better option (Saul M. Kaufman, et al. v. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., No. 16-1691, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24698).
NEWARK, Del. - A Delaware judge on Dec. 7 deferred ruling on motions for summary judgment filed by two contractors, holding that more discovery is needed to determine if a construction defects lawsuit brought by a condominium owners association is barred by the statute of limitations (Crest Condominium Association, et al. v. Royal Plus Inc, et al., No. S16C-10-024-RFS, Del. Super., Sussex Co., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 642).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A decision by a patent plaintiff to press on with its allegations in the wake of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, despite knowledge that its claims lacked merit, entitled a defendant in the action to an award of attorney fees, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 8 (Inventor Holdings LLC v. Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc., No. 16-2442, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24781).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. Supreme Court majority on Dec. 8 granted a petition for mandamus by the U.S. government, staying a trial court's discovery order requiring completion of the record in a lawsuit by parties opposing the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, with four justices dissenting (In re United States, et al., No. 17-801, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 7365).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 announced that it will determine whether the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals properly ruled that American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah tolls the statute of limitations to permit a previously absent class member to bring a subsequent class action outside the applicable limitations period (China Agritech Inc. v. Michael Resh, et al., No. 17-432, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Four class representatives in a New York federal lawsuit accusing J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by mismanaging retirement savings funds filed an objection on Dec. 7 to a proposed $75 million cash settlement reached between eight of the class representatives and JPMC, arguing that the amount the class will actually receive is far less than the total class damages (In re J.P. Morgan Stable Value Fund ERISA Litigation, No. 12-2548, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 11 refused to review the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that a New York law barring the offset of a claimant's disability benefits with the proceeds of the claimant's settlement of a personal injury suit is not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Aetna Life Insurance Co. v. Salvatore Arnone, No. 17-416, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 8, in denying summary judgment to Fitbit Inc. on class claims that the sleep-tracking functions on its devices do not work, ruled that the opinions of a plaintiffs' expert who tested the devices are reliable and relevant (James Brickman, et al. v. Fitbit Inc., No. 3:15-cv-02077, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202568).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Dec. 7 granted a motion to remand a wage-and-hour class complaint by yard hostlers, finding that the federal court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the claims because the amount in controversy, minus an estimate on the damages statement for an unpleaded claim, is below $5 million (Grant Frisch v. Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC, No. 17-2226, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202705).
NEW ORLEANS - The presence of a second defendant entitled to federal jurisdiction means that despite proper elimination of claims against a shipyard, an asbestos case will stay in federal court, a federal judge in Louisiana held Dec. 6 (Diane Pitre, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-7029, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200355).
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge on Dec. 6 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment on a breach of contract claim but granted the insurer's motion on a bad faith claim after determining that the insurer had a reasonable basis to deny the insured's claim for coverage of mold and water damages incurred to her home as a result of a hailstorm (Carrie Finch v. Owners Insurance Co., No. 16-169, S.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200934).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 asked a man awarded $6 million for his mesothelioma to respond to a drywall materials company's petition asking the court to find jurisdiction lacking and vacate the verdict (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).
PENSACOLA, Fla. - A Florida jury on Dec. 7 awarded $225,000 in punitive damages to an Engle progeny plaintiff, bringing the total award to a widow whose husband died from coronary artery disease to $806,000 (Veda Bryant v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2015-CA-001691, Fla. Cir., 1st Jud., Escambia Co.).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Dec. 6 partially granted a dismissal motion filed by the makers of Biotin supplements in a proposed class complaint alleging false labeling and gave the plaintiffs two weeks to file a second amended complaint (Rosa Alvarez, et al. v. NBTY, Inc., et al., No. 17-567, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201159).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An examiner's rejection of six claims of a crossbar processing patent application as indefinite was reversed by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 in light of a concession by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the rejection was erroneous (In re: Blaise Laurent Mouttet, No. 17-2077, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24844).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Dec. 6 petition for certiorari, the U.S. government argues that a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) obligated Microsoft Corp.to provide a user's email data that it happened to store abroad, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' finding that the presumption against extraterritoriality barred such foreign application of the statute (United States v. Microsoft Corp., No. 17-2, U.S. Sup.).
SALEM, Ore. - An insurer had a duty to defend an additional insured general contractor in an underlying construction defects case, an Oregon appeals panel ruled Dec. 6, reversing a trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurer (Security National Insurance Co. v. Sunset Presbyterian Church, No. 588, Ore. App., 2017 Ore. App. LEXIS 1501).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A divided en banc Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 refused to rehear a dispute over two communication processing patents, leaving intact a July 2017 ruling that ordered a new trial in the case (NobelBiz Inc. v. Global Connect, L.L.C., et al., Nos. 16-1104, -1105, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24780).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977), must be overturned because upholding the ruling compels "subsidization of union speech for political or ideological causes" in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the United States argues in a Dec. 6 amicus brief filed in a public-sector agency fees appeal, switching its position of previously defending Abood (Mark Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et al., No. 16-1466, U.S. Sup.).