HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on May 10 denied a motion for discovery filed by four environmental groups seeking depositions of West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) personnel, finding that the plaintiffs did not bear their burden of showing that the depositions were necessary (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, et al., No. 15-0271, S.D. W.Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61600).
SARASOTA, Fla. - A Florida jury on May 11 found that a woman relied to her detriment on statements made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. about the healthfulness of cigarettes, which ultimately caused her death, and awarded her husband $12 million in compensatory damages (George Dion v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 13CA5673, Fla. Cir., 12th Jud. Cir., Sarasota Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania Superior Court appeals panel on May 11 denied Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s appeal of a $3 million Topamax birth defect verdict, agreeing with the trial court that the claims are not preempted, that there was no comparative negligence and that the $1.5 million future medical expense award was not "shocking" (Kelly Anderson, et al. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 2330 EDA 2014, Pa. Super.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in California on May 6 denied a request by defendants in a securities class action lawsuit to compel lead plaintiffs to turn over certain documents, ruling that the documents are protected by the work product doctrine or are not relevant to the action (Babak Hatamian, et al. v. Advanced Micro Devices Inc., et al., No. 14-0226, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60551).
NEW YORK - A contractor merely pokes holes in plaintiffs' evidence and did not produce affidavits supporting its contention that it could not have caused the exposure in question, a New York justice held in an opinion posted May 9 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation Michael Koulermos and Marian Koulermos v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190406/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2016 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1696).
NEW YORK - A New York justice granted default judgment in an asbestos case against an automotive floor manufacturer but reserved the issue of damages for a special referee in an opinion posted May 10 (Joan Barbarino v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 190072/14, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2016 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1707).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 10 denied a cruise line's request for sanctions but affirmed a decision granting its motion to compel, finding that a seaman's claims that he could not afford arbitration failed (William Suazo v. NCL [Bahamas], Ltd., No. 14-15351, 11th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Taking into consideration the submissions of two U.K. companies and a Kenyan mining entity and the Republic of Kenya, a tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on May 10 issued an order granting Kenya's request for a revised timetable for the case (Cortec Mining Kenya Limited, Cortec [Pty] Limited and Stirling Capital Limited v. Republic of Kenya, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/29).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida vaping and e-cigarette distributor on May 10 filed suit against the Food and Drug Administration in a District of Columbia federal court, claiming that a new rule that expands the FDA's power under the Tobacco Control Act will cost it millions of dollars in revenue and is overly burdensome because it would restrict the sale of the company's products (Nicopure Labs LLC v. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 1:16-cv-00878. D. D.C.).
TACOMA, Wash. - A copyright infringement dispute between a website development company and a chiropractic firm that retained the developer's services was dismissed May 6 by a Washington federal judge, who found that the developer "has failed to show any substantial contacts" by the company in Washington "beyond the existence of the contract" (Williams Business Services Inc. v. Waterside Chiropractic Inc., No. 14-5873, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60529).
SEATTLE - An Indian tribe will not have to produce privileged documents to a railway company in their long-running dispute over a railroad right of way on the tribe's reservation as long as it removes a statement by a tribal attorney in a summary judgment declaration about the railway's common carrier obligations under federal law, a Washington federal judge ruled May 6 (Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. BNSF Railway Company, No. 15-0543, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60547).
PHOENIX - A social psychologist may opine in a tax-evasion lawsuit that certain people exhibit a general conspiracy mentality that makes them susceptible to belief in a wide variety of conspiracy theories, an Arizona federal judge ruled May 10; however, the judge barred the expert from testifying that a defendant's beliefs are sincerely held (United States of America v. Gary Steven Christensen, No. 14-08164, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61673).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 6 affirmed a trial court's dismissal of a pro se lawsuit brought by blind man who alleged that he was improperly fired due to his impairment and warned the plaintiff that "the pursuit of additional frivolous litigation in this court may subject him to monetary sanctions" (Robert Schindler v. Renaissance Hotel Management Company, LLC, No. 15-2560, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8449).
TAMPA, Fla. - A federal bankruptcy judge in Florida on May 6 denied a group of investors' motions to dismiss a suit brought by the bankruptcy trustee of an insolvent insurer alleging a fraudulent $33.4 million stock transfer (Soneet R. Kapila, as Chapter 11 Trustee of Universal Health Care Group, Inc. v. Warburg Pincus, LLC, et al., No. 8:15-ap-132-KRM, M.D. Fla. Bkcy.; 2016 Bankr. LEXIS 1957).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on May 9 granted a reinsurer's and its reinsured's joint motion to keep an asbestos-related arbitration award under seal (Continental Insurance Company v. Fairmont Premier Insurance Company f/k/a Transamerica Premier Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-00655, S.D. N.Y.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - One of the plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. alleging injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on May 9 filed a brief in Ohio federal court opposing the company's motion to apply the Ohio Tort Reform Act (OTRA) in the second bellwether trial (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal magistrate judge on May 6 determined that the proper allocation method for calculating insureds' defense costs is a pro rata by time on the risk method and said that the insurers are required to pay their portion of the defense costs owed to the insureds for underlying environmental contamination claims within 30 days (Century Indemnity Co. v. The Marine Group LLC, et al., No. 08-1375, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60339).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A casino patron cannot pursue declaratory relief for his personal injury claim against the casino and the Indian tribe that operates it because the tribe has not waived its sovereign immunity, a California federal judge held May 9 (Clarence Butler v. The Barona Band of Mission Indians of California, et al., No. 5:16-cv-268, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61304).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 6 enforced the National Labor Relations Board's decision that two West Virginia hospitals violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when they refused to bargain with the union elected by their registered nurses and rejected the hospitals' arguments that the NLRB's lack of quorum between Jan. 3, 2012, and Aug. 5, 2013, invalidated the regional director's certification of the union (National Labor Relations Board, et al. v. Bluefield Hospital Co., LLC, d/b/a Bluefield Regional Medical Center, et al., No. 15-1203, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8407).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 9 denied a group of tobacco companies' motion for a rehearing or rehearing en banc of its previous decision that there was no conflict of interest among members of a Food and Drug Administration committee charged with making a report on menthol and recommend menthol rule changes (Lorillard Inc., et al. v. United States Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 14-5226, D.C. Cir.).
CHICAGO - An employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it refused to sign a collective bargaining agreement after its representative orally consented to the terms, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 9, enforcing a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (Polycon Industries, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 15-3675, 15-3859, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8502).