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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Discovery Legal News

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High Court Hears Arguments Over Sanctions For False Claims Act's Seal Requirement
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Nov. 1 from an insurer, the relators in a qui tam action against that insurer, and the U.S. government over what the appropriate sanctions should be when relators in a False Claims Act (FCA) suit violate that statute's requirement that the complaint and filings remain sealed (State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al., No. 15-513, U.S. Sup.).



Dismissal Of Contamination Suit Too Drastic A Sanction, New Jersey Panel Rules
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey judge's decision to dismiss a suit over contamination at a property that formerly housed printing operations as a sanction for the plaintiff's spoliation of evidence was too drastic, a state appeals panel ruled Oct. 31, holding that the lower court failed to consider the possibility of lesser sanctions, such as an adverse inference (18-01 Pollitt Drive LLC v. Harvey Engel, et al., No. A-4833-13T3, N.J. Super, App. Div.; 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2360).



Judge Finds Failure To Produce Witness Warrants Sanctions, Not Dismissal
LOS ANGELES - An asbestos defendant's delay in producing a corporate witness despite court orders to do so warrants imposing sanctions and awarding attorney fees, but not dismissal of the case, a federal judge in California held Oct. 24 (Victoria Lund, et al. v. Crane Co., et al., No. 13-2776, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147072).



Government Opposes Certiorari In 4th Amendment Exclusionary Rule Exception Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an Oct. 31 brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. government opposes a grant of certiorari to a man convicted of tax evasion, arguing that law enforcement properly retained mirrored copies of the man's hard drives via a warrant that was valid per the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Stavros M. Ganias v. United States of America, No. 16-263, U.S. Sup.).



D.C. Circuit Stays Enforcement Of Subpoena On Backpage.com CEO Pending Appeal
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pane. on Oct. 17 stayed an enforcement order requiring Backpage.com LLC Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer to comply with a U.S. Senate subcommittee discovery subpoena connected with an investigation of online sex trafficking, finding that he had met the requirements for a stay pending appeal (Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations v. Carl Ferrer, No. 16-5232 and 16-5274, D.C. Cir.).



U.S. Government: 2nd Circuit Erred In Denying Access To Irish-Based Emails
NEW YORK - In an Oct. 13 motion for rehearing, the U.S. government tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a panel ruling improperly deemed unenforceable a warrant seeking emails stored in a Microsoft Inc. server in Ireland because the provisions of the Stored Communications Act (SCA), under which the warrant was issued, cannot apply extraterritorially (In the Matter of a Warrant to Search a Certain E-Mail Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corp.[Microsoft v. United States], No. 14-2985, 2nd Cir.).



7th Circuit Panel Reverses Judgment On Spoliation Claims
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 7 held that an Illinois federal judge properly granted summary judgment in a product liability case to a scaffolding manufacturer because there was no evidence in the record that the specific bar that caused a worker's injury was defective but that the grant of summary judgment in favor of the owner of a power plant where the scaffolding was being installed on spoliation claims was improper because the plaintiff never had an opportunity to have the bar, which was lost, analyzed for defects (Matthew Schaefer, et al. v. Universal Scaffolding & Equipment LLC, et al., No. 15-2393, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18233).



Federal Judge Clears Asbestos Defendant Of Claims It Destroyed Evidence
LOS ANGELES - Reasonable explanations exist for every apparent contradiction regarding an asbestos defendant's production of evidence and why that production falls short of what a plaintiff could find through discovery, a federal judge in California held Oct. 24 (Victoria Lund, et al. v. Crane Co., et al., No. 13-2776, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147070).



Texas High Court: Discovery Order Was Not Tailored To Time, Place Or Subject Matter
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Oct. 28 held that a pretrial court's discovery order in a hailstorm coverage dispute was overbroad because it was not tailored with regard to time, place or subject matter, directing the lower court to vacate the part of its order compelling production of management reports and emails and re-evaluate the issue of sanctions against the insurer (In re National Lloyds Insurance Company, Relator, No. 15-0452, Texas Sup.; 2016 Tex. LEXIS 963).



Insurer Must Produce Attorney Billing Records In Auto Accident Contractual Suit
LAS VEGAS - An insurer's attorney billing records in an underlying lawsuit over auto accident liability claims may be material to contractual and bad faith claims in the related coverage dispute, a Nevada federal magistrate judge ruled Nov. 4, granting in part the claimants' motion to compel (Melinda Booth Dogra, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 2:14-cv-01841, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154121).



Macy's Financial Information Deemed Not Discoverable In Personal Injury Suit
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The plaintiffs in a personal injury suit against Macy's Retail Holdings Inc. are not entitled to chainwide financial information and regional incident reports, a Georgia federal magistrate judge ruled Oct. 24, denying motions to compel such materials (Jacquelyn Orr, et al. v. Macy's Retail Holdings Inc., No. 4:16-cv-00052, S.D. Ga.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147573).



Insurer Asks Court To Deny Motion To Compel Discovery Brought By Reinsurer
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - An insurer told a federal court in Connecticut on Oct. 31 that its reinsurer's motion to compel discovery should fail because the deadline for seeking discovery has passed and the material sought is privileged (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, f/k/a The Aetna Casualty and Surety Company v. Century Indemnity Company as successor to Insurance Company of North America, No. 16-cv-00170, D. Conn.).



Reinsurer Says Its Request For Reconsideration Of Discovery Orders Is Timely
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A reinsurer asked a federal court in New York on Oct. 21 for permission to file a reply to its reinsured's contention that the reinsurer's objections to a pair of discovery orders is untimely (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Century Indemnity Company, No. 13-cv-00995, N.D. N.Y.).



U.S. Government Opposes Preservation Order For Official's Private Email
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. government on Oct. 31 opposed a liberty advocacy organization's motion to compel an officer of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to preserve emails in his private email account in accord with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, telling a District of Columbia federal court that the group has not met its burden to demonstrate the preservation order's necessity (Competitive Enterprise Institute v. Office of Science and Technology Policy, No. 1:14-cv-00765, D. D.C.).



Information About Medical Reviewers Is Relevant, Kentucky Federal Judge Says
OWENSBORO, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Oct. 21 rejected a disability insurer's objections to a magistrate judge's discovery order and the insurer's motion for a protective order regarding information about the medical reviewers used by the insurer in evaluating a disability claim because the information sought by the claimant is relevant and not unduly burdensome (Paulette Owens v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 15-71, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145941).



Kentucky Federal Judge Orders Production Of Confidential Documents
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge in an order filed Oct. 17 directed insurer defendants in a class action challenging the lump-sum payment method used to calculate interest earned by pension plan members' accounts to produce several dozen allegedly privileged documents based on the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client and work product privileges (Jennifer Durand, et al. v. The Hanover Insurance Group Inc., et al., No. 3:07-cv-00130, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143064).



Judge Gives Insurers OK To Depose Individuals Regarding Jurisdiction
ATLANTA - A federal judge in Georgia on Oct. 21 granted a pair of insurers' motion to depose certain people to determine if their alleged actions regarding a reinsurer fall under the jurisdiction of the Georgia federal court (Canal Insurance Company, et al. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company, Ltd, et al., No. 15-cv-3331, N.D. Ga.).



Texas High Court Postpones Oral Argument In Discovery Dispute Over Attorney Fees
AUSTIN, Texas - Two days before oral argument was scheduled to begin in a dispute over discovery requests concerning relators' attorney fees in a multidistrict litigation hailstorm property damage coverage dispute, the Texas Supreme Court reset oral argument for Feb. 7, according to a Nov. 8 pronouncement (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Wardlaw Claims Service Inc. and Ideal Adjusting Inc., No. 15-0591, Texas Sup.).



Judge Says ASARCO Can Intervene In CERCLA Suit, But Not Seek Discovery
TULSA, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Oct. 27 ruled that ASARCO could intervene in a lawsuit brought by the federal government and state of Oklahoma against two companies accused of contributing to contamination at the Tar Creek Superfund site because a proposed settlement between the parties could affect ASARCO's ability to seek contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (United States of America, et al. v. Doe Run Resources Corporation, et al., No. 15-CV-0663-CVE-TLW, N.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148959).



Nonparty In GM Ignition Switch MDL Moves To Quash Subpoena
NEW YORK - The company that designed and manufactured the allegedly faulty initiation switch in General Motors vehicles on Oct. 19 asked the judge overseeing the GM ignition switch multidistrict litigation to quash a subpoena the plaintiffs served to it seeking further discovery (In Re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 1:14-md-0254, S.D. N.Y.).



Solicitor General To Argue In High Court Case On False Claims Act Seal Violations
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 11 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a motion by Acting U.S. Solicitor General Ian Heath Gershengorn to participate in upcoming oral arguments over what the appropriate sanctions are when a private qui tam lawsuit plaintiff violates a seal order under the False Claims Act (FCA) (State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al., No. 15-513, U.S. Sup.; 2016 U.S. LEXIS 6149).



Supreme Court Denies Certiorari In Dispute Over Sealed Chrysler Documents
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 3 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari by FCA US LLC, formerly known as Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler), letting stand a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that had vacated the denial of an intervenor's motion to unseal documents related to an injunction motion in a consumer class action (FCA US LLC [f/k/a Chrysler Group LLC] v. The Center for Auto Safety, No. 15-1211, U.S. Sup.; 2016 U.S. LEXIS 4644).



Supreme Court Declines To Stay Senate Subcommittee Subpoena On Backpage.com CEO
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Sept. 13 order, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an application for stay filed by Backpage.com LLC CEO Carl Ferrer, in which he sought relief from a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals order requiring him to comply with a U.S. Senate subcommittee subpoena related to an investigation of online sex trafficking (Carl Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, No. 16A236, U.S. Sup.; 2016 U.S. LEXIS 4452).



Backpage CEO Partly Granted Extension To Comply With Senate Subcommittee Subpoena
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Despite finding that Backpage.com LLC Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer did not properly invoke common-law privileges to a U.S. Senate subcommittee document subpoena, a District of Columbia federal judge on Sept. 16 granted in part his motion to extend the time to comply with an order enforcing the subpoena in light of his recent efforts to produce the requested documents (Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations v. Carl Ferrer, No. 1:16-mc-00621, D. D.C.).



Senate Subcommittee Urges High Court To Reject Stay Of Backpage CEO's Subpoena
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals order requiring Backpage.com LLC CEO Carl Ferrer to comply with a discovery subpoena related to a sex trafficking investigation should stand, a U.S. Senate subcommittee told the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 9, opposing Ferrer's application to stay the order pending high court review (Carl Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, No. 16A236, U.S. Sup.).



New Jersey Federal Magistrate Denies Insurance Department Motion To Quash Subpoena
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Sept. 30 denied the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance's motion to quash a subpoena related to the denial of a woman's mental health treatments, saying a confidentiality provision in the state Health Care Quality Act is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Rachel B. v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, No. 14-cv-01153, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135547).



Seeks To Quash Subpoenas Directed At Personal Life
CHICAGO - A woman bringing cybersquatting, fraud and defamation claims over a website created by her ex-boyfriend filed a motion to quash his discovery subpoenas in Illinois federal court on Oct. 5, asserting that the subpoenas were intended to harass and intrude on her personal life and lack any probative value related to the claims at issue in the case (Emily Mackie, et al. v. Mason Awtry, et al., No. 1:14-cv-09206, N.D. Ill.).



Magistrate Denies Plaintiffs' Request For Experts' Destructive Testing Documents
ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Sept. 6 quashed in part subpoenas served by plaintiffs who claim that homes built by Pulte Home Corp. were built with a defective stucco system on the defendant company's experts, ruling that information concerning destructive testing the experts conducted on certain homes was not subject to the exceptional circumstances exception to the work product doctrine (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119867).



7th Circuit: Insurer May Conduct Discovery As To Defendant's Status As Insured
CHICAGO - Illinois law permits an insurer seeking declaratory judgment as to its coverage obligations to conduct discovery for evidence outside the underlying complaints as to whether a claimant qualifies as an insured, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 22, reversing a trial court's judgment in favor of the claimant (Landmark American Insurance Co. v. Peter Hilger, No. 15-2566, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17343).



Claimant Is Permitted To Pursue Discovery Outside Of Administrative Record
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Sept. 29 determined that a disability claimant is entitled to pursue discovery outside of the administrative record on her claim alleging that the disability plan administrator operated under a conflict of interest because the discovery is permitted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Suzette Scott-Warren v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 14-738, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136513).



Reinsurer Says Magistrate Judge's Discovery Orders Are Fundamentally Unfair
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A reinsurer in a Sept. 19 brief asks a federal court in New York to reconsider its discovery rulings that the reinsurer says require it to produce reserve information while not requiring its reinsured to produce the same category of documentation (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Century Indemnity Company, No. 13-cv-00995, N.D. N.Y.).



Insured Must Produce Documents Related To Premium Allocation, Federal Judge Says
INDIANAPOLIS - Insureds seeking coverage for environmental contamination claims must produce information related to their premium allocation in addition to a list of all of the insureds' global coverage policies, an Indiana federal judge said Sept. 27 (Eli Lilly and Co., et al. v. Arch Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-1770, S.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131855).



Diocese's Insurer Asks 2nd Circuit To Reverse Discovery, Breach Of Contract Rulings
NEW YORK - An insurer filed a notice of appeal on Aug. 29 in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeking reversal of a lower federal court's $945,265.11 breach of contract judgment against it and an earlier discovery ruling in a dispute over coverage stemming from underlying sexual misconduct cases brought against its diocese insured (Hartford Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp. v. Interstate Fire & Casualty Co., No. 16-2999, 2nd Cir.).



Reinsurer, Reinsured Outline Need For Discovery In Reinsurance Dispute
PHILADELPHIA - A reinsurer and its reinsured told a federal court in Pennsylvania on Sept. 7 that they both anticipate the need for discovery in a late notice dispute regarding asbestos-related reinsurance billings (R&Q Reinsurance Company v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-01473, E.D. Pa.).



5th Circuit Vacates U Visa Discovery Orders, Remands For New Approach
NEW ORLEANS - The grant of discovery orders seeking visa information for undocumented aliens cooperating in a government investigation of an employer accused of discrimination are too broad and impose an undue burden, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 27, remanding to the Mississippi trial court "to devise an approach to U visa discovery that adequately protects the diverse and competing interests at stake" (Maria Cazorla, et al. v. Koch Foods of Mississippi, L.L.C., et al., Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Koch Foods of Mississippi, L.L.C., No. 15-60562, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17565).



Xarelto MDL Judge OKs Bayer Personnel Files For Plaintiffs' Rush-To-Market Theory
NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana federal judge overseeing the Xarelto multidistrict litigation on Sept. 16 ordered defendant Bayer Corp. to give the plaintiffs two personnel files the plaintiffs say are relevant to their argument that the anticoagulant was rushed to market or that "aggressive compensation schemes" were used to market the drug (In Re: Xarelto [Rivaroxaban] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2591, No. 14-md-2592, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126946).



Discovery Of Facebook Source Code, Tables Denied In Message Scanning Class Action
OAKLAND, Calif. - The plaintiffs in a class action alleging private message (PM) scanning by Facebook Inc. saw three motions to compel discovery denied Oct. 4, with a California federal judge finding the requests for source code, configuration tables and related documents to be overbroad and not sufficiently tailored to the plaintiffs' allegations of privacy violations (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137936).



Florida Federal Magistrate Defers Discovery Ruling In Lanham Act Case
MIAMI - Efforts by 32 models to obtain, through discovery, the membership list of a defendant "swingers" club were unsuccessful on Oct. 3, when a Florida federal magistrate judge concluded that it remains unclear whether the requested information would assist the plaintiffs in determining the amount of damages available to them on their allegation that the club violated the Lanham Act (Jaime Faith Edmondson, et al. v. Velvet Lifestyles LLC, No. 15-24442, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136866).



Federal Circuit: Discovery Sanctions In Patent Case Were Abuse Of Discretion
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Pennsylvania federal judge abused his discretion when striking a patent infringement defendant's answer and counterclaims as a sanction for failure to comply with two discovery orders, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 29 (Drone Technologies Inc. v. Parrot S.A., et al., Nos. 15-1892, -1955, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17643).



Oracle Denied New Trial, Judgment In Java Suit Post-Trial Proceedings
SAN FRANCISCO - Oracle America Inc. saw its post-trial motions for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) and for a new trial denied by a California federal judge Sept. 27, who found that defendant Google Inc. did not engage in any discovery misconduct meriting a new trial (Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-03561, N.D. Calif.).



Judge Orders DuPont To Produce Documents, Denies Request For Sanctions
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The judge presiding over litigation brought against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries stemming from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Oct. 7 ruled that the company is compelled to supplement its discovery requests but held that it would not be subject to sanctions as had been requested by the plaintiffs (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).



New York Federal Judge Denies Motion For Sanctions In Untaxed Tobacco Suit
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 14 denied New York City and New York state's motion to impose sanctions on the attorneys representing United Parcel Service Inc. in a tobacco trafficking suit because the judge found that the city and state's failure to produce certain pieces of evidence during discovery was accidental (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y.).



Judge: Deletion Of Secretly Recorded Conversations Does Not Merit Sanctions
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Finding no evidence that a University of California (UC) police chief was on notice of potential litigation related to the surreptitious recording of officers' private conversations, a California federal judge on Sept. 8 denied a plaintiff officer's motion seeking sanctions for what he said was spoliation of essential evidence in the deletion of those recordings (Federated University Police Officers' Association, et al. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al., No. 8:15-cv-00137, C.D. Calif.).



Judge Clears Path For Trial, Won't Invalidate Copyrights Due To Spoliation
MILWAUKEE - Efforts by myriad infringement defendants to invalidate various copyrights as a sanction for the alleged spoliation of evidence were unsuccessful on Sept. 12, when a Wisconsin federal judge denied the request and instead scheduled the case for trial, indicating that no reference to spoliation will appear in the jury instructions (Design Basics LLC v. Campbellsport Building Supply Inc., et al., No. 13-560, E.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123126).



Cosby Permitted To Intervene In Accuser's Deposition In Defamation Suit
PHILADELPHIA - Granting in part a motion to intervene by Bill Cosby, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 3 ruled that the comedian's counsel may attend the deposition of one of his sexual assault accusers in a related defamation suit, finding that Cosby had an interest in protecting certain details in a 2006 confidential settlement agreement (CSA), while making it clear that the counsel may not interfere with the deposition (Andrea Constand v. Bruce Castor, No. 2:15-cv-05799, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136742).



News Groups File FOIA Suit Over FBI's Unlocking Of San Bernardino Shooter's Phone
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Six months after the Federal Bureau of Investigation gained access to the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorists via assistance of an unidentified third party, three news organizations filed suit in District of Columbia federal court Sept. 16, seeking to compel the FBI to disclose details about its business transaction with this unknown vendor under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), citing public interest and privacy concerns (The Associated Press, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, No. 1:16-cv-01850, D. D.C.).



Judge Orders FDA To Produce Sovaldi, Harvoni FOIA Documents On Rolling Basis
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Sept. 20 granted summary judgment to the Food and Drug Administration in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit involving the hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, but he also ordered the FDA to immediately produce all responsive records it has gathered thus far (Treatment Action Group, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 15-976, D. Conn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127877).



HUD May Not Withhold Housing Voucher Data From FOIA Results, Judge Rules
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 13 ruled that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could not withhold certain household-specific housing voucher recipient information from an advocacy group's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, finding that HUD failed to sufficiently establish a privacy interest in the information that would outweigh the public interest in monitoring HUD's performance of its duties (The Inclusive Communities Project Inc. v. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, No. 3:14-CV-03333, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123779).



Judge Finds Documents Properly Withheld, Redacted In Polymer Trade Secrets Case
CHICAGO - A polymer firm properly redacted and withheld from production certain documents related to tests of its competitor's purportedly misappropriated products, an Illinois federal judge ruled Aug. 19, deeming the disputed documents work product and irrelevant to the defendant's deceptive acts counterclaim (PolyOne Corp. v. Yun Martin Lu, et al., No. 1:14-cv-10369, N.D. Ill.).



Microsoft Says Documents Sought By IRS In Audit Are Privileged
SEATTLE - In a Sept. 12 brief filed in Washington federal court, Microsoft Corp. contends that documents sought by the Internal Revenue Service in an enforcement action "are protected by multiple privilege claims" as confidential legal and tax advisory communications (United States of America v. Microsoft Corp., et al., No. 2:15-cv-00102, W.D. Wash.).



D.R. Horton Ordered By Magistrate Judge To Produce List Of Lawsuits
ORLANDO, Fla. - D.R. Horton Inc. must respond to a subcontractor's request for information regarding other lawsuits the builder has been named a party in over allegedly defective stucco, after a federal magistrate judge in Florida on Oct. 3 ruled that the information is relevant (D.R. Horton Inc. v. H&H Stucco & Stone Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-2063-Orl-40TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136603).



ICSID Partially Grants Kenya's Request For Discovery In BIT Arbitration
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Sept. 12 released an order in an arbitration commenced by mining entities against the Republic of Kenya, partially granting Kenya's request for production of documents in the case (Cortec Mining Kenya Limited, Cortec [Pty] Limited and Stirling Capital Limited v. Republic of Kenya, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/29).



Court Orders Discovery Into Jurisdiction Over Law Firm For John Crane's Claims
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 1 granted in part a motion to stay discovery pending an asbestos plaintiffs' law firm's motion to dismiss a fraud and conspiracy lawsuit filed by John Crane Inc. (JCI) but allowed discovery on one issue in the dismissal motion - whether the court has jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendants (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., No. 16-5913, N.D. Ill.).



Judge: Asbestos Trust Can Object To Honeywell's Bid For Asbestos Claimants' Data
WILMINGTON, Del. - An asbestos trust advisory committee has standing to object to a request by Honeywell International Inc. for access to asbestos claimants' data in nine Chapter 11 cases, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge held Aug. 29 in denying Honeywell's motion to strike the objection (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.).