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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Discovery Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Discovery Legal News



Headline Discovery Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



Government Seeks Mandamus Of DACA Discovery Order From Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied its petition for mandamus of a trial court's order requiring an expanded administrative record in a lawsuit seeking to block termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the U.S. government on Dec. 1 filed a similar petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to halt the discovery of what it asserts are privileged deliberative documents (In re United States, et al., No. 17-801, U.S. Sup.).



Judge Clarifies Fact, Opinion Work Product In Patent Antitrust Suit
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Responding to discovery disputes by the parties in a lawsuit alleging monopolization and false advertising of patents for specialty medical software, a California federal judge on Nov. 6 clarified a previous order compelling production, differentiating between fact and opinion work product in the context of waiver of privilege (Cave Consulting Group Inc. v. OptumInsight Inc., No. 3:15-cv-03424, N.D. Calif, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183672).



Judge Permits Government To Conduct Broad Search Of Email Addresses
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Dec. 1 granted the U.S. government's motion to reconsider limitations that were previously imposed on search methods to be used with certain email accounts, with the judge concluding that the specifics of the case require flexibility with the usual particularity requirements for warrants required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).



Judge Allows Subpoena Of Insurer's Consultants In Windstorm Coverage Dispute
SEATTLE - Finding insufficient support for an insurer's claim that its consultants were engaged in advance of possible insurance fraud litigation, a Washington federal judge on Dec. 5 denied the insurer's motion to quash subpoenas served on them by the plaintiff in a coverage suit related to extreme weather events (Premier Harvest LLC, et al. v. AXIS Surplus Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:17-cv-00784, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199910).



Florida High Court Deems Malpractice Suit Interview Provision Unconstitutional
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State law amendments in 2013 providing for secret ex parte interviews of a medical malpractice claimant's physicians violate the Florida Constitution's guarantees of privacy and court access, a Florida Supreme Court majority ruled Nov. 9, finding that including the interviews as part of the mandated presuit informal discovery process required claimants to waive their privacy rights to avail themselves of the courts (Emma Gayle Weaver v. Stephen C. Myers, M.D., et al. No. SC15-1538, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2282).



Arkansas Supreme Court: Execution Drug Maker Must Be Identified
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A split Arkansas Supreme Court on Nov. 2 agreed with a lower court that state law does not prohibit the identification of manufacturers of an execution drug but said it does require protection of the identities of sellers and suppliers (Arkansas Department of Correction, et al. v. Steven Shults, No. CV-17-788, Ark. Sup., 2017 Ark. LEXIS 266).



BNSF Ordered To Produce Documents, Designee In Amtrak Derailment Suit
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Railroad track owner BNSF Railway Co. was directed Dec. 1 to provide certain records and corporate designee depositions by a Kansas federal magistrate judge who mostly granted a motion to compel by passengers intervening in a suit over a National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) train derailment, with the magistrate deeming most of the requested discovery relevant to negligence claims, while limiting the scope of requests found to be overbroad (National Railroad Passenger Corp., et al. v. Cimarron Crossing Feeders LLC No. 6:16-cv-01094, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197572).



Federal Judge Compels Discovery From Plaintiffs In Asbestos-Drilling Mud Case
BATON ROUGE, La. - Plaintiffs alleging asbestos exposure in drilling mud must respond to written discovery seeking information regarding injuries, exposure and work history and seeking the release of related medical records and work histories, a federal judge in Louisiana said Nov. 14 (Manuel Garza v. Phillips 66 Co., et al., No. 13-742, M.D. La.).



New Jersey Panel OKs Discovery Of Employee Files Without In Camera Review
TRENTON, N.J. - In light of an existing protective order, a New Jersey appeals panel on Nov. 22 found no error in a trial court's order compelling production of employee records in a wrongful discharge case without first reviewing them in camera, ruling that the protection of such privacy concerns are determined on a case-by-case basis (Louis Narvaez v. New Jersey Judiciary, Vicinage 4, No. A-3166-16T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2920).



Magistrate Orders Hospital To Produce Asbestos Pathology Information For Testing
GREENVILLE, N.C. - A hospital must produce additional lung pathology materials in its possession for testing by an asbestos defendant, a federal magistrate judge in North Carolina held Nov. 3 (Faye Gore v. 3M Co., et al., No. 16-716, E.D. N.C.).



Document Production Ordered In Subrogation Suit Over Fire Caused By Water Heater
WICHITA, Kan. - A Kansas federal magistrate judge on Dec. 1 mostly granted motions to compel by a homeowners insurer and a water heater manufacturer, finding the parties' requested documents to be relevant to the product liability claims, related to a fire-causing water heater, and mostly nonprivileged and discoverable (The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co. v. HTP Inc., et al., No. 6:15-cv-01371, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198064).



Texas Panel Vacates Discovery Order, Says Documents Not Relevant To Contract Claim
TYLER, Texas - The 12th District Texas Court of Appeals on Nov. 8 determined that a trial court erred in granting an insured's motion to compel because the documents sought by the insured are not relevant to the contract claim and will not be relevant unless and until the extracontractual claims are tried (In re: Allstate Fire & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 12-17-00266, Texas App., 12th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 10428).



Disability Income Insurer Must Produce Documents Pertaining To Claims Decision
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Following an in camera review, an Ohio federal magistrate judge on Nov. 27 granted an insured's motion to compel the production of seven documents after determining that the documents will help to determine whether the insurer acted in bad faith in its handling of the insured's disability income claim (Mukesh R. Shah, M.D. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1124, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194347).



Objections To Insurer's Discovery Requests Overruled In Dispute Over Employee Theft
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal magistrate on Nov. 14 granted an insurer's motion to overrule objections to its request for the production of documents in a coverage dispute arising from the alleged theft of an insured's employee stock ownership plan assets by a former employee (Barbie Spear, in her capacity as trustee of the Alliance Holdings, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan and Alliance Holdings, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Plaintiffs v. Westfield Insurance Company, No. 15-00582, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188193).



Discovery Outside Of Administrative Record Is Not Warranted, Judge Says
BALTIMORE - A disability claimant is not permitted to conduct discovery outside of the administrative record because the claimant failed to identify any specific need for extra-record discovery, a Maryland federal judge said Nov. 16 (Amy Silverstone v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 17-0111, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189528).



Magistrate Judge: Discovery Needed On Whether Company Is 'Dead and Buried'
DAYTON, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on Nov. 15 recommended denying a defendant company's motion to dismiss a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit on the ground that discovery is necessary to determine if the company is "dead and buried" and thus subject to liability under the statute (Garrett Day, LLC v. International Paper Company, Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-00036, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188568).



MDL Judge Will Allow Limited Discovery Into C-Qur Patch Swedish Parent Company
CONCORD, N.H. - The New Hampshire federal judge overseeing the C-Qur mesh multidistrict litigation on Nov. 14 denied without prejudice a motion by the defendants' Swedish parent company to be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and instead allowed plaintiffs to conduct limited discovery on personal jurisdiction (In Re: Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2753, No. 16-md-2753, D. N.J.).



Expedited Discovery Request Overly Broad, Magistrate Judge Rules
WICHITA, Kan. - A plaintiff in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit against its former employee and direct competitor has failed to show that expedited discovery is warranted in the action under Kansas' reasonableness or good cause test because, among other things, the plaintiff's discovery sought is overly broad, a federal magistrate judge in Kansas ruled Nov. 15 in denying the plaintiff's motion for expedited discovery (HydroChem LLC v. Loren Keating, et al., No. 17-1281, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188467).



Discovery In Benzene Case Should Be Reopened, Man Says; More Witnesses Exist
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A North Carolina man who contends that a company is liable for contaminating his groundwater with benzene on Nov. 27 filed a brief in North Carolina federal court seeking to reopen discovery on grounds that there is evidence that was "in large part" available during discovery in the form of witness testimony the defendants failed to pursue (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).



Federal Judge Grants Discovery Extension In Fraudulent Transfers Suit
ATLANTA - In a dispute over alleged fraudulent transfers of reinsurance funds, a Georgia federal judge on Nov. 21 granted in part a request to extend discovery for two additional months "only to follow up on existing issues" but said no new discovery is to occur (Canal Insurance Co., et al. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company Ltd., et al., No. 15-03331, N.D. Ga.).



Judge Denies Extension On Discovery Of Class Policies In Reinsurance Fraud Scheme
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Nov. 29 denied a request to extend the relevant time period for discovery as to 11 class policies experiencing an 2015 cost of insurance (COI) increase in a dispute over an alleged life insurance fraud scheme that shifted debt to reinsurers (Richard Dickman, et al. v. Banner Life Insurance Co., No. 16-192, D. Md.).



Companies: Lead Paint Expert Should Be Excluded Due To Missing Discovery Deadline
MILWAUKEE - Three of the companies being sued by plaintiffs who contend that they are liable for lead-paint poisoning on Nov. 15 moved to exclude one of the plaintiffs' experts, contending that his opinions were submitted past the deadline for expert disclosures and after the close of discovery (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).



Judge Extends Deadline On Class Certification Motion To Allow Discovery Completion
PHILADELPHIA - In a dispute over an alleged kickback insurance premium scheme involving insurers, reinsurers and lenders, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 9 granted a joint stipulation and order to extend deadlines pertaining to a class certification motion to allow homeowners to complete relevant discovery and document production (Nelson White Jr., et al. v. The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., et al., No. 11-7928, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135743).



Judge Extends Discovery In Fracking Contract Dispute, Approves Inspections
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 7 extended the deadline for discovery in a hydraulic fracturing contract dispute following a previous ruling in which the judge denied a motion for protective order and a motion to quash that had been filed by a fracking company that sought to prevent inspection of fracking rigs at issue in the litigation (Orion Drilling Company LLC v. EQT Production Company, No. 16-01516, W.D. Pa.).



Florida High Court: Law Requires Discovery Of Adverse Medical Incident Reports
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An amendment to the Florida Constitution requires a hospital to produce external documents reviewing a surgical error incident, a Florida Supreme Court majority ruled Oct. 26 in a medical negligence suit, concluding that the statute favors the elimination of restrictions on patients' discovery of adverse medical incident reports (Amber Edwards v. Larry D. Thomas, et al., No. SC15-1893, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2136).



New Jersey Panel Orders Review Of Personnel Records In Discrimination Suit
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Transit Corp. (NJT) should have the opportunity to establish the confidential nature of personnel files sought via discovery in an employee's discrimination lawsuit, a New Jersey appeals panel ruled Oct. 30, reversing an order compelling production and directing a trial court to conduct appropriate in camera review of the disputed documents (Mildalia Madlinger v. New Jersey Transit Corp., No. A-2310-16T2, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2726).



Supreme Court To Hear Case On Foreign Application Of Stored Communications Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Over the opposition of Microsoft Corp., the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 16 granted the U.S. government's petition for certiorari to decide whether a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) can be applied extraterritorially to require an email provider to produce data that is stored on foreign servers (United States v. Microsoft Corp. [In re: Warrant to Search a Certain E-Mail Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corp.], No. 17-2, U.S. Sup.).



Google Sanctioned $10,000 Per Day For Noncompliance With Email Warrant
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 19 granted a motion by Google Inc. in a dispute with the federal government over whether a Stored Communications Act (SCA) warrant may be enforced extraterritorially, opening the door for Google to appeal an order compelling it to comply with such a warrant seeking foreign-stored emails (In re: Search of Content That is Stored at Premises Controlled by Google, No. 3:16-mc-80263, N.D. Calif.).



Government Objects To Keyword Search Requirement In Email Warrants
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - One month after an Alabama federal magistrate granted the U.S. government's application for warrants to search certain email accounts, the government on Oct. 23 filed a motion for reconsideration of an ex ante requirement that the searches be conducted using keywords, calling the stricture burdensome and not necessary under the Fourth Amendment (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).



Premera Compelled To Produce Nonprivileged Documents In Data Breach Suit
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on Oct. 27 ruled that many documents withheld from discovery by Premera Blue Cross in a class action over a 2014 data breach were not privileged, mostly granting a motion to compel by the plaintiffs (In Re: Premera Blue Cross Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 3:15-md-02633, D. Ore., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178762).



Magistrate Judge Grants Monsanto's Discovery Requests In PCB Contamination Suit
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal magistrate judge in Connecticut on Nov. 2 ordered the city of Hartford and the Hartford Board of Education to turn over documents related to presentations that their expert performed regarding polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), finding that the information was not protected from disclosure by the work product doctrine (City of Hartford, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15cv1544, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181651).



Class Wants Crime-Fraud Exception In Asbestos-Talc Evidence Destruction Case
NEWARK, N.J. - The attorney-client privilege should not protect evidence in a case alleging defendants spent decades fraudulently concealing the existence of asbestos in talc, plaintiffs told a federal judge in New Jersey on Nov. 2 (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).



Dollar General Seeks Documents, Clarification In EEOC Suit Over Background Checks
CHICAGO - The operator of the Dollar General retail chain on Nov. 2 asked an Illinois federal court to compel the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to respond to discovery requests in which the retailer seeks clarification about the commission's claims of disparate treatment related to employee background checks, as well as to remedial measures it should take (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Dolgencorp LLC, No. 1:13-cv-04307, N.D. Ill.).



Plaintiffs Move To Compel Document Production In Google Biometric Suit
CHICAGO - The plaintiffs in a putative class action alleging violation of Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by Google Inc. moved in Illinois federal court on Nov. 1, seeking to compel Google to use certain document custodians and search terms in response to discovery requests for documents related to Google's use of facial recognition technology (Lindabeth Rivera v. Google Inc., No. 1:16-cv-02714, and Joseph Weiss v. Google Inc., No. 1:16-cv-02870, N.D. Ill.).



Waymo's Request To Reopen Discovery In Trade Secrets Suit Denied
SAN FRANCISCO - It is too late in the litigation in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. and others to require Uber to turn over all of its source code for its self-driving vehicle technology, and a plaintiff's motion to compel Uber to turn over the source code is overly broad, a federal judge in California ruled Oct. 16 in denying the motion (Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., et al., No. 17-0939, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170903).



Harvey Weinstein Sues The Company He Founded For Emails, Files For His Defense
GEORGETOWN, Del. - Harvey Weinstein, a film producer who was fired in October by the company he co-chaired with his brother following dozens of allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape, filed a complaint on Oct. 26 against The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC (TWC) in the Delaware Chancery Court seeking access to emails and employment files that he claims will assist in his defense (Harvey Weinstein v. The Weinstein Company Holdings, LLC, No. 2017-0765, Del. Chanc.).



EpiPen MDL Judge Allows Document Discovery But Stays Depositions
TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas federal judge overseeing the EpiPen multidistrict litigation on Oct. 13 agreed to partially lift a discovery stay on documents but kept in place his stay of depositions (In Re: EpiPen Marketing, Sales Practices and Antitrust Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2785, No. 17-md-2785, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169541).



Judge Excludes Asbestos Deposition Testimony Company Never Got To Challenge
CLEVELAND - Because a defendant did not have a chance to cross-examine a man after he identified its asbestos-containing product in a deposition, his testimony does not fit with an exception to hearsay, a federal judge in Ohio held Oct. 19 (Charlene French, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 16-1777, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174020).



Law Firm: Asbestos Deposition Isn't Court Record, Jurisdiction Can't Be Revived
DALLAS - A court lacks jurisdiction over 20-year-old deposition testimony into the creation of a memo some believe shows lawyers coaching asbestos witnesses because the testimony is not a court document, plaintiffs and their law firm told a Texas appeals court on Nov. 3 (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).



Plaintiffs In Groundwater Case Say Expert's Deposition Changes Should Be Permitted
GREENVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi residents who sued a company alleging that it is liable for groundwater contamination filed a brief in Mississippi federal court on Oct. 18, arguing that their expert's errata sheet testimony changes should be permitted. However, if they are not permitted, the plaintiffs' expert has offered to withdraw his changes and file a supplemental report instead (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-053, N.D. Miss.).



Missouri Federal Judge Permits Discovery On Insured's Understanding Of Policies
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on Nov. 1 determined that a pollution liability insurer is entitled to the production of documents related to whether overlapping coverage exists under the policies at issue and what the insured's understanding of the policies at issue was when the policies were issued (Sunflower Redevelopment LLC v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., No. 15-577, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180710).



Disability Claimant Permitted To Conduct Discovery Outside Of Administrative Record
WICHITA, Kan. - A disability claimant is permitted to conduct limited discovery outside of the administrative record, a Kansas federal magistrate judge said Oct. 10 after determining that the claimant met her burden of showing that "some limited extra-record discovery" is relevant and appropriate as it applies to the defendant's dual role of plan insurer and plan administrator (Karen A. Baty v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 17-1200, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171014).



Judge Orders Insurer To Produce Claim Information In Reinsurance Fraud Case
ATLANTA - In a dispute over alleged fraudulent transfers of reinsurance funds, a Georgia federal judge on Oct. 6 ordered an insurer to produce information for each claim for which it has the claim date within six months of the start or end of a reinsurance agreement (Canal Insurance Co., et al. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company Ltd,, et al., No. 15-03331, N.D. Ga.).



Claim And Underwriting Files Are Relevant, Discoverable, Judge Rules In Reversal
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 27 reversed a magistrate judge's denial of a hospital's motion to compel a professional liability insurer to immediately produce the underwriting file for an insurance policy and the claim file pertaining to an underlying medical malpractice lawsuit, finding that the claim file and underwriting file are "relevant and discoverable" (National Fire and Marine Insurance Company v. Lee Lindemann, et al., No. 15-910, S.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159153).



Hawaii Federal Judge Partly Grants Sanctions In Copyright Case
HONOLULU - Although refusing to dismiss a copyright infringement case outright as a sanction for providing insufficient discovery responses, a Hawaii federal judge on Oct. 17 ordered a plaintiff to supplement the discovery responses, attend a status conference and be deposed, as well as pay all court reporter fees associated with the deposition (Keoni Payton v. Defend Inc., et al., No. 15-238, D. Hawaii, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171877).



Rapid-American Seeks Protective Order For Insurers' Subpoenas
NEW YORK - A declaratory insurance coverage action filed by Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. is not the proper vehicle for insurers to use in search of evidence of fraud in the asbestos trust system, the debtor says in an Oct. 20 motion and memorandum seeking protection from the insurers' subpoenas in New York federal bankruptcy court (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).



Plaintiff: Protective Order Needed In Water Lawsuit; Depositions 'Thwart' Rights
SANTA ANA, Calif. - One of the plaintiffs in a chemical injury and groundwater contamination lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE) on Oct. 2 filed a memorandum of points and authorities supporting a request for a protective order, arguing that the company and its attorney are liable for "unjustifiable acts" because their attempt to take oral depositions is designed to "thwart" the plaintiffs' rights to "justice, due process of law and constitutional protection" (Barbara A. Vinson v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 16-514, C.D. Calif.).



New York Federal Judge Grants Insurer, Reinsurer's Fact Discovery Extension
NEW YORK - In a reinsurance coverage dispute for a trucking accident, a New York federal judge on Nov. 2 granted an extension for an insurer and a reinsurer on a discovery deadline because a dispute remains in the underlying action concerning any interest owed by the insurer (Endurance Assurance Corp. v. Florists' Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-09955, S.D. N.Y.).



Judge Sets Discovery Completion Date In Medicare Treatment Class Suit
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Discovery in a class complaint accusing the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services of violating the rights of Medicare beneficiaries by placing them on "observation status" rather than admitting then as "inpatients" in order to pay lower rates must be completed, not propounded, by June 15, a Connecticut federal judge ordered on Oct. 31 (Christina Alexander, et al. v. Thomas E. Price, No. 11-1703, D. Conn.).



Magistrate Judge Sets Discovery Deadline In Reinsurance Dispute Over Promissory Note
LINCOLN, Neb. - In an Oct. 20 order, a Nebraska federal magistrate judge set the discovery deadline for Dec. 1 in a dispute over whether a reinsurer owes an insured $152,616.35 under a promissory note executed pursuant to a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) (Applied Underwriters Inc. v. Top's Personnel Inc., No. 15-90, D. Neb.).



Honeywell, Ford Dispute Charges For Redaction Of Asbestos Claimants' Data
WILMINGTON, Del. - The cost of redacting personal information in asbestos claimants' data from nine bankruptcy trusts should not be borne by Honeywell International Inc. or Ford Motor Co., which are seeking the data to mine for evidence of fraud, based on the plain language of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the companies argue in an Oct. 2 brief on appeal in Delaware federal court (In re: Motions Seeking Access to 2019 Statements, No. 16-1078, D. Del.).



Judge Grants Government's Email Search Warrants With Alterations
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - While affirming that a magistrate judge had not erred in denying the U.S. government's warrants to search 15 email accounts, an Alabama federal judge on Sept. 28 ordered that the warrants be issued "[b]ecause the constitutional infirmities can be corrected with moderate alterations" (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159535).



Government Seeks Contempt Hearing Over Google's SCA Warrant Noncompliance
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The U.S. government in a Sept. 20 brief tells a California federal court that Google Inc. should be sanctioned for its refusal to comply with a Stored Communications Act (SCA) warrant seeking production of foreign-stored emails, but the government opposes the tech firm's motion for a contempt order, seeking a hearing to determine a sanction appropriate for Google's willful actions (In re: Search of Content That is Stored at Premises Controlled by Google, No. 3:16-mc-80263, N.D. Calif.).



Mental Health Records Deemed Privileged, Nondiscoverable In Harassment Suit
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A student's records and communications with an on-campus counseling facility are protected by the psychotherapist-patient privilege, a Tennessee federal magistrate judge ruled Oct. 6, denying a college's motion compel in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the student (Prianka Bose v. Rhodes College, et al., No. 2:16-cv-02308, W.D. Tenn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166289).



Some Documents In Tribal Recognition Suit Deemed Privileged, Nondiscoverable
CAMDEN, N.J. - Granting in part a motion for a protective order by the New Jersey attorney general, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Sept. 19 concluded that many of the documents sought by an Indian tribe that is suing over state tribal recognition policies are protected by the attorney-client and deliberative process privileges (Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation v, Christopher S. Porrino, No. 1:15-cv-05645, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151410).



Magistrate Judge Declines Revisiting Ruling On Documents Between Insurer, Reinsurer
CINCINNATI - In an asbestos coverage dispute, an Ohio federal magistrate judge on Sept. 26 refused to reconsider a prior decision where she declined to conduct an in camera review of an insurer's documents disclosed to third parties other than a reinsurer and a claims adjuster because they are not entitled to protection under the attorney-client privilege (The William Powell Co. v. National Indemnity Co., et al., No. 14-807, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157733).



11th Circuit Asks Texas High Court When Discovery Rule Started In Pelvic Mesh Case
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 20 asked the Texas Supreme Court to rule whether a pelvic mesh plaintiff has to know of the defendant's alleged wrongdoing before her claim accrues under the Texas discovery rule (Ann Marie Bergin v. Mentor Worldwide LLC, et al., No. 16-14364, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18199).



Federal Judge Affirms Contested Appointment Of Asbestos Discovery Master
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 21 cast aside defendants' concerns regarding a special master's ability to objectively oversee discovery in a case alleging that a company and its attorneys hid evidence of asbestos contamination of talc products from asbestos plaintiffs (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154772).



Workers' Comp Insurer Offers Discovery Plan In Suit With Insolvent Insurer
ATLANTA - A workers' compensation insurer proposes a stipulated discovery plan and scheduling order on Oct. 9 with the Georgia federal court in a dispute over whether its policies insured certain staffing companies for claims also tendered to an insolvent insurer (Georgia Insurers Insolvency Pool v. Sussex Insurance Co., No. 16-03975, N.D. Ga.).



Flint Defendants: Discovery Request 'Procedurally Deficient'; Should Be Quashed
DETROIT - A group of defendants in the consolidated litigation involving the lead-contaminated water crisis in the city of Flint, Mich., on Sept. 28 moved to quash the plaintiffs' requests for production of documents, contending that the plaintiffs' requests are "procedurally deficient" (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).



State Farm Defends Motion To Compel Discovery For Computer Fraud Claims
GULFPORT, Miss. - In an Oct. 2 rebuttal brief supporting its motion to compel discovery related to its computer fraud counterclaims in a decade-old false claims suit related to Hurricane Katrina claims, State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. calls its discovery requests "straightforward," while arguing that the counterdefendants failed to show that the requests are burdensome or cover privileged material (United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 1:06-cv-00433, S.D. Miss.).



Judge: Asbestos Defendant's Database Search Objections Unconvincing
SEATTLE - A company cannot avoid discovery from its database simply by claiming that the resulting search would be "incomprehensible," but a second company's claim that it has no responsive documents in an asbestos case ends any debate, a federal judge in Washington held Sept. 19 (William C. Blosser, et al. v. Ashcroft Inc., et al., No. 17-5243, W.D. Wash.).



Magistrate Judge Compels Discovery In Life Insurance Scheme Involving Reinsurers
BALTIMORE - In an alleged life insurance fraud scheme that shifted debt to reinsurers, a Maryland federal magistrate judge on Sept. 28 ordered a life insurer to submit life insurance policies affected by a cost of insurance (COI) and within the 2004-2015 time range (Richard Dickman, et al. v. Banner Life Insurance Co., No. 16-192, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161545



Magistrate Judge Orders Rolling Paper Documents To Be Turned Over For Discovery
CHICAGO - A magistrate judge in an Illinois federal court on Sept. 27 ordered a tobacco company to produce documents regarding the design of its rolling papers that are in the possession of one of its French subsidiaries in a trademark infringement countersuit after finding that French law does not entirely preempt the company making those documents available for discovery (Republic Technologies LLC, et al. v. BBK Tobacco & Foods LLP, No. 16 3401, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158986).



Window Sealant Maker Ordered By Judge To Produce Complaints About Malfunctions
RUTLAND, Vt. - The manufacturer of an allegedly defective window sealant was ordered by a federal judge in Vermont on Oct. 6 to produce complaints the company received about the sealant dripping onto window panes or spreading from its intended location for an 11-year period (H. Hirschmann, Ltd. v. Green Mountain Glass, LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-00034, D. Vt.).



Maryland Federal Judge Denies Motion To Compel Documents Related To Lead-Paint Suit
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Sept. 20 denied an insured's motion to compel documents related to its insurer's settlement of a lead-paint liability suit after determining that the documents sought are relevant only if the insurer introduces the settlement to prove damages or liability (CX Reinsurance Company Ltd. v. B&R Management Inc., et al., No. 15-3364, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155011).



Former EPA Employee: Motion To Compel Deposition 'Baseless' In Roundup MDL
SAN FRANCISCO - A former employee of the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 5 filed a brief in the multidistrict litigation in California federal court related to the herbicide Roundup, arguing that he should be awarded money because he incurred "substantial financial fees" when he responded to a "baseless" motion to compel filed by counsel for the plaintiffs (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).



Protective Order Motions Over Due Diligence Report In Trade Secrets Suit Denied
SAN FRANCISCO - The issuance of protective orders over a due diligence report submitted by a nonparty specialized risk management firm in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. is not warranted because none of the parties seeking the protective orders has provided a sufficient reason to "override the public interest factor" of providing transparency in the report, a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 28 in denying the motions (Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., et al., No. 17-0939, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89174).



Discovery Denied In Challenge To Delta Islands Purchase For California WaterFix
STOCKTON, Calif. - A California state court judge on Sept. 13 said a decision by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to purchase the Delta Islands was a formal action and denied a motion by challengers to conduct discovery in their mandamus action against MWD (County of San Joaquin v. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, No. STK-CV-UWM-2016-0003597, Calif. Super., San Joaquin Co.).



Army Corps Doesn't Have To Provide More Administrative Records In Rio Grande Case
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A New Mexico federal judge on Sept. 1 denied a motion by an environmental group to force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide more documents to the administrative record in a Rio Grande water management lawsuit (WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 14-666, D. N.M., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141870).



Magistrate Judge Denies Reinsurer's Bid On Discovery For Distribution Of Funds
SAN DIEGO - A California federal magistrate judge on Sept. 22 denied a reinsurer's request for expedited discovery to locate unlawfully distributed funds (Odyssey Reinsurance Co. v. Richard Keith Nagby, et al., No. 16-3038, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155546).



Suit Seeking Discovery Filed Over Post-Irma Death At Florida Nursing Home
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A man whose mother died in a Florida nursing home after the air conditioning system broke following Hurricane Irma filed suit on Sept. 15 against the home, its owners and administrative staff, seeking a pure bill of discovery and to preclude the home, its staff and owner from destroying evidence that could lead to who is responsible for his mother's death (Francis L. Lopez v. Rehabilitation Center At Hollywood Hills LLC, et al., No. CACE17016659, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).



Judge Adjourns Fraud Trial So Defendant Can Review Recorded Sales Calls
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A federal judge in Tennessee on Sept. 19 granted a motion filed by a man accused of orchestrating a telemarketing scheme to sell insurance products that were not major medical health insurance, finding that he should be allowed to review recordings of approximately 100,000 sales calls to establish a good faith defense (United States of America v. Timothy Thomas, No. 14-182, M.D. Tenn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152336).



Judge Grants Discovery Request Related To Illegal Amazon, EBay Sales
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Sept. 1 granted a motion filed by a distributor of trademarked and copyrighted products and designs that alleges that a retailer violated trademark law and California's unfair competition law (UCL) by selling counterfeited items online, granting its request for limited discovery from online retailers regarding the defendant's sales and aliases (Jessie Steel, Inc. v. Linda Ann Henderson, No. 17-cv-02179, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142167).



Judge Orders More Discovery Into Jurisdiction In Health Insurance Billing Spat
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A critical care emergency medical transport company is entitled to further jurisdictional discovery into the individuals involved in denying its health insurance claim and where a defendant defends suits, a federal magistrate judge held Sept. 18 (Med Flight Air Ambulance Inc. v. MGM Resorts International, et al., No. 17-246, D. N.M., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151265).



AndroGel Plaintiff Firm Sanctioned For Late Notice Of 2nd Stroke
CHICAGO - The Illinois federal judge overseeing the testosterone replacement therapy multidistrict litigation on Sept. 24 sanctioned a plaintiff attorney $1,500 for a second deposition that was required after the firm's delayed learning of a change in its client's health that is relevant to the case (In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2545, No. 14-1748, Robert Rowley v. AbbVie Inc., No. 15-2760, N.D. Ill.).



Magistrate Orders Discovery Sanctions In Reinsurance Dispute Over Promissory Note
LINCOLN, Neb. - For failing to comply with a discovery order requiring information about a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) and a promissory note executed, a Nebraska federal magistrate judge ordered an insurer on Sept. 5 to pay $5,500 in sanctions (Applied Underwriters Inc. v. Top's Personnel Inc., No. 15CV90, D. Neb., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124136).



Company: Defendants In Trade Secrets Suit Failed To Turn Over Emails, Drawings
PHILADELHIA - Sanctions against a former employee of hydraulic systems designer and assembler Advanced Fluid Systems Inc. (AFS) and his company are warranted because the defendants continue to possess emails and engineering drawings that were required to be turned over to AFS pursuant to previous two court orders, AFS argues in an Aug. 24 motion for sanctions filed in Pennsylvania federal court (Advanced Fluid Systems Inc. v. Kevin Huber, et al., No. 13-3087, M.D. Pa.).



Leaseholders: Companies Cannot Depose Plaintiffs' Attorney About Fracking Leases
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A group of leaseholders in Ohio who contend that a group of hydraulic fracturing companies "systematically" violated their leases and underpaid royalties filed a brief in Ohio federal court on Sept. 29, arguing that the companies failed to meet the burden that permits them to depose the leaseholders' counsel (Zehentbauer Family Land LP v. Chesapeake Exploration LLC, et al., No. 15-02449, N.D. Ohio).



Chemical Injury Plaintiff Must Testify, Company Says; Motion To Compel Filed
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PGE) on Sept. 27 moved to compel one of the plaintiffs in a chemical injury and groundwater contamination lawsuit against company to appear for an oral deposition, contending that the woman is obligated to be present and faces sanctions for having failed to attend at her initial deposition without first obtaining a protective order (Barbara A. Vinson v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 16-514, C.D. Calif.).