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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Discovery Legal News
Headline Discovery Legal News from LexisNexis®
Supreme Court Temporarily Stays Discovery Subpoena On Backpage.com CEO
WASHINGTON, D.C. - One day after the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Backpage.com LLC Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer to comply with a U.S. Senate subcommittee's discovery subpoena, the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 6 temporarily stayed the appeals court's ruling pending Ferrer's appeal to the high court (Carl Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, No. 16A236, U.S. Sup.).
D.C. Circuit: Backpage.com CEO Must Comply With Senate Subcommittee Subpoena
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three weeks after the CEO of online classifieds website operator Backpage.com LLC was granted an emergency stay from a trial court's order requiring him to comply with a U.S. Senate subcommittee's discovery subpoena related to an online sex trafficking investigation, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on Sept. 2 dissolved the stay and affirmed the order requiring compliance (Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations v. Carl Ferrer, No. 16-5232, D.C. Cir.).
DEA's Subpoena Of Hotmail Account Did Not Violate 4th Amendment, 7th Circuit Rules
CHICAGO - The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) did not violate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in issuing subpoenas on a man's email provider and Internet service provider (ISP) because he had no expectation of privacy in his computer's Internet protocol (IP) address, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found Aug. 17, affirming a district court's denial of the defendant's motion to suppress in a drug possession case (United States of America v. Frank Caira, No. 14-1003, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15098).
Judge Orders Interrogatory Of Clinton In FOIA Suit Involving Private Email Use
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Aug. 19 found that a public interest group sufficiently demonstrated that former Secretary of State (SOS) Hillary Clinton has unique firsthand knowledge as to the creation and use of the private email server clintonemail.com to justify the presidential candidate's deposition in a lawsuit over the group's 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on the U.S. Department of State. However, citing the "apex doctrine," the judge ruled that the deposition would occur via written interrogatories (Judicial Watch Inc. v. U.S. Department of State, No. 1:13-cv-01363, D. D.C.).
Panel: County Properly Withheld Emails As Privileged From Records Request
SPOKANE, Wash. - Emails between a county and a state agency pertaining to an environmental enforcement litigation were privileged as attorney work product, a Washington appeals panel found Aug. 9, affirming a trial court's ruling that the emails were exempt from production pursuant to a records request made under Washington's Public Records Act (PRA) (Kittitas County v. Sky Allphin, et al., No. 33241-1-III, Wash. App., Div. 3; 2016 Wash. App. LEXIS 1895).
Only 3 Documents Sought By Insured Must Be Produced, Illinois Federal Judge Says
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Aug. 18 determined that three of 21 documents sought by an insured in an environmental contamination and chemical exposure coverage lawsuit are not privileged materials and must be produced by the insurer (Velsicol Chemical LLC v. Westchester Fire Insurance Co., No. No. 15-2534, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109736).
'Systemic Failure' Waived Law Memo's Protections, New York Justice Affirms
NEW YORK - The "systemic failures" of a company to adequately protect an internal memo in which in-house counsel provides guidance on asbestos litigation constitutes waiver of privilege under New York law, a state court justice held in an opinion posted July 25 (Richard Warren v. Amchem Products Inc., et al., No. 190281/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
5th Circuit Affirms No Showing Of Bad Faith Spoliation In Lanx Pedicle Screw Case
NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 16 affirmed summary judgment in a pedicle screw case, finding that the plaintiff failed to show bad faith spoliation of evidence or fraudulent concealment of the device's intended use from the Food and Drug Administration (Rocky Estes v. Lanx, Incorporated, et al., No. 16-60043, 5th Cir.).
Privacy Suit Plaintiff Sanctioned For Spoliation Of Browsing History Evidence
NEW YORK - A plaintiff alleging violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) by a provider of advertising services for Internet error pages should have known of her duty to preserve browsing history and tracking cookie evidence from her computer, a New York federal magistrate judge ruled Aug. 29, granting in part the defendant's motion for sanctions for spoliation (Betsy Feist v. Paxfire Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-05436, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116405).
Texas Supreme Court Grants Review Of Discovery Dispute Over Attorney Fees
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court in a Sept. 2 pronouncement granted relators' petition to review a lower court's ruling compelling them to respond to discovery requests concerning their attorney fees in a multidistrict litigation hailstorm property damage coverage dispute (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Wardlaw Claims Service Inc. and Ideal Adjusting Inc., No. 15-0591, Texas Sup.).
University Awarded Attorney Fees For Discovery Disputes In Stolen Records Suit
ROME, Ga. - Having found that a defendant university established that it was entitled to attorney fees related to a motion to compel discovery responses from the putative class representatives in a negligence suit over stolen student records, a Georgia federal judge on Sept. 2 awarded the university more than $16,000 in costs and fees, ruling that the information and documents sought were relevant to the plaintiffs' claimed damages (Erin Bishop, et al. v. Shorter University Inc., No. 4:15-cv-00033, N.D. Ga.).
Reddit Opposes Label's Petition To Identify Poster Of Twenty One Pilots Single
NEW YORK - In a memorandum filed Aug. 10 in New York state court, Reddit Inc. opposed an effort by Atlantic Recording Corp. to obtain via subpoena identifying information of a Reddit user who purportedly leaked a high-profile song before its release date, with Reddit arguing that the record label failed to demonstrate that it had meritorious claims that justified such preaction disclosure (Atlantic Recording Corp. v. Reddit Inc., No. 156210/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
Ashley Madison Operator Calls Data Breach Plaintiffs' Discovery Requests Too Broad
ST. LOUIS - Opposing a motion to compel discovery by the plaintiffs in a putative class action over the 2015 hacking of the Ashley Madison website, the site's operator on Aug. 16 told a Missouri federal court that it already produced everything that falls "within the scope of the 'limited discovery' necessary to decide" a pending motion to compel arbitration (In re Ashley Madison Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 4:15-cv-02669, E.D. Mo.).
Magistrate Judge: Pulte Home Need Not Produce Names, Addresses Of Buyers
ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Aug. 30 denied plaintiffs' motion to compel Pulte Home Corp. to produce the names and addresses of individuals who purchased homes built with allegedly defective stucco, explaining that the requested information is not typically discoverable in the precertification stage (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116064).
Nigerian Residents: Chevron Should Not Be Permitted To Compel Discovery
SAN FRANCISCO - A group of Nigerian residents who are suing Chevron Corp. for damages related to the explosion of one of its natural gas rigs on Aug. 5 filed a brief opposing the company's motion seeking to compel the plaintiffs to produce documents that explain its litigation funding to demonstrate the adequacy of the class representative and his counsel (Foster Ogola, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
Panel: Lower Court Was Too Harsh In Dismissing Claims Over Discovery Issues
AUSTIN, Texas - The Third District Texas Court of Appeals on Aug. 30 reversed and remanded a lower court decision dismissing the claims of a woman who was involved in an auto accident against a woman insured by an insolvent insurer, finding that the lower court had abused its discretion by dismissing the claims based on a discovery noncompliance (Crystal Bingham Hernandez v. Tiffany Polley, No. 03-15-00384-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 9526).
Ship Builder Tells Judge Man's Bid For Discovery Sanctions Unfounded
LOS ANGELES - The court previously considered and rejected a man's claim involving discovery violations, an asbestos defendant told a federal judge in California on Aug. 29 in urging him to deny terminating sanctions. An Aug. 1 ruling in the case denied reconsideration of a ruling allowing strict liability claims arising from exposure aboard a Navy ship to proceed (Victoria Lund, et al. v. Crane Co., et al., No. 13-2776, C.D. Calif.).
Bard IVC Filter MDL Plaintiffs Denied Deposition Of Bard Executive
PHOENIX - The Arizona federal judge overseeing the C.R. Bard inferior vena cava (IVC) filter multidistrict litigation on Aug. 29 denied the plaintiffs' motion to depose a defendant executive, saying the would-be deponent doesn't have unique knowledge that the plaintiffs haven't shows they can't get their answers elsewhere (In Re: Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2641, No. 15-md-2641, D. Ariz.).
Sherwin-Williams Seeks Order Quashing Deposition In Lead Paint Lawsuit
MILWAUKEE - The Sherwin-Williams Co., one of the co-defendants in a lead-based paint lawsuit, on Aug. 22 filed an expedited motion for a protective order in Wisconsin federal court, contending that the plaintiff's notice that he wants to videotape a deposition should be quashed because the company has already produced all of its information and has been subjected to "hours upon hours" of cross-examination in previous depositions and trials (Glenn Burton Jr. v. American Cyanamid Company, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
Reinsured Says Discovery Motion Should Be Denied
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - An insurer told a federal court in New York on Aug. 15 that the court should deny a discovery motion filed by a reinsurer because the discovery deadline has passed (Munich Reinsurance America Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Company, No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
Federal Magistrate Judge: Insurer Must Produce Files On Medical Claims Reviewers
OWENSBORO, Ky. - A disability insurer must produce information related to its disability medical claims reviewers, a Kentucky federal magistrate judge said Aug. 26, rejecting the insurer's argument in its motion for reconsideration that producing the information would create an undue burden on the insurer (Paulette Owens v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 15-71, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114470
Plaintiffs In C8 Litigation: DuPont's Objection To Case Schedule Is 'Meritless'
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio residents who sued E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. alleging injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Aug. 8 filed a brief in Ohio federal court, arguing that the company's objection to a case management order that calls for the acceleration and selection of trial cases is "meritless" (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
Insurer: Nonparty Should Not Be Allowed To Intervene In Reinsurance Case
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - An insurer told a federal court in New York on Aug. 19 that another insurer has no right to intervene in a reinsurance dispute with the intention of challenging a motion to seal certain discovery documents (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, N.D. N.Y.).
Hearing Set On Honeywell's Bid For Asbestos Claimant Data In 9 Bankruptcies
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge will hold a hearing in October on a request by Honeywell International Inc. for access to asbestos claimants' data in nine Chapter 11 cases, including W.R. Grace & Co.'s bankruptcy proceedings, and in the meantime will contact a retired judge about appointing her to referee the dispute, according to an Aug. 23 docket entry (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.).
Discovery Master: Dismissal Requests For 27 Thalidomide Cases Were Voluntary
PHILADELPHIA - A special discovery master on Aug. 10 recommended that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania allow 27 thalidomide plaintiffs to dismiss their claims against GlaxoSmithKline LLC (GSK) with prejudice because, after a court-ordered investigation that included interviewing all plaintiffs, he found that the plaintiffs want to dismiss (Glenda Johnson, et al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation, et al., No. 11-5782, E.D. Pa.).
2nd Circuit: Microsoft Cannot Be Subpoenaed To Produce Irish-Based Emails
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 14 ruled that a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) cannot be applied extraterritorially to require Microsoft Corp. to produce a customer's emails that were stored on a server in Ireland (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.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12926).
Judge Enforces FAA's Investigatory Subpoenas On Weaponized Drone Owners
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Judgment was entered in favor of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Connecticut federal court July 21, granting the agency's motion to enforce subpoenas served in conjunction with its investigation of the owners of two weaponized drones that were featured in online views (Michael Huerta v. Austin Haughwout, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00358, D. Conn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92866).
After 5th Circuit Ruling, Google Dismisses Suit Over Mississippi AG's Subpoena
JACKSON, Miss. - Three months after the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found a subpoena served on Google Inc. by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to be not ripe for adjudication and an injunction preventing enforcement of the subpoena to be premature, Google on July 13 filed a stipulation of dismissal of its claims against Hood in Mississippi federal court (Google Inc. v. Jim Hood, No. 3:14-cv-00981, S.D. Miss.).
D.C. Circuit Deems DOJ's 'Blue Book' Not Discoverable Under FOIA As Work Product
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A discovery guide created by the U.S. Department of Justice and used by federal prosecutors qualifies as attorney work product, a District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 19, affirming a trial court's finding that the DOJ did not need to produce the manual in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers v. U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for United States Attorneys, et al., No. 15-5051, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13141).
7th Circuit Partly Affirms Discovery Sanctions Against Attorney In File-Sharing Suit
CHICAGO - In a July 19 ruling, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed discovery sanctions against an attorney in a "porno-trolling collective" for what it called egregious and obstructive behavior in failing to comply with a trial court's sanctions awards against it in the wake of a dismissed file-sharing lawsuit (Lightspeed Media Corp., et al. v. Anthony Smith, et al., No. 15-2440, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13195).
Google, Oracle Spar Over Post-Judgment Sanctions For Financial Info Disclosure
SAN FRANCISCO - In an Aug. 8 opposition brief filed in California federal court, Oracle America Inc. calls a post-trial motion for civil contempt and sanctions by Google Inc. "unprecedented," asserting that the discovery trial statements that purportedly disclosed confidential information "were responsive" to arguments from Google and probing questions from the presiding magistrate (Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-03561, N.D. Calif.).
Sanctions Sought For Destruction Of University Officers' Recorded Conversations
SANTA ANA, Calif. - The president of a university police association filed a motion in California federal court on July 26, seeking evidentiary sanctions against the University of California (UC), asserting that the university willfully deleted recordings at the heart of a privacy class action related to the surreptitious recording of UC police officers' conversations (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.).
WWE Moves For Sanctions Against Plaintiffs' Attorneys In Concussion Suit
HARTFORD, Conn. - World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. on Aug. 8 asked a federal judge in Connecticut to impose sanctions against the attorneys for two former wrestlers in a consolidated concussion suit because the attorneys allegedly drafted and signed off on false responses to a court's compulsion order that were submitted to the WWE (Russ McCullough, et al. v. World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., No. 15-1074, D. Conn.).
Judge Finds 2nd Affidavit Does Not Resolve Question Of Materiality
BATON ROUGE, La. - A second affidavit from an insurance company's property product manager did not resolve questions concerning the materiality of misrepresentations that were made on a policy holder's application, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled July 28 in denying Century Surety Co.'s second motion for summary judgment (Century Surety Company v. Bassam Nafel, et al., No. 14-CV-00101-JWD-EWD, M.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98620).
Attorney In Whirlpool Suit Must Produce Documents Of Prior Class Action Objections
ST. LOUIS - An attorney representing a party objecting to the proposed settlement in a product defects class action must provide responsive discovery documents related to his representation of objecting class members in other suits, a Missouri federal judge ruled July 27 in denying the attorney's motion to quash a subpoena, finding the requested documents to be relevant and amply protected from unnecessary disclosure.(In Re: Jonathan E. Fortman, No. 4:16-mc-00421, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97911).
NHL MDL Judge Orders Workers' Comp Insurer To Turn Over Medical Reports
MINNEAPOLIS - The judge overseeing the National Hockey League (NHL) concussion injury multidistrict litigation on July 13 partially granted the players' motion to enforce a subpoena and ordered the league's workers' compensation insurer to produce independent medical exam (IME) records of NHL retirees who had submitted workers' comp claims (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
Claimant Not Provided With 'Meaningful Opportunity' To Submit Evidence, Panel Says
PORTLAND, Ore. - Because a disability claimant did not have a "meaningful opportunity" to submit additional evidence in support of her claim and because the plan did not explain what "objective medical findings" are, a district court erred in granting the plan's motion summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal said July 29 in reversing the district court's ruling (Barbara Scoles v. Intel Corporation Long Term Disability Benefit Plan, No. 13-36167, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13819).
Reporter's Motion To Compel Early Disclosure Of DNC Finance Records Denied
PHILADELPHIA - Finding that the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) governs the timing for public release of finance records for the July 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC), a Pennsylvania judge on July 25 denied a reporter's motion to compel early disclosure of the records, finding Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) preempted by the federal statute (Dustin Slaughter v. Paul Deegan, et al., No. 1212, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
Lead-Paint Poisoning Plaintiff Says Motion To Compel Documents Should Be Denied
MILWAUKEE - The man who, through his guardian ad litem, sued a group of paint companies alleging injuries from lead-based paint filed a brief in Wisconsin federal court on July 21, contending that the motion to compel responsive documents filed by one of the defendants should be denied because he provided documents in "substantially the same manner that they were produced by co-defendants to the plaintiffs" (Glenn Burton Jr. v. American Cyanamid Company, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
Magistrate Judge Grants In Part Reinsured's Discovery Motion
NEW YORK - A federal magistrate judge in New York on July 21 granted in part and denied in part a reinsured insurer's motion to compel discovery and for costs in a dispute over certain reinsurance agreements issued in the 1970s (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Century Indemnity Company, No. 13-cv-00995, N.D. N.Y.).
Chevron, Plaintiff Debate Discovery Of Funding Documents In Oil Rig Case
SAN FRANCISCO - Chevron Corp. on July 15 filed its reply brief in California federal court, contending that a group of Nigerian residents who are suing the company for damages related to the explosion of one of its natural gas rigs should be compelled to produce documents that explain its litigation funding in order to demonstrate the adequacy of the class representative and his counsel (Foster Ogola, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
Depositions Must Be Held Where Witnesses Are Located, Kentucky Federal Judge Says
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on July 13 granted a disability insurer's motion for a protective order on depositions after determining that the disability claimant failed to show that special circumstances exist to warrant a departure from the general rule that the party seeking discovery must go where the witnesses are located (Richard E. Davis v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 14-507, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90576).
ICSID Establishes Procedures For Discovery Case Filed Against Costa Rica
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on July 14 released its order in an arbitration commenced by a group of investors against the Republic of Costa Rica, establishing procedures for the production of documents in the case (David R. Aven, et al. v. The Republic of Costa Rica, No. UNCT/15/3, ICSID).
Tobacco Company Says It Has Been Denied Discovery In Assessment Suit
SPOKANE, Wash. - A tobacco company says in an Aug. 2 response to a motion for summary judgment in Washington federal court that it should not be ordered to pay $6.3 million in statutory assessments and late fees under the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (FERTA) because it has not been given the opportunity to see how the government arrived at the amount of the assessment (United States of America v. King Mountain Tobacco Co. Inc., No. 1:14-cv-03162-RMP, E.D. Wash.).
Insurer Asks To Intervene In Reinsurance Case To Challenge Motion To Seal
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Century Indemnity Co. moved in a federal court in New York on July 28 to intervene in an asbestos reinsurance billing dispute for the purpose of opposing a reinsured's motion to seal certain documents (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, N.D. N.Y.).
Man Suing Monsanto Says Bifurcating Discovery Would Prejudice Him
SAN DIEGO - The man suing Monsanto Co. in California federal court alleging that he has contracted cancer as a result of exposure to the company's herbicide that contains glyphosate filed a brief on July 8, arguing that, contrary to Monsanto's position, proceeding with full discovery will not burden the company, whereas bifurcating discovery would prejudice him (Emanuel Richard Giglio v. Monsanto Company, No. 15-2279, S.D. Calif.).
New York High Court: Attorney-Client Privilege Must Relate To Litigation
ALBANY, N.Y. - Reversing an appeals court's ruling, a New York Court of Appeals majority on June 9 held that the attorney-client privilege is waived when purportedly confidential documents sought via discovery are shared with a separately represented third party without "pending or reasonably anticipated litigation" (Ambac Assurance Corp., et al. v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc., et al., No. 80, N.Y. App.; 2016 N.Y. LEXIS 1649; 2016 NY Slip Op 04439).
Pennsylvania Panel: Discovery Of Reporters' Materials Does Not Violate Privilege
PITTSBURGH - Because the materials sought via discovery from certain reporters by a defamation suit plaintiff do not pertain to confidential sources, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on June 15 held that its disclosure would not violate the journalist's privilege under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Dominick D. DiPaolo v. Times Publishing Co., et al., No. 1713 WDA 2014, Pa. Super.; 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 323).
Magistrate Judge Says Reinsurance Case Audit Materials Are Privileged
NEW YORK - A federal magistrate judge in New York on June 10 found that the product of an audit related to a reinsurance dispute is privileged under the work product doctrine (AmTrust North America, Inc., et al. v. Safebuilt Insurance Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-9494, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75906).
D.C. Circuit: Government Agency Emails In Private Account Not Shielded From FOIA
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority on July 5 found that a government "agency cannot shield its records from search or disclosure under" the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by "storing them in a private email account controlled by the agency head," reversing a trial court's dismissal of a group's FOIA for certain emails of the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) as inconsistent with the purpose of the act (Competitive Enterprise Institute v. Office of Science and Technology Policy, No. 15-5128, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12357).
Warrant To Track Child Porn Site User Complied With 4th Amendment, Judge Finds
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A man accused of violating federal child pornography laws saw his motions to suppress evidence gained via tracking software and to compel that software's source code denied June 23 by a Virginia federal judge, who held that the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained the warrant to use the software in accordance with the guidelines of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (United States of America v. Edward Joseph Matish III, No. 4:16-cr-00016 E.D. Va.).
Microsoft: High Court RICO Ruling Supports Vacating Subpoena For Irish Emails
NEW YORK - In a notice of supplemental authority letter filed June 21 in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Microsoft Corp. says that the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in RJR Nabisco Inc. v. European Community (No. 15-138, 2016 U.S. LEXIS 3925 [U.S., June 20, 2016]), which pertained to the extraterritorial application of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, supports Microsoft's position that it cannot be subpoenaed to supply email contents that are located 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.).
9th Circuit Affirms Sanctions Against 'Copyright Troll' Firm In Downloading Suit
PASADENA, Calif. - A law firm, its principals and their shell companies engaged in fraud, vexatious litigation and a money-making scheme by misusing the subpoena power of the courts, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 10, affirming a trial court's sanctions award in favor of the John Doe defendant in one of the many copyright infringement suits the firm initiated related to purported online sharing of adult movies (Ingenuity 13 LLC, et al. v. John Doe, Nos. 13-55859, 13-55880, 13-55881, 13-55882, 13-55883, 13-55884 and 13-56028, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10557).
Dismissed File Sharer Cites Authority To Support Attorneys' Discovery Sanctions
CHICAGO - A man who was once the defendant in an online file-sharing copyright suit filed a citation of additional authority in the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals July 11, asserting that admissions in a Minnesota Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding supported a trial court's award for discovery sanctions against that same attorney in the current case (Lightspeed Media Corp., et al. v. Anthony Smith, et al., No. 15-2440, 7th Cir.).
Motion For Sanctions Partially Granted In Wage Dispute For Destroyed Pay Records
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 13 partially granted a motion for sanctions against Menzies Aviation Inc. in a wage-and-hour class dispute after the company admitted to destroying years of pay records (Jessica Jimenez, et al. v. Menzies Aviation Inc., et al., No. 15-2392, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76675).
Uber Drops Comcast Subpoena In Data Breach Suit; Related Appeal Dismissed
SAN FRANCISCO - Two days after Uber Technologies Inc. filed a notice in a California federal court that it was withdrawing a subpoena on Comcast, through which Uber had sought to identify a particular subscriber as part of its suit over a 2014 breach of its network, Uber and that unnamed subscriber stipulated June 29 to dismiss an appeal in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that resulted from a ruling on the subpoena (Uber Technologies Inc. v. John Doe I v. Subscriber, No. 15-16532, 9th Cir.).
Consultant Must Produce Unredacted Agendas Of Asbestos Meetings, Court Affirms
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. - Consulting firm Exponent Inc. must produce unredacted versions of agendas for its meetings with Ford Motor Co. and other asbestos-friction defendants, an Illinois appeals court held June 30 (In re: All Litigation filed by Maune, Raichle, Hartley, French & Mudd LLC v. 3M Co., et al., No. 5-15-0235, Ill. App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1392).
Eagle Insurer's Bid To Force Compliance With Subpoenas Denied
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal bankruptcy judge on June 24 denied a motion by an insurer of Chapter 11 debtor Eagle Inc. to compel the debtor's financial management company to comply with subpoenas seeking documents related to Eagle's corporate ownership (In re: Eagle, Inc., No. 15-12437, E.D. La. Bkcy.).
Plavix MDL Judge Denies Discovery Enforcement For Hawaii State Court Case
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey federal judge overseeing the Plavix multidistrict litigation on June 29 denied a motion by defendants Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC to enforce MDL discovery agreements on the State of Hawaii in its state court case (In Re: Plavix Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation [No. II], MDL Docket No. 2418, No. 13-2418, D. N.J.).
Comcast, T-Mobile, Google Must Reply To Presuit Trade Secrets Discovery Petition
PHILADELPHIA - Comcast Corp., T-Mobile USA Inc. and Google Inc. were ordered by a Pennsylvania federal judge on June 7 to respond to a transportation firm's verified petition seeking pre-action discovery related to learning the identity of an unknown individual that purportedly stole the firm's trade secrets (Estes Forwarding Worldwide LLC v. Comcast Corp., No. 2:16-mc-00132, E.D. Pa.).
Special Master In Takata MDL: Honda Needs To Produce Air Bag Documents
MIAMI - The special master in the Takata air bag multidistrict litigation on June 24 said that the judge overseeing the MDL should overrule American Honda Co. Inc.'s objections to searching its databases, consumer complaints, claims and lawsuits relating to the "aggressive deployment and non-deployment" of Takata air bags in its vehicles (In re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation, No. 15-02599-CIV-Moreno, MDL No. 5-2599, S.D. Fla.).
Ignition Switch MDL Co-Lead Counsel Say GM's Discovery Request Is Burdensome
NEW YORK - The plaintiffs' co-lead counsel in the General Motors faulty ignition switch multidistrict litigation say in a June 10 brief that General Motors LLC is asking for too much by asking each plaintiff to fill out a spread sheet that details his or her claims and ask the judge overseeing the MDL to deny the company's motion for additional discovery (In Re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 1:14-md-0254, S.D. N.Y.).
Ford, Honeywell Seek To Mine Asbestos Claimant Data For Evidence Of Fraud
WILMINGTON, Del. - Ford Motor Co. on July 6 joined in two motions filed in Delaware federal bankruptcy court by Honeywell International Inc. seeking access to asbestos claimants' data in the Chapter 11 cases of W.R. Grace & Co. and The Flintkote Co. to review the information for evidence of fraud in the tort system by asbestos plaintiffs and their attorneys (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.; In re: The Flintkote Co., No. 04-11300, D. Del. Bkcy.).
6th Circuit Vacates Approval Of Nearly $30M Blue Cross Price-Fixing Settlement
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 7 vacated final approval of a nearly $30 million settlement by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to end consolidated class actions accusing it of price fixing, finding that the district court improperly redacted and sealed records and failed to show that the settlement amount, attorney fees and incentive awards were appropriate (Shane Group, Inc., et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Nos. 15-1544/1551/1552, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10264).
Reinsurer Says It Wants Access To Sealed Documents In Asbestos-Related Case
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A nonparty reinsurer involved in a similar asbestos-related case as the instant action told a federal court in New York on July 10 that the method of an insurer's attempts to restrict the reinsurer's access to certain sealed documents is contrary to controlling case law (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, N.D. N.Y.).
Panel Quashes Order Requiring Insureds To Disclose Financial Terms Of Settlement
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 10 quashed a lower court's order that required insureds to disclose their financial information regarding their settlement agreement with their homeowners insurer in a sinkhole coverage dispute (Wayne Allen and Susan Allen v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 2D15-3114, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 8941).
Judge Orders Discovery Into Asbestos-Talc Defendants' Connection To North Carolina
GREENSBORO, N.C. - A federal judge denied two motions for summary judgment June 6 and ordered limited jurisdictional discovery into the asbestos-tainted talc defendants' connections with North Carolina and a third defendant (Merton Eric Branson v. American International Industries, et al., No. 15-73, M.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73855).
Abbott, AbbVie Must Produce Adverse Event Reports For AndroGel Testosterone
CHICAGO - The Illinois federal judge overseeing the testosterone multidistrict litigation on June 22 granted a plaintiffs' motion compelling defendants Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie Inc. to produce full drug safety and investigation files for 269 adverse events reported to the Food and Drug Administration concerning AndroGel (In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2545, No. 14-1748, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.).
Chevron Seeks To Compel Production Of Documents In Oil Rig Explosion Case
SAN FRANCISCO - Chevron Corp., which is being sued by plaintiffs who allege that the company is liable for damages related to the explosion of one its natural gas rigs in Nigeria, on June 24 filed a brief in a California federal court asking it to compel the plaintiffs to produce litigation funding documents to demonstrate the adequacy of the class representative and his counsel (Foster Ogola, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
Defendant In Lead Paint Case Moves To Compel Specific Discovery From Plaintiff
MILWAUKEE - Armstrong Containers Inc., one of the defendants sued by a group of plaintiffs seeking damages for alleged poisoning from lead-based paint, on June 13 moved in Wisconsin federal court for an order compelling the plaintiffs to produce responsive documents the company has already requested (Glenn Burton Jr. v. American Cyanamid Company, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
New York Federal Judge Allows Scope Of Discovery To Be Expanded In Disability Suit
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on June 8 partially granted a disability claimant's request to expand the scope of discovery beyond the administrative record on the basis that the factual allegations of the claimant's complaint show that good cause exists to expand the scope of discovery (Angela Shelton v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 16-1559, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74739).
Former NHL Players In Concussion MDL Rebut Discovery Cost Shifting
MINNEAPOLIS - Former professional hockey players say in a June 27 briefing to the judge overseeing the National Hockey League (NHL) concussion multidistrict litigation that an insurance company gathering documents for discovery has overestimated its burden (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
Insurer Asks That Reinsurer's Motion To Reply Regarding Discovery Be Denied
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - An insurer told a federal court in New York on June 14 that its reinsurer's motion for leave to reply regarding an objection to a magistrate judge's earlier discovery order should be denied because, among other reasons, the proposed reply allegedly contains new arguments (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Century Indemnity Company, No. 13-cv-00995, N.D. N.Y.).
Exxon: Discovery Deadline Extension 'Unreasonable' In Chemical Injury Case
BATON ROUGE, La. - Exxon Mobil Corp. on June 6 filed a brief in Louisiana federal court opposing a motion for a protective order with regard to a motion to extend the discovery deadline in a lawsuit for injuries from chemical exposure, contending that its discovery requests are not "excessive" and the plaintiffs have not shown good cause for the extension (Tonga Nolan v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, No. 13-439, M.D. La.).