PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 6 granted a defense motion to strike a plaintiffs’ motion for a nationwide medical monitoring class of patients who were prescribed a bladder drug and are at risk of eye injury (Leonard Almond v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. 20-2183, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207900).
LOS ANGELES — Former patients who brought a class complaint in a federal court in California against the regents of the University of California (UCLA) and its former gynecologist for sexual exploitation filed a motion on Nov. 16 for preliminary approval of a settlement of more than $73 million (A.B., et al. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al., No. 20-9555, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 16 denied an application by inmates housed in a Texas geriatric prison seeking to vacate a stay of a permanent injunction in their class complaint alleging that insufficient actions were taken to protect them from the novel coronavirus while an appeal proceeds (Laddy Curtis Valentine, et al. v. Bryan Collier, et al., No. 20A70, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. LEXIS 5612).
SAN FRANCISCO — Eight months after a California federal judge declined to grant preliminary approval to a settlement of a negligence class action over a 2018 data breach related to Facebook Inc.’s “View As” feature, that same judge on Nov. 15 preliminarily approved the agreement, under which Facebook pledged to make security improvements, finding that the parties sufficiently addressed prior concerns related to compliance assessment monitoring and certain procedures for class members to object to the settlement (Stephen Adkins v. Facebook, Inc., No. 18-5982, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214006).
NEW ORLEANS — A trial court improperly entered a permanent injunction in a class complaint by inmates housed in a Texas prison primarily for elderly and those with health issues who allege that insufficient actions were taken to protect them from the novel coronavirus as it has already been shown that “extensive and evolving measures” have been implemented that “show the opposite of deliberate indifference,” the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), its executive director and the warden argue in an appellant brief filed Nov. 13 in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Laddy Curtis Valentine, et al. v. Bryan Collier, et al., No. 20-20525, 5th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 13 affirmed a trial court’s remand order in a worker’s putative wage-and-hour class complaint, finding that the employer based its amount in controversy on assumptions “that were unreasonable” (Levone Harris, et al. v. KM Industrial, Inc., No. 20-16767, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 25723).
NEW YORK — A New Jersey man filed a class complaint on Nov. 12 in a federal court in New York accusing Amazon Inc. of failing to provide its minority workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) and failing to properly respond and quarantine workers when one tested positive for COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus (Christian Smalls, et al. v. Amazon, Inc., No. 20-5492, E.D. N.Y.).
PASADENA, Calif. — A trial court improperly used the lodestar-only method to calculate attorney fees in a mixed settlement that contained a coupon portion, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 10, vacating and remanding a $14.8 million attorney fee award (Steve Chambers, et al. v. Whirlpool Corporation, et al., Nos. 16-56666, 16-56684, 16-56688 and 16-56694, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 35366).
RICHMOND, Va. — A federal judge in Virginia on Nov. 5 overruled individual class members’ objections to plaintiffs’ motion for final approval of a settlement of their class action alleging that their long-term care insurer failed to disclose information about its policies and its policies’ premium increases, finding that “if the most conservative and the most liberal assumptions are disregarded,” the cash damage payments’ estimated value would be $130 million (Jerome Skochin, et al. v. Genworth Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-49, E.D. Va., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207925).
CHICAGO — McDonald’s history of discrimination against Blacks that began when the franchise system started in 1955 and Blacks were not permitted to be franchisees continues today, with the franchisor steering Black franchisees to underperforming Black neighborhoods where it charges them higher rents, forces them to pay for renovations or rebuilds and then forces them out when they can’t keep up with the costs, two current franchisees allege in an Oct. 29 class complaint filed in an Illinois federal court (James Byrd, Jr., et al. v. McDonald’s USA, LLC, et al., No. 20-6447, N.D. Ill.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Nov. 10 granted an unopposed motion to consolidate nine putative class actions against Warner Music Group over a recently announced data breach, finding that they involved “substantially related questions of law and fact” springing from the same hacking incident (In re Warner Music Group Data Breach, No. 20-7473, S.D. N.Y.).
RICHMOND, Va. — A family trust argues to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Nov. 6 reply brief that a deficit account harm that is distinct from a cost of insurance (COI) harm was not litigated or negotiated as part of a class settlement for an alleged life insurance fraud scheme that shifted debt to reinsurers (1988 Trust for Allen Children Dated 8/8/88 – Marianne E. & Laurie Allen and Nora V. Gitz, as Trustees v. Banner Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-1630, 4th Cir.).
CHICAGO — A federal magistrate judge in Illinois on Nov. 3 denied final class settlement approval in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) suit due a small number of claims and ordered supplemental class notice via text message, opining that those texts will not violate the federal law (Madeleine Yates, et al. v. Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., et al., No. 17-9219, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205241).
NEW YORK — A federal magistrate judge in New York on Nov. 5 denied a request by female employees suing Goldman, Sachs & Co. and The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (together, Goldman Sachs) for gender bias to compel a search for and production of “boys-club” documents from members of the company’s management committee (MC) as they have not shown that the MC made the decisions that are the target of the lawsuit (H. Christina Chen-Oster, et al. v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., et al., No. 10-6950, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207282).
DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado in a Nov. 5 docket entry lifted the stay in a putative class complaint by certain Team USA’s Olympic taekwondo athletes who have alleged more than two decades of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking, writing that the plaintiffs “misleadingly represented” that counsel for one of the defendants did not oppose the stay (Heidi Gilbert, et al. v. USA Taekwondo, Inc., et al., No. 18-981, D. Colo.).
ATLANTA — A federal judge in Georgia on Nov. 4 granted final approval to a $16.75 million class settlement to be paid by Emory University to end a class complaint by participants in the Emory University Retirement Plan and the Emory Healthcare Inc. Retirement Saving and Matching Plan who alleged breach of fiduciary duty and participation in prohibited transactions, calling the result “superior” to those in other university-sponsored retirement plan lawsuits (Geneva Henderson, et al. v. Emory University, et al., No. 16-2920, N.D. Ga.).
FORT WORTH, Texas — Two of three named consumers in a putative class complaint accusing American Airlines Inc. of failing to refund customers for flights canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic were ordered Nov. 2 by a federal judge in Texas to arbitrate their claims due to arbitration agreements with the online travel agencies (OTA) through which they purchased their tickets (Lee Ward, et al. v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 20-371, N.D. Texas).
PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) filed an appellant brief on Oct. 14 in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking reversal of a preliminary injunction in a class complaint by journalists and legal observers who say they have been targeted by police and federal agents while covering protests in Portland, arguing that the decision “rests on legal error” and “imposes unworkable conditions on federal law-enforcement officers responding to violent protests” (Index Newspapers LLC, et al. v. United States Marshals Service, et al., No. 20-35739, 9th Cir.).
PASADENA, Calif. — A trial court erred when it remanded sua sponte an employee’s individual claims in a wage-and-hour lawsuit against a shoe and clothing company after denying the employee’s class certification motion because the denial does not defeat the court’s jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 19, encouraging the trial court to re-evaluate whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims in light of this holding (Bryan Madeira, et al. v. Converse, Inc., No. 20-55958, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32853).
SAN FRANCISCO — Plaintiffs improperly denied mental health Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefits are entitled to reprocessing of claims — including individuals who never sought post-denial services and those who did and paid out of pocket — and on remand the insurer may rely only on the reasons stated in the original denial, a federal magistrate judge in California said Nov. 3 while largely denying the insurer summary judgment and its motion to decertify three classes (David Wit, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-2346, Gary Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-5337, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205435, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205429).