WASHINGTON, D.C. — A government watchdog group on March 21 filed a complaint in District of Columbia federal court against the Environmental Protection Agency, alleging that the agency violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, by not timely providing certain employees’ communications that were sent using an encryption application (Cause of Action Institute v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 1:17-cv-00509, D. D.C.).
LAS VEGAS — A federal magistrate judge in Nevada on March 21 granted a protective order in a negligence lawsuit to facilitate discovery exchanges and establishing a procedure for the filing of documents that include trade secrets and other confidential information pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a) (Sonia Fernandez-Valdez v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 16-2464, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40492).
PHILADELPHIA — A child pornography suspect was correctly found to be in contempt when he refused to comply with a court order requiring him to provide law enforcement with access to external hard drives, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 20, finding that the defendant’s rights under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution were not violated (United States of America v. Apple Mac Pro Computer, et al., No. 15-3537, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4874).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A majority of a Florida appeals court on March 20 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that an insurer’s quarterly supplemental reporting (QUASR) data satisfies the definition of trade secret under state law and is, therefore, exempt from public disclosure (Office of Insurance Regulation v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., No. 1D16-2301, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 3662).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A reinsurer asked a federal court in New York on March 17 for permission to file a letter motion asking the court to disqualify certain trial witnesses that were not revealed until after the end of discovery or, in the alternative, allow the reinsurer to depose the witnesses (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, and Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Company, No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin federal judge on March 16 found several state officials not liable for violation of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) in the seizure of an organization’s electronic records as part of an investigation, finding the relevant warrants to have been issued in compliance with the statute and deeming the officials entitled to immunity under the act (The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy Inc. v. Francis Schmitz, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00539, W.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36796).
GRETNA, La. — A Louisiana appeals panel on March 15 reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that an insured breached a partnership agreement involving the opening of a new restaurant/bar and nightclub, concluding that the lower court erred in granting motions by the insured and his professional liability insurer to dismiss the case due to abandonment (Marlen Nunez v. Cesar R. Burgos, et al., No. 16-CA-568, La. App., 5th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Ruling that plaintiff’s counsel’s conduct rose to the level of “insubordination” throughout the discovery process, a federal judge in California on March 9 dismissed a company’s misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit against its former CEO and several others and ordered termination sanctions (Loop AI Labs Inc. v. Anna Gatti, et al., No. 15-0798, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34109).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A company asserting that an ex-employee revealed confidential information in anonymous postings on an employer review website failed to establish the proprietary nature of the information, a California appeals panel ruled March 10, vacating a trial court’s ordering the site to identify the employee (Glassdoor Inc. v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County and Machine Zone Inc., No. H042824, Calif. App. 6th Dist., 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 213).
CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal magistrate judge overseeing the Benicar multidistrict litigation on March 13 ordered plaintiffs to produce redacted records of Benicar patients on which two experts relied (In Re: Benicar [Olmesartan] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2606, No. 15-2606, D. N.J.).
OKLAHOMA CITY — A hydraulic fracturing company on Feb. 22 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court arguing that the court should deny a motion to compel production of certain evidence sought by the oil company that has sued the fracking company for allegedly interfering with operations at one of its wells (Singer Oil Company LLC v. Newfield Exploration Midcontinent Inc., et al., CIV-16-768, W.D. Okla.).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on March 7 ordered a chiropractor and his practice to submit better responses to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.’s requests for information regarding treatments provided for patients that are subject to an alleged fraudulent billing scheme (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Peter J. Hanson, P.C. d/b/a Hanson Chiropractic, et al., No. C16-1085RSL, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32719).
CLEVELAND — A copyright infringement plaintiff’s request that evidence of expenses, deductions or allocations be excluded from the calculation of damages in connection with a defendant’s alleged discovery abuses was denied March 7 by an Ohio federal magistrate judge (Design Basics LLC v. Petros Homes Inc., et al., No. 14-1966, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32066).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A federal judge in Connecticut on March 8 granted an insurer permission to file certain documents under seal, including deposition transcripts regarding an asbestos reinsurance dispute (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.).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A nonparty insurer told a federal court in New York on March 7 that portions of the materials that an insurer in a reinsurance dispute wants to be placed under seal were publicly aired in a recent decision in a related case (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, and Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Company, No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 7 granted a law firm insured’s motion to compel a professional liability insurer to produce underwriting materials but found that the insured failed to satisfy the heightened relevancy standard applicable to its discovery request for personnel files of three of the insurer’s employees (Westport Insurance Corp. v. Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, et al., No. 15-251, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31659).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a March 2 motion in Ohio federal court, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. requests reconsideration of an earlier ruling declining to stay discovery in a pair of class actions over a 2012 data breach, arguing that the claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) will likely be dismissed and calling the plaintiffs’ discovery requests broad and burdensome (Mohammad S. Galaria, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2:13-cv-00118, and Anthony Hancox, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2:13-cv-00257, S.D. Ohio).
SALT LAKE CITY — An insolvent insurer told a federal court in Utah on Feb. 17 that its proposed discovery order is an accurate interpretation of the court’s earlier rulings and is not worded in a way to allow it to take unfair advantage of the court’s wishes (Western Insurance Company v. Dick L. Rottman, et al., No. 13-cv-00436, D. Utah).
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — In an Arkansas judge’s March 6 order, it was disclosed that Amazon.com Inc. submitted to law enforcement the recordings from an Amazon Echo device belonging to a murder defendant in compliance with a police warrant that Amazon previously sought to quash under privacy and free speech concerns (State of Arkansas v. James A. Bates, No. CR-2016-370-2, Ark. Cir., Benton Co.).
MINNEAPOLIS — A researcher at the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center on March 2 told the federal judge overseeing the National Hockey League (NHL) concussion multidistrict litigation that the league is seeking raw research materials only to discredit her and her work so it can achieve its goals in the lawsuit (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).