TACOMA, Wash. — After an asbestos plaintiff sought sanctions for an automobile parts company’s alleged lack of compliance with federal court-ordered discovery, the company fired back Oct. 16, explaining its limited documentary evidence and portraying reliance on employee memory as a good-faith effort at a response (Eric Klopman-Baerselman, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5536, W.D. Wash.).
NEW YORK — While they have not fully established jurisdiction, asbestos plaintiffs are far enough down that road to warrant further discovery, and the defendant has not eliminated the possibility that its products led to the man’s mesothelioma, a New York appeals court held Oct. 15 (Russell Leavitt and Joyce Leavitt v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 9959 190240/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7392).
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal magistrate judge in California on Oct. 3 denied in part and granted in part a recycling company insured’s motion to compel in its breach of contract, bad faith and fraud lawsuit seeking crime insurance coverage for its alleged $5 million in losses caused by employee theft (rePlanet Holdings, Inc. v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 19-00133, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173206).
BOSTON — A group of reinsurers argue in an Oct. 10 opposition brief that a Massachusetts federal court should deny an insurer’s motion to compel production of documents and interrogatory responses relating to their allocation and billing of their 2009 settlement with an insured in a separate matter because that issue has already been decided and denied (Certain London Market Company Reinsurers v. Lamorak Insurance Co., No. 18-10534, D. Mass.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 15 declined to review a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a New Jersey federal judge did not abuse his discretion in disallowing discovery in a protracted legal dispute between a health benefit plan and one of its participants (Bernard McLaughlin v. National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, No. 19-190, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A subpoena requiring Twitter Inc. to identify an anonymous user who is the defendant in a Japanese defamation lawsuit survived the social network’s motion to quash on Oct. 7, when a California federal magistrate judge found that the plaintiff in that suit sufficiently established that the subpoena did not violate the right to anonymous speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In re Ex Parte Application of Dr. Yuichiro Yasuda, et al., No. 3:19-mc-80127, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174001).
DALLAS — A Texas federal magistrate judge on Sept. 30 granted a motion filed by Ukraine’s national oil and gas company to serve a subpoena on the auditor of an oil and gas reserves company after determining that the discovery is relevant as it is sought in connection with possible judicial proceedings to enforce an arbitration award (In re: Application of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, No. 18-92, N.D. Texas).
ERIE, Pa. — On Oct. 4, a Wyoming couple who sued a rent-to-own (RTO) franchisor and franchisee over the installation of spyware on their laptop jointly filed a brief with the franchisor, with whom they recently settled their claims, opposing the franchisee’s motion to compel production of the confidential settlement agreement, asserting that a settlement is irrelevant to any remaining claims and defenses in the case (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron’s Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 7 found that Title 28 U.S. Code Section 1782 does not contain a per se bar to extraterritorial discovery, affirming a trial court’s grant of an application for discovery of documents for use in foreign proceedings from a U.S. firm that is not a party to the foreign proceedings (In Re: Application of Antonio del Valle Ruiz and Others for an Order to Take Discovery for Use in Foreign Proceedings Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782, Nos. 18-3226, 18-3474 and 18-3629, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 30002).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 declined to review a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling upholding the issuance of a punitive sua sponte terminating sanctions order (TSO) in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit (Loop AI Labs Inc., et al. v. Anna Gatti, et al., No. 19-59, U.S. Sup.).
BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal magistrate judge on Oct. 3 issued mixed discovery rulings for two retirees and their union’s benefit plan in a dispute over suspended pension benefits, granting in part and denying in part their respective motions to compel and for a protective order related to documents and interrogatories of similarly situated plan participants (Michael Chavis, et al. v. Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 486 Pension Plan, et al., No. 1:17-cv-02729, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171742).
GREENBELT, Md. — Marriott International Inc. filed a reply brief Sept. 27 supporting its motion to dismiss a Louisiana bank’s complaint, which is part of a multidistrict litigation over a data breach the hotel chain announced a year ago, telling a Maryland federal court that the bank’s negligence claims are precluded under the economic loss doctrine and arguing that recently submitted documents cast doubt upon the bank’s standing, thus necessitating discovery on the matter (In re: Marriott International Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 8:19-md-02879, D. Md.).
CAMDEN, N.J. — The New Jersey federal judge overseeing the valsartan multidistrict litigation on Sept. 18 denied a motion by multiple defendants to require plaintiffs to disclose if they are being financial backed by litigation funding, finding that the information is irrelevant and that there’s no showing that lawsuit financiers are real parties-in-interest that control the litigation (In Re: Valsartan N-Nitrosodimethylamine Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2875, No. 19-2875, D. N.J., Camden Vicinage).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Some former employees of the city of Flint, Mich., on Sept. 27 filed a joint motion for a protective order in Michigan federal court, contending that it should temporarily postpone a plan to take their depositions in the lead-contaminated water crisis litigation because taking such discovery would adversely affect other litigation pending against them (In re Flint Water Cases, No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Sept. 25 issued an order to unseal documents in the long-running saga of Chevron Corp.’s case against Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against the company in a court in Ecuador for injuries, only to have it reversed. The one-page order pertains to documents belonging to Donziger’s associate (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
CINCINNATI — Applying the principles of Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 19 concluded in what it called a matter of first impression that a private commercial arbitration panel qualifies as a “tribunal” under U.S. Code Title 28 Section 1782(a), leading it to reverse a trial court’s denial of a Saudi company’s discovery requests from FedEx Corp. in an arbitration proceeding under the statute (In Re: Application to Obtain Discovery for Use in Foreign Proceedings, No. 19-5315, 6th Cir.).
GREENBELT, Md. — A Maryland federal judge on Sept. 5 issued a letter order granting a disability claimant’s motion for extra-record discovery after determining that the claimant met her burden of establishing that the administrative record does not provide sufficient evidence to address her claim that the disability insurer’s termination of benefits was affected by a conflict of interest (Holly Chughtai v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 19-848, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154304).
NEW YORK — Wisconsin statutory privilege for the state’s insurance commissioner applies in a breach of contract case between an insurer formerly in rehabilitation and a mortgage financing services company, a New York appeals panel held Sept. 17, affirming the denial of a motion seeking to produce documents (Ambac Assurance Corp., et al. v. Nomura Credit & Capital Inc., et al., No. 9746 651359/13, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6582).
NEW YORK — The relevancy of testing on historic samples of Chanel No. 5 and a woman’s expert’s admission that he could likely reverse engineer samples to determine authenticity warrant denying her motion to compel production of the product’s formula, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Sept. 12 (Beverley Alleyne v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190295/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4903).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sanctions are warranted against an insured in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit brought pursuant to a homeowners insurance dispute because the insured made an intolerable “about-face” in first arguing that he was not seeking additional living expenses and then later stating during discovery that he, in fact, was seeking such damages, a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 13 (Edward Royce Stolz II v. Travelers Commercial Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-1923, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157096).