CHICAGO — In a July 7 paperless order, the Maryland federal judge presiding over the consolidated class action over a massive data breach experienced by Marriott International Inc. stayed the resolution of the consumer plaintiffs’ motion to quash Marriott’s third-party discovery subpoena on a nonparty forensics firm pending resolution of the subpoena target’s own motion to quash in Illinois federal court.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A hydraulic fracturing company on July 1 filed a brief with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) arguing that it should quash subpoenas and enter an order prohibiting depositions in a permit dispute on grounds that the plaintiffs seek information protected by the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine.
LAKELAND, Fla. — A trial court did not err in concluding that a homeowners insurer must turn over a number of requested documents to an insured because the documents at issue are relevant to the insured’s bad faith claim, the Second District Florida Court of Appeal said June 30.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Legislature addressed the very complaints raised by defendants in challenging limits on asbestos depositions, recognized that other means existed to accomplish the goals of a deposition and chose to protect terminally ill mesothelioma suffers, plaintiffs told a California appeals court on July 2 in urging the court to dismiss a petition.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a July 2 ruling, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel handed a mixed victory to the FBI, finding that certain internal emails were properly withheld from production under the deliberative process privilege in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Associated Press (AP), while finding that the bureau did not establish that other materials related to an undercover operation were privileged or that their release would cause harm.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Parties to a dispute over whether an asbestos plaintiff produced the full lab results of testing on a consumer talc product await a federal judge in North Carolina’s ruling after wrapping briefing on May 7.
HARRISON, Ark. — Plaintiffs must draft an authorization allowing a hospital to turn over lung pathology slides of a woman who died of mesothelioma after alleged exposure to asbestos in talc she used as a hairdresser and, as a sanction for discovery violations, must produce their expert witness and pay associated court reporter fees, a federal judge said June 22 while also ordering the plaintiffs not to disturb the talc samples in their control.
BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana on June 29 granted in part and denied in part a homeowners insurer’s motion to compel in a bad faith lawsuit arising from storm damage, finding that the plaintiff failed to comply with providing initial disclosures of damages under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(A)(iii) and failed to fully respond to certain interrogatories and requests for production seeking information and documents related to the alleged damages.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on July 2 granted a petition for certiorari filed by Dell Technologies Inc., a subsidiary and other parties that were sued for securities violations related to the subsidiary’s initial public offering (IPO), in which they asked the court to find that a discovery stay provision in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (Reform Act) applies to securities lawsuits filed in state courts and not just in federal courts, as California trial and appeals courts found.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States on June 28 filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court and moved for leave to participate in oral argument in a case addressing discovery in aid of foreign courts and tribunals, arguing that the relevant statute does not apply to private commercial tribunals and that a contrary finding may jeopardize investor-state arbitrations.
MINNEAPOLIS — The maker of allegedly defective roofing membranes may plead an acts-of-God affirmative defense in response to a supplemental complaint from Target Corp. that increased the number of stores at issue by two, a federal judge in Minnesota ruled June 21, denying Target’s motion to strike newly asserted affirmative defenses on that count but granting it as to spoliation of evidence, which the judge said “is not an affirmative defense.”
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals court on June 25 agreed to determine the propriety of a state law limiting 80 asbestos defendants in a mesothelioma case to 14 hours of deposition time.
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. on June 17 filed a bench memorandum in Vermont federal court arguing that a former attorney for the company who filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration contending that he was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for alerting the company to responsibilities it had related to drinking water contamination from perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) should not be deposed because it would be “fraught with problems of privilege and confidentiality.”
FRESNO, Calif. — Five absent class members who were previously issued subpoenas and failed to appear for depositions in a lawsuit over wages for agricultural workers must appear for depositions or face preclusion of their declarations in support of class certification, a federal magistrate judge in California ruled June 22, declining the employers’ request to strike the declarations of all absent class members.
ATLANTA — A trial court abused its discretion when it limited discovery sought by a former employee suing for disability discrimination and denied multiple requests to compel the deposition of the then-executive vice president of human resources, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 21, vacating the summary judgment ruling for the employer, reversing the denial of the former employee’s motion to compel the deposition and remanding with instructions that the district court permit the deposition to take place.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two companies tell the U.S. Supreme Court in June 21 response briefs that a dispute over the applicability of a federal statute allowing discovery in aid of foreign courts and tribunals to private commercial tribunals is moot because the underlying arbitration’s hearing concluded in May and say that applying the statute to private tribunals would destabilize foreign and domestic arbitrations.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chapter 11 debtor DBMP LLC’s request to send questionnaires to about 4,000 mesothelioma sufferers with claims pending against the company in an attempt to estimate its asbestos liability suffers from several fatal defects, including that the discovery would be “unduly burdensome and harassing,” a committee of asbestos claimants says in a June 11 objection to the motion in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina federal magistrate judge on June 17 determined that a dissolved insured is required to produce only limited portions of a settlement agreement with one of its insurers for underlying asbestos bodily injury claims because the insurer seeking production of the settlement failed to show that the entire agreement is relevant.
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on June 18 declined to adjourn an Austrian company’s action to enforce a roughly 142 million euro award against a Taiwanese company for a pharmaceuticals contract dispute despite a pending set-aside proceeding in Germany and said the Austrian company may seek limited jurisdictional discovery regarding whether the Taiwanese company is operated from Massachusetts.
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Finding “good cause shown,” a federal magistrate judge in Georgia on June 1 granted a consent motion to stay and extend discovery in a commercial auto insurer’s lawsuit seeking a declaration that there is no coverage for the insured, its owners and an employee for an underlying $112,466.57 personal injury default judgment.