MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin federal magistrate judge on May 3 denied a disability claimant’s motion to exclude the plan’s insurance certificate and appointment of claim fiduciary form from the administrative record after determining that the claimant failed to provide any citation to statutory or case law that requires the exclusion of the documents from the administrative record based on the claim administrator’s failure to provide the documents to the claimant upon request (Joleen M. Lerch v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 18-589, W.D. Wis., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74946).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court vacated a $37,000 sanctions award and a $75,000 punitive damage award to a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle. It concluded April 26 that the vehicle driver was allowed to concede negligence after denying it during discovery and that there was no evidence that the driver was grossly negligent (Christopher Medina v. Jennifer L. Zuniga, No. 17-0498, Texas Sup., 2019 Tex. LEXIS 387).
OAKLAND, Calif. — In a brief filed May 1 in California federal court, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requests review and vacatur of a magistrate’s order declining to compel suspects to unlock seized electronic devices by biometric means, arguing that even though a new warrant was issued in the underlying case, the matter is not moot because it will certainly arise in future investigations (In re Search of a Residence in Oakland, Calif., No. 4:19-mj-70053, N.D. Calif.).
PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 1 reversed a district court’s decision on an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission subpoena related to a gender discrimination charge and remanded with instructions to enforce the subpoena except as to information the EEOC says it no longer needs (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. VF Jeanswear LP, No. 17-16786, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13179).
ATLANTA — In an April 30 reply brief, three Native American tribes defend their motion to establish a separate track for tribal governments in the multidistrict litigation against Equifax Inc. over its 2017 data breach, arguing to a Georgia federal court that a history of financial discrimination has caused heightened harm to them that necessitates separate class representation and unique discovery (In Re: Equifax Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:17-md-2800, N.D. Ga.).
DENVER — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 23 denied Nebraska’s motion to stay a court order that the state produce communications with a pharmacy about supplying fentanyl instead of midazolam for executions (Jason Farrell McGehee, et al. v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, No. 19-1770, 8th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an April 22 petition for mandamus filed with the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a patent owner and its licensee assert the U.S. Court of Federal Claims abused its discretion when, in an April 2019 unpublished decision, it refused to order a third-party government contractor to produce documents showing the functionality of its source code (In re 3rd Eye Surveillance LLC, et al., No. 19-119, Fed. Cir.).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A New York justice on April 17 granted an insurer’s motion to quash three subpoenas for expert witness depositions in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute (James Halpin v. Chubb Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 13-63696, N.Y. Sup., Suffolk Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1936).
OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal judge in Oklahoma on April 23 granted plaintiffs additional time for discovery into their individual action against a health insurer they claim failed to properly cover air transport costs for their newborn child (Christina and Jeffrey Terry, et al. v. Health Care Service Corp., No. 18-415, W.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68601).
DALLAS — Additional discovery regarding a disability insurer’s alleged conflict of interest and procedural unreasonableness is not warranted because under the applicable de novo standard of review, discovery is limited to the administrate record, a Texas federal judge said April 22 in denying the disability claimant’s motion to compel discovery (Jose Chavez v. Standard Insurance Co., No. 18-2013, N.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67669).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on April 22 granted an auto insurer’s motion to bifurcate a bad faith claim from a breach of contract claim after determining that bifurcation will prevent prejudice to the auto insurer and will further judicial economy by limiting discovery until after liability has been established (Thea Mason v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co., No. 19-2, E.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67803).
SAN FRANCISCO — A lawyer’s discussions with asbestos expert witnesses are entitled to constitutional privacy protections, and even if his law firm owns the alternative causation work product he created, claims alleging interference with his ability to seek employment constitute independent wrongful acts sufficient to survive summary adjudication, an attorney told a California appeals court on March 8 (Evan C. Nelson v. Tucker Ellis LLP, No. A153661, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. government, a newspaper and a retailer trade association offered arguments about the necessity of demonstrating likely harm from the disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22, disputing whether assurances of confidentiality and assertions of trade secrets are sufficient to invoke an exemption to the act (Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, No. 18-481, U.S. Sup.).
MIAMI — A federal magistrate judge in Florida on April 18 held that a health care clinic patient’s statement in a police report can support an inference that a clinic employee accused of participating in a scheme to submit fraudulent no-fault personal injury protection claims to an insurance company paid patients to receive treatment at the facility and paid patients to refer someone else to the clinic (Government Employees Insurance Co., et al. v. Quality Diagnostic Health Care Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-20101, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67262).
NEW YORK — A hospital’s failure to turn over pathology evidence until after the close of discovery warrants the late admission of an expert’s testing results in a woman’s asbestos-talc case, a New York justice held March 26 (Jenny Shulman, et al. v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. 190025/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1293).
CHICAGO — Stating that there has already been “enough discovery . . . to choke a horse” in a dispute over two-way radio technology between Motorola Solutions Inc. and a Chinese firm, an Illinois federal magistrate judge on April 15 denied Motorola’s motion to compel discovery related to a product that he found was outside the scope of the trade secret and copyright claims at issue (Motorola Solutions Inc. v. Hytera Communications Corp., et al., No. 1:17-cv-01973, N.D. Ill.; 20192019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64005).
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A federal magistrate judge in New York on March 27 ruled that E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. could depose the wife of a man who claims that the company is liable for causing his cancer as a result of chemical exposure, but the judge said DuPont could not compel the production of more documents from the plaintiffs’ experts (James H. Sarkees, et al. v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, et al., No. 17-651, W.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52200).
NEW YORK — Depositions from unrelated asbestos actions are not sufficient by themselves to overcome a defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a lung cancer case, a New York justice held in an opinion posted April 17 (John C. Spicijaric, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190014/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island federal magistrate judge on April 12 partially granted a motion for a protective order governing communications between a pet food maker and putative class members in a suit over recalled dog food, ordering only that a limited clarification be issued addressing the meaning of a deadline in one letter (Jennifer Jubinville, et al. v. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., et al., No. 18-74, D. R.I., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63120).
NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. on April 15 filed a brief in New York federal court contending that “it is now beyond doubt” that Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, is in contempt of the district court’s orders regarding the discovery of data on the attorney’s electronic devices (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).