BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — An insured in an Aug. 2 letter is asking a federal judge in Connecticut for assistance in resolving a disagreement between it and defendants regarding responses to written discovery requests in its dispute over a series of workers’ compensation insurance and reinsurance contracts (Charter Oak Oil Co. Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., No. 17-00689, D. Conn.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An environmental advocacy group on July 26 filed a complaint in District of Columbia federal court contending that the Trump administration has wrongfully withheld records related to the group’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, as it pertains to information about hydraulic fracturing activities on federal land (WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Secretary of the Interior, et al., No. 19-2233, D. D.C.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Bureau of Investigation has failed to establish that documents it redacted and withheld in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were covered by the statute’s exemptions, The Associated Press and a reporters group argue in a July 25 cross-motion for summary judgment in District of Columbia federal court (The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, et al., No. 1:15-cv-01392 and 1:18-cv-00345, D. D.C.).
BOISE, Idaho — A warrant compelling a suspect to provide access to his locked cellphone via biometric means does not violate the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an Idaho Federal judge ruled July 26, concluding that the fingerprint “does not require the suspect to provide any testimonial evidence” (In re the Search of a White Google Pixel 3 XL Cellphone in a Black Incipio Case, No. 1:19-mj-10441, D. Idaho, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125243).
TRENTON, N.J. — Finding that a township failed to identify the information it sought to shield from depositions in a dispute over a proposed mosque construction, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge on July 29 denied the township’s motion for protective order (Christopher Quick, et al. v. Bernards, et al., No. 3:17-cv-05595, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126028).
TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Washington granted an asbestos automobile parts manufacturer summary judgment Aug. 5; on Aug. 2 plaintiffs told a judge he need not reconsider a ruling finding that a second defendant failed to fully respond to interrogatories (Eric Klopman-Baerselman, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5536, W.D. Wash.).
EASTERN HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The failure of the plaintiffs in a house fire coverage lawsuit to timely produce the recording of a conversation with their insurance adjuster merited monetary and preclusive discovery sanctions, a Mississippi federal magistrate judge ruled Aug. 1, stopping short of the dismissal sanctions sought by the defendant insurer (Lynda B. Jarrell, et al. v. Shelter Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00183, S.D. Miss., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128576).
SCRANTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 29 partially denied a disability insurer’s motion for a protective order regarding information sought in depositions after determining that the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege does not apply to communications regarding the administration of the disability plan concerning subrogation shared among the plan, its fiduciaries and any attorney assisting in the administration of the plan prior to the filing of the disability claimant’s lawsuit (Eric Yost, et al. v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 3:16-cv-00079, M.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125967).
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A plaintiff suing her former school district for constitutional violations and discrimination related to a school newspaper comment must provide discovery related to her electronic communications and cell phone, a South Dakota federal magistrate judge ruled Aug. 1, granting the school district’s motion to compel but limiting the timeframe and establishing guidelines to protect private and privileged information (Addison Ludwig v. Elk Point-Jefferson School District 61-7, et al., No. 4:18-cv-04091, D. S.D., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128630).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on July 30 denied E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.’s motion to reconsider a previous discovery order that denied DuPont’s request to subject a plaintiff in the multidistrict litigation related to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) to a mental examination. The judge said DuPont failed to show “good cause” for the examination in question (In re: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128174).
MIAMI — An asbestos case remains too underdeveloped for a determination of whether a plaintiff’s proposed deposition of a corporate representative exceeds the bounds of Florida law, a Florida appeals court held in dismissing a petition seeking a protective order on July 31 (Florida Power & Light Co. v. Larry E. Cook, No. 3D19-506, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The former head of claims for an insurer defending an insured’s suit seeking costs associated with battling asbestos cases must sit for deposition, a New York appeals court held July 31 (In the Matter of Linda Martin Barber v. BorgWarner Inc., et al., No. 130 CA-18-00738, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5939).
RICHMOND, Va. — In an insurance bad faith action against an insurer for its failure to defend an insured in a construction defect action, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 25 remanded to a district court for instructions in accordance with the South Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling that “denying liability and/or asserting good faith in the answer does not, standing alone,” waive attorney-client privilege for claim files addressing the insurer’s reinsurance and reserves (In re: Mt. HawleyInsuranceCo., No. 18-1401, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22356).
BOSTON — The Massachusetts federal judge overseeing the Zofran birth defect multidistrict litigation on July 25 ordered plaintiffs’ counsel and a plaintiffs’ epidemiologist to produce to defendant GlaxoSmithKline LLC (GSK) documents the researcher used in writing a medical journal article on which the plaintiffs rely for causation and to disclose her communications and financial arrangements with plaintiffs’ counsel (In Re: Zofran [Ondansetron] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2657, No. 15-md-2657, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123913).
PHILADELPHIA — Lockheed Martin Co. must largely respond to a motion to compel discovery regarding it and its subsidiaries liabilities stemming from a man’s exposure to asbestos in both the U.S. Navy and private employment, a federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania said July 25 (Robert J. Kraus, et al. v. Alcatel-Lucent, et al., No. 18-2119, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — A miscommunication led a judge to believe a motion for rehearing was untimely, and nothing in an executive’s television appearance warrants allowing asbestos-talc plaintiffs to depose him, Johnson & Johnson entities told a New York justice in a July 25 court document viewed by Mealey Publications (Donald Minassian, et al. v. Brenntag North America, et al., No. 190399/2018, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
CLEVELAND — The Ohio judge overseeing the opioid multidistrict litigation on July 15 lifted a protective order for ARCOS drug distribution data from before Dec. 31, 2012, saying there is “clearly no basis to shield the public view” of the data (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2804, No. 17-md-2804, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.).
NEW ORLEANS — An asbestos plaintiff may subpoena out-of-state defendants for trial as long as he identifies specific areas of inquiry, a Louisiana appeals court held July 18 (Ronald Clark McMaster v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 2019-C-0592, La. App., 4th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court review of a federal circuit court’s ruling upholding the issuance of a punitive sua sponte terminating sanctions order (TSO) in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit is warranted because doing so will allow the Supreme Court to clarify that its ruling in National Hockey League v. Metropolitan Hockey Club Inc. does not authorize the use of civil sanctions to “punish or deter,” petitioners argue in a July 3 petition for writ of certiorari (Loop AI Labs Inc., et al. v. Anna Gatti, et al., No. 19-59, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2501).
SUFFOLK, Mass. — A Massachusetts justice on June 19 denied a motion to compel filed by reinsurers in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the reinsurers failed to prove that discovery regarding an insurer’s declaratory judgment action against an insured is relevant to whether coverage exists for a settlement between the insurer and the insured (Lamorak Insurance Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, No. 1884CV00200-BLS2, Mass. Super., Suffolk, 2019 Mass. Super. LEXIS 385).