OKLAHOMA CITY — A pharmacist accused of submitting fraudulent bills to Medicare for prescriptions filled at two pharmacies he owned and operated was enjoined by a federal judge in Oklahoma March 26 from transferring or dissipating the more than $1 million he earned from the scheme (United States v. Jeffrey Scott Terry, No. 19-cv-250, W.D. Okla.).
BALTIMORE — In an April 8 ruling, a Maryland federal magistrate judge granted in part two discovery motions by the owner of an apartment building at the center of an insurance coverage dispute, limiting the scope of an insurer’s subpoenas on the building owner’s engineering and accounting firms, deeming certain tax information and communications sought to be privileged and private (Jowite Ltd. Partnership v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 1:18-cv-02413, D. Md. 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59726).
OCALA, Fla. — An auto insurer’s communications with its insured regarding a potential settlement of a suit filed against the insured following an auto accident are relevant to a bad faith claim alleged against the auto insurer by the underlying plaintiffs, a Florida federal magistrate judge said April 5 in partially granting the plaintiffs’ motion to compel (Yolanda Aldana, et al. v. Progressive American Insurance Co., No. 18-157, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59015).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its April 5 merits reply brief, a food retailer trade association asks the U.S. Supreme Court to find that a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption for confidential trade secret and financial information permits the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to withhold store-specific data from a FOIA request without having to establish that “substantial competitive harm” would occur from disclosure (Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, No. 18-481, U.S. Sup.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — At a March 11 discovery hearing, a Delaware judge granted in part a defendant’s motion to compel an Irish medical imaging company to produce performance audit data from its Dublin, Ireland, plant, while declining to order discovery of similar data from other third-party plants and suppliers, deeming it irrelevant to the parties’ contractual dispute (Guerbet Ireland Unlimited Co., et al. v. SpecGX LLC, No. N18C-05-159, Del. Super.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. —A majority of the Alabama Supreme Court on April 5 held that a lower court exceeded its discretion when it disregarded the attorney-client privilege in a discovery dispute, vacating the lower court’s orders that denied an errors and omissions insurer’s motion for a protective order and directed the insurer to produce the materials for in camera inspection or discovery (Ex parte Alfa Insurance Corporation, et al., No. 1170804, Ala. Sup., 2019 Ala. LEXIS 30).
LAS VEGAS — At an April 4 hearing, a Nevada federal magistrate judge granted a motion by Oracle USA Inc. to conduct limited discovery into whether Rimini Street Inc. is complying with an injunction in a long-running software copyright infringement lawsuit (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).
SCRANTON, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 25 denied a defendant’s motion to suppress the admission of a thumb drive that contains the identifying information of more than 400 people for the purpose of filing federal income tax returns, finding that federal law applies to the charges of insurance fraud and tax fraud against the man and that the warrant that was executed to obtain the drive was not overbroad (United States v. Frank J. Capozzi, No. 16cr347, M.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55075).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on April 4 ruled 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, failed to show good cause for an extension of time to respond to Chevron’s motions against him for civil contempt, and he ordered Donziger to respond (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on April 3 denied a managed care organization errors and omissions liability excess insurer’s motion to compel production of an insured’s settlement with its primary insurer in a coverage dispute arising from underlying putative antitrust class actions brought against the insured, finding that the settlement agreement’s relevance is “speculative” (Homeland Insurance Company Of New York v. Health Care Service Corporation, et al., No. 18-6306, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56877).
NEW YORK — A consumer talc company is entitled to perform additional testing on the same samples used by plaintiff’s expert William Longo when he found the presence of asbestos, a New York justice confirmed March 20 in adopting a special master’s recommendation (Kim Young v. Avon Products Inc., et al., No. 190383/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1046).
DETROIT — In an insurer’s breach of contract case against a reinsurer over reinsurance billings for asbestos claims, a Michigan federal judge on April 1 issued a stipulated confidentiality agreement and protective order regarding confidential proprietary or trade secret information and information about insureds, including health in connection with their alleged asbestos exposure (Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Co., No. 18-11966, E.D. Mich.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 1 granted a motion by the U.S. solicitor general to participate in upcoming oral arguments over the trade secrets and confidential information exemption to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), giving the government 10 minutes to argue as amicus curiae in support of a food retailer trade group opposing the release of certain store-specific data in response to an FOIA request (Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, No. 18-481, U.S. Sup.).
BEAUMONT, Texas — A Texas appeals panel on March 28 conditionally granted an insurer’s petition for writ of mandamus challenging a lower court’s discovery order in a Hurricane Harvey coverage dispute, finding that the lower court abused its discretion by not limiting discovery to relevant evidence and ordering discovery that was beyond that discoverable under Texas law (In Re Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, No. 09-18-00446, Texas App., 9th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 2461).
NEW YORK — A trial court improperly admitted nearly two-decade old deposition testimony regarding the asbestos-content of a joint compound, a New York appeals court held March 21 in ordering a new trial (Michael Billok, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., No. 526276, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 21970).
OMAHA, Neb. — In a federally reinsured crop insurer’s breach of contract dispute against a former employee over a nonsolicitation agreement, a Nebraska federal magistrate judge on March 25 issued a protective order regarding the disclosure of confidential discovery material (Farm Credit Services of America FLCA v. Kathy Mens, No. 19-14, D. Neb.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Tesla Inc. shareholder filed a complaint in the Delaware Chancery Court on March 20, seeking to compel the automaker to comply with his previous request for an inspection of books and records related to the company’s September 2018 settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and its duties to monitor the public communications of Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, notably his tweets (Chase Gharrity v. Tesla Inc., No. 2019-0217, Del. Chanc.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The same day that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller filed his long-awaited report on the almost two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a lawsuit in District of Columbia federal court March 22, seeking production of previously requested materials related to the investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (Electronic Privacy Information Center v. U.S. Department of Justice, No. 1:19-cv-00810, D. D.C.).
NEW YORK — A cancer treatment center must comply with a request for asbestos-related pathology materials where the patient himself consented to the release, a New York justice held in an opinion released March 20 (Arnold Babcock, et al. v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. 190134/2018, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1063).
NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. on March 20 filed two briefs in a New York federal court contending that attorney Steven R. Donziger, who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, should be held in contempt for failing to comply with a discovery order and for signing over to his personal “performance coach” a specified percentage of his fees in the case (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).