NEW YORK — 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, on Jan. 29 filed a brief in New York federal court opposing Chevron’s motion for permission to seize, “image” and search all of his electronic devices and online accounts on grounds that it is “entirely unjustified” (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
FLINT, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on Jan. 29 denied in part a motion to compel filed by the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility (MAIPF) seeking records from a number of chiropractic clinics and employees accused of engaging in a scheme intended to fraudulently generate bills for unnecessary medical services provided to individuals submitted claims for no-fault personal injury protection benefits, ordering the facility to refine its records requests and the defendants to provide more details for their objections (Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility v. New Grace Rehabilitation Center PLLC, et al., No. 17-11007, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13511).
WILKESBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina judge on Jan. 25 refused to reconsider the denial of a franchisor’s motion to compel requests related to the financial impact of its alleged overpricing on franchisees’ businesses, finding that the decision contained no clear error or misapplied applicable law (Window World of Baton Rouge LLC, et al. v. Window World Inc., et al., Nos. 15 CVS 1, 15 CVS 2, N.C. Super., Wilkes Co., 2019 NCBC LEXIS 7).
OAKLAND, Calif. — Responding to an order to show cause, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in a Jan. 18 filing argues that Twitter Inc. should not be granted access to a Federal Bureau of Investigation representative’s declaration in a lawsuit over the social network’s government-ordered surveillance activities, telling a California federal judge that the declaration was submitted in camera due to its classified nature (Twitter Inc. v. Matthew G. Whitaker, et al., No. 4:14-cv-04480, N.D. Calif.).
LANSING, Mich. — The attorney representing the Virginia Tech researcher who led the team that exposed the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Jan. 25 said that the discovery process is beginning in the researcher’s lawsuit against Wayne State University (WSU) challenging the qualifications of an academic who has led WSU’s team of investigators and experts working in Flint (Marc Edwards v. Wayne State University, No. 18-110, Mich. Clms.).
LAS VEGAS — A nonparty beverage company was ordered by a Nevada federal magistrate judge on Jan. 23 to produce certain documents in a dispute over the sale of a distribution business between an alcoholic beverage wholesale distributor and its supplier (Bonanza Beverage Co. v. MillerCoors LLC, No. 18-01445, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11532).
HARTFORD, Conn. — A trial court judge in Connecticut on Jan. 2 vacated in part a ruling finding a dentist in contempt of court for failing to produce subpoenaed patient files requested as part of the state department of public health’s investigation into possible fraudulent billing, holding that a daily coercive penalty of $1,000 per day is no longer useful and that the agency should be allowed to search the dentist’s office (Connecticut, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health v. Anthony Colandrea, No. HHDCV156064394S, Conn. Super., Hartford Dist., 2109 Conn. Super. LEXIS 5).
By Debra J. Hall and Robert M. Hall
ANDERSON, S.C. — A jury may conclude that all of a company’s products contained asbestos, a South Carolina judge said Jan. 24 as part of her instructions at trial. The ruling was one of several imposing sanctions on multiple defendants for alleged discovery violations in an asbestos case (Rita Joyce Glenn, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 2015CP041607, S.C. Comm. Pls,, 10th Jud. Cir., Anderson Co.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 23 noted that parties were unable to resolve disputes concerning discovery requests in a case alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act based on a scheme on lender-placed insurance (LPI) involving the use of kickbacks, including reinsurance premiums (Edward Leo v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC of Delaware, et al., No. 17-05839, D. N.J.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite an existing briefing stay, the federal government on Jan. 22 filed a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to defer ruling on a motion to dismiss as improvidently granted a petition for certiorari in a dispute over a trial court’s ability to order the deposition of the secretary of Commerce in a lawsuit about a proposed census citizenship question (In re U.S. Department of Commerce, No. 18-557, U.S. Sup.).
SHERMAN, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Jan. 22 ordered defendants in a trade secrets misappropriation and patent and copyright infringement lawsuit to turn over nine email attachments that were previously withheld from discovery requests, rejecting the defendants’ argument that the documents are not relevant to the plaintiff’s claims and are protected trade secrets (Performance Pulsation Control Inc. v. Sigma Drilling Technologies LLC, et al., No. 17-0450, E.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10166).
NEW YORK — A special master’s uncontested ruling requiring that a pump company produce evidence regarding which of its products contained asbestos stands, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Jan. 18 (Epifanio Figueroa v. Aerco International Inc., et al., No. 190101/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 190).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on Jan. 17 partly granted an insurer’s motion for a protective order in a discovery dispute with its insured, denying the remainder of the motion in a coverage lawsuit over an underlying $50 million settlement (Aerojet Rocketydyne, Inc. v. Global Aerospace, Inc., et al., No. 17-01515, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8737).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A dispute over a trial court’s ability to order the deposition of the secretary of Commerce in a lawsuit over a proposed citizenship question on the upcoming census was removed from the U.S. Supreme Court’s argument calendar Jan. 18, with the high court also suspending all briefing pending further order of the court (In re U.S. Department of Commerce, No. 18-557, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Simultaneous with the filing of their respondent briefs, the states and nonprofit organizations suing the federal government over a proposed citizenship question on the upcoming census jointly filed a motion in the U.S. Supreme Court Jan. 17, seeking dismissal of the government’s granted petition for certiorari over the ordered deposition of the secretary of Commerce, arguing that a trial court’s recent ruling disposing of that order renders the matter moot (In re U.S. Department of Commerce, No. 18-557, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — The New York attorney general on Jan. 15 filed a petition in the New York County Supreme Court for an order compelling opioid drug maker Mallinckrodt LLC to turn over certain subpoenaed documents due to a “settlement privilege” (New York v. Mallinckrodt LLC, No. 0450052/2019, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. on Jan. 15 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York supporting its forensic protocol for the examination of discovery of hard drives and digital media belonging to Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attorneys for the United States on Jan. 14 filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that a lower court erred when it ruled that defendants in a qui tam lawsuit over the exposure risk associated with isocyanate chemicals had no obligation to transmit or deliver substantial risk information (SRI) to the U.S. government (United States ex rel. Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP v. BAS Corporation, et al., No. 18-7123, D.C. Cir.).
OAKLAND, Calif.— A California federal judge on Jan. 10 denied an application by the government for a warrant compelling individuals to unlock electronic devices secured by biometric means, such as thumbprint and facial scans, likening such items to self-incriminating testimony that is unlawful under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In re Search of a Residence in Oakland, Calif., No. 4:19-mj-70053, N.D. Calif.).