TRENTON, N.J. — Over the objections of an insurer, a New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 12 allowed seriously ill asbestos disease sufferers to sidestep the automatic stay in the Chapter 11 case of Duro Dyne National Corp. so they can be deposed before they die (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
HOUSTON — A trial court abused its discretion in refusing to abate discovery on an insured’s statutory extracontractual claims against an auto insurer because there has been no finding that the auto insurer is contractually obligated to pay underinsured motorist benefits to the insured, the First District Texas Court of Appeals said Nov. 5 (In re: Colonial County Mutual Insurance Co., No. 01-19-00391, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 9649).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal magistrate judge on Nov 8 denied an insurer’s motion to compel production of documents from reinsurers over allocation and billing of a 2009 settlement with an insured because “the relevance of the materials sought is too speculative” (Certain London Market Company Reinsurers v. Lamorak Insurance Co., No. 18-10534, D. Mass.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge delivered a mixed ruling for Facebook Inc. in a Nov. 7 discovery order, sustaining the social network’s objection to disclosing its source code to one of the proposed expert witnesses for a putative class suing it over scraping certain data from Android mobile devices, while finding that there was no risk of harm in disclosure to a second witness (Lawrence Olin, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 3:18-cv-01881, N.D. Calif.).
TACOMA, Wash. — Despite previous warnings about the insufficiency of discovery responses, an automotive parts retailer appears to have made little effort to identify responsive information, a federal judge in a Washington state asbestos action said Nov. 5 in imposing sanctions (Eric Klopman-Baerselman, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5536, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192131).
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In a Nov. 4 reply brief, a newspaper tells a South Dakota federal court that it is entitled to a new trial in a case remanded from the U.S. Supreme Court because the high court’s ruling against it changed the rules for the application of an exemption that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invoked when it withheld information the newspaper requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (Argus Leader Media v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, No. 4:11-cv-04121, D. S.D.).
ERIE, Pa. — A rent-to-own (RTO) franchisee being sued for privacy violations over the installation of spyware on customers’ computers was denied access to a confidential settlement between its franchisor and the plaintiffs on Oct. 22, with a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge finding that the franchisee failed to establish relevance or a need for the requested information sufficient to support its motion to compel (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron’s Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).
MINNEAPOLIS — Boston Scientific Corp. on Oct. 30 objected to a magistrate judge’s Oct. 16 sanction of the company for alleged late disclosure of corporate witnesses (United States ex rel. Steven Higgins v. Boston Scientific Corporation, No. 11-2453, D. Minn.).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 25 denied as premature a man’s motion to compel communications between a loan servicer and an appraiser that occurred after he defaulted on his mortgage, finding that the loan servicer said it was still looking for the requested records (Guirguis El-Shawary v. U.S. Bank N.A., No. C18-1456-JCC, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185381).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mostly reversing a trial court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of the Internal Revenue Service in a dispute over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 1 found it unclear that the agency fully complied with the request, holding that the trial court needs to determine whether a retrieval system at the heart of the dispute constitutes a database (Institute for Justice v. Internal Revenue Service, No. 18-5316, D.C. Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32736).
TRENTON, N.J. — While having seriously ill asbestos disease sufferers deposed before they die may be a good idea in theory, asbestos claimant representatives in the Chapter 11 case of Duro Dyne National Corp. do not have standing for lifting the automatic stay to allow the depositions to take place, an insurer of the debtor tells a New Jersey bankruptcy court Oct. 29 (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
RICHMOND, Va. — The use of a “filter team” to review attorney-client privileged materials for documents responsive to a federal search warrant “inappropriately assigned judicial functions to the executive branch,” a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled in an Oct. 31 opinion, explaining a previously issued interim order reversing a trial court’s denial of a law firm’s request that seized materials be reviewed by a magistrate judge rather than the government (In re: Search Warrant Issued June 13, 2019, No. 19-1730, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32600).
SAN FRANCISCO — A plaintiff attorney and a defense attorney in the Roundup Products Liability Litigation multidistrict litigation on Oct. 29 filed a joint letter brief in California federal court disagreeing on whether Monsanto Co. should be permitted to take additional, limited depositions of two plaintiffs experts (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A class of immigration attorneys and noncitizens suing over the federal government’s alleged “systemic failure of making timely determinations” on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for alien registration files (A-Files) was certified Oct. 15 by a California federal judge, who found that “a single injunction or declaratory judgment would provide relief to each member of the proposed classes” (Zachary Nightingale, et al. v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, et al., No. 19-3512, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178516).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Finding that substantial questions exist over whether personal jurisdiction can be exercised over the Cyprus-based operator of a “sugar daddy” dating website accused of trademark infringement, a California federal judge on Oct. 23 ordered the parties to engage in jurisdictional discovery prior to the resolution of a pending summary judgment motion (Reflex Media Inc., et al. v. Apiriliaco Ltd., et al., No. 8:16-cv-00795, C.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 28 ruled that the summary judgment standard was appropriately applied by a trial court to a drug company’s motion for arbitration in a class suit over vaccine pricing but vacated the denial of motion and remanded for limited discovery on the issue of arbitrability (Sugartown Pediatrics, L.L.C., et al. v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. [In re: Rotavirus Vaccines Antitrust Litigation], No. 19-1405, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32286).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an Oct. 25 summary judgment motion, the Federal Bureau of investigation told a District of Columbia federal court that it properly withheld certain documents in responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests made by BuzzFeed Inc. that sought the investigative report and other materials related to the 2018 confirmation process of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh, arguing that the FOIA’s presidential communications privilege exempted the documents from disclosure (Jason Leopold, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, No. 1:18-cv-02567, D. D.C.).
CHICAGO — A district court erred when it granted summary judgment to an employer in a multiemployer pension dispute under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and limited the scope of the trustees’ audit authority, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 24, finding that the employer signed on to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that permitted random audits of full payroll records (Electrical Construction Industry Prefunding Credit Reimbursement Program, et al. v. Veterans Electric, LLC, Nos. 19-1051 and 18-3703, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 31870).
AUSTIN, Texas — A trial court did not have jurisdiction to issue an order compelling production of certain documents in a wrongful employment termination lawsuit, a law firm argues in an Oct. 22 petition for mandamus, telling the Texas Supreme Court that the trial court’s plenary power in the matter had expired months earlier when it issued an order that constituted a final judgment (In re Branscomb P.C., et al., No. 19-0953, Texas Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Oct. 22 sued two federal agencies in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia contending that their failure to provide records of their decisions to approve offshore hydraulic fracturing operations in the Gulf of Mexico violates the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (Center for Biological Diversity v. Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement, et al., No. 19-3154, D. D.C.).