BOSTON — Overturning two lower courts’ rulings, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on March 24 found that some of the data sought by the state’s attorney general (AG) in an investigation of Facebook Inc.’s data security practices is protected by the attorney-client privilege or the work product doctrine, remanding the case for a determination of which documents qualify for either privilege.
WINCHESTER, Tenn. — A federal magistrate judge in Tennessee on March 16 granted a joint motion for a protective order filed by a homeowners insurer and insureds, defining what constitutes confidential information in the insureds’ breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from their tornado property damage.
NEW YORK — Nondisclosure orders forbidding Microsoft Corp. from informing a client, or a representative thereof, about a warrant that compelled contents of its email accounts do not violate Microsoft’s free speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. government argues in a March 19 brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asserting that the orders are narrowly tailored to protect an ongoing criminal investigation.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 22 said it will review a dispute over whether the federal statute governing judicial assistance in discovery for foreign and international tribunals applies to private commercial arbitral tribunals, the subject of a 3-2 circuit split.
GREENBELT, Md. — Objecting to a special master’s recommendation that Marriott International Inc. be permitted to engage in a limited forensic examination of their electronic devices, the plaintiffs in a consolidated privacy class action over the hotel chain’s 2018 data breach on March 17 asked a Maryland federal court to deny that discovery request, which they contend would violate their privacy rights more than the original data breach.
ATLANTA — A Georgia appeals panel on March 16 vacated a ruling entering default against a now out-of-business subcontractor that allegedly installed a retaining wall that collapsed at a Home Depot U.S.A. Inc. as a discovery sanction for failing to disclose that it had a $5 million umbrella insurance policy, finding that the punishment was not warranted because there was no evidence of willfulness.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on March 4 entered docket orders in favor of Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC on two procedures for estimating the company’s asbestos liability and against the Official Committee of Asbestos Claimants, which had sought approval of four different estimation procedures.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska federal judge on March 15 bifurcated an insured’s bad faith claim from the insured’s coverage claim in a dispute over coverage owed under an auto policy after determining that separate trials are warranted on the claims; however, the judge refused to stay discovery on the bad faith claim until after the underinsured motorist claim is resolved.
ATLANTA — A federal judge in Georgia on March 15 refused to dismiss an insurer’s lawsuit seeking to rescind a liability insurance policy and a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnity the owner, operator and franchisors of a Marietta, Ga., hotel against underlying sex trafficking claims but stayed discovery to see how prosecution of the underlying action proceeds.
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 12 granted a motion to strike a request from Aetna Inc. and its affiliates for $102.7 million in damages stemming from the submission by medical billing companies for allegedly inflated claims for services provided by a physicians group for services provided at hospitals, finding that the insurers failed to disclose during fact discovery that such damages were being sought.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Indiana federal judge overseeing the Biomet M2a Magnum metal-on-metal hip multidistrict litigation on March 11 ordered the plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel to pay fees and costs incurred by defendant Biomet Inc. in bringing a motion for sanctions for violating the court’s order on common discovery as it applied to two plaintiff cases.
CHICAGO — A motion seeking reconsideration of a ruling denying genetic testing of a woman suffering from mesothelioma allegedly caused by asbestos in talc was denied by an Illinois judge on March 12 during a hearing, sources told Mealey Publications.
NEW YORK — A New York federal magistrate judge on March 12 quashed subpoenas issued to Google LLC for a United Arab Emirates joint stock company’s online records to aid in the enforcement of an arbitral award worth more than $51 million because the subpoenas were issued by a nonparty entity before its substitution as plaintiff in the litigation.
NEW ORLEANS — A case involving a NASA engineer’s alleged asbestos exposures belonged in federal court, did not involve prejudicial discovery violations and cannot escape Louisiana’s workers’ compensation exclusivity provision, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said March 9 in withdrawing a previous opinion and affirming a lower court.
WILKES BARRE, Pa. — Granting in part a motion to compel discovery of their insurer’s unredacted claim file by a Pennsylvania couple whose home was destroyed in a fire, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on March 5 found that certain information about insurance reserves and some communications with counsel were not privileged.
DENVER — A Colorado federal magistrate judge on March 8 issued a supplemental stipulated protective order allowing the plaintiff record labels in a copyright infringement suit against an internet service provider (ISP) to conduct their review of Charter Communications Inc.’s computer source code remotely due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEW YORK — A couple is entitled to jurisdictional discovery to determine how a California company’s asbestos-containing doors came to be used in a New York theater renovation, a New York justice said March 1 in denying dismissal on jurisdictional grounds.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Although counsel for two app developers suing Apple Inc. for antitrust violations recited confidential materials in open court, a California federal magistrate judge on March 4 held that because the information had been made public otherwise, the attorney did not actually violate a protective order, leading the magistrate to admonish the attorney but otherwise deny Apple’s motion for sanctions.
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Adopting a magistrate’s report and recommendation, a New York federal judge on Feb. 19 found that Verizon Communications Inc. was entitled to conduct discovery related to an equitable relief claim brought against it in a life insurance benefits dispute under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, finding that the defendant did not have a chance that to pursue discovery prior to a previous dismissal ruling.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Draft biological opinions prepared by two government agencies in response to proposed rulemaking by the Environmental Protection Agency constituted predecisional and deliberative documents and, as such, were exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a U.S. Supreme Court majority held March 4, reversing a ruling by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.