CHICAGO — In a July 6 ruling against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a dispute over a proposed protective order in which the parties agreed on all but one paragraph about providing documents to other government agencies, a federal magistrate judge in Illinois said in part that the order cannot grant use immunity and will not inhibit criminal or civil investigations.
BOISE, Idaho — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an environmental group on July 6 filed a joint stipulation for an extension of time to file a litigation and discovery plan following a ruling by an Idaho federal judge granting the group’s motion to compel additional discovery to determine if the Corps failed to consider all information when it issued a verification letter stating that a highway project that would require the discharge of fill material into navigable waterways could proceed without an application for individual permits.
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on June 29 held that a magistrate judge erred in denying portions of excess health care professional liability insurer’s motion to compel in its declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for underlying sexual misconduct claims against one of the University of Southern California’s doctors, ordering the university’s insurance broker to produce the settlement agreement reached between the broker and the university.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 28 said a Wisconsin federal judge erred in sanctioning an attorney for violating the terms of a protective order in a patent case.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A trial court did not err in granting a homeowners insurer’s motion for sanctions in a breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of coverage for damages caused by a wildfire because the insureds intentionally destroyed evidence despite having knowledge of a scheduled inspection by the insurer, the Third District California Court of Appeal said June 27.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A company seeking to compel Twitter Inc. to provide identifying information about an anonymous social network user failed to demonstrate that the user’s posting of six copyrighted photos as part of an apparent societal commentary did not constitute fair use, a California federal judge ruled June 21, concluding that the movant did not establish a prima facie case of copyright infringement sufficient to outweigh the Twitter user’s right to speak anonymously under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
FRESNO, Calif. — In a June 23 order partly granting a motion to compel discovery in a putative class case over allegations that a life insurer violated provisions of the California Insurance Code, a California federal magistrate judge ruled in part that a request for communications that the insurer provided to employees, policy holders and reinsurers regarding a California Supreme Court decision “is not proportional to the needs of this case.”
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A class representative in a lawsuit alleging that an insurer overhyped the quality of its out-of-network benefits should have realized that his participation would require responding to discovery, a federal judge in Pennsylvania said June 27 in granting the member’s motion to withdraw on the condition that he appear at a deposition in the case.
BOSTON — A federal district court erred in part in denying a motion filed by homeowners in a foreclosure dispute to defer adjudication of a motion for summary judgment to provide the homeowners with an opportunity to conduct limited discovery, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 17 in affirming in part, reversing in part and remanding.
BEAUMONT, Texas — A Texas appellate panel on June 9 ruled that a trial court judge abused his discretion and a writ of mandamus will be issued if the judge does not vacate an order granting “death sentence” sanctions against two real estate developers after homebuyers argued that the developers abused the discovery process during a construction defects case.
CINCINNATI — A former emergency manager for the city of Flint, Mich., on June 9 filed a brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that it should not dispense with oral argument in his appeal of a lower court’s denial of his motion to quash a subpoena in a trial regarding the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint because “the rights of too many individuals and a significant issue of law are at stake.”
NEW YORK — Tesla CEO Elon Musk on June 15 appealed a federal judge in New York’s denial of his motion to quash certain portions of a Securities and Exchange Commission subpoena seeking tweets he posted regarding his potential sale of a large portion of his company stock.
CHIGAGO — Parties in a suit over an administrative subpoena by the secretary of Labor have largely agreed on a proposed confidentiality order but disagree on one paragraph pertaining to the secretary providing documents to other government agencies, they told an Illinois federal court in filings dated May 27, June 13 and June 27 .
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In separate June 6 paperless orders in three cases stemming from a single U.S. petition to enforce Internal Revenue Service summonses issued as part of a tax liability examination related to captive insurance companies, a federal judge in Florida denied the defendants’ unopposed motions to continue the briefing schedule and a hearing set for July 8.
BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana federal magistrate judge on June 13 denied a motion to compel responses to discovery filed by the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA), the statutory obliger for an insolvent insurer in an asbestos exposure suit filed against the insurer, finding that plaintiffs lack the information requested and that LIGA’s settlement-related request is “premature.”
NEW YORK — In three orders issued June 14, a New York federal bankruptcy judge authorized the joint provisional liquidators (JPLs) of Bermuda insurer and reinsurer PB Life and Annuity Co. Ltd. (PBLA) and other debtors to issue subpoenas directing production of documents to dozens of entities and individuals including debtor investment counterparties and certain non-insider third parties — of which the latter includes Google LLC.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Appealing a trial court’s issuing of a subpoena to identify her in an underlying defamation lawsuit and asserting her right to speak anonymously online, a Jane Doe defendant filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on June 7, asking the court to provide a nationwide standard for compelling Does’ identities instead of the existing “patchwork of standards of review among federal courts.”
NEW YORK — A disability claimant is not entitled to seek discovery beyond the administrative record because the claimant failed to provide any support for the allegation that the disability insurer operated under a financial conflict of interest that influenced the denial of her claim for long-term disability benefits, a New York federal magistrate judge said June 10.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Counsel for a class of individuals allegedly deceived by the marketing about the extent of a health insurance plan’s out-of-network coverage must produce class members and potential class members, but communications between those individuals and lawyers are protected, a federal judge in Pennsylvania said June 3.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Resolving a circuit split, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 13 in two consolidated cases reversed two courts and ruled that district court assistance with discovery is not available to private commercial arbitrations or ad hoc international arbitral tribunals, holding that the statute applies only to foreign tribunals imbued with governmental authority.