TRENTON, N.J. — A magistrate judge did not err in refusing to allow additional discovery in a disability benefits dispute because the magistrate judge’s order was not clearly erroneous or contrary to law, a New Jersey federal judge said March 30 (Kevin McCann, M.D. v. Unum Provident, et al., No. 11-3241, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55106).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 24 reversed summary judgment that denied access to Food and Drug Administration records about ZMapp, an experimental drug to treat the Ebola virus (Goldwater Institute v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 19-15615, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9126).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In a breach of contract and bad faith dispute, a West Virginia federal magistrate judge on March 25 compelled an insurer to produce reinsurance reports in its claim files regarding a fire loss to insureds’ car dealership (Mid-State Automotive, Inc., et al. v. Harco National Insurance Co., No. 19-407, S.D. W.Va., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51727).
PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon federal magistrate judge on March 23 granted a motion by a group of former Nike Inc. employees to compel the sporting goods giant to produce employee names and identifying information associated with certain documents that it has already provided in discovery in a sex bias suit against it, with the magistrate finding that a prior ruling and a protective order will guard the employees’ privacy interests (Kelly Cahill, et al. v. Nike, Inc., No. 3:18-cv-01477, D. Ore., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49838).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Granting in part a nursing home’s petition for certiorari of two discovery orders in a wrongful death lawsuit, a Florida appeals panel on March 24 found that an order requiring the production of certain patient records violated privacy protections of Florida laws and the state’s constitution, also holding that the requested information was not likely to lead to admissible evidence (Saints 120 LLC v. Michaele M. Moore, No. 1D19-973, Fla. App. 1st Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 3811).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida federal bankruptcy judge on March 17 overruled an objection to a subpoena of bank accounts because the information sought relates only to an insolvent insurer’s fraudulent transfer claims that had been dismissed (In re: British American Insurance Company Ltd., Chapter 15, Nos. 09-31881 and 09-35888, British American Insurance Company Ltd. v. Robert Fullerton, et al., No. 11-03118, S.D. Fla. Bkcy.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three years after initially ruling in favor of the FBI in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the Associated Press (AP), a District of Columbia federal judge on March 20 again granted summary judgment to the bureau in a post-reversal and remand ruling, finding that the FBI properly withheld documents from four FOIA requests under the deliberative process privilege and other exemptions (The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, et al., No. 1:15-cv-01392 and 1:18-cv-00345, D. D.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48925).
MIAMI — A pineapple company does need to provide evidence of its sales or actual damages in a dispute over a pineapple seed agreement as it is not arguing that it lost sales as a result of the pineapple grower’s alleged breach of the agreement, a federal magistrate judge in Florida wrote in an order issued March 10, denying a motion to compel discovery and a motion to compel production of actual damages (Inversiones y Procesadora Tropical INPROTSA, S.A. v. Del Monte International GmbH, No. 16-24275, S.D. Fla.).
By Lisa Houssiere and Cecilia Ibarra-van Oostenrijk
RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 13 granted a petition for mandamus by a contractor with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), vacating portions of three trial court discovery orders that required it to disclose privileged information related to an internal investigation of a terminated employee (In re: Fluor Intercontinental Inc., et al., No. 20-1241, 4th Cir.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina federal judge on March 16 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to compel the deposition of an insured after determining that the insurer’s request is relevant to the water and mold damage coverage dispute (Steven Nielsen, et al. v. United Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 18-2310, D. S.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45097).
TAMPA, Fla. — The day after a putative class of content moderators moved in Florida federal court for discovery of settlement details in a similar unsafe workplace suit against Facebook Inc., the social network on March 16 filed a notice confirming a proposed settlement in the other case in which moderators purportedly experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from viewing violent and disturbing content, while expressing reluctance to reveal nonfinalized details prior to the filing of a pending preliminary approval motion (Debrynna Garrett, et al. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 8:20-cv-00585, M.D. Fla.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Granting a dating website operator’s motion to compel, a California federal magistrate judge on March 11 found that a Cyprus-based defendant that allegedly engaged in trademark infringement did not provide sufficient declarations and explanation in its responses to discovery requests related to establishing U.S. jurisdiction over the purported competing “sugar daddy” site operator (Reflex Media Inc., et al. v. Apiriliaco Ltd., et al., No. 8:16-cv-00795, C.D. Calif.).
LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida appeals panel on March 13 held that a lower court “departed from the essential requirements of the law” when it ordered a homeowners insurer to produce its investigator’s photographs that were taken during a home inspection related to the insureds’ hurricane water damage claim, quashing the portion of the lower court’s order related to the production of the photographs and remanding with instructions to allow the insurer to file a privilege log within a reasonable time (Avatar Property & Casualty Insurance Company v. Lee Jones, et al., No. 2D19-243, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 3361).
NEW YORK — In a complaint filed March 12 in New York federal court, the American Civil Liberties Union seeks to compel the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other government agencies to respond to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information about the government’s use of facial recognition technology at airports and borders (American Civil Liberties Union, et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al., No. 1:20-cv-02213, S.D. N.Y.).
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal magistrate judge correctly found that certain technical documents that it declined to produce in post-injunction discovery to Oracle USA Inc. were protected by attorney-client privilege, Rimini Street Inc. says in a Feb. 26 brief, arguing that the communications with its counsel were for the purpose of ensuring that it did not violate the injunction in the decade-old software copyright infringement suit (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).
DALLAS — Two months after he granted a plaintiff health care provider’s motion to compel certain communications between an insurer and an insurance plan in a dispute over benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a Texas federal judge on March 10 denied the insurer’s motion to reconsider his finding that the fiduciary exception prevented the insurer from invoking the attorney-client privilege against the plaintiff, as the plan beneficiaries’ assignee, related to plan administration documents (Advanced Physicians S.C. v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 3:16-cv-02355, N.D. Texas).
SEATTLE — The Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America must provide documents being sought in discovery related to its members on whose behalf it is suing or face being dismissed as a plaintiff from the lawsuit challenging the city of Seattle’s ordinance concerning the unionizing of taxi and ride-share drivers, a federal judge in Washington ruled March 10 (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Seattle, et al., No. 17-370, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41389).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Some of the defendants in the litigation pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on March 9 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that the objections of state and city employees who seek a protective order to prevent production of certain materials obtained through investigative subpoenas are “baseless” (In re Flint Water Cases, No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A Delaware judge on March 9 approved a couple’s request for an inspection of a chicken processing plant which they say has contaminated the local groundwater with wastewater, as discovery continues in the case (Gary and Anna-Marie Cuppels, et al. v. Mountaire Corporation, et al., No. S18C-06-009 ESB, Del. Super., Sussex Co.).