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.).
TRENTON, N.J. — Asbestos claimant representatives in the Chapter 11 case of sheet metal accessory and equipment company Duro Dyne National Corp. asked a New Jersey federal bankruptcy court on Oct. 4 for relief from the automatic stay so terminally ill asbestos disease sufferers can be deposed before they die (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. on Oct. 20 filed a brief in New York federal court contending that Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against the company in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, is “stonewalling” in post-judgment discovery and the court should reject objections to the company’s subpoenas served on a third-party witness who has information relevant to Donziger’s assets and his violations of the court’s previous injunction (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal magistrate judge concluded that Amazon.com Inc. is not entitled to compel arbitration from a putative class of minors suing it for unauthorized voice recording, issuing a report and recommendation to that effect on Oct. 21, simultaneously issuing an order granting the plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery responses and chiding the online retailer for not complying with previous discovery rulings (B.F. v. Amazon.com Inc., et al., No. 2:19-cv-00910, W.D. Wash.).
BALTIMORE — A trial court erred in dismissing a widow’s asbestos action based on incomplete discovery responses, and nothing in the judge’s discovery order required her to attempt to locate and produce fact witnesses for depositions, a Maryland court held Oct. 4 (Carole Colvin, et al. v. Eaton Corp., et al., No. 2103 September Term 2016, Md. Spec. App.).
TACOMA, Wash. — After an asbestos plaintiff sought sanctions for an automobile parts company’s alleged lack of compliance with federal court-ordered discovery, the company fired back Oct. 16, explaining its limited documentary evidence and portraying reliance on employee memory as a good-faith effort at a response (Eric Klopman-Baerselman, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5536, W.D. Wash.).
NEW YORK — While they have not fully established jurisdiction, asbestos plaintiffs are far enough down that road to warrant further discovery, and the defendant has not eliminated the possibility that its products led to the man’s mesothelioma, a New York appeals court held Oct. 15 (Russell Leavitt and Joyce Leavitt v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 9959 190240/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7392).
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal magistrate judge in California on Oct. 3 denied in part and granted in part a recycling company insured’s motion to compel in its breach of contract, bad faith and fraud lawsuit seeking crime insurance coverage for its alleged $5 million in losses caused by employee theft (rePlanet Holdings, Inc. v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 19-00133, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173206).
BOSTON — A group of reinsurers argue in an Oct. 10 opposition brief that a Massachusetts federal court should deny an insurer’s motion to compel production of documents and interrogatory responses relating to their allocation and billing of their 2009 settlement with an insured in a separate matter because that issue has already been decided and denied (Certain London Market Company Reinsurers v. Lamorak Insurance Co., No. 18-10534, D. Mass.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 15 declined to review a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a New Jersey federal judge did not abuse his discretion in disallowing discovery in a protracted legal dispute between a health benefit plan and one of its participants (Bernard McLaughlin v. National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, No. 19-190, U.S. Sup.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation related to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Oct. 8 filed a brief in Ohio federal court contending that the deposition of one particular witness should be stricken because E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. acted in bad faith and violated two district court orders (In re: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
SAN FRANCISCO — A subpoena requiring Twitter Inc. to identify an anonymous user who is the defendant in a Japanese defamation lawsuit survived the social network’s motion to quash on Oct. 7, when a California federal magistrate judge found that the plaintiff in that suit sufficiently established that the subpoena did not violate the right to anonymous speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In re Ex Parte Application of Dr. Yuichiro Yasuda, et al., No. 3:19-mc-80127, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174001).
DALLAS — A Texas federal magistrate judge on Sept. 30 granted a motion filed by Ukraine’s national oil and gas company to serve a subpoena on the auditor of an oil and gas reserves company after determining that the discovery is relevant as it is sought in connection with possible judicial proceedings to enforce an arbitration award (In re: Application of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, No. 18-92, N.D. Texas).
ERIE, Pa. — On Oct. 4, a Wyoming couple who sued a rent-to-own (RTO) franchisor and franchisee over the installation of spyware on their laptop jointly filed a brief with the franchisor, with whom they recently settled their claims, opposing the franchisee’s motion to compel production of the confidential settlement agreement, asserting that a settlement is irrelevant to any remaining claims and defenses in the case (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron’s Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 7 found that Title 28 U.S. Code Section 1782 does not contain a per se bar to extraterritorial discovery, affirming a trial court’s grant of an application for discovery of documents for use in foreign proceedings from a U.S. firm that is not a party to the foreign proceedings (In Re: Application of Antonio del Valle Ruiz and Others for an Order to Take Discovery for Use in Foreign Proceedings Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782, Nos. 18-3226, 18-3474 and 18-3629, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 30002).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 declined to review a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling upholding the issuance of a punitive sua sponte terminating sanctions order (TSO) in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit (Loop AI Labs Inc., et al. v. Anna Gatti, et al., No. 19-59, U.S. Sup.).
BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal magistrate judge on Oct. 3 issued mixed discovery rulings for two retirees and their union’s benefit plan in a dispute over suspended pension benefits, granting in part and denying in part their respective motions to compel and for a protective order related to documents and interrogatories of similarly situated plan participants (Michael Chavis, et al. v. Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 486 Pension Plan, et al., No. 1:17-cv-02729, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171742).
GREENBELT, Md. — Marriott International Inc. filed a reply brief Sept. 27 supporting its motion to dismiss a Louisiana bank’s complaint, which is part of a multidistrict litigation over a data breach the hotel chain announced a year ago, telling a Maryland federal court that the bank’s negligence claims are precluded under the economic loss doctrine and arguing that recently submitted documents cast doubt upon the bank’s standing, thus necessitating discovery on the matter (In re: Marriott International Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 8:19-md-02879, D. Md.).