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.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — After a senior living chain claimed that an attorney representing the plaintiffs suing it for fraud in a putative class action had violated a discovery protective order, the attorney filed a declaration in California on March 2, asserting that she had not engaged in any such violations (Audrey Heredia, et al. v. Sunrise Senior Living LLC, et al., No. 8:18-cv-01974, C.D. Calif.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The defendant in a dispute over the ownership of billions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin assets must produce 11,000 documents that he has withheld from discovery, a Florida federal magistrate judge ruled March 9, overruling the defendant’s objections under the marital and attorney-client privileges (Ira Kleiman, et al. v. Craig Wright, No. 9:18-cv-80176, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40195).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — One week after Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. granted an application by a group of pharmaceutical firms to stay a portion of a trial court’s discovery order in a multidistrict price-fixing litigation, the full U.S. Supreme Court on March 6 denied the application and vacated the justice’s order, allowing discovery to continue despite the drug companies’ assertion that the discovery order improperly requires them to produce materials before they have the opportunity to object on the basis of relevance or responsiveness in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) (Actavis Holdco Inc., et al. v. Connecticut, et al., No. 19-1010, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. LEXIS 1515).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A request by the plaintiffs in a bitcoin ownership dispute to serve a letter rogatory on a nonparty British blockchain company “is untimely and prejudicial,” the defendant bitcoin mogul tells a Florida federal court in a March 6 opposition brief, noting that the discovery cutoff date is “a mere month and a half away” (Ira Kleiman, et al. v. Craig Wright, No. 9:18-cv-80176, S.D. Fla.).
TAMPA, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on March 3 denied an employer’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that former employees lost their medical benefits due to insufficient Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) notice in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and permitted discovery on the two named plaintiffs’ claims to proceed but denied class discovery, writing that “[c]lass issues will be addressed on a later schedule” (Milton Robles, et al. v. Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, No. 19-2713, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36385).
GREENBELT, Md. — A John Doe defendant who is accused of sharing copyrighted adult films online cannot escape a subpoena that will provide his identity to the plaintiff movie studio, a Maryland federal judge ruled Feb. 25, finding no expectation of privacy in the requested information and denying the plaintiff’s motion to quash the subpoena (Strike 3 Holdings LLC v. John Doe, No. 3:19-cv-00396, D. Md.).
TOPEKA, Kan. — A federal magistrate judge in Kansas on Feb. 28 granted a disability claimant’s motion for discovery to determine whether her insurer’s dual role as plan administrator and payer affected its decision to deny her long-term disability (LTD) benefits, finding that the claimant met her burden to prove that limited discovery on the issue is appropriate (Jodie L. Bribiesca v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, No. 19-1339, D. Kan., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34929).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a Feb. 11 joint discovery letter brief, a former National Football League (NFL) player and an NFL benefits plan argue over whether the player is entitled to conduct discovery from physicians used by the plan to determine whether the doctors had a financial incentive to recommend denial of disability benefits (Charles Dimry v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, et al., No. 3:19-cv-05360, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — A widow is entitled to jurisdictional discovery into whether a French company’s contacts with New York give the state jurisdiction over her asbestos case, a federal judge held March 3 (Elodie Paroni, et al. V. Alstom SA, et al., No. 19-1034, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36610).
SAN FRANCISCO — The identity of an anonymous Jehovah’s Witness user of Reddit Inc. can remain unknown, a California federal judge ruled March 2, finding that his posting of two purportedly copyrighted items constituted fair use in the form of criticism and commentary, leading the judge to grant the user’s motion to quash a subpoena to identify him for the purpose of pursuing copyright infringement claims (In re DMCA Subpoena to Reddit Inc., No. 3:19-mc-80005, N.D. Calif.).
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota federal magistrate judge on Feb. 28 sanctioned Boston Scientific Corp. for prejudicing and harming a whistleblower by not disclosing relevant witnesses in a heart defibrillator case until the last day of discovery (United States, ex rel. Steven Higgins v. Boston Scientific Corporation, No. 11-2453, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34459).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on Feb. 20 granted an insured’s motion for a protective order in a declaratory judgment action brought against it by two insurance companies, holding that the insured’s motion for summary judgment based on the bad faith of the insurers, as well as their lack of standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, can be decided without additional discovery (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al. v. H.D. Fowler Co., et al., No. C19-1050-JCC, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29306).
CHICAGO — A federal magistrate judge in Illinois on Feb. 28 ruled that defendants in a breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit brought by a stored energy solutions provider are entitled to limited monetary sanctions covering half of the reasonable attorney fees incurred by the defendants as a result of the plaintiff’s failure to properly collect documents and its issuance of misleading responses to other discovery requests (LiiON LLC v. Vertiv Group Corp., et al., No. 18-6133, N.D. Ill.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Feb. 28, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. granted an application by a group of pharmaceutical firm defendants to stay a portion of a trial court’s discovery order in a multidistrict price-fixing litigation to allow for the U.S. Supreme Court’s resolution of the firms’ petition for certiorari, in which they argue that the order improperly requires them to produce materials before they have the opportunity to object on the basis of relevance or responsiveness in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) (Actavis Holdco Inc., et al. v. Connecticut, et al., No. 19-1010, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. LEXIS 1369).
NEWARK, N.J. — Allergan Inc. on Feb. 28 asked the Biocell breast implant multidistrict litigation court to prohibit plaintiffs from filing anonymous pleadings under names such as “Jane Doe” and initials (In Re: Allergen Biocell Textures Breast Implant Product Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2921, No. 19-mn-2921, D. N.J.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In respective case management statements filed in California federal court on Feb. 27, Facebook Inc. and a putative class suing it over the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing incident blame each other for delays in the discovery process, arguing about such matters as search terms, depositions and the appropriate number of custodians (In re Facebook Inc., Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, No. 3:18-md-02843, N.D. Calif.).
PHOENIX — A federal judge in Arizona on Feb. 25 denied a disability claimant’s request for discovery to supplement the administrative record in her suit alleging that her claim for long-term disability (LTD) was wrongfully denied, finding that she failed to demonstrate that the insurer’s alleged structural conflict of interest demands additional discovery or that information she sought about its medical reviewers’ alleged conflicts would be necessary for the court to conduct a de novo review (Leslie DeMarco v. Life Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. CV-19-02385, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31723).
LAS VEGAS — More than a year after it was granted an injunction in a long-running software copyright dispute with Rimini Street Inc., Oracle USA Inc. filed an objection to a Nevada federal magistrate judge’s discovery ruling on Feb. 12, asserting that the defendant is using the attorney-client privilege to shield continued infringement (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Feb. 7, Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. filed a petition for certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether subpoenas requiring the disclosure of users’ nonpublic social media account contents, which they say violate the Stored Communications Act (SCA), are constitutionally permissible (Facebook Inc., et al. v. The Superior Court of San Francisco County, et al., No. 19-1006, U.S. Sup.).