MISSOULA, Mont. — A railway’s subpoena to a third-party law firm seeks evidence previously produced by a party to the False Claims Act lawsuit, and the 10-day deadline for producing more than a decade worth of communications constitutes an undue burden, a federal judge in Montana said in quashing the subpoena May 6 and imposing sanctions on the railway.
NEWARK, N.J. — A company that sued Duracell U.S. Operations Inc. for trademark infringement related to its “Optimum” batteries failed to show that Duracell’s sales projections are relevant to its claims or to an award, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge held May 6 in a ruling that resolved several ongoing discovery matters between the parties.
NEW YORK — The ability to submit interrogatories resolves a defendant’s concerns about not being able to question a plaintiff after her truncated deposition, and having asked the court to exclude the testimony, that defendant cannot now complain that the court lacked the authority to make such a ruling, a New York justice held April 7.
NEW YORK — Interrogatories represent a feasible alternative to continuing the deposition of an 84-year-old woman whose anxiety forced her to prematurely end her testimony, a New York justice said in denying a motion to reargue on April 7.
DALLAS — A Texas appeals court on April 26 affirmed a trial court judgment granting probate, denying an attorney ad litem’s motion for sanctions and determining that $1,600 was reasonable attorney fees in an heirship determination, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion because the attorney ad litem did not meet the burden of showing her right to relief in seeking sanctions and the “lodestar calculation” of the hours spent investigating unknown heirs “could have been $1000” instead of the $1,600 awarded.
TRENTON, N.J. — Two Johnson & Johnson entities have not shown that the private communications between the news media and attorneys or their asbestos expert is sufficiently relevant to securities litigation against the company over representations about its talc as to be discoverable, a federal magistrate judge in New Jersey said April 29 in quashing subpoenas.
MISSOULA, Mont. — The United States on April 21 told a judge that federal law protects private Medicare and Social Security information and argued that the information would become relevant to a railway’s case against a Libby, Mont., asbestos screening company only in the event that the court awarded damages. But in an April 28 reply in support of its second motion to compel, the railway said any privacy issues can be remedied by subjecting the relevant evidence to an existing protective order.
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on April 11 substantially denied a motion to quash five subpoenas served on banks that held accounts with defendants alleged to have taken part in a fraudulent billing scheme for no-fault insurance claims with Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) and three of its related entities, ruling that the information sought in the subpoenas is both “relevant and discoverable.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its May 2 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a petitioner law firm’s motion to maintain the seal on its April 1 petition for certiorari, which pertains to the application of the attorney-client privilege to dual-purpose documents, and to offer a redacted version of the petition for the public record.
NEW YORK — A New York federal magistrate judge on May 3 ordered a United Arab Emirates (UAE) company to pay attorney fees and expenses incurred due to its failure to comply with subpoenas to enforce an arbitration award against it worth more than $95 million for an aircraft lease dispute, but declined to hold it in contempt or order fines of $1,000 a day against the company or the individuals who control it.
CHICAGO — A federal magistrate judge in Illinois in an April 29 docket entry denied as moot a general contractor’s motion for sanctions against a subcontractor’s insurers after receiving notice that day that the parties had settled the issue. The contractor filed the motion for sanctions April 11, less than two weeks after the judge presiding over the case overruled the insurers’ objections to the magistrate judge’s ruling partially granting the contractor’s request to compel production of various documents.
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina federal judge on March 24 granted an insurer’s motion for reconsideration in a dispute over coverage for an underlying chemical exposure suit and reopened discovery to allow the insurer to obtain information on coverage issues raised in a declaration submitted by the insured’s former in-house counsel.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of petitioners who had their documents and files seized in an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation filed a petition for certiorari on April 18 asking the U.S. Supreme Court to provide guidance on whether the practice of using government filter teams to decide the privilege status of seized documents violates the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine.
JACKSON, Miss. — A federal magistrate judge on April 7 declined to award sanctions for an asbestos screener’s failure to timely produce documents in his suit against an asbestos bankruptcy trust auditor, saying that while the reasons for delay were not compelling, there was no real prejudice.
INDIANAPOLIS — A borrower’s motion to compel a mortgage loan servicer to provide certain discovery responses sought in a lawsuit alleging that the loan servicer and a mortgage lender violated state and federal lending laws by seeking to foreclose on the borrower’s home even though she had made all necessary loan payments should be dismissed because the borrower’s arguments are meritless and “ignore the simple fact that she has received full responses to the disputed interrogatories,” the loan servicer argues in an April 19 opposition brief filed in Indiana federal court.
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on April 27 denied Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk’s 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, ruling that Musk’s challenge of the subpoena may come in response only to a contested subpoena enforcement proceeding brought by the SEC, which has not occurred.
PHOENIX — The lead plaintiff in a securities class action against a zero-emissions automobile manufacturer and others stemming from the defendants’ alleged misrepresentation of the financial health and prospects of the company will not be unduly prejudiced if a Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) discovery stay is not lifted because the lead plaintiff has failed to show that it will not be able to obtain the information it seeks within due time, a federal judge in Arizona ruled April 21 in denying the lead plaintiff’s motion.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Cleaver-Brooks Inc.’s repeated discovery violations permeated an asbestos case and resulted in a midnight disclosure of a typographical error that changed the case, and to the extent that it claims to still not know what it did wrong, it is simply ignoring the extensive record created by two courts, plaintiffs told the South Carolina Supreme Court April 26 in defending a $300,000 sanction.
DENVER — A magistrate judge did not error when he determined that a discovery request by pilots in their pregnancy discrimination putative class complaint was overly broad and narrowed it largely in the way requested by the employer, Frontier Airlines Inc., a federal judge in Colorado ruled April 26.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to a directive from a District of Columbia federal judge, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 19 filed a notice of rulings in 15 federal lawsuits that the government says support its position that Google LLC should be sanctioned for an in-house practice of intentionally mislabeling documents as privileged in an attempt to evade its duty to produce them in discovery in the present antitrust lawsuit.