POCATELLO, Idaho — An insurer must turn over reserve information and its reinsurance policies in an insured’s bad faith case concerning coverage for damages sustained by a fire at a potato processing facility, an Idaho federal judge ruled April 22; however, communications between the insurer and its reinsurer are not discoverable (Idahoan Foods, LLC v. Allied World Assurance Company [U.S.], Inc., No. 18-273, D. Idaho, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71243).
NEW YORK — Legal fallout from the novel coronavirus continues, with a couple on April 24 in a New York asbestos case saying a defendant is using the pandemic in furtherance of its “dilatory strategy,” and a second defendant urging an extension of discovery, saying its witness and his wife remain quarantined and cannot appear (Raymond and Diane Stecher v. Aerco International Inc., et al., No. 19-8029, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO — On April 13, two weeks after a two-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied an emergency motion to stay discovery filed by California entities accused of receiving assets for a business currently involved in a Chinese arbitration proceeding and trial, a trial court denied a request by those entities to reconsider its April 2 sanctions order (In re: Application of HRC-Hainan Holding Company, LLC, et al., No. 20-15371, 9th Cir., HRC-Hainan Holding Company, LLC, et al. v. Yihan Hu, et al., No. 19-mc-80277, N.D. Calif.).
DENVER — Finding that the Drug Enforcement Administration sufficiently established that several years’ worth of patient prescription data it seeks via subpoenas has a reasonable relevance to an investigation over the distribution of controlled substances, a Colorado federal judge on April 21 granted the agency’s request to enforce compliance with the subpoenas by the Colorado Board of Pharmacy, which raised privacy concerns (U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration v. Colorado Board of Pharmacy, et al., No. 1:19-cv-00105, D. Colo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69726).
CLEVELAND — In response to a motion by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for a clarification of discovery on remand of two West Virginia cases, the Ohio federal judge overseeing the opioid multidistrict litigation on April 17 said he believed that only “limited, jurisdiction-specific discovery” should be necessary (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL Docket No. 17-md-2804, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 16 said she denied a motion in February to compel discovery in an 18-year-old false claims lawsuit, saying defendant Sanofi U.S. Services Inc. (also known as Sanofi Aventis) misrepresented that it was not aware until the day before discovery closed that materiality was an important consideration in the case (United States ex rel. Yoash Gohil v. Sanofi U.S. Services Inc., et al., No. 02-2964, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66869).
LONDON — A court had jurisdiction to order deposition of a nonparty to a foreign-seated arbitration over settlements in relation to the sale of a central Asian oil field, an English high court held March 19 (A and B v. C, D and E, No. A4/2020/0333, High Court of Justice, QBD).
PHILADELPHIA — In a “narrow” precedential opinion, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 16 affirmed the dismissal of a Pennsylvania State University employee’s Stored Communications Act (SCA) lawsuit over the production of her emails to law enforcement without a valid subpoena, clarifying that if the university’s production had been induced, rather than voluntary, there may have been liability under the statute (Carol Lee Walker v. Senior Deputy Brian T. Coffey, et al., No. 19-1067, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 12063).
NEW YORK — A Spanish company seeking to enforce a $2.01 billion arbitral award against Egypt that was registered in an English court can issue subpoenas in aid of the foreign proceeding against a New York-based clearing agency that allegedly has records of Egyptian assets, a federal judge in New York ordered April 13 (Unión Fenosa Gas SA v. The Depository Trust Company, No. 20-188, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge on April 14 determined that a former National Football League player is entitled to information on the amount paid to physicians who reviewed the NFL player’s medical records and recommended denying the player’s claim for disability benefits because the information is relevant to the player’s claim (Charles Dimry v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, et al., No. 3:19-cv-05360, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65447).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A disability claimant is not entitled to information from a third-party vendor used by a disability insurer to review the claimant’s medical file because the claimant failed to provide any evidence showing that a conflict of interest existed between the insurer and vendor, an Indiana federal judge said April 14 (Donald Fessenden v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-370, N.D. Ind., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65103).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A man convicted of a 2013 murder filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on April 9, arguing that a petition for certiorari by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. that asks whether the Stored Communications Act (SCA) permits disclosure of users’ private social media posts should be denied in light of subsequent lower court developments in the social networks’ favor, which rendered the petition moot (Facebook Inc., et al. v. The Superior Court of San Francisco County, et al., No. 19-1006, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on April 8 ordered defendants in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit to turn over access to certain devices and accounts belonging to a former executive officer of a custom label printing company that the former executive stated he used to copy the company’s trade secrets before resigning and accepting a job at an industry competitor (Lux Global Label Co. LLC v. James H. Shacklett IV, et al., No. 18-5061, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62200).
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A couple that is suing a chicken processing plant operated by Mountaire Corp. for allegedly contaminating the local groundwater with wastewater on April 14 moved in Delaware state court for discovery sanctions and a rule to show cause against Mountaire because it has objected to every request and has engaged in protracted litigation on every issue (Gary and Anna-Marie Cuppels, et al. v. Mountaire Corporation, et al., No. S18C-06-009 ESB, Del. Super., Sussex Co.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Bitcoin pioneer Craig Wright’s objection to a magistrate’s discovery order was overruled April 13 by a Florida federal judge, who found the defendant’s privilege assertions in the multibillion dollar bitcoin ownership row to be unsupported by the record, directing Wright to submit 11,000 documents requested by the estate of his former business partner (Ira Kleiman, et al. v. Craig Wright, No. 9:18-cv-80176, S.D. Fla.).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Certain defendants in the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis litigation on April 10 filed a brief in Michigan federal court arguing that it should deny the plaintiffs’ motion asking for a letter rogatory to be issued so that they can depose a communications executive with Veolia who lives in France. Veolia says the information the plaintiffs purport to seek is “neither relevant nor likely to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence” (In re Flint Water Cases, No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware vice chancellor on April 9 held off on addressing whether to dismiss certain defendants from two life insurers’ fraud and breach of fiduciary lawsuit concerning an alleged scheme to transfer funds from a reinsurance trust to affiliated entities and “highly volatile hedge funds” (HM Life Insurance Co., et al. v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, et al., No. 2018-0649-SG, Del. Chanc., 2020 Del. Ch. LEXIS 136).
BATON ROUGE, La. — After consolidating flood coverage lawsuits against a Write-Your-Own insurer for the sole purpose of discovery, a federal magistrate judge in Louisiana on March 26 granted the insurer’s motion to compel discovery, finding that the insureds’ failure to properly participate in the noticed depositions is unacceptable and contrary to efficiently resolving their claims and recognizing that some depositions may be unable to proceed because of the national emergency caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 (Cynthia Jarrell v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 17-301, M.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57601).
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota federal judge on April 1 declined to order a new trial in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that she was bound by the high court’s ruling and finding that the plaintiff newspaper failed to establish that any unresolved issues remained (Argus Leader Media v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, No. 4:11-cv-04121, D. S.D., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57710).
SAN FRANCISCO — Partly resolving a dispute over the production of electronically stored information (ESI) in the consolidated lawsuit over Facebook Inc.’s sharing of user data with third parties, a California federal magistrate judge on April 2 directed the social network to provide some of the information requested by the plaintiffs, while setting in place processes for addressing production of the remaining requested data (In re Facebook Inc., Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, No. 3:18-md-02843, N.D. Calif.).