OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal judge in Oklahoma on April 23 granted plaintiffs additional time for discovery into their individual action against a health insurer they claim failed to properly cover air transport costs for their newborn child (Christina and Jeffrey Terry, et al. v. Health Care Service Corp., No. 18-415, W.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68601).
DALLAS — Additional discovery regarding a disability insurer’s alleged conflict of interest and procedural unreasonableness is not warranted because under the applicable de novo standard of review, discovery is limited to the administrate record, a Texas federal judge said April 22 in denying the disability claimant’s motion to compel discovery (Jose Chavez v. Standard Insurance Co., No. 18-2013, N.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67669).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on April 22 granted an auto insurer’s motion to bifurcate a bad faith claim from a breach of contract claim after determining that bifurcation will prevent prejudice to the auto insurer and will further judicial economy by limiting discovery until after liability has been established (Thea Mason v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co., No. 19-2, E.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67803).
SAN FRANCISCO — A lawyer’s discussions with asbestos expert witnesses are entitled to constitutional privacy protections, and even if his law firm owns the alternative causation work product he created, claims alleging interference with his ability to seek employment constitute independent wrongful acts sufficient to survive summary adjudication, an attorney told a California appeals court on March 8 (Evan C. Nelson v. Tucker Ellis LLP, No. A153661, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. government, a newspaper and a retailer trade association offered arguments about the necessity of demonstrating likely harm from the disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22, disputing whether assurances of confidentiality and assertions of trade secrets are sufficient to invoke an exemption to the act (Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, No. 18-481, U.S. Sup.).
MIAMI — A federal magistrate judge in Florida on April 18 held that a health care clinic patient’s statement in a police report can support an inference that a clinic employee accused of participating in a scheme to submit fraudulent no-fault personal injury protection claims to an insurance company paid patients to receive treatment at the facility and paid patients to refer someone else to the clinic (Government Employees Insurance Co., et al. v. Quality Diagnostic Health Care Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-20101, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67262).
NEW YORK — A hospital’s failure to turn over pathology evidence until after the close of discovery warrants the late admission of an expert’s testing results in a woman’s asbestos-talc case, a New York justice held March 26 (Jenny Shulman, et al. v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. 190025/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1293).
CHICAGO — Stating that there has already been “enough discovery . . . to choke a horse” in a dispute over two-way radio technology between Motorola Solutions Inc. and a Chinese firm, an Illinois federal magistrate judge on April 15 denied Motorola’s motion to compel discovery related to a product that he found was outside the scope of the trade secret and copyright claims at issue (Motorola Solutions Inc. v. Hytera Communications Corp., et al., No. 1:17-cv-01973, N.D. Ill.; 20192019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64005).
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A federal magistrate judge in New York on March 27 ruled that E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. could depose the wife of a man who claims that the company is liable for causing his cancer as a result of chemical exposure, but the judge said DuPont could not compel the production of more documents from the plaintiffs’ experts (James H. Sarkees, et al. v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, et al., No. 17-651, W.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52200).
NEW YORK — Depositions from unrelated asbestos actions are not sufficient by themselves to overcome a defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a lung cancer case, a New York justice held in an opinion posted April 17 (John C. Spicijaric, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190014/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island federal magistrate judge on April 12 partially granted a motion for a protective order governing communications between a pet food maker and putative class members in a suit over recalled dog food, ordering only that a limited clarification be issued addressing the meaning of a deadline in one letter (Jennifer Jubinville, et al. v. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., et al., No. 18-74, D. R.I., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63120).
NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. on April 15 filed a brief in New York federal court contending that “it is now beyond doubt” that Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, is in contempt of the district court’s orders regarding the discovery of data on the attorney’s electronic devices (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on April 8 affirmed a magistrate judge’s ruling that plaintiffs in an HIV false claims lawsuit had not shown a right to know how the manufacturer profited from the drugs or that the information is relevant at this stage of the lawsuit (United States, ex rel. Jessica Penelow, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 12-7758, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60437).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Following an April 11 discovery conference, a Florida federal magistrate judge in a paperless minute entry ordered the parties in a dispute over the ownership of a multibillion dollar bitcoin cache, which belonged to a deceased bitcoin miner, to submit further briefs addressing discovery disputes related to the production of documents and other items (Ira Kleiman, et al. v. Craig Wright, No. 9:18-cv-80176, S.D. Fla.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Citing what it calls willful behavior by two of the attorneys representing a putative class of iPhone users, Apple Inc. on April 9 asked a California federal court to sanction the counsel for quoting from documents that which were designated as confidential during discovery at a public hearing on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit alleging degraded performance in the plaintiffs’ mobile devices (In re: Apple Inc. Device Performance Litigation, No. 5:18-md-02827, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on April 5 denied and granted motions to dismiss claims for violations of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other causes of action against cosmetic companies, ordering jurisdictional evidentiary discovery to determine whether one entity was mistakenly listed on another company’s website (Kari Miller, et al. v. Peter Thomas Roth, LLC, et al., No. 19-00698, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59420).
OKLAHOMA CITY — A pharmacist accused of submitting fraudulent bills to Medicare for prescriptions filled at two pharmacies he owned and operated was enjoined by a federal judge in Oklahoma March 26 from transferring or dissipating the more than $1 million he earned from the scheme (United States v. Jeffrey Scott Terry, No. 19-cv-250, W.D. Okla.).
BALTIMORE — In an April 8 ruling, a Maryland federal magistrate judge granted in part two discovery motions by the owner of an apartment building at the center of an insurance coverage dispute, limiting the scope of an insurer’s subpoenas on the building owner’s engineering and accounting firms, deeming certain tax information and communications sought to be privileged and private (Jowite Ltd. Partnership v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 1:18-cv-02413, D. Md. 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59726).
OCALA, Fla. — An auto insurer’s communications with its insured regarding a potential settlement of a suit filed against the insured following an auto accident are relevant to a bad faith claim alleged against the auto insurer by the underlying plaintiffs, a Florida federal magistrate judge said April 5 in partially granting the plaintiffs’ motion to compel (Yolanda Aldana, et al. v. Progressive American Insurance Co., No. 18-157, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59015).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its April 5 merits reply brief, a food retailer trade association asks the U.S. Supreme Court to find that a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption for confidential trade secret and financial information permits the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to withhold store-specific data from a FOIA request without having to establish that “substantial competitive harm” would occur from disclosure (Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, No. 18-481, U.S. Sup.).