WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Nov. 16 miscellaneous order, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to the federal government in its quest to prevent extra-record discovery in a suit over the planned to collect citizenship data in the upcoming census, with the focus on a trial court’s decision to permit a group of states, which objected to the plan, to depose the secretary of Commerce regarding his mental processes in reaching the decision (In re U.S. Department of Commerce, No. 18-557, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 6777).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Nov. 13 brief, a group of U.S. states oppose a petition for mandamus filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to prevent extra-record discovery in a suit over the plan to collect citizenship data in the upcoming census, telling the U.S. Supreme Court that the petition was premature and defending a trial court’s decision to permit the deposition of the secretary of Commerce (In re U.S. Department of Commerce, No. 18-557, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on Nov. 9 upheld a trial court judge’s ruling dismissing cross-claims brought by a lawyer accused of insurance fraud, finding that an insurance company’s subpoenas seeking the attorney’s deposition in three unrelated personal injury actions did not constitute an abuse of process under the state’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute or constitute an unfair business practice in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 (Dennis Gerald Geselowitz v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. B278637, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 3rd Div., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7605).
MIAMI — Citing public interest and the general right of access to court documents, the New York Times Co. (NYT) filed a brief in Florida federal court Nov. 7 supporting its motion to intervene in a defamation suit over Buzzfeed Inc.’s reporting over the Trump campaign’s purported ties to Russia, seeking to unseal documents that the newspaper asserts are of interest internationally (Aleksej Gubarev, et al. v. Buzzfeed Inc., et al., No. 0:17-cv-60426, S.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Nov. 8 dismissed without prejudice a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) against the U.S. Department of State and its acting secretary John J. Sullivan that seeks to require the department to submit and disclose two greenhouse gas concentration reports required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), finding that the organization lacked standing (Center of Biological Diversity v. United States Department of State, et al., No. 18-563 D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191073)
NEW YORK — A disability insurer must produce the salaries paid to its reviewing physicians in addition to the curriculum vitae for each reviewing physician because the information is relevant to the determination of whether the insurer’s denial of a long-term disability claim was reasonable, a New York federal magistrate judge said Nov. 6 (Michele Weinberg v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 17-8976, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189792).
BOSTON — Parties in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit filed a joint motion for entry of stipulated protective order in Massachusetts federal court on Nov. 6 seeking to maintain the confidentiality of information sought during discovery (CellInfo LLC v. American Tower Corp., et al., No. 18-11250, D. Mass.).
TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona federal judge on Oct. 29 granted a bank’s motion to intervene in a discovery dispute related to a purportedly defaulted U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guaranteed loan for the purpose of protecting documents it claimed were privileged, with the judge also agreeing about the documents’ privileged status (Sun Sky Hospitality LLC v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, No. 4:18-cv-00094, D. Ariz., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184742).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Nov. 1 issued a protective order regarding discovery in a case between a run-off insurer, reinsurers and the reinsurers’ related entities over allegations of mismanagement and misuse of $320 million in investments (Senior Health Insurance Company of Pennsylvania v. Beechwood Re Ltd., et al., No. 18-06658, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Oct. 29 filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to reverse a trial court’s discovery orders granting extra-record discovery to a group of states and other parties opposing citizenship queries in the upcoming census, arguing that discovery into the mental state of the secretary of Commerce is unjustified and runs counter to established case law (In re U.S. Department of Commerce, No. 18-557, U.S. Sup.).
BIG STONE GAP, Va. — Granting in part a former employee’s motion to compel subpoenaed attorney-client communications in her Equal Pay Act (EPA) lawsuit against a school board, a Virginia federal judge on Oct. 29 held that the earlier inadvertent disclosure of some such privileged communications constituted waiver of related documents from before the lawsuit was filed but that the waiver did not cover post-suit documents (Debra Colley v. Dickenson County School Board, et al., No. 2:17-cv-00003, W.D. Va., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184461).
DETROIT — A reinsurer and insurer in separate Oct. 12 briefs argue for and against bifurcated discovery in a breach of contract Michigan federal court case over coverage for asbestos claims (Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Co., No. 18-11966, E.D. Mich.).
NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. on Oct. 26 filed a letter with a New York federal judge asking him to order 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, to sit for a deposition presided over by a special master given Donziger’s “stated intent to limit the scope of the deposition improperly” and risk contempt of court (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
DETROIT — Evidence from a defendant’s cell phone documenting his role in a scheme to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance benefits should not be suppressed, a federal judge in Michigan ruled Oct. 29, finding that a private investigator for an insurance company was not acting as a government agent when viewing the contents of the phone (United States v. Damon Drekarr Kemp, No. 18-20043, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184341).
NEWARK, N.J. — In an Oct. 24 letter to a New Jersey federal magistrate judge, the plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the theft of laptops that contained policyholders’ personally identifiable information (PII) assert that the defendant insurance company has shirked its duty to produce discovery relevant to the claims and defenses in the case, seeking a hearing or motion to compel withheld documents (In Re Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. Data Breach Litigation, No. 2:13-CV-07418, D. N.J.).
PENSACOLA, Fla. — Plaintiffs in the Abilify multidistrict litigation on Oct. 19 filed objections to a magistrate judge’s denial of their motion for discovery sanctions against co-defendant Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc. (In Re: Abilify [Aripiprazole] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2734, No. 16-md-2734, N.D. Fla., Pensacola Div.).
BALTIMORE — In a dispute over a life insurer’s alleged hiding of its financial status under captive reinsurance schemes and the insurer’s cost of insurance (COI) rate increases, a Maryland federal judge on Oct. 24 scheduled the discovery deadline in the case for March 8, 2019 (Leslie S. Rich v. William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York, No. 17-2026, D. Md.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina federal judge on Oct. 24 declined to stay a coverage dispute over a defectively constructed project for an in camera review and instead ordered an insurer to produce documents pertaining to reinsurance and reserves (ContraVest Inc., et al. v. Mt. Hawley Insurance Co., No. 15-00304, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182196).
NEWARK, N.J. — An insurer accusing a medical clinic of submitting fraudulent no-fault insurance claims can subpoena two banks the clinic does business with for records pertaining to accounts it holds because the information is relevant, a federal magistrate judge in New Jersey ruled Oct. 23 in denying the clinic’s motion to quash (Government Employees Insurance Co., et al. v. Stefan Trnovski, M.D., et al., No. 16-4662, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182375).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals must reverse rulings placing limits on how Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc. can use asbestos claimants’ information from nine bankruptcy trusts and remand with instructions to grant them “full access” to the data to use as they wish, the companies argue in an Oct. 5 brief on appeal (In re: AC&S, Inc., et al., No. 18-1951, 3rd Cir.).