ST. LOUIS — A Missouri federal judge on Aug. 14 granted in part and denied in part a request to quash a subpoena against a nonparty to provide documents in a dispute over the mishandling of funds belonging to insolvent funeral insurers (Jo Ann Howard & Associates P.C., et al. v. J. Douglas Cassity, et al., No. 09-01252, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137013).
HOUSTON — A Texas appeals panel on Aug. 14 affirmed a trial court’s ruling and held that an investigative journalist’s lawsuit seeking to unseal a deposition in an asbestos case was properly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because the plenary power of the trial court had expired and the document itself was not an official court record (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 6338).
CLEVELAND — A special master in the opioid multidistrict litigation on Aug. 1 said plaintiffs can see the names of 46 employees of distributor defendant McKesson Corp. who were interviewed as part of an internal stockholder investigation but said other material is protected from discovery by the attorney-client privilege (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2804, No. 17-md-2804, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.).
ALEXANDRIA, La. — A lending company owned by a Louisiana Indian tribe is protected by the tribe’s sovereign immunity from a subpoena served by another loan company battling predatory lending practice allegations leveled by Pennsylvania, a federal magistrate judge held Aug. 8 in quashing the subpoena (Pennsylvania v. Think Finance, Inc., et al., No. 1:18-mc-0024, W.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133990).
PHILADELPHIA — Finding that a trial court failed to properly apply the standards for obtaining a subpoena to obtain discovery for use in a foreign trade secret lawsuit, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 6 vacated the quash of the subpoena and remanded for reconsideration in light of the facts of the underlying German lawsuit (In re: Application of Biomet Orthopaedics Switzerland GmbH under 28 U.S.C. 1782 for an order to take discovery for use in a foreign proceeding, No. 17-3787, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21684).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Information sought by Buzzfeed from several governmental entities is relevant to its defense in an underlying defamation lawsuit over an article on purported Russian attempts to hack the Democratic National Committee (DNC) database, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled Aug. 3, also deeming the requested discovery to be not privileged or burdensome (Buzzfeed Inc., et al. v. U.S. Department of Justice, et al., No. 1:17-mc-02429, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130480).
ST. LOUIS — In a dispute over the mishandling of funds belonging to insolvent funeral insurers, a receiver and state insurance guaranty associations provided notice on Aug. 7 to a Missouri federal court of new information relevant to a motion to quash a subpoena to testify (Jo Ann Howard & Associates P.C., et al. v. J. Douglas Cassity, et al., No. 09-01252, E.D. Mo.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Aug. 3 found that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) properly withheld documents related to an anti-extremist program in response to an organization’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, finding that the withheld materials were exempt from disclosure under national security and other statutory exemptions (Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law v. Department of Homeland Security, et al., No. 1:16-cv-00672, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130918).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on July 26 ordered a defendant in an employment class action to turn over log-in/log-out records to the plaintiff and to make good on its promise to turn over job descriptions (Gabriela Ortolani v. Freedom Mortgage Corp., No. 17-1462, C.D. Calif., Eastern Div., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125522).
ST. LOUIS — A nonparty to a dispute over the mishandling of funds belonging to insolvent funeral insurers argues in a July 30 reply brief that a Missouri federal court should quash documents requested by the insurers’ receiver that were previously settled (Jo Ann Howard & Associates P.C., et al. v. J. Douglas Cassity, et al., No. 09-01252, E.D. Mo.).
MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin federal magistrate judge on July 30 denied a motion to quash a subpoena in an employment discrimination lawsuit, finding insufficient proof that the information sought was attorney work product or privileged communications (Natalie Anderson v. SoftwareONE, Inc., No. 16-1181, E.D. Wis., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126812).
By Steven C. Bennett
CLEVELAND — Two newspapers cannot access federal prescription drug tracking data produced in the opioid multidistrict litigation, an Ohio federal judge ruled July 26 (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2804, No. 17-md-2804, N.D. Ohio, E. Div.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on July 27 ruled that certain lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company, certain of its senior executives and underwriters of its initial public offering (IPO) failed to show that they have standing to assert their claims against the defendants but denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the claims against them to allow the challenged plaintiffs to conduct jurisdictional discovery on the issue (Robin J. Dartell, et al. v. Tibet Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 14-3620, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125643).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A builder of custom homes on July 27 was ordered by a federal magistrate judge in Ohio to produce four categories of documents regarding sales of homes that were built with joists that contained a flame retardant that allegedly emits levels of formaldehyde that renders homes uninhabitable because the information is relevant to a plaintiff couple’s claims that homes with the joists suffer from a diminution in value (Jamal Coleman, et al. v. Westport Homes Inc., No. 18-mc-31, S.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125702).
CHICAGO — Health insurer Medical Mutual of Ohio (MMO) on July 27 was ordered to provide specific answers to testosterone replacement therapy drug makers relating to when the insurer told employees to hold discovery related data in litigation involving alleged wrongful promotion of testosterone therapy drugs (In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2545, No. 14-1748, Medical Mutual of Ohio v. AbbVie, Inc., No. 14-8857, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.).
LINCOLN, Neb. — In a dispute over the breach of the promissory note executed pursuant to a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA), a Nebraska federal magistrate judge on July 25 found that requests for workers’ compensation information and corporate structure “are relevant and proportional to the present needs of the case” (Applied Underwriters Inc. v. Top’s Personnel Inc., No. 15-90, D. Neb., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124338).
CHICAGO — Opposing a motion to compel production of documents withheld under attorney-client privilege, Google LLC in a July 26 filing tells an Illinois federal court that the disputed materials were properly designated as privileged as they pertained to legal advice in two lawsuits alleging that it violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) with a photo-tagging feature (Lindabeth Rivera v. Google LLC, No. 1:16-cv-02714, and Joseph Weiss v. Google LLC, No. 1:16-cv-02870, N.D. Ill.).
DALLAS — A Texas appeals panel on July 24 denied a petition by Toyota Motor Corp., in which the automaker sought relief from what it called a trial court’s effective denial of its motion for a protective order to prevent use of purportedly attorney-client-privileged documents in a product liability trial over purported auto design defects that led to the injury of two children in an accident (In re Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., et al., No. 05-18-00839-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 5658).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal magistrate judge on July 11 partially denied a disability insurer’s motion to quash a subpoena seeking compensation records from a physician hired by the insurer to review a disability claimant’s file after determining that the discovery sought is relevant and permitted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Anne Wittmann v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 17-9501, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115848).