LOS ANGELES — A Hollywood nursing home and its owner on July 1 removed a negligence and wrongful death complaint filed by the family of a resident who died of COVID-19 to federal court, arguing that the court has jurisdiction because they were acting under the direction of a federal officer and that the claims are preempted by the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) (Emma Martin, et al. v. Serrano Post Acute LLC d/b/a Hollywood Premier Healthcare Center, et al., No. 20-cv-5937, C.D. Calif.).
HOUSTON — A lower court lacked jurisdiction over a Delaware franchisor of math and reading centers in a slip-and-fall lawsuit, a Texas appeals panel ruled June 30, reversing the denial of the franchisor’s special appearance and rendering judgment in its favor (Kumon North America Inc. v. Ngoc Vinh Nguyen, No. 14-18-00639-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 4811).
NEW YORK — Ten women asked a New York federal court on June 30 to approve an $18.8 million settlement of claims that imprisoned former Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein sexually abused them while other defendants did nothing to stop him. They also seek class certification of two classes of women who met with Weinstein to audition or discuss working on projects or who were employed by his companies (Louisette Geiss, et al. v. The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, et al., No. 17-09554, and Jill Doe, et al. v. The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, et al., No. 19-3430, S.D. N.Y.).
OMAHA, Neb. — A Nebraska federal judge on June 29 allowed two experts to testify that the lung cancer a woman developed and died from was caused by breathing in diesel fumes from the locomotives she worked with her entire life, saying the experts’ methods and opinions are “scientifically valid” and “sufficiently reliable” (Dale E. Bettisworth v. BNSF Railway Company, No. 8:17-cv-491, D. Neb., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114255).
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland police assaulted members of the press and other legal observers in an effort to intimidate and suppress reporting of protests over the killing of George Floyd, several journalists and legal observers allege in a class complaint filed June 28 in a federal court in Oregon seeking monetary damages and prospective injunctive relief (Tuck Woodstock, et al. v. Portland, et al., No. 20-1035, D. Ore.).
NEWARK, N.J. — The operators of two New Jersey rehabilitation centers where at least 50 patients have died from COVID-19 maintain in a June 22 brief opposing remand that a class action negligence and wrongful death suit filed against them belongs in federal court because the claims fall under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act; alternatively, they argue that the national emergency declaration and regulations issued by national health agencies in response to the pandemic converted health care workers and facilities into “agents and officers acting to further a government interest thus conferring Federal Officer jurisdiction” (Estate of Joseph Maglioli, et al. v. Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center I, et al., No. 20-cv-6605).
ALAMEDA, Calif. — The widow of a Safeway grocery chain employee who died from COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, sued the chain and its parent company in a California court on May 13, alleging that the defendants advised its workforce not to wear masks and gloves to protect themselves from infection (Norma Zuniga v. Safeway Inc., et al., No. HG20062742, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
CHICAGO — A woman who alleged that she suffered nerve damage to her arm during a 12-hour surgery was entitled to have a jury decide when the injury occurred and if it would have occurred in the absence of negligence, a divided Illinois appeals court concluded June 15, vacating a defense verdict and remanding for a new trial (Alma Willis v. Mauricio Morales, et al., No. 1-18-0718, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2020 Ill. App. LEXIS 376).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Farm Animal Activity Act (FAAA) does not protect ranch owners from liability for the death of a ranch hand who died when he was trampled by a 2,000-pound bull they owned, a divided Texas Supreme Court ruled June 12, affirming an appeals court decision (Conway Waak Jr., et al. v. Raul Amparo Zuniga Rodriguez, et al., No. 19-0167, Texas Sup., 2020 Tex. LEXIS 528).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania appeals court on June 10 affirmed a defense verdict in an action brought by a former jockey and his now-ex-wife alleging that a surgeon negligently performed the removal of a disc in his neck, concluding that arguments about witness testimony and availability, among other issues, did not constitute reversible error (John Perez, et al. v. Joseph C. Maroon, et al., Nos. 184 WDA 2019 and 211 WDA 2019, Pa. Super., 2020 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1920).
SAN DIEGO — Members of a California synagogue where a shooter in 2019 killed one person and injured several others sued gun manufacturers and a retailer, the state and the shooter and his parents on June 15 in a state court for allowing a teenager to illegally purchase the AR-15-style rifle he used in the mass shooting (Yisroel Goldstein, et al. v. John T. Earnest, et al., No. 37-2020-00016638, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appeals court threw out a $24.7 million award against the maker of a product containing synthetic marijuana on June 8. A trial court erred in letting the jury decide the cause of a fatal road accident because the sole cause of the two-vehicle crash that killed a woman and two boys was a man driving impaired after consuming the defendant’s product, it said (DZE Corp. v. Vince Duron Vickers, et al., No. 1D18-5081, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 8030).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina appeals court on June 16 refused to overturn a defense verdict for a nurse anesthetist accused of overstepping his authority in a heart procedure that left a child with permanent brain damage, saying longstanding state Supreme Court precedent rejects claims based on nurses’ diagnosis and treatment decisions (Edward G. Connette, et al. v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, et al., No. 19-354, N.C. App., 2020 N.C. App. LEXIS 467).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Black Lives Matter local chapter filed an amended class action complaint against President Donald J. Trump and federal and military law enforcement agencies on June 9, alleging that chemical agents, rubber bullets and force were used against peaceful protesters to clear a park so Trump could walk to a church for a photo opportunity (Black Lives Matter D.C., et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 20-1469, D. D.C.).
DENVER — A Colorado federal judge issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on June 5 barring the city of Denver from using pepper spray and rubber bullets against protesters peacefully demonstrating against police brutality. He also refused the city’s subsequent request to modify the TRO’s language stating that body cameras must be recording “at all times” (Agazi Abay, et al. v. Denver, 20-01616, D. Colo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99523).
SHREVEPORT, La. — A movie theater operator fails in its challenges to the opinions of a safety expert for a woman who was badly injured in a fall down steps in a darkened theater, a Louisiana federal magistrate judge found June 10, saying the issues raised are fodder for cross-examination but not grounds for exclusion (Julie Frazier Brown v. Cinemark USA, Inc., No. 5:19-cv-0346, W.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102116).
PHILADELPHIA — The revision of rules in the National Football League concussion injury class settlement were “permissible clarifications” to enable proper administration “and were not amendments” or unreasonable, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 12, affirming a trial court’s ruling against 60 players who objected to the changes (In Re: National Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 19-2085, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18593).
PHOENIX — Medical experts for a woman asserting bad faith claims against her insurer over coverage for auto accident injuries cannot offer opinions made in rebuttal because of the harm it would cause the insurer, but her standard-of-care expert can testify, just not on the value of her injuries because he is not an expert in calculating medical damages, an Arizona federal judge ruled June 10 (Melinda Lou Armer v. CSAA General Insurance Company, No. 2:19-cv-04402, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101851).
DENVER — A divided Colorado Supreme Court affirmed on June 8 the reinstatement of claims against a Planned Parenthood clinic brought by survivors of a mass shooting that killed three people in 2015, concluding that a jury should decide whether the facility played a part in causing their injuries. It also affirmed the dismissal of claims against the clinic’s parent organization for failing to provide security (Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood Inc. v. Samantha Wagner, et al., No. 19-251, Colo. Sup., 2020 Colo. LEXIS 538).
MINNEAPOLIS — Journalists who sued the city of Minneapolis and police officials for allegedly using “alarming, aggressive tactics” against news media covering protests following the death of a black man while he was in police custody must complete fact discovery before a court may determine whether class certification is appropriate, a federal judge in Minnesota ruled June 9, denying a class certification motion and a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) (Jared Goyette, et al. v. City of Minneapolis, et al., No. 20-1302, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100761).