MINNEAPOLIS — A federal magistrate judge in Minnesota on Aug. 31 consolidated for discovery and pretrial issues two class complaints accusing Minneapolis police of using excessive force against individuals protesting after the murder of George Floyd, finding that common questions of law or fact existed, but ruled that a third class lawsuit by journalists also alleging excessive force will proceed independently as it is dissimilar.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California court entered judgment on Aug. 27 after a jury awarded $100,000 during the punitive damages phase and $26.5 million in compensatory damages against two Johnson & Johnson entities that exposed a former teacher to asbestos in talc products, sources told Mealey Publications.
BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on Aug. 26 denied a motion to exclude an expert retained by a man injured in a collision with a truck, finding that the argument that he failed to meet admissibility standards under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. “borders on the frivolous.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Calling it “another round” in a “maddening, and unseemly, game of cat and mouse” of “lower courts attempting to find ways to evade” the U.S. Supreme Court’s Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) precedents, the owners and operators of an assisted living facility in an Aug. 9 petition ask the high court to determine “whether the FAA preempts the South Carolina Supreme Court’s arbitration-specific approach to construing comprehensive powers of attorney to preclude an agent’s power to agree to arbitrate future claims.”
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A Delaware judge on Aug. 6 denied a franchisor’s motion to stay the proceedings in a lawsuit concerning liability for an alleged sexual assault by a franchisee’s former employee pending arbitration between the plaintiff customer and another franchisor defendant.
CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 24 reversed summary judgment in a pelvic mesh case, saying the applicable two-year statute of limitations began to run only when the plaintiff should have realized that her mesh-related complications might have been “wrongfully caused” by another person.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Aug. 23 dismissed the bulk of claims, including for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), brought by an individual who sued the manufacturer of a mini excavator and the rental company he leased it from after he sustained leg injuries that required amputation while using the machine, with the judge finding most of the plaintiff’s claims insufficiently alleged.
NEWARK, N.J. — In an Aug. 17 answer to a first amended complaint in a personal injury lawsuit in which New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (NJPLIGA) filed a cross-claim seeking contribution from the other defendants for damages caused by a police car chase that led to a collision, two co-defendants “deny each and every allegation asserted” by NJPLIGA.
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals panel on Aug. 25 denied a petition for rehearing filed by Monsanto Co. just two days earlier, which had sought reconsideration of that panel’s divided decision that affirmed a $86,742,310 glyphosate cancer verdict. Monsanto had argued that the court needed to consider “facts set forth in the dissenting opinion which are not discussed in the court’s majority opinion.” In a note accompanying the one-sentence denial, the panel mentioned that one of the judges would have granted Monsanto’s petition.
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 13 found that a lower court did not abuse its discretion in limiting testimony from an expert and affirmed its decision to grant summary judgment to correctional officers and medical staff in a negligence lawsuit filed by a former inmate.
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Aug. 9 trimmed putative class claims brought by passengers of a February 2020 cruise who allege that the trip operators failed to warn them of the risks associated with coronavirus and then failed to stop the spread aboard the ship after at least one passenger was known to be suffering from symptoms, resulting in dozens getting sick and two dying after the cruise was over.
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 16 reversed summary judgment for 5,845 cases in the Bair Hugger multidistrict litigation, finding that a district court judge erred in excluding the plaintiff’s general causation medical experts’ opinions.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge in Alaska on Aug. 4 limited the testimony of an expert in an aircraft crash lawsuit, ruling that his testimony based on studies is permissible but he cannot speculate on the actions of the pilot on the day of the accident.
NEW ORLEANS — Taken together, the provisions of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act “manifest the ‘extraordinary preemptive power’ that the Supreme Court has identified as the hallmark of a complete preemption statute that creates a basis for federal question jurisdiction,” the owners and operators of a nursing home say in an Aug. 5 brief urging the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court’s order remanding a COVID-19-related negligence suit against them to Texas state court.
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 11 denied certification of a “master” issues class in the Flint water crisis litigation but approved a multidefendant issues class and a class for claims against one of the engineering firms that advised the city of Flint during the crisis.
SHREVEPORT, La. — Reversing its previous ruling, a Louisiana appeals panel on Aug. 11 concluded that Louisiana personal jurisdiction could be exercised over a company headquartered in New York because the in-state contacts of its predecessor could be imputed to the defendant in a liability suit over a man’s mesothelioma through contact with asbestos.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A trial court did not err in ruling that certain defendants could not be liable for a woman’s death in a nursing home and did not abuse its discretion in limiting the testimony of expert witnesses, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Aug. 6, affirming a judgment that found the nursing home solely liable in a negligence case.
SAN FRANCISCO — A divided appellate panel in California on Aug. 9 affirmed a judgment of $86,742,310 against Monsanto Co. for a couple who alleged that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, caused them to develop cancer. In a separate concurrence and dissent, a justice said that while he agreed with the evidence on liability, the punitive damages award was “grossly excessive.”
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Aug. 8 docket entry scheduled oral argument for Oct. 21 in an appeal of a federal judge’s order remanding a COVID-19-related wrongful death and negligence action to California state court after finding that no claims were brought under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), that the removal was not justified by federal officer jurisdiction and that there was no showing of an “imbedded question of federal law.”
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Testimony by an expert retained by correction officers accused of using excessive force who opines that the inmate did not suffer a beating “invade[s] the province of the jury,” a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge said Aug. 3, ruling that he may not opine on that issue but otherwise allowing his testimony.