Mealey's Discovery

  • February 27, 2024

    Judge Clarifies Discovery Scope After Confusion About AI Insurance Tools

    CHICAGO — Given the court’s and parties’ own confusion about the scope of artificial intelligence tools potentially used in sorting complex and potentially fraudulent claims from more standard ones, homeowner plaintiffs and their insurer should confer and determine what exactly is at issue before conducting further discovery, a federal judge in Illinois said in a docket entry order in a case involving the Fair Housing Act.

  • February 27, 2024

    Oregon Seeks Rehearing After 9th Circuit Ruling In Prisoner Vaccine Case

    SEATTLE — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel created intra- and inter-circuit conflict with a decision denying Oregon’s petition for a writ of mandamus seeking to quash a trial court’s order compelling the deposition of the former governor in a class lawsuit by prisoners suing over the distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations and deaths due to the virus, the state argues in a petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc.

  • February 22, 2024

    Tobacco Defendant’s Failure To Produce Asbestos Evidence Not Willful, Justice Says

    NEW YORK — There is no evidence that a tobacco company’s failure to produce reports it no longer has in its possession about testing performed on asbestos-containing Micronite cigarette filters was willful, a New York justice said in denying a motion that sought to compel production or dismiss the company’s answer.

  • February 22, 2024

    5th Circuit Vacates Discovery Order, Remands For Stay Pending Arbitration Ruling

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that no discovery is needed to determine whether there is a valid agreement to arbitrate because a Hurricane Laura coverage dispute can be decided as a matter of law, vacating the lower federal court’s discovery order and remanding for the lower court to immediately grant a stay pending its ruling on arbitration.

  • February 20, 2024

    Petition By Wrestlers’ Attorney Challenging Sanctions Denied By U.S. High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by an attorney and his firm who represent allegedly injured wrestlers in a class tort complaint and a mass action against World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and Vincent K. McMahon (together, WWE) and asking the justices to consider the appropriateness of attorney fees and costs as sanctions that they have been ordered to pay.

  • February 16, 2024

    Agency: Evidence Production In Ohio Train Derailment Case Poses ‘Undue Burden’

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) filed a brief in Ohio federal court arguing that it should deny a third-party defendant’s motion to compel the production of certain evidence related to the NTSB’s investigation of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on grounds that the motion imposes an undue burden on the agency.

  • February 16, 2024

    Groups Sue EPA For Withholding Information On PFAS Use In Plastics Manufacturing

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two environmental groups on Feb. 15 sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking a permanent injunction directing it to disclose under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) all “wrongfully withheld documents” related to the formation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) during the fluorination of plastic containers by chemical company Inhance Technologies LLC.

  • February 14, 2024

    GitHub, Microsoft, Coders To Confer Over Discovery In AI Copyright Licensing Row

    OAKLAND, Calif. — In a dispute over licensing and attribution of computer code in open-source artificial intelligence (AI) collaborations, a California federal judge scolded defendants GitHub Inc. and Microsoft Corp. and five John Doe plaintiffs for not complying with the proper procedures for submitting discovery letters, leading him to deny the relief sought by the parties and to once again order them to meet and confer over their remaining discovery disputes.

  • February 13, 2024

    Hospital Says Burden, Third-Party Status Warranted Quashing Asbestos Subpoena

    RICHMOND, Va. — Third-party subpoenas fall under a higher standard that an asbestos defendant cannot meet given the evidence’s marginal relationship to the case, a hospital told the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 12, also arguing that the burden that disclosing anonymous study participants would impose supports a trial court’s decision to quash the subpoena.

  • February 13, 2024

    Magistrate Judge Allows Supplemented Expert Reports, Extends J&J MDL Deadlines

    TRENTON, N.J. — A magistrate judge in the federal multidistrict litigation for Johnson & Johnson talc-related liabilities declined to strike expert reports, saying the importance of the reports and the ability to mitigate any resulting harm by extending discovery deadlines do not support such a harsh outcome.

  • February 08, 2024

    Monsanto Seeks To Quash Deposition In Vermont School PCB Contamination Case

    BURLINGTON, Vt. — Monsanto Co. on Feb. 7 moved in Vermont federal court seeking to quash the Burlington School District’s (BSD) notice of deposition in the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) lawsuit it has filed related to alleged contamination of school buildings and moved for a protective order to the extent that the BSD seeks testimony from a time period other than 1935 to 1977, when Monsanto made PCBs.

  • February 07, 2024

    4th Circuit Defers Ruling On Sanctions In Asbestos Case Referral Appeal

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will defer any ruling on a separate motion for sanctions pending review of the merits of an appeal involving whether a trial court properly imposed sanctions for conduct in an asbestos bankruptcy trust referral fee dispute.

  • February 07, 2024

    Colgate, Asbestos-Talc Plaintiff Face Off About Genetics, Expert Testimony

    OAKLAND, Calif. — After a plaintiff moved to exclude argument about why she didn’t undergo genetic testing and what her genetics might mean for her mesothelioma, an asbestos-talc defendant filed its own motion seeking to exclude what it termed unreliable non-witness expert testimony that it says the plaintiff hopes to introduce into the case through the “backdoor.”

  • February 06, 2024

    Panel Upholds Sanction But Reinstates Loofah Patent Infringement Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal magistrate judge in Arkansas did not abuse his discretion in sanctioning a patent owner for discovery abuse but committed several errors during claim construction, leading to a jury verdict and final judgment of noninfringement that must be vacated, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found Feb. 5.

  • February 06, 2024

    North Dakota: Agencies Are Not Complying With Order For Fracking Lease Information

    BISMARCK, N.D. — The state of North Dakota has filed a brief in North Dakota federal court in response to a status report filed by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), in which the state argues that the DOI and other federal defendants have not complied with the court’s prior orders regarding transparency and the production of documents related to the parties’ dispute over an order that enjoined and restrained the federal agencies from imposing what the state calls “the Stop.”  That term refers to the federal agencies’ decision to cancel certain hydraulic fracturing lease sales.

  • February 05, 2024

    Rail Company Defends Need For Testimony Of Former Libby, Mont., Clinic Director

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A railway tells a federal judge in Montana in opposition to a motion to quash the railway’s subpoena that trial preservation testimony is the best way to secure potentially admissible evidence from an asbestos clinic’s former medical director and that his status as a former employee doesn’t matter since he can testify about how a clinic patient described her exposures to asbestos.

  • February 02, 2024

    University Must Provide Past Incident Info To Student Claiming Sexual Assault

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Police reports, communications and other information about previously reported incidents of off-campus sexual assaults and harassment are relevant to a university student’s claims of sexual discrimination over the school’s response to her claimed assault, a West Virginia federal magistrate judge found, ordering Marshall University to supplement its discovery responses.

  • February 02, 2024

    Judgment Granted For Insurer In Row Over Misrepresentation Of Harassment Suit

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California federal judge granted summary judgment to an employment practices liability insurer in a declaratory judgment suit against its insured, finding that the insurer is entitled to rescind the policies because it would not have issued the policies had it known of the insured’s false affirmation in the policy application that no harassment suits were made against it in the last five years.

  • February 01, 2024

    Accounting Denied As To Disputed $185 Million Attorney Fees In Insurers’ ACA Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge denied in part objecting class members’ motion for an accounting of a vacated $185 million attorney fee award in suits filed by insurers, some of which are insolvent, over risk-corridor payments under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), finding that because the court has not yet considered a renewed fee request, the accounting is unnecessary at this time.

  • January 31, 2024

    Sanctions Sought In Asbestos Appeal Over Sanctions In Referral Case

    RICHMOND, Va. — An appeal before the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals over the appropriateness of sanctions in a case involving asbestos bankruptcy trust referral fees spawned its own briefing on sanctions, with the appellee calling the appeal frivolous and the appellant saying meritorious issues of first impression exist over whether a federal judge can sanction a party for conduct in a state court.

  • January 31, 2024

    California Judge Denies Genetic Testing Motion With Trial Approaching

    LOS ANGELES — A defendant seeking a medical examination and genetic testing from a plaintiff suffering from mesothelioma does not explain how such testing can be performed or how expert reports can be produced in the short period remaining prior to trial, a California judge said in denying the defendant’s motion among other rulings.

  • January 31, 2024

    Fabricated ChatGPT Cite Leads To 2nd Circuit Grievance Board Referral

    NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 30 referred an attorney to its grievance board for “conduct that falls below the basic obligations of counsel” after she submitted a citation fabricated by artificial intelligence ChatGPT, saying federal rules require that at the very least, attorneys verify the case law they submit in support of their argument.

  • January 31, 2024

    Judge: Offer Of Samples For Testing Largely Moots Protective Order Motion

    SEATTLE — Plaintiffs’ ongoing offer to produce talc samples tested by asbestos expert William Longo moots the need for a protective order unless additional samples are found, a judge in Washington state said in denying a motion for protective order and spoliation finding in part.

  • January 30, 2024

    CARD Doctor Says Asbestos Subpoena Likely Seeks ‘Highly Improper’ Testimony

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — The former medical director of a Libby, Mont., clinic told a federal judge in a motion to quash a subpoena that because he never saw a woman when she went to the clinic and her diagnosis at the time differs from the mesothelioma from which she now suffers, any testimony he could offer at trial would be duplicative of evidence a railway already has.

  • January 30, 2024

    Judge Overrules Discovery Objections In FCA Suit, Says Scope Should Be Nationwide

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge affirmed a magistrate judge’s discovery order and overruled Abbott Laboratories’ objections to the geographical scope of discovery in a suit alleging violations of the False Claims Act (FCA) and state false claims laws regarding an alleged kickback scheme to induce hospitals and physicians to use an Abbott cardiac medical device, finding that the complaint sufficiently alleges a “nationwide scheme.”

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