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  • April 16, 2014

    Secret US Watch Lists Upheld In 'Kafkaesque' No-Fly Suit

    A California federal judge upheld the U.S. government's right to maintain secret watch lists of suspected terrorists, following the “Kafkaesque” case of a Stanford-educated Malaysian architect whose career was harmed after federal agents put her name on a “no fly” list by mistake, according to an order unsealed Wednesday.

  • April 16, 2014

    Waste Connections Wins Initial Nod On Class OT Deal

    A California federal judge on Tuesday granted preliminary approval to a Waste Connections Inc. settlement with a putative class of more than 1,200 current and former workers who alleged the solid waste services company violated state labor laws by failing to provide meal breaks and pay overtime and minimum wages.

  • April 16, 2014

    30,000 Costco Workers Decertified In Lockdown OT Suit

    A California federal judge on Tuesday decertified a class of approximately 30,000 Costco Wholesale Corp. employees who claim the company locked them inside its warehouses at the end of their shifts and didn't pay them overtime, citing lack of predominance.

  • April 16, 2014

    9th Circ. Judge Ditches Robes To Fight $38M Nissan Deal

    A Ninth Circuit judge angry over the allegedly weak battery in his Nissan Leaf electric vehicle has ditched his robes to fight a class action settlement with a hotly disputed $38 million price tag, spurring a federal judge on Tuesday to create an unusual mediation structure for addressing his objections.

  • April 16, 2014

    REIT Hit With $110M Verdict Over Run-Down Mobile Home Park

    A California jury on Tuesday found real estate investment trust Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. guilty of breach of contract, negligence and nuisance for failing to maintain one of its mobile home developments and awarded over $110 million to 61 residents of the property.

  • April 16, 2014

    Sinopec Wins Dismissal Of $5B False Imprisonment Suit

    A California federal judge on Tuesday tossed a Chinese foreign national’s $5.17 billion suit alleging China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec Corp., colluded with the Chinese government to falsely imprison him, ruling the court did not have jurisdiction over the claims.

  • April 16, 2014

    Nina Simone IP Cases Belong In Federal Court, Attys Say

    Attorneys for the late jazz singer Nina Simone and her estate argued that a California federal judge has jurisdiction to determine who owns the rights to several of Simone's master recordings, countering claims that several cases over those rights should be nixed because Simone died in Europe.

  • April 16, 2014

    En Banc 9th Circ. Flips ESA Ruling For Calif. Water Deals

    An en banc Ninth Circuit panel overturned the appeals court's earlier decision supporting dozens of 25- and 40-year water supply contracts in California, ruling Wednesday that federal officials, in violation of the Endangered Species Act, ignored potential harm to fish populations when they renewed the agreements.

  • April 16, 2014

    Allstate Wins Atty Records Bid In Health Care Kickback Suit

    A California judge on Wednesday ruled that an attorney can't block Allstate Insurance Co. from obtaining records of payments made from Allstate through the attorney's office to Prima Care Medical Group Inc., which the insurer alleges engaged in a kickback scheme to defraud insurers.

  • April 16, 2014

    9th Circ. Hands State Farm Win In D&O Fight Over Firing

    The Ninth Circuit ruled on Tuesday that State Farm General Insurance Co. Inc. did not have a duty to provide directors and officers coverage to a condominium homeowners association against a lawsuit claiming that its firing of a security guard was based on military service discrimination.

  • April 16, 2014

    Energy Cos. Wary As Calif. Fracking Moratorium Gains Favor

    Hydraulic fracturing in California is at a crossroads, as mounting pressure from citizens and environmental groups pushes lawmakers toward a moratorium that would dismantle a new regulatory framework that allows energy developers to continue working, clouding the future of projects around the state.

  • April 16, 2014

    OSI Zapped By Investor Suit Over Nude TSA Body Scanners

    A disgruntled OSI Systems Inc. shareholder on Tuesday sued the security technology maker’s board of directors, accusing them of misconduct that cost OSI $60 million in Transportation Security Administration contracts and threatened its ability to do business with the federal government again.

  • April 16, 2014

    Workers Can Be Evaluated After FMLA Leave: Calif. Court

    A California appeals court ruled Tuesday that an employer can evaluate a worker's fitness for duty after that employee has returned from leave awarded under the Family and Medical Leave Act, even if the evaluation is related to the condition that prompted the FMLA leave in the first place.

  • April 16, 2014

    Class Cert. Denied In Smucker False Labeling Suit

    A California federal judge on Tuesday denied class certification to a putative class of consumers who bought The J.M. Smucker Co. products touted as healthy despite containing hydrogenated oils and corn syrup, ruling that damages couldn’t be accurately determined for the class.

  • April 16, 2014

    MGM Can't Speed Up Discovery In James Bond Knockoff Suit

    A California federal judge on Monday refused to give Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. expedited discovery in its lawsuit accusing NBCUniversal Media LLC of plotting a knockoff James Bond movie, saying Universal's early-stage film project didn't pose a sufficiently immediate threat to MGM.

  • April 16, 2014

    Solar Co. Hit With TCPA Suit Over Alleged Robocalls

    A California man on Tuesday brought a class action in federal court against American Solar Solution Inc. for allegedly making marketing robocalls to his cellphone in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

  • April 16, 2014

    Home Depot Lacks Standing In LCD Price-Fixing Row: AUO

    AU Optronics Corp. told a California federal judge on Tuesday that Home Depot USA Inc. cannot be allowed to join the ongoing multidistrict litigation alleging a price-fixing plot among liquid crystal display product makers because the company lacks antitrust standing and cannot show a threat of harm.

  • April 15, 2014

    Sheppard Mullin To Auction Delinquent Ex-Client's Patents

    A California judge on Tuesday approved Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP's plan to auction off patents owned by ex-client Bluways Inc., which had failed to pay the firm $884,978 in fees per an agreement, acknowledging that the law firm hasn't found likely buyers and might have to purchase the patents itself.

  • April 15, 2014

    Key IPhone Patents Invalid, Samsung Experts Tell Jury

    Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s patent experts shot holes Tuesday in Apple Inc.’s allegations that Samsung smartphones infringe five iPhone patents, telling a California federal jury that patents on the iPhone’s universal search, autocorrect and slide-to-unlock features are invalid because other companies invented them first.

  • April 15, 2014

    Calif. Med Board Can Access Patient Records, Panel Says

    A California appeals panel ruled Tuesday that a trial court didn’t err in ordering a physician to comply with investigative subpoenas sent by the Medical Board of California, rejecting the doctor’s argument that the board violated his patients’ right to privacy by accessing a computerized database.

Expert Analysis

  • Stop And Read Your Slowdown Insurance Policy

    Allen R. Wolff

    Insurance should cover income loss not only when operations are completely shuttered, but also when your business is partially suspended — a distinction important to hotel owners and operators, with services more likely to operate on a reduced level after a loss. Today, some policies affirmatively state the extent of business slowdown coverage to avoid court decisions that narrowly interpret coverage extended under older policy forms, say Allen Wolff and Vianny Pichardo of Anderson Kill PC.

  • Calif.'s Prevailing Wage Law Will Punish The Noncompliant

    Jeremy C. Wooden

    California’s prevailing wage law may not be the oldest in the country, but it may be the most complex, evolving and litigated. The penalties for contractors and subcontractors who fail to comply with California's law have grown costlier — noncompliance risks up to a three-year ban on the bidding of public works projects in the state, says Jeremy Wooden of Foley & Lardner LLP.

  • Proving Harm In Trademark Cases Post-Herb Reed

    Beth Goldman

    The Ninth Circuit's recent decision in Herb Reed Enterprises LLC v. Florida Entertainment Management Inc. has shifted the balance against plaintiffs seeking a preliminary injunction in the trademark context to be in line with the trend in patent cases. The party seeking an injunction must proffer some evidence of irreparable harm, and can no longer rely on the presumption, say Beth Goldman and Daniel Justice of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

  • Beware 'Jewel' Risks In Lateral Partner Hiring

    Pamela Phillips

    Jewel litigation has been filed after every major law firm bankruptcy in the past 10 years, including Lyon & Lyon, Brobeck, Coudert, Thelen, Heller and Howrey. These lawsuits have produced years of litigation, with similar suits expected in the Dewey bankruptcy. Despite the legal uncertainties surrounding such claims, hiring firms can take steps now to minimize their Jewel risk for any lateral hire, say attorneys with Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • Calif.'s Small Step Toward 'Redevelopment 2.0'?

    Laurie N. Gustafson

    More than two years after Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Legislature dissolved the state's 400-plus redevelopment agencies, the governor has begun addressing their replacement by proposing to revise and expand the use of infrastructure financing districts. The proposal, however, appears to be only a small step toward “Redevelopment 2.0,” with many expressing concerns that the new tax-increment financing tools may not be as effective as redevelopment, says Laurie Gustafson of Sedgwick LLP.

  • Inside Calif.'s De Facto Moratorium On Well Stimulation

    Michael N. Mills

    California's SB 4 requires the state's Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources to develop a permitting scheme to regulate the use of well-stimulation practices, including hydraulic fracturing. However, the division's interim regulations have created more problems than they've solved and established a de facto moratorium that the state Legislature and governor rejected in 2013, say Michael Mills and Chelsea Huffman of Stoel Rives LLP.

  • Calif. Ruling May Hike PE Fund Founders' Tax Liabilities

    Jennifer A. Ray

    A recent California ruling, treating a private equity fund founder’s income streams from the fund and its management company as separate, may not have a large practical impact where the management company receives only the management fee and not the carry. A much larger impact may occur if the same logic applies to the general partner structure and carry as well, say David Fischer and Jennifer Ray of Crowell & Moring LLP.

  • Calif. Odor Case Stinks For Businesses With CGL Policies

    William A. Webster

    A California federal court recently confirmed that purely economic loss from bad odors is not a “loss of use” of tangible property and does not constitute property damage under a commercial general liability policy. However, the court left open whether an odor that causes a business to close its doors is sufficient to deprive an insured of the use of its tangible property for purposes of liability coverage, say William Webster and Glenanne Kennedy of Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi LLP.

  • Tenants And Marijuana — Time To Revisit The Boilerplate

    Nadya N. Makenko

    What happens if an entity or person, permitted under applicable state law to engage in the cultivation, distribution or possession of marijuana, is leasing space in a building for such purposes? This scenario sheds a completely different light on some “boilerplate” lease provisions, such as compliance with all laws, because clearly, the tenant’s use will not comply with federal law, says Nadya Makenko of K&L Gates LLP.

  • More Lift For Airlines Defending State Law Tort Claims

    William V. O’Connor

    The recent Ninth Circuit ruling in Ventress v. Japan Airlines correctly affirms years of preemption jurisprudence holding that state law claims that intrude upon the federally regulated area of aviation safety will be preempted. This well-reasoned approach furthers Congress’ goal of creating a uniform system of aviation safety, and provides airlines with another tool in their kit to combat state law claims, employment or otherwise, say attorneys with Morrison & Foerster LLP.