Westlaw Journals weekly round-up

July 16, 2014

Westlaw Journals Weekly RoundupHighlights from the past week’s litigation headlines over at the Westlaw Journals blog include a California high court ruling on class-action bans in employment contracts, $1 million verdict overturned in vaccine case, Twitter user sues Illinois city officials based on wrongful arrest over parody account, and SESAC must face monopolization claim:

California high court OKs class-action bans in employment contracts: Employment contracts that require workers to arbitrate disputes individually are enforceable based on a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court class-action waiver ruling and federal law, the California Supreme Court ruled June 23. The state high court said, however, that an employee’s right to file a representative action under the state’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, Cal. Labor Code § 2698, cannot be waived. PAGA allows workers to bring action against an employer for civil penalties on behalf of fellow employees. (Employment)

Federal Circuit reverses $1 million vaccine injury award: A man who claims a childhood vaccination for the hepatitis B virus caused him to develop chronic fatigue syndrome did not produce sufficient causation evidence to support a $1 million judgment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled June 19. The unanimous three-judge panel reversed a 2011 decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that overturned a special master’s findings and entered judgment for plaintiff Ilya Dobrydnev. (Toxic Torts)

Twitter user says Illinois city wrongfully arrested him for parody postings: Peoria, Ill., municipal officials violated a Twitter user’s constitutional rights when they unlawfully searched his home, seized his property and arrested him because of an account he set up parodying the city’s mayor, according to a June 11 complaint. “Political parody is a great tradition in the United States — From Thomas Nast to Jon Stewart,” Harvey Grossman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said in a blog post on the organization’s website. (Computer & Internet)

Music licensing group must face monopolization claim: A nonprofit group that negotiates public-performance licenses for radio stations may continue with its claim that performance rights organization SESAC Inc. effectively created exclusive-dealing contracts with songwriters and other affiliates, a federal judge in Philadelphia ruled June 26. The plaintiff, Radio Music License Committee Inc., “is gratified that the judge has definitively held that [its] complaint ‘cogently portrays’ how SESAC has obtained and preserved its monopoly power through exclusionary conduct,” said Latham & Watkins partner Peggy Zwisler, one of RMLC’s attorneys. (Antitrust)