Year of the Rat starts next Tuesday.

As 2008 draws nigh, the federal courts keep at their judicial business.  Why, these interesting and important appellate decisions in commercial cases came out just this week:

  • Disability Insurance.  New York Insurance Law section 3234(a)(2) allows disability insurers to "toll" benefits for disabilities that disable the insured during the first 12 months of coverage but arise from a pre-existing condition.  But it also disallows absolute bars to coverage, presumably requiring payment of benefits for disabilities that persist after the first 12 months.  Benesowitz v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., No. 05-6382-cv (Dec. 28, 2007).
  • Subpoenas to Non-Resident Non-Americans.  U.S. district courts may enforce a subpoena for a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition against a foreign corporation even if the courts lack personal jurisdiction over the alien entity.  Proper service of the subpoena obviates the need for jurisdiction.  Rosenruist-Gestao E Servicos LDA, v. Virgin Enterprises Ltd., No. 06-1588 (4th Cir. Dec. 27, 2007).  Circuit Judge Wilkinson dissented — with vigor.
  • Failure to Fix Bad Credit Report.  A jury properly found a credit reporting agency liable under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to a victim of identity theft for failing to correct false information about her credit history.  The court reduced the award for mental anguish to $150,000 from $250,000 and directed the district court on remand to allow the defendant to submit an opposition to the plaintiff’s application for attorneys’ fees under Rule 54(d)(2)(C).  Sloane v. Equifax Information Services, LLC, No. 06-2044 (4th Cir. Dec. 27, 2007).
  • Contempt Against Non-Party.  The bankruptcy and district courts erred in holding a non-party in contempt without first giving her personal notice in compliance with Bankruptcy Rule 7004.  In re Teknek, LLC, No. 07-1498 (7th Cir. Dec. 28, 2007).
  • Patent Infringement by Google’s AdSense and AutoLink Products.  The district court construed "data reference" too narrowly and thus shouldn’t have granted summary judgment of non-infringement on two patents as to Google’s AutoLink product.  The rest of the summary judgment for Google survived attack.  Hyperphrase Technologies, LLC v. Google, Inc., Nos. 2007-1125 & 2007-1176 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 26, 2007) (non-precedential opinion).

Feedicon Happy Friday — and happy almost new year.