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October 2016 Archives

Rhode Island Federal District Court Addresses Whether Documents Must Be Produced in Native Format

In a wide-ranging memorandum and order on several discovery motions, Magistrate Judge Sullivan addressed, inter alia, whether parties in a commercial dispute must produce documents in their "native" electronic format in addition to the PDF form in which they were originally produced. Wai Feng Trading Co. v. Quick Fitting, Inc., C.A. Nos. 13-33, 13-56, 2016 WL 4184014 (D.R.I. June 14, 2016). Strauss Factor represents the so-called "Wai Feng Parties" in this case.

Rhode Island Asbestos Litigation and Waiver or Forfeiture of a Personal Jurisdiction Defense

In a pair of recent decisions in two different cases, Presiding Justice Gibney of the Rhode Island Supreme Court has granted and denied motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction by the same asbestos defendant based on whether the defendant had forfeited its personal jurisdiction defense. Murray v. 3M Co., C.A. No. PC-16-0151, slip decision (R.I.Super. Oct. 13, 2016) ("Murray") (granting motion); Bazor v. Abex Corp., C.A. No. PC-10-3965, 2016 WL 25944665 (R.I.Super. May 2, 2016) ("Bazor") (denying motion).

First Circuit Holds in Products Liability Case that Plaintiff's Expert Need Not Test Alternative Design

The First Circuit Court of Appeal has held that Daubert does not require that an expert actually test an alternative design for a product before he can testify that it is safer than the defendant's design. Quilez-Velar v. Ox Bodies, Inc. 823 F.3d 712 (1st Cir. 2016).

First Circuit Clarifies Standards of Proof for Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Claims

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a comprehensive opinion clarifying many legal issues in sex discrimination claims, including (1) whether a plaintiff can prove discrimination by circumstantial evidence alone; (2) whether a reduction of job responsibilities that does not involve a reduction in salary constitutes an adverse employment action; (3) whether a plaintiff can prove sex discrimination without evidence of sexist slurs; (4) whether a plaintiff can prove sexual harassment without evidence of sexual comments or actions; (5) whether a plaintiff can prove discrimination or harassment without showing that it was both severe and pervasive; and (6) whether a plaintiff can defeat summary judgment on a Faragher/Ellerth defense by showing that she feared retaliation if she complained about the discrimination . Burns v. Johnson, 829 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2016). The First Circuit answered all the questions in the affirmative.