Legal Roundup: Subway Tuna Suit Continues, Aerojet Rocketdyne to Pay to Settle Cybersecurity Noncompliance and More
Aerojet Rocketdyne to Pay $9M for Cybersecurity Noncompliance
The case: A former employee of Aerojet Rocketdyne sued the rocket engine maker in 2015, claiming that “it misrepresented its compliance with cybersecurity requirements in federal government contracts,” according to Reuters.
Plaintiff Brian Markus filed “under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.” He claimed that “between July 2013 and September 2015, Aerojet received over $2.6 billion in government funds by ‘fraudulently procuring’ Defense Department and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contracts,” reported Reuters.
Scorecard: The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Aerojet has agreed to pay $9 million to resolve the allegations.
Takeaway: The resolution occurred on the second day of the trial. Markus, who was hired in 2013 as a cybersecurity expert, will receive $2.61 million. “Aerojet Rocketdyne did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement,” Reuters reported.
NY Strip Club Must Close After Insurers Deny Coverage
The case: In 2020, actress/model Carmen Electra and models Lucy Pinder and Irina Voronina filed suit in U.S. District Court against Albany, N.Y. strip club DiCarlo’s.
The plaintiffs claimed DiCarlo’s “used their images in social media ads without permission,” according to Bloomberg Law.
“The lawsuit alleged the club illegally used an image of Electra and altered it to make it appear she worked at DiCarlo’s by showing her posing on a stripper pole,” reported the Times Union. DiCarlo’s argued that the models were not “sufficiently recognizable,” a claim that was struck down by the court, which ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
Scorecard: DiCarlo’s insurance carrier has declined to renew coverage and the bar has been unable to find a new underwriter.
Takeaway: The strip club, in operation for 30 years, took to social media to announce a temporary closure while uninsured. The current owner says he is willing to sell the business, according to the Times Union, which added that the Facebook post “seemed to acknowledge misappropriating the images of Electra and her co-plaintiffs, Lucy Pinder and Irina Voronina, for use in racy ads on social media.”
No word on if or when the club will reopen.
Subway Tuna Suit Will Move Forward, Judge Rules
The case: A 2021 lawsuit filed against sandwich chain Subway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California claimed that the ingredient called “tuna” contained no tuna at all. Plaintiff Nilima Amin and others requested class action status. Subway requested that the court dismiss the suit.
Scorecard: U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar has denied Subway’s request to dismiss, setting the stage to move the case to trial, according to NPR.
Takeaway: The highly publicized case led The New York Times to commission tests of three tuna samples from Subway stores in Los Angeles. The result was emailed back to the reporter. “‘No amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample and so we obtained no amplification products from the DNA,’ the email read. ‘Therefore, we cannot identify the species.’”
In defense, Subway created a website, SubwayTunaFacts.com. It states that the NYT test that didn’t detect tuna DNA “really just means that the test was inadequate in determining what the protein was. In other words, it was a problem with the test, not the tuna.”
Georgia Appeals Court Revives Roundup Suit
The case: In 2017, John Carson filed a liability suit against Monsanto (later acquired by Bayer) in Georgia district court, accusing the company of selling a cancer causing product. Carson used Roundup weed killer for 30 years. The court ruled in favor of Monsanto, and Carson appealed.
Scorecard: “The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Montgomery, Alabama, rejected Bayer’s argument that federal law shielded it from state law claims like the one brought by John Carson,” according to Reuters.
Takeaway: This is “the latest in a string of legal defeats for the company,” according to Reuters, which notes a previous appeal defeat in the 9th Circuit Court in California.
“Bayer had hoped that a victory in Carson’s case would create a conflict between appeals courts that would make the U.S. Supreme Court more likely to take up the issue, potentially limiting its liability in thousands of lawsuits.” Bayer faces the possibility of paying out billions of dollars in damages. &