Class Certification Granted In Employees' Antitrust Suit Against High-Tech Companies

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 24 granted a supplemental motion for class certification in an antitrust suit accusing high-tech companies of conspiring to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2509, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153752).

    Federal Judge Dismisses Claims From Overdraft Fees Class Action

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 25 granted in part and denied in part Umpqua Bank's motion for judgment on the pleadings in a putative class action alleging that the bank illegally reordered customers' debit card transactions in order to maximize profits, finding that some of the plaintiff's claims are preempted by the National Bank Act (NBA) (Amber Hawthorne, et al. v. Umpqua Bank, No. 11-6700, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153697).

    Judge Finds Standing, Specificity In Splenda Web Advertising Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO - Inconsistencies in allegations of website exposure between complaints do not warrant dismissal of a California unfair competition law (UCL) claim challenging the advertising of Splenda, a federal judge held Oct. 21 (Barbara Bronson, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc. and McNeil Nutritionals Inc., No. 12-4184, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151842).

    Federal Judge Rules On Expert Testimony, Access In Merger Trial

    BOISE, Idaho - The federal judge in Idaho overseeing the trial involving an antitrust challenge to a consummated merger between a hospital system and a physician group on Oct. 18 refused to exclude certain expert testimony regarding the impact of unwinding the merger and ruled that the Associated Press' counsel may review all trial material under the same obligation as counsel for the parties (Saint Alphonsus Medical Center - Nampa, Inc., et al. v. St. Luke's Health System, Ltd., No. 12-560, D. Idaho; Federal Trade Commission, et al. v. St. Luke's Health System, Ltd., et al., No. 13-116, D. Idaho; 2013 U.S. LEXIS 150450, 2013 U.S. LEXIS 150451).

    Novell Seeks Rehearing En Banc In Monopolization Suit Against Microsoft

    DENVER - Novell Inc. on Oct. 22 filed a petition for rehearing en banc of a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that Novell failed to present evidence sufficient for a jury to find that Microsoft Corp. unlawfully used its dominant position in the personal computing operating-systems market to monopolize the word-processing and spreadsheet applications markets when it withdrew access to its namespace extensions (Novell, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 12-4143, 10th Cir.).

    Software Maker Fails To Allege Agreement; Antitrust Claims Fail, 2nd Circuit Holds

    NEW YORK - A software company failed to allege facts demonstrating that insurers' requiring the use of a rival estimating software was anything more than parallel conduct, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 18 in an unpublished order affirming the dismissal of antitrust and trademark infringement claims (Vedder Software Group Ltd. v. Insurance Services Office, Inc., et al., No. 13-1267, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 21118).

    Judge: Competition Law Claim Involving GM Steering Component Proceeds

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A man's claim that General Motors LLC knowingly sold vehicles with defective steering components then replaced those parts with equally defective replacements supports a claim under all three prongs of the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held Oct. 16 (Chris Aguilar, et al. v. General Motors LLC, No. 13-437, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149108).

    Trial Order Proposed In American Airlines, US Airways Merger Antitrust Lawsuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), US Airways Group Inc. and American Airlines Inc. on Oct. 17 filed a joint proposed procedural order for the upcoming antitrust trial on the DOJ's claims that the proposed merger of the two airlines violates federal law. The proposed order calls for closing arguments to be held Jan. 6 (United States of America v. US Airways Group Inc., et al., No. 13-01236, D. D.C.).

    Judge: Provider Neither Competitor Not Consumer Of Insurer; Unfair Claim Fails

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Claims that a health insurer misrepresented its power to authorize and provide coverage for treatment form the basis for a California unfair competition law (UCL) unlawful-prong claim, but because the provider is neither a consumer nor a competitor, its unfair-prong claim fails, a federal judge held Oct. 15 (Centre for Neuro Skills v. Blue Cross of California dba Anthem Blue Cross, et al., No. 13-743, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148432).

    Ohio Federal Judge Grants In Part Motions To Compel Against Non-Party

    DAYTON, Ohio - Non-party Community Insurance Co., doing business as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Anthem), must produce certain documents regarding its deliberations not to contract with a medical center in the medical center's lawsuit claiming that it was denied contracts with managed care providers as a result of a purported conspiracy involving other hospitals to exclude the medical center from the marketplace in violation of federal antitrust law, a federal judge in Ohio ruled Oct. 16 (The Medical Center at Elizabeth Place, LLC v. Premier Health Partners, et al., No. 3:12-cv-26, S.D. Ohio; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148839).

    Court Finds 'Substantially Identical' Labeling Law Preempted, Denies Rehearing

    LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court on Oct. 15 denied a petition for rehearing, leaving stand a ruling that "substantially identical" food labeling laws are not "identical" to federal law and cannot avoid preemption, according to the court's docket (Mary L. Simpson v. The Kroger Corp., et al., No. B242405, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

    New Trial Sought After $113M Verdict In Attempted Monopolization Case

    MARSHALL, Texas - Becton, Dickinson & Co. (BD) on Oct. 11 moved for judgment as a matter of law or, alternatively, a new trial following a federal jury in Texas' $133,508,014 damage award in favor of Retractable Technologies Inc.(RTI) on its claim of attempted monopolization of the market for safety syringes through deceptive practices (Retractable Technologies, Inc., et al. v. Becton Dickinson & Company, No. 2:08-cv-16, E.D. Texas).

    Judge Rejects Primary Jurisdiction In 'Natural' Products Cases, Denies Stay

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 10 declined General Mills Inc.'s request to stay three cases challenging the advertising of "natural" products, saying primary jurisdiction did not apply (Judith Janney, et al. v. General Mills, Gabriel Rojas v. General Mills Inc., Sean Bohac v. General Mills Inc., Nos. 12-03919, 12-5099, 12-5280, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147024, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147019, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147530).

    Judge Finds MLB's Antitrust Exemption Dooms Competition Law Claim

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - Exemption from antitrust regulation dooms a California unfair competition law (UCL) action challenging Major League Baseball's role in preventing a franchise from moving to San Jose, a federal judge held Oct. 11 (City of San Jose; City of San Jose as successor agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Jose, et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, et al., No. 13-02787, N.D. Calif.).

    Special Master Recommends That Discovery Requests In Airline Merger Case Be Denied

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The special master overseeing discovery in the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) action seeking an injunction to prevent the proposed merger of American Airlines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. recommended Oct. 10 that certain discovery requests be denied (United States of America, et al. v. US Airways Group Inc., et al., No. 13-01236, D. D.C.).

    Special Master: Airlines Not Allowed To Compel Discovery In Antitrust Lawsuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The special master appointed to handle discovery requests in the antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against US Airways Group Inc., and bankrupt American Airlines Inc. on Oct. 10 issued a report saying that the airlines should not be permitted to compel discovery into third-party interviews conducted by the DOJ leading up to its filing of the lawsuit (United States of America v. US Airways Group Inc., et al., No. 13-01236, D. D.C.).

    California Appeals Court Affirms Competition Law Verdict, Damages

    LOS ANGELES - Substantial evidence supports a judge's California unfair competition law (UCL) verdict that a used car retailer agreed to pay off a consumer's previous loan without intending to follow through, an appeals panel held Oct. 9 (Ismeal Bermudo Jr. v. Farhad Tahmassebi, et al., No. B240892, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7191).

    Health Care Provider Lacks Standing As Assignee Under ERISA, 10th Circuit Rules

    DENVER - A domestic partner who is not legally married to a health plan participant lacks standing to assert a claim for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and, therefore, the health care provider who was assigned the domestic partner's rights also lacks standing, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 9 in an unpublished opinion (Denver Health and Hospital Authority v. Beverage Distributors Company, LLC, et al., No. 12-1355, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20537).

    Judge: Conduct Allegedly Caused More Recording, Injury Under Competition Law

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - An animal rights activist's allegations that circus employees' harassment necessitated longer recordings and forced her to purchase additional memory cards satisfies the California unfair competition law (UCL) injury standard, a federal judge held Oct. 4 (Shannon Campbell and Mark Ennis v. Feld Entertainment Inc., James Dennis, Matthew Gillett, Mike Stuart, David Bailey, DOES 1 through 20, Nos. 12-4233, 13-0233, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145495).

    Publishers, Apple Will Appeal E-Books Price-Fixing Order

    NEW YORK - Publishers Simon & Schuster Inc. and Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan on Oct. 4 filed notices of appeal, joining Apple Inc., in appealing to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals a final order requiring Apple to modify its existing agreements with five publishers and submit to an external monitor following a ruling that Apple conspired with the publishers to fix prices of electronic books (United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 2826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.).

    Union Wants To Intervene In Antitrust Lawsuit Against Bankrupt American Airlines

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Transport Workers Union (TWU) on Oct. 7 moved in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for permission to intervene in the antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against bankrupt American Airlines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. (United States of America v. US Airways Group Inc., et al., No. 13-01236, D. D.C.).

    Unaccepted Offer Of Judgment Doesn't Moot Claims, 9th Circuit Finds

    SAN FRANCISCO - An expired Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68 offer does not moot claims, even if the offer fully compensates the plaintiff for her misrepresentation claims, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 4 (Emily Diaz, et al. v. First American Home Buyers Protection Corp., No. 11-57239, 9th Cir.).

    Supreme Court Denies Review In Antitrust Cases

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court denied review on Oct. 7 of several antitrust cases involving issues related to price-fixing agreements and immunity from antitrust laws.

    Supreme Court Will Not Review Standing Ruling In ATM Fee Litigation

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 denied review of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that automated teller machine cardholders did not have standing to proceed with their antitrust challenges to the fixed interchange fee that a card-issuing bank pays to the ATM owner and the foreign ATM fee that the cardholder pays to his bank when the cardholder uses ATMs owned by other institutions (In re: ATM Fee Antitrust Litigation, Pamela Brennan, et al. v. Concord EFS, Inc., et al., No. 13-63, U.S. Sup.).

    Unfair Competition Class Action Against Skype Reinstated By Appeals Court

    LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on Oct. 4 found that a woman's putative class claims alleging unfair competition, false advertising and related claims against Skype Inc., over its claims of "unlimited" calling plans, were adequately alleged, reversing and remanding a lower court's dismissal (Melissa Chapman, et al. v. Skype Inc., No. B241398, Calif. App., 2nd. Dist.; 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 794).