WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 25 granted the Federal Trade Commission's petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that although a merger between two Georgia hospitals would substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly, the state-action doctrine immunized the conduct from a challenge by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., et al. No. 11-1160, U.S. Sup.).
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NEW YORK - Research In Motion Corp.'s (RIM) rejection of a "reduced QWERTY" keyboard technology jointly developed by RIM and a patent holder was not anti-competitive conduct under Section 2 of the Sherman Act because the parties did not have an antecedent product, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 21 in a summary order (Eatoni Ergonomics, Inc. v. Research in Motion Corp., et al., No. 11-5328-cv, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 12641).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The federal judge in the District of Columbia overseeing the multidistrict litigation against railroad freight haulers on June 21 certified a class of direct purchasers who allege that the railroads violated antitrust laws by conspiring to charge excessive fuel surcharges (In re: Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation (All Direct Purchaser Cases), No. 1:07-mc-00489, MDL No. 1869, D. D.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86288).
NEW YORK - A lawyer who claimed that bond underwriters conspired to boycott a bond structure she developed and that the underwriters refused to deal lacked standing to assert violations of New York's Donnelly Act because she was a vendor, not a competitor, in the relevant market, and her injuries were too remote, a New York state judge ruled June 21 in dismissing the lawyer's action (Linda Grant Williams v. Citigroup, Inc., et al., No. 650481/2010, N.Y. Sup., N.Y. County). Subscribers may view the decision and order available within the full article.
CHICAGO - College students who alleged that the member institutions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association engaged in a horizontal price-fixing agreement related to scholarships for student-athletes in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act failed to identify a commercial market, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 18 in affirming a trial court's dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice (Joseph Agnew, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 11-3066, 7th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 12256).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 18 certified a limited class of indirect purchasers who allege that GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) improperly inflated the cost of its Flonase nasal spray for two years by blocking generic versions of the drug from introduction into the market (In re: Flonase Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-CV-3301, E.D. Pa.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on June 14 declined to dismiss an antitrust suit brought by one health insurer against another, saying the plaintiff's allegations met the threshold requirements to establish antitrust standing (Aetna Inc. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 11-15346, E.D. Mich.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82621).
SAN FRANCISCO - A woman lacks injury from "unlimited downloading" websites she did not enroll in, but her allegations that a single company controlled the advertising of all the sites allows her to pursue her California unfair competition law (UCL) claims against it, a federal judge held June 14 (Kimberly Yordy v. Plimus Inc., No. 12-0229, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82719).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - It makes no sense to apply California's unfair competition law (UCL) to homeowner association elections that involve no commercial activity, a state appeals court held June 15 (Dinh Ton That v. Alders Maintenance Association, No. G044799, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 708).
SAN DIEGO - A man cannot show that he suffered harm from a company's failure to comply with certain disclosure requirements under California's personal-information-sharing law and, thus, economic injury on which to pursue his California unfair competition law (UCL) claims, a federal judge held June 14 (David Boorstein v. Men's Journal LLC, No. 12-771, C.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on June 13 allowed a man to proceed with California unfair competition law (UCL) claims alleging that a supplement manufacturer misleadingly advertised the benefits of a product containing a dangerous geranium-based stimulant (Stephen J. Rush, et al. v. Nutrex Research Inc., et al., No. 12-1060, N.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
SAN DIEGO - Plaintiffs asked a California federal judge on June 13 to preliminarily approve a settlement worth more than $38 million in a state unfair competition law (UCL) case alleging that online retailers used personal information to enroll consumers in rewards programs without their knowledge or consent (In Re: EasySaver Rewards Litigation, No. 09-02094, S.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the memo supporting preliminary approval available within the full article.
LOS ANGELES - A liquor importer may not proceed with California unfair competition law (UCL) fraud-prong claims because only consumers, not prospective business partners, constitute members of the public for purposes of the "likely to deceive" standard, a federal judge held June 5 (Cabo Brands Inc. v. MAS Beverages Inc., No. 11-1911, C.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78017).
PHILADELPHIA - Wholesale distributors, not health care providers, are direct purchasers of hypodermic products with standing to pursue claims that the manufacturer of those products violated the Sherman Act by entering into agreements with group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and other medical device manufacturers to impose exclusionary practices, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 5 in an unpublished opinion (In re: Hypodermic Products Antitrust Litigation (American Sales Company, Inc., et al.), No. 11-3122, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11293).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on June 5denied motions to overturn a jury verdict finding that AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), AU Optronics Corporation America (AUO America) and Taiwanese employees engaged in a global conspiracy to fix worldwide prices of thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display (TAFT-LCD) panels for use in computer monitors and televisions in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (United States of America v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 09-cv-0110 SI, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78035).
CINCINNATI - A federal district court erred in ruling that the filed-rate doctrine deprived it of jurisdiction over electricity purchasers' claims that Duke Energy Corp. violated the Robinson-Patman Act (RPA) 15 U.S.C.S. § 13 by paying rebates to certain customers that withdrew opposition to rate increases, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 4 (Anthony Williams, et al. v. Duke Energy International, Inc., et al., No. 10-3604, 6th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11189).
SAN FRANCISCO - Statutes of limitations bar a man's underlying California unfair competition law (UCL) claims based on allegedly unlawful foreclosure, and the remaining claims under the UCL are insufficiently pleaded, a federal judge held June 4 (Juan Rodriquez v. U.S. Bank National Association, et al., No. 12-00989, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77228).
SAN FRANCISCO - Consumers from 31 states lack standing under the California unfair competition law (UCL) to pursue claims against Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. for offering to repair allegedly defective brakes rather than issuing a full recall, but they should be allowed to amend their complaint, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 5 (Mario Contreras; Madeline Hunter v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., No. 10-16556, 9th Cir.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
SAN FRANCISCO - Price-fixing claims by a purchaser and manufacturer of carbon fiber against a supplier and competitor are time-barred based on the date the evidence demonstrated that the plaintiff had knowledge of the conspiracy, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 1, citing evidence that the plaintiff was aware of industrywide anti-competitive practices, that the plaintiff had been subpoenaed in a government investigation and that the plaintiff stated in a Form 10-K form that it was a subject of an antitrust investigation (Hexcel Corporation v. Ineos Polymers, Inc., No. 10-56765, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11071).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The work rules of the Association of Maryland Pilots (AMP), which establish a rotation system for job assignments among docking masters, do not violate the Maryland Antitrust Act, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland ruled May 31 (Krause Marine Towing Corp., et al. v. Association of Maryland Pilots, et al., No. 561 Sept. Term, 2010; 2012 Md. App. LEXIS 56).
SAN FRANCISCO - Sellers who alleged unlawful tying by eBay Corp. in the market for online payment systems for use in online auctions may continue with their federal antitrust claims, a federal judge in California ruled May 29 in an unpublished ruling denying eBay's motion to dismiss the tying claims in the sellers' second amended class action complaint ( Charlotte Smith, et al. v. eBay Corporation, et al., No. C 10-03825, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74121).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 29 in a divided ruling denied rehearing en banc of its Feb. 1 opinion affirming its prior holding that a mandatory class action waiver clause in American Express Co.'s (AmEx) standardized service contract violated the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) (In re: American Express Merchants' Litigation (Italian Colors Restaurant, et al. v. American Express Travel Related Services Company, et al.), No. 06-1871-cv, 2nd Cir.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full update.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A paint company's decision to sell directly to one of its consumers clients did not raise prices nor harm competition, a California judge held May 25 in granting judgment on California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Weco Supply Co. Inc. v. The Sherwin-Williams Co., No. 10-00171, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73255).
BOISE, Idaho - A cease-and-desist letter stemming from a radar detector patent dispute enjoys immunity from suit under Idaho law as a communication made in the course of litigation, an Idaho federal judge said May 23, and the letter also cannot serve as the basis for a Lanham Act claim (Escort Inc., et al. v. Hoyt A. Fleming, et al., No. 1:12-cv-0064-BLW, D. Idaho; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72193).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on May 21 dismissed with prejudice an antitrust action brought by indirect purchasers challenging an alleged patent-licensing arrangement to control the availability and pricing of secure digital memory card (SD card) technologies as an unlawful restraint of trade (Dr. Dan Oliver, et al. V. SD-3C, LLC, et al., No. C 11-01260, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70615).