LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Airline Customers: Merger Of American, US Airways Is Antitrust Violation

    NEW YORK - A group of airline customers on Aug. 6 filed an adversary complaint against bankrupt AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines Inc., in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that the proposed $11 billion merger of American Airlines and US Airways Group Inc. would be a violation of federal antitrust laws (Carolyn Fjord, et al. v. AMR Corporation $(In Re: AMR Corporation$), No. 11-15463, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).

    Federal Judge Allows Late-Fees Suit Against Sallie Mae To Proceed

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Aug. 5 found that SLM Corp. (Sallie Mae) and other defendants have not established that the choice-of-law provisions in promissory notes bar claims at the pleading stage of a putative class action alleging that Sallie Mae's late fees violate California's consumer protection law, allowing the case to continue (Tina M. Ubaldi, et al. v. SLM Corporation, et al., No. 11-1320, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109877).

    United States, States Debate Apple Over Remedies In E-Book Conspiracy Case

    NEW YORK - The United States and the 33 states that prevailed in federal district court in New York on their claims that Apple Inc. conspired with five publishers to fix prices of electronic books submitted their proposed remedy on Aug.2 (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.).

    Federal Judge Approves $10.5M Settlement In Price-Fixing Suit Against Insurers, Brokers

    TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey federal judge overseeing the insurance brokerage antitrust multidistrict litigation on Aug. 1 approved a $10.5 million settlement between insurance companies and policyholders who accused the insurers of conspiring with insurance brokers in a price-fixing scheme to inflate commercial insurance prices (In re Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1663, No. 04-5184, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108042).

    4th Circuit Denies Rehearing Of State-Action Test In FTC Action

    RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 30 denied the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners' petition seeking rehearing and rehearing en banc of a ruling declining to review the Federal Trade Commission's holding that dentists in North Carolina, through the board, are conspiring to exclude non-dentists from providing teeth-whitening services in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, No. 12-1172, 4th Cir.).

    City Of Philadelphia Sues Banks Over Interest-Rate Swap Libor Losses

    PHILADELPHIA - The City of Philadelphia sued nine London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) Panel banks and certain of their subsidiaries in Pennsylvania federal court on July 26, claiming that the defendants manipulated the Libor in an effort to minimize returns on a derivative they sold to entities such as the city in violation of federal antitrust laws (The City of Philadelphia v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 13-4352, E.D. Pa.).

    California Federal Judge Dismisses Conspiracy Claims Against Kaiser, Union

    SAN DIEGO - A hospital system failed to allege that a managed care organization and its related entities conspired with a labor union to exclude competition in the markets for emergency and acute-care hospital services, a federal judge in California ruled July 25 (Prime Healthcare Services, Inc. v. Service Employees International Union, et al., No. 11-2652, S.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).

    Competition Law Claims Against iPhone 4S, 'Siri,' Found Lacking By Judge

    SAN FRANCISCO - California law allows out-of-state plaintiffs to pursue California unfair competition law (UCL) claims challenging the efficiency of Apple Inc.'s iPhone 4S and its digital assistant "Siri" at the pleading stage, but none of the plaintiffs has shown the requisite injury, a federal judge held July 23 (In re iPhone 4S Consumer Litigation, No. 12-1127, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103058).

    Antitrust, Some ERISA Claims Dismissed From Wellpoint Reimbursement MDL

    LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on July 19 dismissed antitrust and other claims alleging that WellPoint Inc. and other companies conspired to use a flawed database to set the rates for which out-of-network medical services (ONS) are reimbursed (In re: WellPoint Inc. Out-Of-Network "UCR" Rates Litigation, MDL No. 2:09-ml-02074, C.D. Calif.).

    Gas Station Operators Don't Support Sherman Act Claims, 4th Circuit Rules

    RICHMOND, Va. - Gas station operators failed to present sufficient evidence to defeat wholesale distributors' motion for summary judgment on the operators' monopolization and attempted monopolization claims, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 19 in an unpublished opinion (SSS Enterprises, Inc., et al. v. Nov Petroleum Realty, LLC, et al., No. 12-2088, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 14641).

    Dealer Failed To Prove That Favorable Pricing Is Unlawful, 9th Circuit Rules

    SAN FRANCISCO - An aftermarket automobile parts dealer did not demonstrate that its competitor knew that the price advantages it received from a distributor resulted from anything other than its large volume of purchases or that an alleged agreement between its competitor and the distributor resulted in anti-competitive harm to the relevant market, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 19 in affirming summary judgment against the dealer on its Robinson-Patman Act and Sherman Act claims (Gorlick Distribution Centers, LLC v. Car Sound Exhaust Sytem, Inc., et al., No. 10-36083, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 14635).

    Trial Begins In TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Opt-Out Cases; Several Settlements Reached

    SAN FRANCISCO - A trial against manufacturers on claims that they were engaged in a conspiracy to raise and fix the prices of film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) panels and certain products containing those panels is set to begin July 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, following recent settlements reached with several of the defendants in the opt-out cases in the multidistrict litigation (In re: TFT-LCD $(Flat Panel$) Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1927 $(Best Buy v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 10-CV-4572; Best Buy v. Toshiba Corp., et al., No. 12-CV-4114; Eastman Kodak Company v. Epson Imaging Devices Corp., et al., No. 10-CV-5452; Target Corp., et al. v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 10-CV-4945$), N.D. Calif.).

    Court Affirms Denial Of Certification Of Nurses' Competition Law Class Claims

    SAN DIEGO - A trial court judge provided an appellate opinion as an alternative explanation for his ruling denying class certification of a California unfair competition law (UCL) claim but did not fail to address the claim, a state appeals court held July 17 (Juan Marcos Almaraz, et al. v. Sharp Healthcare, et al., No. D059648, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1).

    State Dental Board Asks 4th Circuit To Reconsider State- Action Test In FTC Action

    RICHMOND, Va. - The North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners on July 15 filed a petition seeking rehearing and rehearing en banc of a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling declining to review the Federal Trade Commission's holding that dentists in North Carolina, through the board, are conspiring to exclude non-dentists from providing teeth-whitening services in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, No. 12-1172, 4th Cir.).

    Judge Grants Final Approval Of $30M Settlement Between Toshiba, Direct Purchasers

    SAN FRANCISCO - The federal judge in California overseeing the film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) antitrust litigation on Dec. 18 granted final approval to a $30 million settlement between Toshiba Corp. and direct purchasers, vacating a jury award of $87 million in damages to the purchasers on their claims that Toshiba engaged in a conspiracy with other manufacturers to raise and fix the price of TFT-LCD panels and certain products containing those panels imported into the United States (In re: TFT-LCD $(Flat Panel$) Antitrust Litigation $(All Direct Purchaser Actions$), MDL No. 3:07-md-1827 SI, N.D. Calif.; See October 2012).

    Price-Fixing Settlement Funds To Be Disbursed To LCD Direct Purchasers

    SAN FRANCISCO - The federal judge in California overseeing the film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) antitrust litigation on July 12 approved the first distribution of settlement funds to direct purchaser class members on their claims that Toshiba Corp. and other manufacturers engaged in a conspiracy to raise and fix the price of TFT-LCD panels and certain products containing those panels imported into the United States (In re: TFT-LCD $(Flat Panel$) Antitrust Litigation $(All Direct Purchaser Actions$), MDL No. 3:07-md-1827 SI, N.D. Calif.).

    Cross-Elasticity Of Supply Dooms Attempted Monopolization Claim, 11th Circuit Rules

    ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 15 affirmed the dismissal of attempted monopolization claims brought by the losing bidder in a bankruptcy auction of a steel mill's assets against the successful bidder, finding that there was high cross-elasticity of supply, which deters monopoly pricing (Gulf States Reorganization Group, Inc. v. Nucor Corporation, No. 11-14983, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 14187).

    Employees Reach Settlement With 2 High-Tech Employers On Conspiracy Claims

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - Employees who allege that seven high-tech companies conspired to restrict the mobility of technical employees by entering into agreements not to compete for each other's employees told a federal judge in California on July 12 that they have reached an agreement with defendants Pixar and Lucasfilm Ltd. (In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-CV-02509, N.D. Calif.).

    Jury Rules Against Colorado Nightclub On Antitrust Claims Against Rival

    DENVER - A federal jury in Colorado on July 10 found against Denver nightclubs on their unlawful tying, monopolization and attempted monopolization claims that a competitor nightclub and the owner of a digital download service and the defendant nightclub coerced disc jockeys to perform at the competitor nightclub in violation of federal antitrust laws (Regas Christou, et al. v. Beatport, LLC, et al., No. 10-cv-02912, D. Colo.).

    Calif. Cipro Purchasers Seek Approval Of Settlement With Bayer Over Pay-For-Delay

    SAN DIEGO - California purchasers of the antibiotic Cipro and third-party payers who reimbursed for California purchases of Cipro on July 11 asked a state court to grant preliminary approval to their $74 million cash settlement with Bayer Corp. and Bayer AG (collectively, Bayer) on claims that Bayer paid drug companies nearly $400 million to drop challenges to Bayer's Cipro patent and to refrain from selling generic versions of the drug (CIPRO Cases I and II $(All Actions$), Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding Nos. 4154 and 4220, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).

    Apple Conspired To Raise Prices Of E-Books, Federal Judge Rules

    NEW YORK - Apple Inc. conspired with several publishers to fix prices of electronic books in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and various states' laws, a federal judge in New York ruled July 10 following a bench trial (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.).

    Passengers, Korean Air Reach $39M Cash, $26M Coupon Antitrust Settlement

    LOS ANGELES - Airline passengers on July 3 asked a federal judge in California to grant preliminary approval to their July 3 settlement with Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. on the passengers' claims that Korean Air conspired with Asiana Airlines Inc. to fix fares and fuel surcharges for passenger air transportation on flights between the United States and Korea (In re Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. Antitrust Litigation $(All Actions$), MDL No. 07-01891, Master File No. CV 07-05107, C.D. Calif.).

    U.S. Postal Service, Supplier Are Immune From Antitrust Suit, Federal Judge Rules

    DENVER - The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and its authorized supplier of blank label rolls were not subject to antitrust liability based on USPS's requiring contract postal units (CPUs), which provide postal services to the public pursuant to contracts with USPS, to purchase the label rolls from the supplier because such conduct fell outside the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act's (PAEA) waiver of immunity, a federal judge in Colorado ruled July 3 (TOG, Inc., et al. v. United States Postal Service, et al., No. 1:12-cv-01946, D. Colo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93598).

    Calif. Court Allows Claims In Competition Law Case Involving Continuous Accrual

    SAN FRANCISCO - After its previous ruling was reversed by the California Supreme Court on the basis of continuous accrual, a state appeals court on July 9 rejected alternative arguments for dismissing a man's California unfair competition law (UCL) action alleging excess charges (Jamshid Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions Inc., No. B213104, Calif. Super., 2nd Dist.).

    9th Circuit Rejects Petition To Rehear Advertised-Discount Injury Case

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 declined to rehear a case in which it found that falsely advertised discounts constituted an injury under the California unfair competition law (UCL) (Antonio Hinojos, et al. v. Kohl's Corp., et al., No. 11-55793, 9th Cir.).