NEW YORK - An investor filed a class action complaint against Bank of America Corp., Barclays Bank PLC and several other banks on July 30 in federal court in New York, alleging that the defendant banks conspired to and did suppress and manipulate the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) for the U.S. dollar in violation of federal antitrust law (33-35 Green Pond Road Associates, LLC v. Bank of America Corporation, et al., No. 12-cv-5822, S.D. N.Y.). Subscribers may view the class action complaint available within the full article.
LAS VEGAS - An insurance company that sued a Nevada company for unlawfully using the insurer's trademarks on a website was shielded from antitrust immunity under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, a federal judge in Nevada ruled July 30 in the Nevada's company's lawsuit alleging that the insurer was exercising monopolistic power over the use of Internet keyword advertising (Darba Enterprises, Inc. v. Amica Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 2:12-cv-00043, D. Nev.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105468).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge dismissed putative class claims against car rental company Zipcar on July 31, saying that the company's high late fees are imposed for a reasonable business purpose (Naomi Reed, et al. v. Zipcar Inc., No. 11-11340-NMG, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106371).
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Supreme Court on July 27 affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court decision granting judgment in favor of insurance companies in a putative class action brought by a group of chiropractic doctors who allege that they were wrongfully paid lower rates for their services than for equivalent services offered by medical doctors or osteopathic physicians (Steven A. Mueller, et al. v. Wellmark Inc., et al., No. 10-10, Iowa Sup.; 2012 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 83).
PHILADELPHIA - A lead singer who ignored cease-and-desist letters, service and a default judgment lost her appeal on July 30 before the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which affirmed an award of $429,997 for trademark infringement and unfair competition to her former production company (World Entertainment Inc., et al. v. Andrea Brown, et al., No. 11-2677, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15685).
POCATELLO, Idaho - Direct and indirect potato purchasers plausibly alleged that two growers that created a joint venture, the joint venture and a marketer joined in a conspiracy to reduce the supply of potatoes in order to raise prices in violation of the Sherman Act, a federal judge in Idaho ruled July 27, in denying the growers' and marketer's motions to dismiss (In re: Fresh and Process Potatoes Antitrust Litigation [All Actions], No. 4:10-md-2186, D. Idaho).
PHILADELPHIA - A company that provided helicopter services failed to allege direct evidence or "plus factors" sufficient to overcome its competitors' motion for summary judgment on the company's claim that the defendants conspired to fix the price of helicopter services rates for offshore oil and gas industries in violation of the Sherman Act, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 27 in an unpublished opinion (Superior Offshore International, Inc. v. Bristow Group, Inc., et al., Superior Offshore International, Inc. v. Bristow Group, Inc., et al., No. 11-3010, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15539).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A dosimetry calibration laboratory that was denied reaccreditation by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) survived the AAPM's motion for summary judgment on the laboratory's claim that AAPM conspired to orchestrate a concerted refusal to deal with the laboratory, a federal judge in Tennessee ruled July 26 (K & S Associates, Inc. v. American Association of Physicists in Medicine, No. 3:09-1108, M.D. Tenn.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104238).
LOS ANGELES - Munchkin Inc. on July 23 won $13.4 million in a false advertising dispute with Playtex Products LLC in a California federal court over whose diaper disposal pails better control odor (Munchkin, Inc. v. Playtex Products, LLC, No. 2:11-cv-00503-AHM -RZ, C.D. Calif.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94531.
NEW YORK - The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), a named plaintiff and class representative in the payment card interchange fee and merchant discount antitrust litigation, on July 24 opposed class counsel's motion to withdraw as counsel for NACS, disputing class counsel's characterization that NACS "refuses" to consent to their withdrawal related to NACS's opposition to the $6.05 billion settlement agreement between merchants and Visa, MasterCard and a large number of banks in the price-fixing class action (In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation (All Cases), No. 05-MD-1720, E.D. N.Y.). View related prior history, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89275.
PHILADELPHIA - Biovail Corp., the manufacturer of the prescription antidepressant drug Wellbutrin XL, reached a $37.5 million settlement on July 23 with direct purchasers who claimed that Biovail illegally conspired to prevent generic versions of the drug from entering the American market by filing sham patent infringement lawsuits and a citizen petition (In re: Wellbutrin XL Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-2431 (direct), E.D. Pa.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66312.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on July 23 preliminarily approved a $15 million refund class settlement for consumers who purchased Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage and Bayer Women's Low Dose Aspirin + Calcium (In Re: Bayer Combination Aspirin Products Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 09-md-2023, E.D. N.Y.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full article.
ST. LOUIS - An association consisting of gas station owners in St. Louis does not have standing to assert claims under the Sherman Act , 15 U.S.C.S. § 1 et seq. or the Robinson-Patman Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 13, against a company that allegedly engaged in a price war, a federal judge in Missouri ruled July 20 (Association of Independent Gas Station Owners, et al. v. Quiktrip Corporation, No. 4:11-cv-02083, E.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100980).
NEW YORK - The contacts of a manufacturer of Vitamin C that is accused of participating in an illegal cartel to fix prices and limit supply for exports of vitamin C to the United States may be imputed to its holding company, a federal judge in New York held in an opinion and order filed July 18 denying the corporation's motions to dismiss state and federal antitrust claims for lack of jurisdiction and for summary judgment (In re: Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation, No. 06-MD-1738, E.D. N.Y. (Animal Science Products, Inc., et al. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., et al., No. 05-CV-453, E.D. N.Y.; Dennis Audette v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., et al., No. 06-CV-099, E.D. N.Y.; Linda Philion, et al. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., et al., No. 06-CV-987, E.D. N.Y.; Richard Keane, et al. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., et al., No. 06-CV-149, E.D. N.Y.); 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100075).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 17 affirmed the dismissal of claims that 22 title insurance companies and the Ohio Title Insurance Rating Bureau (OTIRB) conspired to charge inflated title insurance rates, ruling that the McCarran-Ferguson Act and the Ohio Insurance Code were "complete bars" to the purchasers' federal and state antitrust actions based on title insurance rate filings (Jordan Katz, et al. v. Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, et al., No. 10-3545, 6th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 14561).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 18 denied the Federal Trade Commission's petition for rehearing en banc of the court's April 25 ruling that reverse payment settlements between the holder of a drug patent and generic manufacturers of the drug did not constitute an unfair restraint on trade in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C.S. §45 (Federal Trade Commission v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. 10-12729, 11th Cir.).
SAN DIEGO - A woman's claim that she purchased products based on a retailer's allegedly false representations that it discounted the prices constitutes an injury and provides standing under the California unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, a federal judge held July 16 (Cynthia E. Spann, et al. v. J.C. Penney Corp., No. 12-00215, C.D. Calif.).
PORTLAND, Maine - A Maine federal judge on July 17 certified three classes of plaintiffs who allege that two companies' check verification and collection procedures violate federal and state statutes regulating debt collection and unfair trade practices (Jean LaRocque, et al. v. TRS Recovery Services, Inc., et al., No. 2:11-CV-91-DBH, D. Maine; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98955).
PHILADELPHIA - Settlements involving a reverse payment from a name-brand manufacturer to a generic challenger to delay the entry date for marketing a generic drug are subject to the rule-of-reason test and not the scope-of-the-patent test, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 16, saying that a reverse payment is prima facie evidence of an unreasonable restraint of trade (Louisiana Wholesale Drug Co., Inc., et al., No. 10-2077; CVS Pharmacy Inc., et al., No. 2078; Walgreen Co., et al., No. 10-2079; Merck & Co., Inc., et al., No. 10-4571, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 14527).
SALT LAKE CITY - Novell Inc. failed to present evidence sufficient for a jury to find that Microsoft Corp. unlawfully used its dominant position in the personal computing (PC) operating systems market to monopolize the word-processing and spreadsheet applications markets, a federal judge in Utah held July 16 in granting Microsoft's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law (Novell, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., No. 2:04-cv-01045, D. Utah). View related prior history, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 9062.
SAN DIEGO - A couple simply ignores appellate rulings applying a different standard in California unfair competition law (UCL) cases than they wish to have applied and fails to demonstrate that they can meet that standard, a state appeals court held in an opinion published July 16 (Robert W. Wilson, et al. v. Brian Hynek, et al., No. D057620, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 809).
NEW YORK - Visa, MasterCard and a large number of banks on July 13 entered into a class settlement agreement with merchants who alleged that the defendants fixed the prices of interchange fees paid by merchants when customers use Visa and MasterCard credit cards, for $6.05 billion, an eight-month reduction in interchange fees worth $1.2 billion and modifications of the Visa and MasterCard rules (In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation (All Cases), No. 05-MD-1720, E.D. N.Y.). View related prior history, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104439.
SAN FRANCISCO - Automated teller machine (ATM) cardholders lack standing to seek antitrust damages related 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, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 12 (In re: ATM Fee Antitrust Litigation, Pamela Brennan, et al. v. Concord EFT, Inc., et al., No. 10-17354, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 14265).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A broadcasting company plausibly alleged that a competitor entered into collusive agreements to aggregate exclusive network affiliations and engaged in denigrating commercial speech and predatory hiring with the purpose and effect of excluding competition in the television local spot advertising market in Fort Wayne, in violation of federal and state antitrust laws, a federal judge in Indiana ruled July 9 in denying the competitor's motion to dismiss (Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. v. Granite Broadcasting Corporation, et al., No. 1:11-CV-249, N.D. Ind.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95024).
SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs who sued a website owner for purchases made through a third party lack constitutional or statutory standing and the required reliance required by the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held June 9 (Sharon Gentes, et al. v. Trend Micro Inc., et al., No. 11-5574, N.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.