LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Class Action Brought Against Oil Companies For Benchmark Manipulation

    NEW YORK - A U.S. commodities trading company on May 22 sued BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Statoil ASA, alleging that the oil companies engaged in an unlawful conspiracy to fix North Sea Brent Crude oil market prices and the prices of Brent Crude oil futures contracts by intentionally reporting inaccurate information regarding crude Brent Crude oil prices to the leading global provider of pricing for Brent Crude oil markets (Prime International Trading, Ltd. v. BP PLC, et al., No. 7:13-cv-3473-KMK, S.D. N.Y.).

    Retailers File Antitrust Suit Against Visa, MasterCard Over Fees

    NEW YORK - Target Corp., Macy's Inc. and several other retailers on May 23 sued Visa and MasterCard, alleging that the defendants exercised their market power to preclude issuing banks from competing for merchant acceptance of credit and debit cards, thereby causing the merchants to pay excessive interchange fees (Target Corporation, et al. v. Visa Inc., et al., No. 13-3477, S.D. N.Y.).

    States, Penguin Settle E-Books Price-Fixing Litigation; Apple Set For Trial

    NEW YORK - Texas and several other states and territories and classes of purchasers have reached an agreement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc. on allegations that several publishers and Apple Inc. conspired to fix prices of electronic books, according to a May 22 letter filed with the federal judge in New York overseeing the multidistrict litigation (In re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation $(All Actions$), No. 11 MD 2293, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.)

    9th Circuit Panel Finds Competition Law Debit Card Fee Claims Preempted

    SAN FRANCISCO - While it is based on law of general applicability, a man cannot escape the fact that his California unfair competition law (UCL) action challenging monthly debit card fees seeks to impose specific disclosures, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 22 in finding the claims preempted (Tyrone L. Robinson v. Bank of America N.A., No. 11-57194, 9th Cir.).

    Drug Purchasers Defeat Motion To Dismiss In Pay-For-Delay Antitrust Case

    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The federal judge in Tennessee overseeing multidistrict litigation involving claims that brand-name pharmaceutical company King Pharmaceuticals LLC and generic drug manufacturer Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. conspired to delay the entry of generic versions of Skelaxin into the market denied the defendants' motion to dismiss on May 20 (In re: Skelaxin $(Metaxalone$) Antitrust Litigation, No. 1:12-md-2343, E.D. Tenn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70968).

    Judge: Collection On Valid But Voidable Contracts Doesn't Violate Competition Law

    SAN FRANCISCO - Collecting debts on valid but voidable contracts is not unlawful, unfair or fraudulent under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held May 20 (Timothy Dufour, et al. v. Be LLC, et al., No. 09-3770, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71329).

    Lab Denied Reaccreditation Fails To Allege Conspiracy, Federal Judge Rules

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), which controls the accreditation process in the United States for accredited dosimetry calibration laboratories (ADCLs), did not violate federal antitrust law by refusing to reaccredit a laboratory after the laboratory was purchased by a company that manufactured dosimetry equipment, a federal judge in Tennessee ruled May 20 (K & S Associates, Inc. v. American Association of Physicists in Medicine, No. 3:09-1108, M.D. Tenn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71000).

    Court: Insurer's Misconduct Toward Claimants Didn't Injure Other Policy Holders

    SAN FRANCISCO - A man who was never denied coverage by his disability insurer lacks standing to sue under the California unfair competition law (UCL) for the company's failure to fully compensate some policy holders, a state appeals court held May 21 (Rick L. Schwartz v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., et al., No. A134706, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).

    Cargo Offloader Suffers Dismissal Of All But 1 Antitrust Claim Against Union

    SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on May 17 ruled that a cargo offloader may continue with its claim that a union conspired with the Port of San Diego to bar the offloader from bidding on the America's Cup Race, but the judge dismissed without leave to amend the offloader's claims regarding the union's picketing at the port and contacts with the offloader's customers (Terminalift LLC v. International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 29, No. 11-CV-1999, S.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70545).

    9th Circuit Finds False Discount Claims Satisfy Injury Standard

    SAN FRANCISCO - A consumer who purchases a product based on false price information and claims that he would not have made the purchase otherwise alleges an economic injury under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 21 (Antonio Hinojos, et al. v. Kohl's Corp., et al., No. 11-55793, 9th Cir.).

    LIBOR Suit Plaintiffs Move To Amend Antitrust Complaints

    NEW YORK - Over-the-counter (OTC), bondholder and exchange-based plaintiffs in the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) antitrust litigation on May 17 moved for leave to amend their amended complaints to add allegations of antitrust injury related to their claims that 16 banks manipulated the LIBOR interest rate benchmark (In re: LIBOR-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, No. 11 MD 2262, S.D. N.Y.).

    Settlement Between Farmers, Milk Marketers Receives Final Approval

    GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - A $158.6 million class action settlement with Dairy Farmers of America Inc. and the other remaining defendants on claims that the defendants engaged in anti-competitive actions related to raw Grade A milk processed in the Southeast received final approval by a federal judge in Tennessee on May 17 (In re: Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litigation, Master File No. 2:08-MD-1000, E.D. Tenn. $(Sweetwater Valley Farm, Inc., et al. v. Dean Foods, et al., No. 2:07-CV-208, E.D. Tenn.$); 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70163; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70167).

    FTC Entitled To TRO In Merger Case, Georgia Federal Judge Rules

    ALBANY, Ga. - A federal judge in Georgia on May 15 granted the Federal Trade Commission's motion to temporarily enjoin Phoebe Putney Health System Inc. from taking any further steps to consolidate Georgia hospitals and from making any price changes to existing contracts following the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that the state-action doctrine does not immunize the merger from antitrust scrutiny (Federal Trade Commission, et al. v. Phoebe Putney Health System Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-58, M.D. Ga.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68658).

    Finding No Federal Question, Judge Remands California's Tobacco Tax Suit

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge has granted remand of tobacco excise tax evasion and unfair business practice claims to state court, saying in an opinion filed May 15 that the state's complaint raised no federal question (People of the State of California, et al v. Darren Paul Rose, No. 2:13-cv-00675, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69382).

    Magistrate Judge Dismisses Claims From Wrongful Foreclosure Suit Against Chase

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in California on May 15 granted JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A.'s (Chase) motion to dismiss a slander of title claim from a borrowers' suit but allowed wrongful foreclosure and California unfair competition law (UCL) claims to survive, finding that the actions alleged in the surviving claims "would certainly deceive the public" if the allegations are true (Son T. Nguyen, et al. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., No.12-4183, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69362).

    Dow Hit With $1.2B Judgment In Urethane District Purchasers' Antitrust Litigation

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The federal judge in Kansas who is overseeing the multidistrict class action against polyether polyol products (PPPs) manufacturers accused of price fixing on May 15 entered judgment for $1.2 billion in favor of a class of direct purchasers against Dow Chemical Co., the sole remaining defendant, and denied Dow's motions to decertify the class and for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial (In re: Urethane Antitrust Litigation $(Polyether Polyol Cases$), MDL No. 1616, Civil No. 2:04-md-01616-JWL, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69784).

    Chinese Vitamin C Makers Oppose Injunction Following Antitrust Damages Award

    NEW YORK - Chinese vitamin C manufacturers on May 13 opposed the imposition of a permanent injunction in a case in which a jury previously determined that the manufacturers violated the Sherman Act by participating in a cartel to fix prices and limit supply for exports of vitamin C to the United States (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation $(Animal Science Products, Inc., et al. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., et al.$), No. 06-md-1738, No. 05-cv-0453, E.D. N.Y.).

    FTAIA Bars Antitrust Claims In USB Connector Case, New York Federal Judge Rules

    NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on May 14 dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction Sherman Act claims brought by a Chinese manufacturer of universal serial bus (USB) 3.0 connectors against other manufacturers that do not manufacture or directly sell any USB 3.0 connectors in the United States, ruling that the domestic injury exception to the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) was not applicable (Lotes Co., Ltd. v. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., No. 12 Civ. 7465, S.D. N.Y.).

    On Remand, Judge Reinstates $203M Award In Competition Law Overdraft Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on May 14 reinstated $203 million in restitution under the fraud prong of the California unfair competition law (UCL) to a class of consumers whose debit card transactions a bank processed from highest to lowest, finding the claim outside the Ninth Circuit's preemption ruling (Veronica Gutierrez, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank NA, No. 07-05923, N.D. Calif.).

    California Assembly Passes Bill Permitting State Bar Competition Law Recoveries

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The State Bar of California could recover civil penalties under the California unfair competition law (UCL) in civil enforcement actions alleging the unauthorized practice of law, under legislation unanimously passed by the state Assembly on May 13.

    Direct Purchasers Oppose Chinese Vitamin C Makers' Motion To Vacate Judgment

    NEW YORK - A direct purchaser class on May 10 opposed Chinese vitamin C manufacturers' renewed motions for judgment and motion to reduce by $22.5 million a $253.3 million damages award in favor of the class on its allegations that Chinese corporations participated in an illegal cartel to fix prices and limit supply for exports of vitamin C to the United States (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation $(Animal Science Products, Inc., et al. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., et al.$), No. 06-md-1738, No. 05-cv-0453, E.D. N.Y.).

    Trial Judge Properly Ordered Disgorgement, 10th Circuit Panel Says

    DENVER - A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel has affirmed a lower court's order that a "payday lender" accused of unfair trade practices disgorge $294,436, saying in a May 8 opinion that the company violated federal law by improperly garnishing wages (Federal Trade Commission v. LoanPointe LLC, et al., No. 12-4006, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 9329).

    Adult Firms, Registrar Settle Antitrust Dispute Over .XXX Domain

    LOS ANGELES - The parties in an antitrust dispute over the newly created .XXX top-level domain (TLD) on the Internet on May 8 filed a stipulation of voluntary dismissal in California federal court, seeking to dispose of the plaintiffs' claims brought under the Sherman Act (Manwin Licensing International S.A.R.L., et al. v. ICM Registry LLC, et al., No. 2:11-cv-09514, C.D. Calif.).

    Judge: Competition Law Claims Over Allegedly Undisclosed Rhodium Coating Proceed

    SAN FRANCISCO - A retailer has not shown any statutory basis permitting them not to disclose rhodium plating on jewelry, allowing consumers' California unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law claims to proceed, a federal judge held May 8 (Maria Torres, Gabriel Rojas and Ian Kerner, et al. v. JC Penney Corp., Inc., and JC Penney Co. Inc., No. 12-1105, N.D. Calif.).

    City: Monster Beverage Corp. Markets 'Highly-Caffeinated' Drinks To Children

    SAN FRANCISCO - Monster Beverage Corp. violates the California unfair competition law (UCL) by marketing "highly-caffeinated" energy drinks to children despite demonstrated health risks, according to a complaint filed May 6 by the San Francisco city attorney (People of the State of California, et rel. Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney v. Monster Beverage Corp., No. 13-531161, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).