KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Dow Chemical Co. is not precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel from relitigating the issue of the existence of a conspiracy in antitrust actions by direct-action plaintiffs (DAPS) who opted out of the class action in polyether polyol price-fixing litigation that ended in a $1 billion judgment against Dow, a federal judge in Kansas ruled Dec. 16, in denying the DAPs' motion for partial summary judgment (In re: Urethane Antitrust Litigation $(Polyether Polyol Case: Carpenter Co., et al. v. BASF SE, et al.$), MDL No. 1616, Nos. 04-MD-1616, 08-2617, D. Kan.).
BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on Dec. 13 granted final approval of settlements worth $163.5 million between purchasers and the market leaders in the production of titanium dioxide on the purchasers' claims that the manufacturers engaged in price fixing, with the last agreement being reached on the eve of trial (In re Titanium Dioxide Antitrust Litigation [All Actions], No. 10-0318, D. Md.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176099, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176100).
NEW YORK - Indirect purchasers on Dec. 13 moved for preliminary approval of a $2.2 million settlement with Weisheng Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd. - two Chinese manufacturers of vitamin C - on the indirect purchasers' allegations that the defendants conspired to unlawfully fix prices of vitamin C to be exported to the United States and committed other unlawful practices designed to inflate the prices of vitamin C sold to the purchasers in the United States (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation $(All Indirect Purchaser Actions$), Nos. 06-MD-1738, 06-988, 06-987, 06-149, E.D.N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A law firm will pay California $418,000 to resolve state unfair competition law (UCL) claims alleging that the firm collected large fees while its attorneys did little or no work on the clients' immigration cases, under a settlement filed Dec. 16 (The People of the State of California, et al. v. Guajardo, Martin, et al., Jamie Hernandez, et al. v. Guajardo, Martin, et al., Nos. 505449, 505450, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
LOS ANGELES - The Younger doctrine and the Anti-Injunction Act bar Monster Beverage Corp.'s California unfair competition law (UCL) action seeking to enjoin San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera from pursuing claims against it in state court, a federal judge held Dec. 16 (Monster Beverage Corp. and Monster Energy Co. v. Dennis Herrera, in his official capacity as City Attorney of San Francisco, No. 13-786, C.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Dec. 13 granted final approval to the $7.25 billion class action settlement between approximately 12 million merchants and Visa, MasterCard and a large number of banks that the proposed class alleges fixed the prices of interchange fees paid by merchants when customers use Visa and MasterCard credit cards (In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation $(All Cases$), No. 05-MD-1720, E.D. N.Y.).
BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Dec. 11 certified a nationwide class of direct purchasers of Nexium on their antitrust claims contending that the manufacturer of the heartburn medication and generic drug manufacturers entered into reverse-payment agreements to keep generic versions of the medication out of the market (In re Nexium [Esomeprazole] Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-md-02409, D. Mass.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173353).
CHICAGO - End payers who purchased inpatient and outpatient health care services directly from NorthShore University HealthSystem and alleged that NorthShore illegally monopolized the market for such services following the merger of hospitals demonstrated that class adjudication of the antitrust claims was superior, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Dec. 10 in granting the purchasers' motion for class certification (In re: Evanston Northwestern Corporation Antitrust Litigation, No. 07-cv-04446, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173794).
LOS ANGELES - According to its docket, the California Supreme Court on Dec. 11 granted an employee's petition for review and deferred briefing in his class action against a trucking company pending a ruling in People v. Pac Anchor Transportation Inc. (S194388) (Salvador Rodriguez, et al. v. RWA Trucking Co. Inc., No. S214150, Calif. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A reasonable consumer would expect diapers advertised as "pure and natural" to be free from non-natural materials, and the manufacturer's disclosures elsewhere on the package do not remedy the ambiguity, a federal magistrate judge held Dec. 10 in largely allowing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims to proceed (Dianna Jou, et al. v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., et al., No. 13-3075, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173216).
SAN FRANCISCO - Settlement of a Florida action bars California unfair competition law claims involving yogurt and cane juice labeling claims, and it is "implausible" that a reasonable consumer would confuse "soymilk" for a dairy beverage, a federal judge held Dec. 10 (Alex Ang and Kevin Avoy, et al. v. Whitewave Foods Co., et al., No. 13-1953, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge has struck the affirmative defenses of a tobacco distributor sued for trade mark infringement, saying in a Dec. 5 opinion that the defendant had provided no factual underpinning for the defenses (Starbuzz Tobacco Inc. v. Fuad Naji Saeed, No. 3:13-cv-03837-SI, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171857).
SAN DIEGO - In a pair of Dec. 4 rulings, a California federal judge dismissed all of an Internet-based automotive parts retailer's trademark infringement claims against search engine provider Google Inc. as barred by laches and precluded by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) while permitting a federal infringement claim against rival search engine provider Yahoo! Inc. to proceed (Parts.com LLC v. Google Inc., No. 3:13-cv-01074, and Parts.com LLC v. Yahoo! Inc., No. 3:13-cv-01078, S.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Dec. 8 denied an emergency application by individual airline customers seeking to prevent the merger of bankrupt American Airlines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. The customers had argued that the merger violates federal antitrust laws (Carolyn Fjord v. AMR Corporation, No.13A579, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - The class action plaintiffs that sued bankrupt AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines, on Dec. 4 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York arguing that the Bankruptcy Court should stay its decision approving the merger of American Airlines and US Airways Group Inc. pending appeal (Carolyn Fjord, et al. v. AMR Corporation, et al. $(In Re: AMR Corporation$), no. 11-15463, Adv. No. 13-01392, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 2 invited the solicitor general to file a brief expressing the views of the United States regarding whether to grant review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the Natural Gas Act (NGA) does not preempt state law claims asserted by retail purchasers of natural gas (In re: Western States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation $(ONEOK, Inc., et al. v. Learjet, Inc.$), No. 13-271, U.S. Sup.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A couple may not rely on attorney fees incurred in pursuing a California unfair competition law (UCL) action alleging wrongful foreclosure to satisfy the injury standard, a federal judge held in an opinion posted Nov. 27 (Josue Rios and Yolanda Rios v. Bank of America d/b/a Countrywide Home Loans Inc., et al., No. 12-2439, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169486).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A homeowner lacks sufficient allegations of injury or reliance to sustain his California unfair competition law (UCL) claim against his lender, a federal judge held in an opinion posted Nov. 27 (David Sears v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 13-1664, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169507).
SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney fees incurred in defending against unenforceable noncompete agreements constitute a California unfair competition law (UCL) injury but do not provide Article III standing for injunctive relief, a federal judge held Dec. 2 in granting an employer's motion for reconsideration (Imtiaz Khan, et al. v. K3 Pure Solutions LP, et al., No. 12-5526, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169855).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The named plaintiffs in a putative class action against Apple Inc. failed to establish their standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution or two California statutes, a California federal judge found Nov. 25, disposing of their claims related to Apple's purported collection of users' personal data via applications (apps) for its iPhones and other "iDevices" (In Re iPhone Application Litigation, No. 5:11-md-02250, N.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO - A California resident on Nov. 27 filed a national class action lawsuit seeking refunds for what it says is a misleadingly advertised and unapproved at-home genetic testing kit called 23andMe (Lisa Casey, et al. v. 23andMe, INC., et al., No. 13-2847, S.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - The federal bankruptcy judge presiding over the Chapter 11 case of AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines Inc., on Nov. 27 approved a settlement between American Airlines and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that will allow the airline to merge with US Airways Inc. and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy (In Re: AMR Corporation, No. 11-15463, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A man's payment came in response to a letter explaining the debt, breaking the causal connection to any unlawful conduct based on an allegedly deficient demand for payment, a Ninth Circuit panel held Nov. 22 in affirming dismissal of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Roderick Wright, et al. v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., No. 12-55319, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 23558).
SAN FRANCISCO - Two Pennsylvania residents likely lack standing to pursue their California unfair competition law (UCL) action over an automobile manufacturer's choice of gas tank material but also fail to state a claim under the statute, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 20 (Henry Troup; Veronica Troup v. Toyota Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., No. 11-56637, 9th Cir.).