Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Hospital's Reimbursement Action Not Preempted By ERISA, Calif. Federal Judge Rules

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Jan. 26 remanded to state court a hospital's lawsuit seeking reimbursement for charges for treatment of a participant in a health plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, holding that the hospital's state unfair competition law claims were not completely preempted by ERISA (Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula v. Blue Cross of California, et al., No. 14-CV-04552, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9248).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Economics Expert May Testify In Egg Products Antitrust Litigation, Judge Rules

    PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 26 found the testimony of an economics expert, proffered by the direct purchaser plaintiffs in a price-fixing class action against egg suppliers, to be reliable and convincing enough to support the plaintiffs' class certification motion, denying the defendants' motion to exclude (In re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation [All Direct Purchaser Actions], MDL No. 2002, No. 08-md-2002, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8329).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - ACA's Experimental, Consumer-Owned Insurer Funded With $146M Fails

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa insurance commissioner will liquidate CoOportunity Health Inc., a consumer-owned health insurance company started with $146 million in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) funds, it announced Jan. 23 (State of Iowa, et al. v. CoOpportunity Health Inc., No. N/A, Iowa Dist., Polk Co.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Appeals Court: Technician Not In Protected Class, No UCL Violation

    LOS ANGELES - In reversing a lower court's decision, a California appeals court on Jan. 21 held that a technician was not a hotel worker who traditionally would have been paid a gratuity for providing services and, therefore, was not among the class of hotel workers entitled to be paid service charges collected by the employer; therefore, the defendant did not violate the state's unfair competition law (UCL) by not paying the service charges to the employee (Audio Visual Services Group Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, et al., No. B256266, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 50).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - 1st Circuit Approves Class Certification In Nexium Pay-For-Delay Lawsuit

    BOSTON - The presence of a few uninjured members in a class does not prevent certification, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 21, affirming the certification of the class of indirect purchasers of Nexium in a pay-for-delay lawsuit over the heartburn drug (In re Nexium Antitrust Litigation, Astrazeneca AB, et al. v. United Food and Commercial Workers Unions and Employers Midwest Health Benefits Fund, et al., Nos. 14-1521 & 14-1522, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 968).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Supreme Court Won't Review Antitrust, Patent License Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Jan. 20 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will let stand a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals April ruling that when antitrust harm is speculative at the time of the initial wrong, the law of limitations in federal antitrust actions allows a claimant to file suit once the harm has crystallized (Panasonic Corp. et al. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., No. 14-540, U.S. Sup.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - State High Court Grants Review In Workplace Safety UCL Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on Jan. 14 granted a petition seeking review of an appeals court decision finding that a district attorney's unfair competition law (UCL) claims seeking civil penalties for violations of state workplace safety regulations are preempted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (federal/OSHA) (Solus Industrial Innovations v. The Superior Court of Orange Co., The People, real party in interest, No. S222314, Calif. Sup.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - UCL Claim Remains In Breach Of Contract Case Involving Software

    SAN FRANCISCO - A claim for violation of the state's unfair competition law (UCL) is among the claims continuing in a breach of contract case involving the sale of computer software equipment that failed to perform as promised following a California federal judge's Jan. 14 order on a motion to dismiss (Ronpak Inc. v. Electronics For Imaging Inc., No. 14-4058, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4546).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Issues Tentative Ruling Addressing UCL Violations By Accrediting Agency

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California state court judge on Jan. 16 issued a tentative ruling finding that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) engaged in practices that violated the unlawful prong of the state's unfair competition law (UCL) when, in 2013, it terminated City College of San Francisco's accreditation and instructed the city attorney to draft an injunction reflecting the terms of his decision. If finalized, the decision would provide the college a new option to pursue to secure its accreditation (People of the State of California ex rel. Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, No. CGC-13-533693, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Magistrate Recommends Approval Of $900,000 Settlement In Wage Dispute With CVS

    FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Jan. 14 recommended the approval of a settlement in a class action case to end a wage claims dispute that includes an allegation of a violation of the state's unfair competition law (UCL) filed by distribution center works against CVS Pharmacy Inc. (Leticia Ceja-Corona, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy Inc., No. 12-1868, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5118).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Class Action Suit Alleges Infant Formula Manufacturer Violated UCL

    LOS ANGELES - A California women on Jan. 9 filed a class action lawsuit in federal court accusing the manufacturer of an infant formula of violating the state's unfair competition law (UCL) by making false representations and undergoing misleading practices in the marketing of its product, causing damage to individuals who purchased the product believing that the formula would reduce the risk of infants developing allergies and infant atopic dermatitis (Oula Zakaria v. Gerber Products Co., et al., No. 15-200, C.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judgment Issued In Apple's Favor In IPod, ITunes Antitrust Class Action

    OAKLAND, Calif. - About three weeks after a jury returned a verdict in favor of Apple Inc. in an antitrust class action over its iTunes and iPod products, a California federal judge on Jan. 5 issued judgment in the technology giant's favor (The Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation, No. 4:05-cv-00037, N.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Federal Judge Allows UCL Claim Alleging Auto Defect To Continue

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Jan. 6 declined to dismiss two claims, including one brought under the state's unfair competition law (UCL), alleging that an automobile manufacturer failed to disclose a design defect that made electrical components prone to water damage caused by the normal and ordinary use of the vehicle, saying the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that the defendant was aware of the defect before the plaintiffs purchased their respective vehicles (Monita Sharma, et al. v. BMW of North America, No. 13-2274, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1039).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Majority Finds Appeal To Be Moot In Lawsuit Challenging Insurance Practices

    PASADENA, Calif. - A majority of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 31 denied a putative class representative's appeal as moot in a lawsuit challenging an insurer's practices, finding that the plaintiff has no financial interest or other personal interest in class certification (Douglas J. Campion v. Old Republic Protection Company Inc., No. 12-56784, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 24653).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Apple Faces Class Complaint Challenging Devices' Storage Capacity

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - Two Florida men filed a class complaint on Dec. 30 in California federal court accusing Apple Inc. of misrepresenting the storage capacity needed for its iOS 8 operating system, as well as the actual available storage on its iPhones, iPads and iPods (Paul Orshan, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 14-5659, N.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Over Fees For Using Debit Cards At Gas Pumps

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Dec. 29 dismissed with prejudice claims, including one for violation of the state's unfair competition law (UCL), in a class action lawsuit accusing the owner of a gasoline station of engaging in a "bait-and-switch" scheme by failing to disclose that customers would be charged an additional fee for using a debit card until after they placed the card in the pump to start the transaction (Charles Kelly v. BP West Coast Products LLC, No. 14-1507, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178479).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Federal Judge Dismisses Class Action Alleging Fitness Bands Are Defective

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 29 dismissed with leave to amend claims, including one for violation of the state's unfair competition law (UCL), in a class action lawsuit alleging that a fitness-tracker wristband was "effectively useless" because it did not perform as advertised (Robert Frenzel v. AliphCom, No. 14-3587, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177880).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Federal Judge Grants Baby Food Maker Judgment In UCL Case

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Dec. 18 denied a plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment and granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment in a case in which Gerber Products Co. is accused of misrepresenting the contents of its baby foods in violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Natalia Bruton v. Gerber Products Co., No. 12-2412, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175601).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Federal Judge Grants Class Status To Vacation Pay Dispute

    SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on Dec. 17 granted class action status to a case accusing J.C. Penney Corp. Inc. of violating state law, including the unfair competition law (UCL), by failing to pay vacation benefits as required (Raymond Tschudy v. J.C. Penney Corporation Inc., No. 11-1011, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174382).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Jury Verdict Reached In Apple's Favor In Antitrust Class Action

    OAKLAND, Calif. - In the first day of deliberation after 10 days of oral arguments, a California federal jury on Dec. 16 found that firmware and software updates that Apple Inc. made to its iTunes and iPod products were "genuine product improvements" and, therefore, did not constitute efforts to monopolize the digital music market by precluding the play of music purchased from other digital retailers on Apple devices in violation of federal antitrust law (The Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation, No. 4:05-cv-00037, N.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Mass. Federal Judge Partially Dismisses Celexa/Lexapro Third-Party RICO Cases

    BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Dec. 12 partially dismissed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act actions filed by two health insurers seeking to represent a class of third-party payers who allegedly paid for fraudulent prescriptions for the antidepressants Lexapro and Celexa but allowed other claims to continue against Forest Laboratories Inc. (In Re: Celexa and Lexapro Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 09-2067, Painters and Allied Trade District Council 82 Health Care Fund v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 13-13113, New Mexico UFCW Union's and Employer's Health and Welfare Trust Fund v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 14-10784, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172176).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Wells Fargo Seeks Stay Of $203M Restitution Award In Debit-Transaction Case

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 11 denied a petition for a panel rehearing and a petition for rehearing en banc in a case in which the court affirmed a district court's award of restitution and denial of prejudgment interest in a case alleging that Wells Fargo Bank NA violated the state's unfair competition law (UCL) by misleading consumers by posting debit transactions in highest-to-lowest order, but vacated the lower court's injunction and remanded for entry of an injunction consistent with its decision. On Dec. 15, Wells Fargo moved to stay the mandate pending its filing a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court and the court's final disposition of the case (Veronica Gutierrez, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nos. 13-16195, 13-16598, 9th Cir.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Denies Dismissal Of Class Complaint Against Bitcoin Miner Manufacturers

    PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 10 found that a putative class of consumers had met the minimum damages threshold under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) to permit their fraud and unfair trade claims against a bitcoin miner manufacturer to proceed, denying a motion to dismiss (Craig Lenell, et al. v. Advanced Mining Technology Inc., et al., No. 14-1924, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172052).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - 9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of TILA And Fraud Claims Against Banks

    PASADENA, Calif. - After finding that a claimant's claims for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), fraud and other claims lacked particularity or were time-barred, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 12 affirmed dismissal of the case (Olasumbo Titilola Ajetunmobi v. Clarion Mortgage Capital Inc., et al., No. 12-56523, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23397).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Federal Judge Dismisses Case Alleging Improper Securitization Of Loan

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Dec. 12 dismissed a case alleging that the transfer of a deed of trust and promissory note securing a mortgage were improperly securitized, saying that the plaintiff's theories do not support any of her claims, including one brought under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) (Carolanne Sottile v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, et al., No. 13-5909, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172277).