Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Against EBay Lending Program

    SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge in Utah on May 23 granted eBay Inc. and PayPal Inc. affiliate Bill Me Later's (BML) motion to dismiss a putative class action in which a consumer alleges that the interest rates charged to him on a computer purchase were illegal, finding that he inadequately attempted to identify BML as the true lender or real party in interest (Kyle Sawyer v. Bill Me Later, et al., No. 11-0988, D. Utah; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71261).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - 6th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Antitrust Claims Related To Merger As Untimely

    CINCINNATI - Claims that a producer of oxidates monopolized the domestic market for the product following its purchase of a competitor's product line in violation of federal and state antitrust laws were untimely filed, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 23, concluding that the producer's raising prices and enforcing a noncompete clause under the acquisition agreement were not new and independent acts that were unrelated to the merger and, therefore, did not retrigger the date from which the statute of limitations is measured (Z Technologies Corporation v. The Lubrizol Corporation, No. 13-1254, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 9597).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Market Allocation Claims Should Be Tried To Jury, 8th Circuit Holds

    ST. LOUIS - Factual disputes preclude summary judgment in litigation over whether two wholesale grocers violated federal antitrust law by entering into an asset-exchange agreement that allegedly allocated customers and markets, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found May 21 in ruling that a federal district court erred in granting summary judgment to the wholesale grocers (In re Wholesale Grocery Products Antitrust Litigation [D&G, Inc., DeLuca's Market Corp. v. SuperValu, Inc., et al.], No. 13-1297, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 9412).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Apple, Google Reach $324.5M Settlement In High-Tech Employees' Conspiracy Suit

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - Employees who are accusing high-tech companies of conspiring to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees in violation of federal antitrust law moved for preliminary approval of $324.5 million in partial class action settlements with Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. on May 22 in a federal district court in California (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2509, N.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Dismisses UCL Suit Challenging Food Labeling Due To FDA Action

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on May 20 dismissed two consumers' California unfair competition law (UCL) class action challenging the use of the term "evaporated cane juice" on food labels, citing the Food and Drug Administration's recent notice seeking comments on the issue and several court decisions issued since the FDA notice dismissing or staying similar lawsuits (Mary P. Swearingen and Joshua Ogden v. Yucatan Foods, L.P., No. 13-3544, N.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Denies Plaintiffs' Motion For Sanctions In Text Messaging Antitrust MDL

    CHICAGO - The federal judge in Illinois overseeing litigation involving alleged collusion between four wireless service providers and CTIA, the Wireless Association over the price charged for text messaging on May 19 awarded summary judgment to the defendants and denied the plaintiffs' motion for spoliation sanctions, finding that they were unable to show that T-Mobile and the CTIA engaged in the requisite bad faith (In re: Text Messaging Antitrust Litigation, MDL 1997, Case No. 08 C 7082, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68237).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Attorney's Neglect Of UCL Mortgage Action Not Excusable, Magistrate Rules

    SAN FRANCISCO - A couple cannot revive claims that their mortgage lender violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) by misrepresenting the terms of their loan because they did not establish that their failure to prosecute the claims or to timely request that dismissal of the claims be vacated was due to excusable neglect, a federal magistrate judge held May 19 (Marcy Zamora, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 13-00134, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68544).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - New York Federal Judge Dismisses UCL Claim In 'Patent Troll' Suit

    NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on May 19 declined to decide whether several corporations made baseless patent infringement claims to extort licensing fees in violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) after finding that the allegations against the companies do not support a claim for violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (FindTheBest.com, Inc. v. Lumen View Technology LLC, et al., No. 13-6521, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68508).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - PetSmart's $10 Million Deal In Wage-And-Hour, UCL Action Gets 1st Approval

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - National pet supply retailer PetSmart Inc. will pay $10 million to settle wage-and-hour claims by more than 16,000 of its pet groomers and other employees who say that PetSmart's improper compensation practices violate California's unfair competition law (UCL), according to an agreement that a federal judge preliminarily approved May 14 (Danette M. Moore, et al. v. PetSmart, Inc., No. 12-03577, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67235).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Partial Settlements In Class Suit Against High-Tech Employers Get Final Approval

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on May 16 granted final approval to $20 million in partial class action settlements with Intuit Inc., Lucasfilm Ltd. and Pixar of an antitrust suit accusing high-tech companies of conspiring to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2509, N.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - U.S. Immune From Doctor's Work-Related Claims, Federal Judge Finds

    SAN DIEGO - A doctor cannot pursue claims under the California Labor Code and unfair competition law (UCL) against his former employer, the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VA), because the claims are barred by sovereign immunity, a federal judge held May 9 (Walter M. Shaw v. Veterans Health Administration, et al., No. 12-2369, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64598).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - City Attorney: Hotel Slumlords Endangering Poor, Defrauding Public

    SAN FRANCISCO - Members of a San Francisco family are defrauding taxpayers by operating a string of fleabag motels in violation of their contracts with the city to provide "clean, safe, habitable conditions" for tenants in publicly funded transitional housing, the city attorney alleges in a lawsuit filed in state court on May 12 under California's unfair competition law (UCL) (City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Balvantsinh "Bill" Thakor, et al., No. 539230, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Arbitrability Of Loan Dispute Must Be Decided By Arbitrator, Federal Judge Rules

    OAKLAND, Calif. - An arbitrator must decide whether a consumer's California unfair competition law (UCL) class claims alleging deceptive lending practices should be arbitrated, based on the broad language of the loan agreement in question, a federal judge held May 7 (Paula Bernal v. Southwestern & Pacific Specialty Finance, Inc., d/b/a Check 'N Go, No. 12-05797, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63338).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Consumer Accuses Grocer Of Withholding Salt Content Of Sunflower Seeds

    LOS ANGELES - Specialty grocery store chain operator Trader Joe's Co. deceived consumers into buying the company's private-label brand of sunflower seeds by not including the "dangerously high sodium content" of the seeds and shells in the product's nutrition facts, a California resident alleges in a state unfair competition law (UCL) class action complaint filed May 6 in state court (Nicolle Disimone v. Trader Joe's Company, No. BC544924, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - UCL Suit Against Kefir Maker Stayed Pending FDA Food Labeling Guidelines

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on May 5 stayed California unfair competition law (UCL) class claims challenging use of the term "evaporated cane juice" on food labels pending the issuance of final guidance by the Food and Drug Administration on whether the agency considers evaporated cane juice to be the common or usual name of the ingredient (Robert E. Figy v. Lifeway Foods, Inc., No. 13-04828, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62700).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Amex Must Face Trial On Anti-Steering Rules In Governments' Antitrust Action

    NEW YORK - American Express Co. and American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc. (collectively, Amex) are not entitled to summary judgment on claims by the United States and 17 states that their rules preventing merchants from steering customers toward the use of another credit card violate federal antitrust law, a federal judge in New York ruled May 7 in denying Amex's motion for summary judgment (United States of America, et al. v. American Express Co., et al., No. 10-cv-4496, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63169).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Alleging Wrongful Foreclosure

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California man cannot pursue wrongful foreclosure claims against a mortgage company under California's unfair competition law (UCL) and the Fair Debt Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) because the claims have already been litigated in a state court and lack merit, a federal judge held May 5 (Robert H. O'Connor v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, No. 13-05874, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62067).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Antioxidant Claims Against Hershey Under UCL Survive Summary Judgment

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on May 5 denied summary judgment to The Hershey Co. on a consumer's class claim that Hershey's use of the term antioxidant on its product labels violates the California unfair competition law (UCL) and other laws after finding that the consumer alleges that he read and relied on the antioxidant labels when buying Hershey products (Leon Khasin v. The Hershey Company, No. 12-1862, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62070).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - $190M Neurontin Antitrust Pact Gets Preliminary Approval From Federal MDL Judge

    NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on May 2 preliminarily approved a $190 million antitrust class settlement of allegations that Pfizer Inc. and a predecessor kept generic Neurontin off the market, causing commercial direct buyers to pay more for the brand-name drug (In Re: Neurontin Antitrust Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1479, No. 02-1390, Louisiana Wholesale Drug Company, Inc., et al., Nos. 02-1830 and 02-2731, D. N.J.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Kellogg Companies Seek OK To Settle Class Claims Targeting 'All Natural' Foods

    SAN DIEGO - Two Kellogg Co. subsidiaries will pay California purchasers of their snacks and cereals 50 cents for each product purchased to settle class claims under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) and other statutes that the companies misleadingly marketed their products as "all natural" when they actually contained synthetic or artificial ingredients, according to motions seeking preliminary approval of two settlements totaling $5.32 million filed May 2 in federal court (Skye Astiana, et al., v. Kashi Company, No. 11-1967, Chanee Thurston, et al., v. Bear Naked, Inc., No. 11-2890, S.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Appeals Court: No Economic Injury To Support UCL Standing

    SAN FRANCISCO - A woman lacks standing to pursue a claim that a pharmacy company violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) by giving her the wrong prescription drug because she failed to show that she suffered an economic injury due to the improperly filled prescription, a state appellate court held April 30 in affirming dismissal of the woman's claims (Shirley Thompson v. Walgreen Co., No. A136797, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3104).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Homeowner Should Have Chance To Allege Dual Tracking Theory, Appeals Court Says

    LOS ANGELES - Although it is too late for a homeowner to pursue a California unfair competition law (UCL) claim against a bank based on loan origination for a refinancing deal, the homeowner still may be able to adequately allege a violation of the UCL based on a dual tracking theory of the bank's foreclosure practices, a state appellate court held April 30 in reversing and remanding the trial court's grant of judgment on the pleadings to the bank (Anatoli Kouzine v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., et al., No. B249022, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3122).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Federal Judge Approves $5.3 Million FitFlop Settlement

    SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on April 28 granted final approval to a $5.3 million settlement to be paid by a footwear company to provide monetary relief to consumers who purchased the footwear that allegedly provided health benefits including improved posture, increased muscle activation and toning and reduced joint strain (Charlice Arnold, et al. v. FitFlop USA, LLC, No. 11-973, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58800).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California High Court: Tax Code, Not UCL, Proper Avenue For Excess Tax Case

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California's tax code provides the sole remedy for consumers who believe that a retailer improperly charged tax reimbursements, the California Supreme Court held May 1 in a 4-3 opinion rejecting state unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Kimberly Loeffler, et al. v. Target Corp., No. S173972, Calif. Sup.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - New York Federal Judge: Online Shopper Must Arbitrate His Complaint Over Fabric

    NEW YORK - A consumer who alleges that an online members-only shopping website falsely advertised the fabric used to make baby blankets must arbitrate his individual claims, a New York federal judge ruled April 24, dismissing the man's class complaint (Adam Starke, et al. v. Gilt Groupe, Inc., No. 13-5497, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58006).