WASHINGTON, D.C. - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in ruling that although a merger between two Georgia hospitals would substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly, the state-action doctrine immunized the conduct from a challenge by the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC told the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 20 in the FTC's merits brief (Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., et al., No. 11-1160, U.S. Sup.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. LEXIS 4852.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in affirming the certification of a class of approximately 2 million non-basic cable television customers in the Philadelphia market on its claims that Comcast Corp. worked to establish a monopoly in the Philadelphia market and then increased prices once it had eliminated competition, Comcast argues in its merits brief filed Aug. 17 in the U.S. Supreme Court (Comcast Corporation, et al. v. Caroline Behrend, et al., No. 11-864, U.S. Sup.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. LEXIS 4754.
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 17 denied drug makers' motion to stay the mandate pending the filing of a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case in which the appeals court ruled that 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 trade (In Re: K-Dur Antitrust Litigation $(Appeals of Louisiana Wholesale Drug Co., Inc., et al., No. 10-2077; CVS Pharmacy Inc., et al., No. 2078; Walgreen Co., et al., No. 10-2079; Merck & Co., Inc., et al., No. 10-4571$), 3rd Cir.). View related prior history 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 14527.
NEW YORK - A federal magistrate judge in New York on Aug. 16 granted summary judgment in favor of five manufacturers of brand name prescription drugs (BNPDs) on pharmacies' claims that the manufacturers offered discounts and rebates to the pharmacies' competitors but not to the pharmacies in violation of the Robinson-Patman Act 15 U.S.C.S. § 13, finding that the pharmacies failed to demonstrate competitive injury (Drug Mart Pharmacy Corp., et al. v. American Home Products Corp., et al., No. 93-CV-5148, E.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115882).
LOS ANGELES - The California Supreme Court on Aug. 15 granted a petition for review in a district attorneys' case against a paper maker and stayed briefing pending resolution of whether delayed discovery applies in California unfair competition law (UCL) Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 cases, according to the docket (The People of the State of California v. E*Poly Star Inc., et al., No. S203477, Calif. Sup.).
HAMMOND, Ind. - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBS) cannot compel a nonparty hospital to produce documents in an antitrust action brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Michigan seeking to enjoin BCBS from including "most favored nation" (MFN) clauses in its contracts with hospitals in Michigan, a federal judge in Indiana ruled Aug. 15 (United States of America and the State of Michigan v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 2:12-mc-00039, N.D. Ind.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115023).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California unfair competition law (UCL) action against nursing homes over staffing claims merely asks the court to decide whether misrepresentations exist; it would not force courts to regulate the health care industry, the First District California Court of Appeal held Aug. 15 (Cameron Shuts, et al. v. Covenant Holdco LLC, et al., No. A132805, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minnesota federal judge has dismissed a putative consumer fraud class action alleging that defective home plumbing leached lead into drinking water, saying Aug. 14 that although the company had engaged in a "bait and switch" regarding pipe it submitted for testing, the plaintiffs did not offer any evidence that defective pipe was installed in their home (Steven and Cecilia Thunander, et al. v. Uponor, Inc., et al., No. 11-2322 $(SRN/SER$), D. Minn.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113939).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 10 affirmed the denial of attorney fees to class counsel who were successful in achieving a $49 million antitrust settlement between law students and providers of preparation courses for state bar examinations because the class counsel's entering into incentive agreements with the class representatives created conflicting interests between the class representatives and the rest of the class (Ryan Rodriguez, et al. v. Sandra Disner, et al., Nos. 10-55309, 10-55342, 10-56730, 10-56700, 10-56703, 10-56724, 10-56737, 10-56803, 10-57037, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16698).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 8 denied interlocutory appeal of a federal district court's denial of class certification of premium cable subscribers who claim that Cox Enterprises Inc. unlawfully tied access to its premium services with mandatory rentals of its cable boxes (Bradley Gelder, et al. v. CoxCom Inc., et al., No. 12-706, 10th Circ.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16536).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in California on Aug. 7 awarded $67,384.64 in sanctions against former college athletes for failing to take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue discovery burdens on three nonparties in the athletes' lawsuit accusing video game manufacturer Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) of conspiring with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) to use the former athletes' names and likenesses in products without compensation in violation of the Sherman Act (In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation, No. 09-cv-01967, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110824).
RICHMOND, Va. - A putative synthetic marijuana product marketed as "Newprot" infringes on the manufacturer of Newport brand menthol cigarettes, a Virginia federal judge said Aug. 7 in an opinion that awarded the tobacco company attorney fees (Lorillard Tobacco Company, et al. v. California Imports, LLC, et al., No. 3:10cv817-JAG, E.D. Va., Richmond Div.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110871)
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 7 that although the filed rate doctrine applies generally to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) minimum pricing of raw milk, the doctrine does not bar dairy farmers' claims arising from the misreporting of pricing data to the USDA that caused depressed prices being paid to the farmers for raw milk (Gerald Carlin, et al. v. DairyAmerica, Inc., et al., No. 10-16448, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16374).
SAN FRANCISCO - A long-running suit alleging consumer fraud in the rounding up of wireless minutes was revived Aug. 7 by the First District California Court of Appeal, which ruled that claims under California's unfair competition law (UCL; Business and Professions Code Section 17200, et seq.) should not have been dismissed by demurrer without leave to amend (Diane Tucker, et al. v. Pacific Bell Mobile Services, et al., No. A132619, Calif. App., Dist. 1, Div. 5).
CHICAGO - U.S. Futures Exchange LLC (USFE) may continue with two of its three theories that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (CME) and the Board of Trade of the City of Chicago Inc. (CBOT) violated federal antitrust law by conspiring to prevent USFE from competing in the market for exchange services for U.S. Treasury futures, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Aug. 3 (U.S. Futures Exchange LLC, et al. v. Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, et al, No. 04 C 6756, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108961).
SEATTLE - An award at trial equal to what the defendant had agreed to pay in arbitration does not make a plumbing company the prevailing party under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) or the mechanics lien statute, a Washington appeals court ruled Aug. 6, affirming a trial judge's award of attorney fees to the defendant (Plumb Serve, LLC, v. Viola M. Scoby et al., No. 65459-4-I, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2012 Wash. App. LEXIS 1847).
NEW YORK - A federal trial court erred in granting summary judgment to manufacturer Stora Enso North American (SENA) but properly granted summary judgment to manufacturer Stora Enso Oyj (SEO) on direct purchasers' claims that the defendants engaged in a horizontal price-fixing scheme by agreeing with a nonparty manufacturer to fix prices of publication paper at supracompetitive prices, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 6 (In re: Publication Paper Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-101-cv, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16330).
NEW YORK - Underlying antitrust lawsuits against concrete manufacturer insureds fail to allege an advertising injury under commercial general liability insurance policies, a New York federal judge ruled Aug. 3, granting the insurers' motions for summary judgment (Suwannee American Cement LLC, et al. Zurich Insurance Company, Ltd., et al., No. 11 Civ. 3899 (LLS), S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109316).
TAMPA, Fla. - A company that supplies karaoke compact disks need not name a karaoke operator to sustain claims of vicarious infringement and unfair competition and trade practices against the restaurant that hired the operator, a Florida federal judge said Aug. 3, denying a motion to dismiss (Slep-Tone Entertainment Corporation v. Il Mio Sogno, LLC, No. 8:12-cv-1187-T-30EAJ, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108702).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Aug. 2 approved nine settlement agreements worth approximately $183 million after reduction for opt-outs between air carriers and direct and indirect domestic and foreign purchasers of airfreight shipping services on their claims that the carriers were part of a worldwide price-fixing scheme (In re: Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation No. 06-MD-1775, E.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108299).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An Arkansas federal judge refused to throw out a lawsuit alleging violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) stemming from defective pollution control systems in Caterpillar diesel truck engines, saying in an Aug. 3 opinion that significant fact issues remain and that a witness's alleged statement to the plaintiff that the problem had been solved was not necessarily mere puffery (JMAR Express Inc., et al. v. Peterbilt of Memphis Inc., et al., No. 4:10CV01231-BRW, E.D. Ark., Western Div.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108685).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on Aug. 3 refused to dismiss claims by stun-gun maker TASER Inc. that a competitor issued unfair and misleading press releases to drive its stock price down and granted the plaintiff time to depose two key defendant witnesses regarding their role in the releases (TASER International, Inc. v. Stinger Systems, et al., No. 2:09-cv-289-MMD-PAL; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108737).
LAS VEGAS - An Internet site accused of copyright infringement of "adult-themed" videos must disclose to a Las Vegas video producer the identities of six people who allegedly uploaded protected video, a Nevada federal judge ruled Aug. 1 (Liberty Media Holdings, LLC v. Sergej Letyagin, d/b/a SunPorno.com, et al., No. 2:12-cv-00923-LRH-GWF, D. Nev.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107184).
PHILADELPHIA - An elderly resident whose home was rendered uninhabitable by substandard repair work and is being foreclosed upon won more than $1 million in a default judgment against several defendants Aug. 1 in a Pennsylvania federal court on claims under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) (Mildred v. Bibbs v. Security Atlantic Mortgage Co. Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00346-TON, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107337).
SAN FRANCISCO - Dunning a debtor at her place of employment is a per se violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) 15 U.S.C.S. §§1692 et seq., a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 1, reversing a trial court's denial of class certification (Catherine Evon, et al. v. Law Offices of Sidney Mickell, et al., No. 10-16615 and No. 10-17836, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15861).