LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    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.).

    LIBOR Suit Plaintiffs May Move To Amend Antitrust Complaints, Federal Judge Rules

    NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York overseeing the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) antitrust litigation on May 3 granted over-the-counter, bondholder and exchange-based plaintiffs two weeks to move 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.).

    Judge: Motor Fuel Suits May Be Amended To Make Claims Consistent

    SAN FRANCISCO - Pretrial orders in lawsuits brought by three California plaintiff groups alleging unfair business practices stemming from the lack of temperature compensation in motor fuel pumps may be amended in the interest of efficiency and consistency, the judge presiding over consolidated federal litigation said in a May 6 opinion (In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 1840, No. 2:07-md-1840 KHV; Lerner v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 2:07-cv-01216-GHK-FMO, C.D. Calif.; Rushing v. Alon USA, Inc., No. 4:06-cv-07621-PJH, N.D. Calif.; Wyatt v. B.P. America Corp., No. 3:07-cv-01754-BTM-JMA, S.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64222).

    Supreme Court Won't Review Antitrust Case Involving Multiyear Contracts

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 29 let stand a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals divided ruling that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to have concluded that a manufacturer violated federal antitrust law by entering into long-term conditional-rebate agreements (LTAs) with customers even though there was no showing of below-cost pricing (Eaton Corporation v. ZF Meritor LLC, et al., No. 12-1045, U.S. Sup.).

    Judge: Borrowers May Pursue Competition Claim Involving Market-Range Overcharges

    SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations that a lender marked up vendor fees and misrepresented the charges as permissible satisfy the California unfair competition (UCL) law's injury-in-fact standard, even when the charges fall within market rates, a federal judge held April 25 (Latara Bias, Eric Breaux, and Nan White-Price, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. 12-664, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59530).

    NVIDIA Secures Dismissal Of California CFAA, Unfair Competition Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge agreed April 22 that allegations that NVIDIA Corp. violated the state unfair competition law (UCL), codified at California Business and Professions Code Section 17200, must fail because they are preempted by the federal Copyright Act (Metabyte Inc. v. NVIDIA, et al., No. 12-44, N.D. Calif.).

    Judge Permits Unfair, Fraudulent Claims Against Office Space Renter

    SAN FRANCISCO - Businesses' allegations that an office-space company failed to disclose additional fees and deceptively relied on a "miniscule" font satisfy the fraudulent and unfair prongs of the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held April 22 (Circle Click Media LLC, Metro Talent LLC, CTNY Insurance Group LLC, et al. v. Regus Management Group LLC, et al., No. 12-4000, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57443).

    Purchasers In Antitrust Case Oppose Decertification Based On Comcast

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Direct purchasers of polyether polyol products (PPPs) who won a $400,049,039 jury verdict against manufacturer Dow Chemical Co., the sole remaining defendant in multidistrict price-fixing litigation, on April 19 opposed Dow's motion seeking decertification under the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend (133 S.Ct. 1426 $(2013$)) (In re: Urethane Antitrust Litigation $(Polyether Polyol Cases$), MDL No. 1616, Civil No. 2:04-md-01616-JWL, D. Kan.).

    FTC Seeks Expedited Remand In Hospital Merger Case

    ATLANTA - The Federal Trade Commission on April 18 asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to issue an expedited order remanding its challenge to the merger between Georgia hospitals 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 v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., et al., No. 11-12906, 11th Cir.).

    9th Circuit Rejects Rehearing Petition In Juicy Juice Advertising Case

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 18 declined to rehear a panel decision allowing a consumer to pursue some of his California unfair competition law (UCL) action challenging nutrient advertising claims in drink products marketed to children (Mauricio Chavez, et al. v. Nestle USA Inc., No. 11-56066, 9th Cir.).

    DOJ, ABI Settlement Reached; Divestiture Of Modela's Domestic Business Required

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on April 22 signed the proposed settlement of the U.S. Department of Justice's action challenging Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV's (ABI) proposed acquisition of the remainder of Grupo Modelo S.A.B. de C.V. that it does not own, requiring ABI to divest Modelo's entire U.S. business (United States of America v. Anheuser-Busch InBEV SA/NV, et al., No. 13-127, D. D.C.).

    'Tethering' Amendment Permitted In Condominium Purchaser's Competition Law Action

    SAN DIEGO - Demonstrating success on the merits is not necessary where a consumer merely seeks leave to amend to tether his California unfair competition law (UCL) action to a statutory violation, a federal judge held April 17 (Dean Beaver, et al. v. Tarsadia Hotels, et al., No. 11-1842, S.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55412).

    Judge: Aftermarket Auto Parts Seller's Antitrust Suit Against GM May Continue

    BATON ROUGE, La. - The seller of aftermarket automobile parts may amend its complaint alleging that General Motors LLC and the seller of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts violated federal antitrust laws through a price-incentive program that the plaintiff asserted was intended to drive the aftermarket competition out of business, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled April 17 (Felder's Collision Parts, Inc. v. General Motors Company, et al., No. 12-646, M.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55097).

    High Court Won't Review Filed-Rate Doctrine, Indirect Purchaser Rulings

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 22 declined to review the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a consumer who alleged that a New York City provider of electricity-generating capacity violated antitrust laws by engaging in a swap transaction lacks antitrust standing because he was an indirect purchaser and that his claims are otherwise barred by the filed-rate doctrine (Charles Simon v. KeySpan Corporation, et al., No. 12-919, U.S. Sup.).

    Judge: Credit Cardholder Failed To Plead Any Violations Of Agreement

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on April 16 granted a credit provider's motion to dismiss a credit cardholder's breach of contract lawsuit, ruling that the cardholder failed to properly state any of her claims (Priscilla Barton v. Capital One Bank $(USA$), N.A., No. 12-5412, N.D. Calif.).

    Competition Law Claims Alleging Apple Double Bills Fall Short, Judge Finds

    SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs alleging that Apple Inc. violates the California unfair competition law (UCL) by double billing on iTunes purchases lack evidence of an unconscionable contract as a basis for unlawful-prong claims and an insufficient statutory tether for their unfair-prong claims, a federal judge held April 15 (Robert Herskowitz, et al. v. Apple Inc., Phoebe Juel, et al. v. Apple Inc., Nos. 12-2131, 12-3124, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54092).

    $9.5 Million Cash Settlement Approved In Bar Review Antitrust Action

    LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on April 15 preliminary approved a $9.5 million settlement of a class action brought by law students against West Publishing Co. and Kaplan Inc. for conspiring to restrain trade in the market for bar review preparation courses, following his rejection of an earlier settlement (Stephen Stetson, et al. v. West Publishing Corporation, No. CV-08-00810, C.D. Calif.).

    Judge Dismisses Majority Of Claims In Enhanced Sweetener Case

    SAN FRANCISCO - Consumers challenging supposed health benefits of enhanced artificial sweeteners under the unfair competition law (UCL) fail to allege a long-running advertising campaign, bring impermissible substantiation claims and their claims are largely preempted, a federal judge held April 16 (Barbara Bronson, Michael Fishman and Alvin Kupperman v. Johnson & Johnson Inc. and McNeil Nutritionals Inc., No. 12-4148, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54029).