Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Suit Filed In Arkansas Federal Court Alleges Antitrust Violations

    JONESBORO, Ark. - Two physicians and an ambulatory surgery center on June 5 sued a joint venture physician hospital organization and a health insurer in an Arkansas federal court, alleging antitrust violations (Tri State Advanced Surgery Center, et al. v. Health Choice, et al., No. 14-143, E.D. Ark.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - 9th Circuit Rejects NCAA's Plea To Delay Antitrust Bench Trial

    SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 5 denied an emergency petition filed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association seeking to delay the bench trial on student athletes' antitrust claims, scheduled to start June 9, until after a jury trial on student athletes' right-of-publicity claims occurs (In re: National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Collegiate Athletic Association v. United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland, No. 14-71522, 9th Cir.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Merck Unlawfully Markets Higher SPF Sunscreens As Better, Consumer Alleges

    SAN DIEGO - Merck & Co. Inc. misleads consumers into buying premium priced Coppertone sunscreen products with a sun protection factor (SPF) higher than 50 even though the company knows that such products do not provide more protection than sunscreens with an SPF of 50, a California resident alleges in an unfair competition law (UCL) class action complaint filed June 4 in federal court (Danika Gisvold v. Merck & Co., Inc., et al., No. 14-1371, S.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - MDL Judge Dismisses Claims That Anheuser-Busch Overstates Alcohol Content Of Beer

    CLEVELAND - Consumers cannot pursue class claims, including allegations under California's unfair competition law (UCL), that Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC knowingly sells watered down beer with reduced alcohol content because the brewer's products meet federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulations for beer labeling, an Ohio federal judge overseeing a multidistrict litigation held June 2 (In Re: Anheuser-Busch Beer Labeling, Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 13-2448, N.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76005).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - 9th Circuit: Debt Collection Claims Should Be Heard By State Court

    PASADENA, Calif. - A federal district court properly dismissed some California unfair competition law (UCL) claims in a consumer class action alleging unlawful debt collection practices but should have remanded other UCL claims under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held June 2 in an unpublished opinion (Kimberly Grant v. Unifund CCR, LLC, et al., No. 12-56641, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10208).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Federal Judge Withdraws Remand Order In Overtime Wage Class Suit

    OAKLAND, Calif. - Just one day after remanding a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by hourly managers employed by Urban Outfitters Wholesale Inc., doing business as Anthropologie, a California federal judge on May 29 withdrew that order, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to refile their remand motion after it was struck as premature (Alexander Moore, et al. v. Urban Outfitters Wholesale, Inc., D/B/A Anthropologie, a Pennsylvania corporation, et al., No. 13-2245, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73218).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - No Injury Alleged To Support UCL Claim, Federal Judge Rules

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Two homeowners cannot pursue a California unfair competition law (UCL) claim that their mortgage lenders' unfair business practices caused them to default on their loan because the homeowners fail to allege that they suffered any economic injury, a federal judge held May 30 (Scott Paulhus and Lynette Paulhus v. Fay Servicing, LLC, et al., No. 14-736, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74227).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California High Court Reverses $15M Verdict In Loan Officers' Overtime Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on May 29 reversed a verdict of approximately $15 million for a class of loan officers seeking unpaid overtime, finding that the trial plan relied on flawed statistical sampling (Samuel Duran, et al. v. U.S. Bank National Association, No. S200923, Calif. Sup.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - NCAA Cannot Delay Trial Or Sever Antitrust Claims, Federal Judge Rules

    OAKLAND, Calif. - Student-athletes' trial on antitrust claims against the National Collegiate Athletic Association will proceed as scheduled June 9, a federal judge in California ruled May 23 in denying the NCAA's motion to continue the trial or, alternatively, to sever certain of the antitrust claims and try them later with student-athletes' right-of-publicity claims (Samuel Keller, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. C 09-1967, N.D. Calif.; Edward O'Bannon, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. C 09-3329, N.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - South Korea Urges 7th Circuit To Deny Rehearing Of FTAIA Ruling In LCD Case

    CHICAGO - Suppliers of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels and the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) on May 23 asked the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to deny Motorola Mobility Inc.'s petition for rehearing en banc of a ruling that Motorola's claims that the suppliers engaged in a global price-fixing conspiracy based on overseas purchases by Motorola's foreign affiliates do not fall under the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act's (FTAIA) domestic injury exception and were properly dismissed (Motorola Mobility LLC v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 14-8003, 7th Cir.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Calif. Federal Judge Limits Class Certification In Suit Over Almond Milk Labeling

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 23 partially granted a motion for class certification in a lawsuit accusing an almond milk producer of mislabeling certain products and limited the class to California consumers (Chris Werdebaugh, et al. v. Blue Diamond Growers, No. 12-2724, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71575).

    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.).