LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Visa, MasterCard Seek Stay Of Retailers' Antitrust Suit Over Fees

    NEW YORK - In response to retailers' complaint that they exercised their market power to preclude issuing banks from competing for merchant acceptance of credit and debit cards, thereby causing the merchants to pay excessive interchange fees, Visa and MasterCard on June 25 moved to stay all proceedings pending final decision on transfer by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) (Target Corporation, et al. v. Visa Inc., et al., No. 13-3477, S.D. N.Y.).

    Supreme Court Will Not Decide Whether State Antitrust Law Is Preempted

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 declined to review a Nevada Supreme Court ruling that the state attorney general's action for damages under the state antitrust law is preempted as a matter of law by federal regulation of natural gas markets (The State of Nevada, et al. v. Reliant Energy, Inc., et al., No. 12-980, U.S. Sup.).

    Preliminary Approval Given To Settlement Involving GMOs, 'All Natural' Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 21 gave preliminary approval to a $4 million settlement in a California unfair competition law (UCL) class action challenging the presence of genetically modified organisms in more than 40 food products labeled as "all natural" (Richard W. Trammell v. Barbara's Bakery Inc., et al., No. 12-2664, N.D. Calif.).

    Indirect Purchasers' $35M Settlement Gets Final Approval In Flonase Antitrust Case

    PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 19 granted final approval to a $35 million settlement between prescription drug Flonase manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) and indirect purchasers on the indirect purchasers' claims that GSK filed a series of sham citizen petitions with the Food and Drug Administration to delay the entry of a generic version of Flonase into the market (In re Flonase Antitrust Litigation $(Indirect Purchaser Actions$), No. 08-3301, E.D. Pa.).

    Judge: Computer Power Action Challenges Puffery, Is Insufficiently Pleaded

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A consumer's California unfair competition law (UCL) claims largely involve puffery surrounding power claims and insufficiently plead knowledge of the alleged defects, a federal judge held June 20 (David Elias, et al. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., No. 12-421, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87748).

    Judge Permits Unlawful, Fraudulent Claims Against 'Cramming' Defendant

    SAN FRANCISCO - A man may proceed under the unlawful and fraudulent prongs of his California unfair competition law (UCL) claim against an aggregator accused of cramming consumers with unsolicited text-message update services, a federal judge held June 21 (Edward Fields, et al. v. Wise Media LLC, et al., No. 12-5160, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87671).

    High Court Remands Reverse-Payment Settlement Cases To 3rd Circuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 vacated the judgment of the Third Circuit in antitrust litigation involving the drug K-Dur and remanded for further consideration in light of its recent ruling in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc., et al., in which it held that reverse-payment settlements of patent litigation between the holder of a drug patent and potential generic manufacturers of the drug should be analyzed under the rule of reason (Merck & Co., Inc. v. Louisiana Wholesale Drug Co., et al., No. 12-245, U.S. Sup.; Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. v. Louisiana Wholesale Drug Co., et al., No. 12-265, U.S. Sup.).

    Supreme Court Denies Review In Divestiture Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 denied Polypore International Inc.'s petition seeking review of an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision upholding a Federal Trade Commission ruling that Polypore's acquisition of Microporous Products would substantially lessen competition in three relevant North American markets for battery separators and that a complete divestiture, including a plant in Austria, was required to restore competition in those markets (Polypore International, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission, No. 12-1016, U.S. Sup.).

    1st Circuit: Error To Apply Heightened Pleading Standard In Antitrust Case

    BOSTON - A recycling company sufficiently alleged that polystyrene food service packaging manufacturers and trade associations refused in concert to deal with the company in its recycling business method in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 19, finding that the trial court misapplied the plausibility requirement at the pleading stage (Evergreen Partnering Group, Inc. v. Pactiv Corporation, et al., No. 12-1730, 1st Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12505).

    Competition Law Claims Against Snack Makers Escape Preemption, Judge Says

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - California unfair competition law (UCL) claims challenging trans fat and other health claim labeling involve permissible state regulations based on federal law and largely escape preemption, a federal judge held June 18 (Sarah Samet and Jay Peters, et al. v. Procter & Gamble Co., Kellogg Co. and Kellogg Sales Co., No. 12-1891, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86432).

    Federal Judge Orders Consumers To Arbitrate Antitrust Claims

    DALLAS - Plaintiffs alleging that online travel companies and hotels conspired to fix the prices of hotel rooms must arbitrate their federal antitrust claims against Travelocity, based on the arbitration clause and its class waiver provision in the company's user agreement, a federal judge in Texas ruled June 14 (In re: Online Travel Company $(OTC$) Hotel Booking Antitrust Litigation, No. 3:12-cv-3515-B, N.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84842).

    Company Fails To Prove Conspiracy, Monopolization, 1st Circuit Rules

    BOSTON - A company that sells aviation fuel at an airport failed to demonstrate that a competitor conspired with the airport authority to interfere with its business in violation of federal antitrust law, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 17 (Diaz Aviation Corporation, et al. v. Airport Aviation Services, Inc., et al., No. 12-1859, 1st Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12069).

    High Court Won't Consider Whether Sherman Act Preempts Tribal Sovereignty

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 denied review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that antitrust laws do not preempt and a cigarette tax collection agreement between a Native American tribe and the State of Washington does not waive the tribe's sovereign immunity (Daniel T. Miller, et al. v. Chad Wright, et al., No. 12-1237, U.S. Sup.).

    High Court Denies Review Of Plausibility Standard In Antitrust Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 denied an electronic data interchange (EDI) provider's petition seeking review of an unpublished Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that dismissed its allegations that its competitor engaged in anti-competitive conduct in violation of the Sherman Act (Loren Data Corp. v. GXS, Inc., No. 12-1273, U.S. Sup.).

    $150M Settlement Receives Final Approval In Flonase Sham Litigation Case

    PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 14 granted final approval to a $150 million cash settlement between Flonase manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) and a certified class of 33 direct purchasers on the direct purchasers' claims that GSK filed a series of sham citizen petitions with the Food and Drug Administration to delay the entry of a generic version of Flonase into the market in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act (In re Flonase Antitrust Litigation $(Direct Purchaser Actions$), No. 08-3149, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83976).

    San Francisco Sues Companies Selling Large-Capacity Gun Magazines

    SAN FRANCISCO - Four companies flout the state's ban on magazines containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition by disguising them as "repair kits," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera alleges in a California unfair competition law (UCL) action filed June 10 (People of the State of California, ex rel. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera v. 44Mag Distributing LLC, d/b/a 44MAG.com, et al., No. 531982, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).

    Federal Judge Allows Fraud Claims To Proceed In Mercedes Fuel Tank Class

    ATLANTA - Some plaintiffs have pleaded common-law fraud and statutory consumer claims sufficient to defeat dismissal of their claims over alleged Mercedes Benz fuel line leaks, the Georgia federal judge overseeing a putative class action said June 7 (Ronan McCabe, et al. v. Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, No. 1:12-cv-2494-TCB, N.D. Ga., Atlanta Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80161).

    Federal Judge Allows FTC To Intervene In Pool Products MDL

    NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana who is overseeing the pool products distribution market antitrust multidistrict litigation ruled June 5 that the Federal Trade Commission may intervene for the purpose of precluding the parties from seeking documents that would reveal the identities of confidential informants during the agency's earlier investigation (In re: Pool Products Distribution Market Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2328, No. 2:12-md-02328, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79077).

    FTC, Hospitals Agree To Preliminary Injunction Halting Merger

    ALBANY, Ga. - A federal judge in Georgia on June 5 approved the terms of a preliminary injunction agreed to by the Federal Trade Commission and Putney Health System Inc., enjoining the further integration of Georgia hospitals (Federal Trade Commission, et al. v. Phoebe Putney Health System Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-58, M.D. Ga.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68658).

    Fiduciary Duty Claims Related To Wells Fargo's Securities Lending Program Continue

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - A federal judge in Minnesota on June 4 ruled that Wells Fargo Bank N.A. is not entitled to summary judgment on claims that it breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by investing the assets of ERISA plans in risky securities as part of its securities lending program (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 11-2529, D. Minn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78018).

    Court Rejects Real Estate Agent's Competition Law Action Involving Insurance

    SANTA ANA, Calif. - An errors and omissions insurance provision was secondary to the agreement between a real estate and broker and thus not unlawfully sold, a California appeals court held June 3 in affirming dismissal of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Marshall S. Griffith v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Co., No. G047506, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3).

    Produce Company Will Appeal After Stipulated Dismissal Of Competition Law Claims

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A produce company on June 4 both stipulated to dismissal of its California unfair competition law (UCL) claims against the joint owner of a tote bag concept and notified the court of its intent to appeal, after a federal judge said only common-law claims for "passing off" could proceed to trial (Gerawan Farming Inc. v. Rehrig Pacific Co., No. 11-01273, E.D. Calif.).

    4th Circuit: FTC Properly Concluded That State Dental Board Violated FTC Act

    RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 31 declined to review the Federal Trade Commission's ruling that dentists in North Carolina, through the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners, are conspiring to exclude non-dentists from providing teeth-whitening services in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, No. 12-1172, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 11006).

    Purchasers' Settlement With Video Game Software Maker Receives Final Approval

    OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal judge in California on May 30 granted final approval to a $27 million settlement of purchasers' claims that a manufacturer of interactive video game software violated antitrust law by entering into exclusive trademark licenses with U.S. football associations (Geoffrey Pecover, et al. v. Electronic Arts Inc., No. 08-cv-02820, N.D. Calif.).

    Landslide Is Excluded Peril, 1st Circuit Rules

    BOSTON - A landslide caused by torrential rain was an excluded peril and not compensable, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 31 ruled against the claims of a company whose self-storage warehouse suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages (Stor/Gard, Inc. v. Strathmore Insurance Company, No. 12-1650, 1st Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 11015).