SAN FRANCISCO - I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Spray (ICBINBS) falls under federal regulations for "spray" products, but plaintiffs need not plead "magic words" to demonstrate that they relied on the labeling in purchasing the product, a federal judge held Jan. 22 in allowing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Kym Pardini and Carrie Wood, et al. v. Unilever United States Inc., No. 13-1675, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7900).
LOS ANGELES - A trustee does not allege the type of purposeful denial of claims necessary to bring a California unfair competition law (UCL) action against an insurer, a state appeals court held Jan. 21 (Bruce T. Mulhearn, et al. v. Lawyers Title Insurance Co., et al., No. B244893, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 373).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Jan. 21 dismissed consolidated amended class action complaints of both direct and indirect purchasers who alleged that 18 Japanese and Korean manufacturers of lithium ion battery cells and their American subsidiaries engaged in a multiyear, international price-fixing conspiracy in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (In re: Lithium Ion Batteries Antitrust Litigation $(All Indirect and Direct Purchaser Actions$), No. 13-MD-2420, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7516).
SAN FRANCISCO - Equal protection prohibits peremptory strikes of potential jurors based on sexual orientation, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 21 in remanding for a new trial a case in which a federal jury in California found that Abbott Laboratories did not violate antitrust laws by raising the price of its critical component of HIV drugs by 400 percent while keeping the price of its own boosted HIV drug unchanged (SmithKline Beecham Corporation v. Abbott Laboratories, Nos. 11-17357, 11-17373, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1128).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 21 declined to decide whether the citizenship of the individuals on whose behalf a state brought restitution claims in a price-fixing case satisfies the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) minimal diversity requirement for a "mass action" (AU Optronics Corporation, et al. v. State of South Carolina, No. 12-911, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 21 affirmed a federal court's dismissal of a putative class action brought by credit cardholders alleging that banks violated the U.S. Constitution via their over-limit and late fees, finding that the substantive due process jurisprudence developed to limit punitive damages in the tort context does not apply to contractual penalties such as credit card penalty fees (In Re Late Fee and Over-Limit Fee Litigation $(Andrew T. Pinon, et al. v. Bank of America, NA, et al.$), No. 08-15218, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1091).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A study on deaths caused by crib bumpers generally and opposition to the products by numerous advocacy groups do not make the products' defect a "fact," a California federal judge held Jan. 16 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Aida Corral, et al. v. Carter's Inc., et al., NO. 13-0262, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5880).
SAN DIEGO - A man's voluntarily dismissed California unfair competition law (UCL) class action seeking to enjoin unlawful debt collection practices fell under the public interest exception to the anti-Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (anti-SLAPP) statute, a California appeals panel held Jan. 16 (David Tourgeman v. Nelson & Kennard, et al., No. D063473, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 36).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to estop United Airlines and Continental Airlines from opposing airline ticket purchasers' national market definition, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 16 in an unpublished opinion affirming the dismissal of the purchasers' complaint challenging the airlines' merger under Section 7 of the Clayton Act (Michael Malaney, et al. v. UAL Corporation, et al., No. 12-15182, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. 880).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Jan. 16 rejected Apple Inc.'s argument that the external compliance monitor the judge appointed after ruling that Apple conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books should be disqualified and denied Apple's motion requesting a stay of the appointment based on the monitor's disqualification (United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 2826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5795).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in California on Jan. 16 granted JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A.'s (Chase) motion for summary judgment on the remaining two claims in a borrowers' wrongful foreclosure suit, finding that the borrowers lack standing to challenge their mortgage's securitization process and that the disputes of material fact that they raise have already been resolved (Son T. Nguyen, et al v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., No. 12-4183, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6009).
SAN DIEGO - According to its docket, the California Supreme Court on Jan. 15 denied a petition for review but depublished a California unfair competition law (UCL) opinion in which the lower court found that a couple's calls to its lender did not create "dual tracking" (Henry Aspiras, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. S214297, Calif. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 14 declined to review a federal district court's order granting class certification in 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. 13-80223, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A state's lawsuit seeking restitution for itself and its citizens, in which it is the only named plaintiff, does not qualify as a mass action under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Jan. 14 (State of Mississippi, ex rel. Jim Hood, Attorney General v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 12-1036, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 645).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - While a woman's own testimony regarding her decision to purchase tea may eventually make proving reliance on alleged misrepresentations involving antioxidants difficult, she adequately pleads it for standing purposes under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held Jan. 6 (Nancy Lanovaz, et al. v. Twinings North America Inc., No. 12-2646, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Food and Drug Administration declined to provide a more formal definition of the term "natural" in a Jan. 7 letter to judges in California unfair competition law (UCL) cases involving alleged abuse of the term (Elizabeth Cox, et al. v. Gruma Corp., No. 12-6502, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs adequately allege that Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC's advertising that its PlayStation 3 would permit an "other OS" feature it eventually killed would confuse consumers, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 6 in reinstating California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (In re Sony PS3 'Other OS' Litigation, No. 11-18066, 9th Cir.).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 3 reversed summary judgment for defendant milk bottlers in an antitrust case, finding that a factual dispute exists regarding the nature of the alleged conspiracy with milk producers and that the trial court erroneously barred the plaintiffs' geographic market expert (In re: Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litigation; Food Lion, et al. v. Dean Foods Co., et al,, No. 12-5457, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 66).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Two Facebook Inc. users filed a putative class action against the social networking giant on Dec. 30, alleging federal and state law violations springing from Facebook's purported reading and analyzing of users' private messages for the purpose of providing targeted advertising (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California judge on Jan. 2 granted a preliminary injunction in a California unfair competition law (UCL) case in which the State of California accuses a college rating agency of making a "politically motivated decision" to revoke accreditation from the City College of San Francisco in retaliation for its public policy stances (People of the State of California, ex. Rel. Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, No. 533693, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Justice and several states on Dec. 30 opposed Apple Inc.'s motion requesting a stay of the appointment of an external compliance monitor pending Apple's appeal to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of a ruling that Apple conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books (United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 2826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Dec. 23 awarded $12.5 million in attorney fees and $574,000 in expenses to class counsel following a cash and coupon settlement between airline passengers and Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. and Asiana Airlines Inc. on the passengers' claims that the airlines conspired to fix fares and fuel surcharges for passenger air transportation on flights between the United States and Korea (In re Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. Antitrust Litigation $(All Actions$), MDL No. 07-01891, Master File No. CV 07-05107, C.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - Federal organic labeling law preempts California unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims based on consumer protection statutes, a state appeals court held Dec. 23 (Michelle Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms Inc., No. B239602, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3).
NEW YORK - A software maker failed to sufficiently allege that Microsoft Corp. violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act by restricting its Windows 2007 license to a single user and in pricing its multiuser software, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Dec. 23 (MiniFrame Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 13-1607, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25583).
NEW YORK - The class plaintiffs who opposed the merger of bankrupt American Airlines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. by filing an adversary complaint in the bankruptcy of American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp., on Dec. 19 filed a designation of appeal contending that evidence presented in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York was not considered (Carolyn Fjord, et al. v. AMR Corporation, et al. $(In Re: AMR Corporation$), No. 11-15463, Adv. No. 13-01392, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).