SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California woman adequately states a claim under the unfair prong of the state's unfair competition law (UCL) that Mazda Motor of America Inc. sold vehicles with a defective valve assembly that Mazda knew was defective and likely to fail and result in engine failure, a federal judge held Sept. 9, using a balancing test to reject Mazda's request to dismiss the claim (Lynn Peterson v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc., No. 13-1972, C.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127421).
SAN FRANCISCO - Consumers adequately plead class action claims that a solar energy company violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) by selling defective solar panels because the consumers properly allege that the company made false representations and warranties about the solar panels and failed to disclose the defect and that the consumers were harmed by the company's actions, a federal judge held Sept. 8 in denying the company's bid to dismiss the claims (Michael Allagas, et al. v. BP Solar International Inc., et al., No. 14-00560, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126314).
SAN FRANCISCO - An unfair competition complaint based on alleged extortionate practices on Yelp's consumer review website was properly dismissed for failure to state a claim, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 2, noting that the putative class representatives failed to satisfy the "exceedingly narrow" extortion pleading requirements under Californian law (Boris Y. Levitt, et al. v. Yelp Inc., No. 11-17676, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17079).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California judge on Aug. 29 granted preliminary approval to a settlement agreement between the State of California and eBay Inc. in which the company will pay $3.75 million to settle claims that it harmed employees and the state's economy by agreeing to not hire workers from another Silicon Valley employer (The State of California v. eBay, Inc., No. 12-5874, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121349).
SEATTLE - In addition to finding that an author failed to file his putative antitrust class action against Amazon.com Inc. within the appropriate statute of limitations, a Washington federal judge on Aug. 28 also held that the plaintiff failed to support his claim of unlawful tying related to Amazon's services for print-on-demand (POD) authors, granting the online retailer's motion for summary judgment (Rhawn Joseph v. Amazon.com Inc., et al., No. 2:13-cv-01656, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121050).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A woman's class action claims that Pfizer Inc. violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) by misrepresenting the effectiveness of antidepressant drug Zoloft are barred by the statute of limitations because she did not show that she diligently tried to discover Pfizer's alleged illegal conduct in the four years after she stopped taking the drug, a federal judge held Aug. 29 in dismissing the woman's claims (Laura A. Plumlee v. Pfizer Inc., No. 13-414, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121634).
LOS ANGELES - Supermarket chain Whole Foods Market Inc. dupes customers into buying its Greek yogurt products by vastly understating on the product labels how much sugar the yogurt contains, in violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), according to a consumer class action complaint filed Aug. 26 in federal court (Chas Jackson, et al. v. Whole Foods Market, Inc., No. 14-6705, C.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - The makers of the hangover prevention beverage NOHO cheated a former business partner out of more than $5 million in company shares, compensation and commissions by unlawfully canceling the partner's interest in the company, in violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), according to a complaint filed Aug. 25 in federal court (Todd Blatt, et al. v. NOHO, Inc., et al., No. 14-6666, C.D. Calif.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal judge on Aug. 21 denied a bid by The Coca-Cola Co. to dismiss consumer class action claims that the company violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) by not listing phosphoric acid as an artificial flavor or chemical preservative on product labels. The judge then warned the consumers not to use the case as a vehicle to seek a large attorney fee award through settlement (George Engurasoff, et al. v. The Coca-Cola Company, et al., No. 13-3990, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116936).
SAN FRANCISCO - One company out of two that filed delinquent opt-out notices in a settlement between direct purchasers of cathode ray tube (CRT) products and two manufacturers was successful in convincing a California federal judge on Aug. 20 to find that its negligence was excusable (In Re: Cathode Ray Tube [CRT] Antitrust Litigation, No. 03-5944; Sharp Electronics Corp., et al. v. Hitachi, Ltd., et al., No. 13-1173, Dell Inc., et al. v. Hitachi, Ltd., et al., No. 13-2171, N.D. Calif.).
PITTSBURGH - The filed-rate doctrine precludes the antitrust claims of individual and some small-group purchasers of health insurance against insurer Highmark Inc. and health care provider University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), but the filed-rate doctrine may not be applicable to claims of small-group purchasers that asserted a measure of damages based on unregulated rates, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Aug. 21 in granting in part the purchasers' motion for leave to file a third amended complaint (Royal Mile Company, Inc., et al. v. UPMC, et al. No. 2:10-cv-01609, W.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116224).
SAN FRANCISCO - National cleaning products company Hillyard Inc. will pay $750,000 to settle class claims that it violated California labor laws and unfair competition law (UCL) by failing to reimburse sales representatives for work-related expenses in a deal that received preliminary approval from a federal magistrate judge on Aug. 22 on the third try (Lawrence Daniel Christensen, et al. v. Hillyard, Inc., No. 13-4389, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117499).
SAN DIEGO - Antitrust conspiracy claims related to the process through which service providers may compete for government contracts through the federal AbilityOne Program were dismissed by a federal judge in California on Aug. 20 (Bona Fide Conglomerate, Inc. v. SourceAmerica, No. 14cv0751, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116200).
SAN FRANCISCO - An indirect purchaser of plasma-derivative protein therapies is not barred under California's antitrust statute from recovering as damages any overcharges it incurred in purchasing the protein therapies from nonconspirators, even if the purchaser would have paid a lower price in the absence of the conspiracy to restrict the supply of such products, a federal judge in California ruled Aug. 20 (County of San Mateo v. CSL Limited, et al., No. 10-cv-05686, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116342).
LOS ANGELES - Blue Cross of California misrepresented which providers its plans covered while transferring subscribers into limited-access Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) "skinny networks" consisting of the cheapest medical services providers in an effort to save money, an Aug. 19 class action alleges (Jonathan Brown, et al. v. Blue Cross of California, dba Anthem Blue Cross and DOES 1 through 100 inclusive, No. BC554949, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
NEW YORK - Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on Aug. 19 for limited relief from the automatic stay in the General Motors Corp. bankruptcy proceedings to allow him to seek remand of his California suit against the automaker to state court (In re: Chapter 11 Motors Liquidation Co., et al., f/k/a General Motors Corp., et al., No. 09-50026, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
LAS VEGAS - A software support services firm exceeded the scope of its developer license agreement with Oracle USA Inc. by downloading multiple copies of Oracle's database software when it was only licensed to download a single copy for application purposes, a Nevada federal judge ruled Aug. 13, granting Oracle's motion for partial summary judgment on copyright infringement (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112591).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Aug. 14 reconsidered her earlier decision and agreed with Abbott Laboratories Inc. and AbbVie Inc. that state law claims by three third-party payers (TPPs) related to the off-label marketing of the epilepsy drug Depakote should be dismissed with prejudice (Sidney Hillman Health Center of Rochester, et al. v. Abbott Laboratories, et al., No. 13-5865, N.D. Ill., E. Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112634).
TRENTON, N.J. - Direct purchasers of ductile iron pipe fittings (DIPF) have adequately pleaded facts suggesting that sellers of DIPF engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Aug. 13 in denying the sellers' motions to dismiss (In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings [DIPF] Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-711, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111988).
ATLANTA - A Florida hospital is an indirect purchaser and lacks standing to recover damages on claims that Astellas US LLC is forcing health care providers to buy its adenosine drug at a 450 percent markup compared to competitors' versions of the same drug by unlawfully tying the implied license to perform its patented cardiac test to the purchase of its unpatented drug for use during that test, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 15 in ruling that the hospital would not be an adequate representative for a damages class (Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Inc. v. Astellas US, LLC, et al., No. 13-12709, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15669).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Aug. 12 ruled that a surgeon whose staff and clinical privileges were revoked failed to allege antitrust injury because she maintained such privileges at other hospitals but that the surgeon could continue with her hostile work environment claims (Yelena Levitin, et al. v. Northwest Community Hospital, et al., No. 13-5553, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110830).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Absent any economic injury, a California woman cannot pursue class claims under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) alleging that Google Inc. unlawfully discloses users' personal information to third-party developers of mobile applications when users purchase apps in the Google Play store using Google Wallet, a federal judge held Aug. 12 (Alice Svenson v. Google Inc. and Google Payment Corporation, No. 13-04080, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111810).
SAN FRANCISCO - Two California residents on Aug. 8 filed class action claims in a federal court alleging that Hyundai Motor Co. violated federal and state laws, including the unfair competition law (UCL), by intentionally concealing a hazardous stalling defect in Santa Fe vehicles and by making false and misleading statements in a recent voluntary "Service Campaign" intended to address the defect (Julia Reniger and Greg Battaglia v. Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai Motor Company, No. 14-03612, N.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO - Another class action lawsuit alleging that a food company violates California's unfair competition law (UCL) by misbranding sugar in its products as "evaporated cane juice" must await a final ruling by the Food and Drug Administration on the common name for sweeteners derived from sugar cane syrup after a federal judge dismissed the action on Aug. 11 based on the primary jurisdiction doctrine (Nadine Saubers, et al. v. Kashi Company, No. 13-899, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110954).