CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on March 18 signed legislation that proponents hope encourages transparency in asbestos bankruptcy trust filings.
LOS ANGELES - A school bus driver bringing various wage claims against her former employer failed to establish that questions of law common to her proposed class predominate over individualized matters, a California federal judge ruled March 12, denying the plaintiffs' motion for class certification (Imelda Vasquez, et al. v. First Student, Inc., et al., No. 14-6760, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30631).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 16 found that plaintiffs' failure to allege that their cleaning service and its trademark enjoyed nationwide fame defeated their federal trademark infringement claims against the operator of LivingSocial.com, granting in part a motion to dismiss (Troy Feagin, et al. v. LivingSocial Inc., et al., No. 3:14-cv-00418, S.D. Calif.).
ALAMEDA, Calif. - An Alameda County, Calif., Superior Court judge on March 16 heard opening arguments in a class suit brought by members accusing Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. of violating California Health and Safety Code Section 1367.63 by denying all requests for surgery to remove excess skin following bariatric surgery without first having a physician review each request (Wendy Gallimore, et al. v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., et al., No. RG12616206, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 12 dismissed a class complaint accusing an employer of various violations of California wage laws and gave the lead plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint; however, he noted that if an amended complaint is successfully filed, the employer may want to seek an interlocutory appeal because the law addressing whether meal premiums are subject to wage statement and waiting time regulations is not clear (Jerrod Finder, et al. v. Leprino Foods Company, et al., No. 13-2059, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30652).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 13 reversed a decision dismissing a false advertising class action lawsuit that alleged that the manufacturer of a vegetable oil-based spread violated the unfair competition law (UCL) by declaring that the product contained "no trans fat" when it in fact did, saying that the plaintiff has standing to assert the claims and that the claims were not preempted by federal law (Robert Reid v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 12-56727, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4025).
LOS ANGELES - A California appellate court on March 9 reversed a lower court's decision and ordered the trial court on remand to fully consider a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication brought by the people of the state against multiple operators and owners of facilities allegedly selling and distributing marijuana for medicinal purposes in violation of several state laws, including the unfair competition law (UCL), saying the penalties sought by the people are among the remedies available to them rather than elements of the causes of action asserted (The People v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. B257222, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 215).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on March 9 granted defendants' motion to dismiss a state unfair competition law (UCL) claim from a dispute over payment related to charges invoiced for the advertising of an online travel arrangement company to the extent the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants' acts constituted unlawful practices, but declined to dismiss the claim to the extent that the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants' acts constituted fraud or unfair practices under the UCL (Worldwide Travel Inc., et al. v. Travelmate US Inc., et al., No. 14-155, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28517).
SAN FRANCISCO - Granting in part a mattress manufacturer's motion to retain confidentiality in certain discovery materials in a consumer protection class action, a California federal magistrate judge on March 6 found that the firm had established that disclosure of certain marketing strategy materials would put it at a competitive disadvantage (Alvin Todd, et al. v. Tempur-Sealy International Inc., et al., No. 3:13-cv-04984, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27803).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals panel on March 9 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurance policy's intellectual property exclusion precludes coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging that the insured used the name and likeness of a designer, author and inventor to market its products without permission from the insured's estate (Alterra Excess and Surplus Insurance Co. v. Estate of Buckminster Fuller, No. A140453, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 216).
LOS ANGELES - A Florida man on March 6 filed a class action lawsuit in a California federal court, alleging that a mobile phone dating application company violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) when it stopped offering the app for free and began charging for its use (Billy Warner v. Tinder Inc., No. 15-1668, C.D. Calif.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A claim brought under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) remains in a dispute accusing a mortgage lender of improperly placing purchased lender placed insurance (LPI) on a home following a California judge's March 4 ruling on a motion to dismiss (Geno and Maria Gomez v. Nationstar Mortgage, No. 14-1499, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2664).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 3 granted a motion for preliminary approval of a $415 million settlement with Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Intel Corp. on employees' claims that the high-tech companies conspired 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 (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2509, N.D. Calif.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 3 adopted in full a magistrate judge's January recommendation to approve a $900,000 settlement to be paid by CVS Pharmacy Inc. to end wage claims brought by distribution center workers (Leticia Ceja-Corona, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 12-1868, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25730).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California woman on March 4 filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against Lumber Liquidators Inc., claiming that the company violated state consumer fraud laws by selling laminate flooring manufactured in China that contains levels of formaldehyde that exceed limits allowed by the state (Shelley Conte, et al. v. Lumber Liquidators Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-1012-JCS, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A consolidated consumer class failed to establish injury-in-fact to support its antitrust claims against Netflix Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 27, upholding a district court's judgment in the retailers' favor (In Re Online DVD-Rental Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-18034, 12-16160 and 12-16183, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3095).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Feb. 27 dismissed a fraud and state unfair competition law (UCL) claim against defendants accused of breach of contract for failing to deliver computers or refund the bitcoin used to pay for the merchandise (Pete Morici v. Hashfast Technologies, et al., No. 14-87, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24251).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 27 reversed the denial of class certification in a lawsuit accusing Ford Motor Co. of failing to inform consumers of a known defect in the electronic throttle control system (ETC) that causes Freestyles to accelerate unexpectedly (Gene Edwards, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, No. 13-55331, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3073).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 declined to grant certiorari, which left standing an agreement reached in In re Managed Care Litigation that bars several physicians and physician groups from bringing claims against WellPoint Inc. in In re WellPoint, Inc. Out-of-Network "UCR" Rates Litigation under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and the Sherman Act but not from bringing certain claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Medical Association of Georgia, et al. v. Wellpoint Inc., No. 14-554, U.S. Sup.).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Feb. 20 declined to dismiss antitrust claims in a suit alleging that health insurers conspired with hospitals to drive multiple ambulatory surgical centers out of business (Arapahoe Surgery Center, et al. v. CIGNA Healthcare Inc., et al., No. 13-3422, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20488).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 denied a petition for writ of certiorari, leaving in place a California Supreme Court decision holding that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) does not preempt a California unfair competition law (UCL) lawsuit filed by the state alleging that a trucking company misclassifies drivers as independent contractors to avoid paying payroll taxes or provide workers' compensation (Pac Anchor Transportation, et al. v. People of the State of California, ex rel. Kamala D. Harris, etc., No. 14-491, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California state court judge on Feb. 17 issued a final injunction and judgment that will provide City College of San Francisco (CCSF) a new option to pursue to secure its accreditation after a finding that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) engaged in practices that violated the unlawful prong of the state's unfair competition law (UCL) when, in 2013, it terminated college's accreditation. The court had issued a tentative ruling in January instructing the city attorney to draft the injunction (People of the State of California ex rel. Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, No. CGC-13-533693, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Feb. 12 allowed negligence and state unfair competition law (UCL) claims to continue in a home loan modification dispute, but dismissed a claim for statutory cancellation of instruments (Charlotte Johnson, et al. v. PNC Mortgage, et al., No. 14-2976, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17485).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge dismissed multiple claims, including one brought under the state's unfair competition law (UCL), in a class action wage and labor dispute, leaving claims for meal break and rest period violations and declining to strike class allegations (Eve Miranda, et al. v. Coach Inc., et al., No. 14-2031, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18278).
SAN DIEGO - A California man on Feb. 9 filed a class action lawsuit in federal court accusing a grower of bananas of violating multiple laws, including the state's unfair competition law (UCL), by falsely representing itself to be an exemplar of environmental stewardship when in reality its production methods damage water supplies, destroy local crops and cause illness in the local population (Justin Jablonowski v. Chiquita Brands Inc., No. 15-262, S.D. Calif.).