Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Fraud, Breach Of Contract Class Action Against Jobs Website Partly Dismissed

NEW YORK - A putative class action against a job-matching website partly survived a dismissal motion, a New York federal judge ruled March 12, finding claims for breach of contract and a violation of New York General Business Law adequately pleaded (Barbara Ward, et al. v. TheLadders.com Inc., No. 1:13-cv-01605, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32617).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Calif. Homeowner Adequately Pleads Fraud For UCL Claim, Appeals Panel Finds

LOS ANGELES - A homeowner's claims against his burglar alarm company that its early termination fee is a fraudulent and deceptive business practice and violates California's unfair competition law are pleaded sufficiently enough to state a claim for fraud, a panel of the Second District California Court of Appeal held March 12 in reversing and remanding a trial court's judgment sustaining a demurrer to the homeowner's complaint (Sean Jaquez v. Protection One Alarm Monitoring, Inc., et al., No. B245829, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Fraud, Breach Of Contract Class Action Against Jobs Website Partly Dismissed

NEW YORK - A putative class action against a job-matching website partly survived a dismissal motion, a New York federal judge ruled March 12, finding claims for breach of contract and a violation of New York General Business Law adequately pleaded (Barbara Ward, et al. v. TheLadders.com Inc., No. 1:13-cv-01605, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32617).

Mealey's Health Law - Alabama High Court: Networks Do Not Have To Contract With Health Care Provider

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A divided Alabama Supreme Court on Jan. 24 held that a trial court erred in submitting a claim for intentional interference with business relationship to a jury in a health care network dispute, saying the defendants had no obligation to do business with the plaintiff health care provider (Alabama Psychiatric Services, et al. v. A Center for Eating Disorders, No. 1110703, Ala. Sup.; 2014 Ala. LEXIS 9).

Yelp Ordered To Comply With Subpoena To Identify Negative Online Reviewers

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A trial court acted in accordance with Virginia law governing the "unmasking" of anonymous Internet speakers, the majority of a Virginia Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 7, affirming the lower court's order compelling Yelp Inc. to comply with a subpoena duces tecum by a business owner seeking to discover the identities of the writers of several online business reviews that are purportedly false and defamatory (Yelp Inc. v. Hadeed Carpet Cleaning Inc., et al., No. 0116-13-4, Va. App.; 2014 Va. App. LEXIS 1).

Man's State Law Claims Against Loan Servicer Are Preempted, Judge Rules

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Nov. 15 dismissed without prejudice a man's lawsuit challenging the foreclosure of his home after finding that his state law claims, including his cause of action brought under California Business and Professions Code Section 17200, are preempted by the Home Owners Loan Act (HOLA) (Jason Deschaine v. IndyMac Mortgage Services, et al., No. 13-1991 WBS CKD, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163203).

Judge Orders Fund Manager To Pay $7.8M In SEC Securities Fraud Lawsuit

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Nov. 6 ordered a fund manager to pay nearly $7.8 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties for misrepresenting the investment activity of three funds he was managing in violation of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Small Business Capital Corp., et al., No. 12-3237, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159227).

Judge Partially Dismisses Securities Lawsuit Against Bank, Officers, Directors

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 30 partially dismissed a court-appointed receiver's lawsuit against a bank for alleged violations of state and federal securities laws, ruling that the receiver failed to state a claim for relief (Thomas A. Seaman v. California Business Bank, et al., No. 13-2031, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155919).

Woman's Lending Law, Consumer Fraud Claims Untimely, Judge Rules

CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Oct. 18 dismissed a woman's lawsuit against Bank of America N.A. accusing the lender of violating the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, after finding that her claims were barred by the statute of limitations (Crystal Gater v. Bank of America, N.A., No. 13 C 3267, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149872).

Ohio Federal Judge Grants In Part Motions To Compel Against Non-Party

DAYTON, Ohio - Non-party Community Insurance Co., doing business as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Anthem), must produce certain documents regarding its deliberations not to contract with a medical center in the medical center's lawsuit claiming that it was denied contracts with managed care providers as a result of a purported conspiracy involving other hospitals to exclude the medical center from the marketplace in violation of federal antitrust law, a federal judge in Ohio ruled Oct. 16 (The Medical Center at Elizabeth Place, LLC v. Premier Health Partners, et al., No. 3:12-cv-26, S.D. Ohio; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148839).

New York 'Swipe Fees' Statute Is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules

NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Oct. 3 granted a preliminary injunction to five retailers who sued the New York attorney general and other officials challenging the constitutionality of Section 518 of the New York General Business Law, which prohibits sellers from imposing credit card "swipe fees," saying the "virtually incomprehensible distinction between what a vendor can and cannot tell its customers offends the First Amendment $(to the U.S. Constitution$) and renders section 518 unconstitutional" (Expressions Hair Design, et al. v. Eric R. Schneiderman, et al., No. 13-3775, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143415).

Judge: Competitor's Allegedly False 'Made In' Labeling Constitutes Injury

LOS ANGELES - A company's claim that a competitor misrepresents its products as being manufactured in the United States, costing a competitor business, satisfies the standing requirement of the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held Sept. 23 (Storm Manufacturing Group Inc. v. Weather Tec Corp., et al., No. 12-10849, C.D. Calif.).

Surveillance Court Judge: PATRIOT Act Permits FBI's Collection Of Telephone Data

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Sept. 17 order accompanying redacted versions of two previously issued rulings, a U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge held that under the U.S. PATRIOT Act, certain requests for business records of telephone service providers by the Federal Bureau of Investigation are "lawful and required" and do not violate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In Re: Application of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things, No. BR 13-109, FISC).

Calif. High Court Says Unfair Competition Law Can Include Insurance Claims

SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court said Aug. 1 that an insurance policyholder can bring bad faith and false advertising claims against her insurance company under the state's unfair competition law (UCL; Business and Professions Code Section 17200, et seq.) and that those claims are not prohibited by the state's Unfair Insurance Practices Act (UIPA; Insurance Code Section 790, et seq.) (Yanting Zhang v. The Superior Court of San Bernardino County, et al., No. S178542, Calif. Sup.).

Calif. Court Allows Claims In Competition Law Case Involving Continuous Accrual

SAN FRANCISCO - After its previous ruling was reversed by the California Supreme Court on the basis of continuous accrual, a state appeals court on July 9 rejected alternative arguments for dismissing a man's California unfair competition law (UCL) action alleging excess charges (Jamshid Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions Inc., No. B213104, Calif. Super., 2nd Dist.).

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).

Howrey Committee, Trustee Want To Sue Law Firms For 'Unfinished Business'

SAN FRANCISCO - The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and the trustee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of former law firm Howrey LLP on May 20 moved in bankruptcy court for permission to prosecute and settle various pending causes of action that are potential assets of the bankruptcy estate (In Re: Howrey LLP, No.11-31376, Chapter 11, N.D. Calif. Bkcy.).

Judge Trims Claims In Grocery Store Chain Securities Class Action

NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on April 30 trimmed federal securities law claims brought by lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit who allege that a grocery store chain and others misrepresented the company's business and financial condition in violation of federal securities law (Ricky Dudley v. Christian W.E. Haub, et al., No. 11-5196, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61386).

Judge Dismisses Securities Class Action Lawsuit With Prejudice

OAKLAND, Calif. - Lead plaintiffs and defendants in a securities class action accusing the defendants of misrepresenting an information technology company's business and financial condition in violation of federal securities law have agreed to proceed with the filing of a second amended complaint and dismiss the action with prejudice, according to court documents filed in California federal court on April 29 (In re Cisco Systems Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 11-1568, N.D. Calif.).

NVIDIA Secures Dismissal Of California CFAA, Unfair Competition Claims

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge agreed April 22 that allegations that NVIDIA Corp. violated the state unfair competition law (UCL), codified at California Business and Professions Code Section 17200, must fail because they are preempted by the federal Copyright Act (Metabyte Inc. v. NVIDIA, et al., No. 12-44, N.D. Calif.).

Judge Permits Unfair, Fraudulent Claims Against Office Space Renter

SAN FRANCISCO - Businesses' allegations that an office-space company failed to disclose additional fees and deceptively relied on a "miniscule" font satisfy the fraudulent and unfair prongs of the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held April 22 (Circle Click Media LLC, Metro Talent LLC, CTNY Insurance Group LLC, et al. v. Regus Management Group LLC, et al., No. 12-4000, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57443).

Judge: Lead Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Federal Securities Law Claims

MIAMI - Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against a cruise line and several of its executive officers have failed to plead any of their federal securities law claims relating to the defendants' alleged issuance of false and misleading statements regarding the company's business and financial condition, a federal judge in Florida ruled April 19 (In re Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Securities Litigation, No. 11-22855, S.D. Fla.).

Insurer Cannot Enforce Mandatory Arbitration Endorsement, Panel Says

MINNEAPOLIS - An insurer cannot enforce a mandatory arbitration endorsement in its policy because the endorsement conflicts with a policy endorsement stating that all disputes must be resolved in Missouri courts, and under Missouri law, mandatory arbitration is not permitted under insurance contracts, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 19 (Union Electric Co., doing business as Ameren UE v. AEGIS Energy Syndicate 1225, No. 12-3546, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 7840).

Judge: Aftermarket Auto Parts Seller's Antitrust Suit Against GM May Continue

BATON ROUGE, La. - The seller of aftermarket automobile parts may amend its complaint alleging that General Motors LLC and the seller of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts violated federal antitrust laws through a price-incentive program that the plaintiff asserted was intended to drive the aftermarket competition out of business, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled April 17 (Felder's Collision Parts, Inc. v. General Motors Company, et al., No. 12-646, M.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55097).

Virginia Restaurant Is Not Exempt From Smoking Ban, State Appeals Court Rules

RICHMOND, Va. - State law exempting certain tobacco-related businesses from a general smoking ban under the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act (VICAA) does not apply to a restaurant and hookah bar, a divided Virginia Court of Appeals ruled April 9 (Kepa Inc., d/b/a She-Sha Cafe and Hookah Lounge v. Virginia Department of Health, No. 1164-12-3; 2013 Va. App. LEXIS 113).