NEW YORK - A suit brought By Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas on behalf of California owners of vehicles manufactured by General Motors LLC (New GM) belongs in the GM ignition-switch multidistrict litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the automaker argues in an Oct. 16 response to a motion to remand the suit to state court in California (In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-md-02543-JMF, People of the State of California v. General Motors LLC, No. 1:14-cv-07787-JMF, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN DIEGO - A newspaper company will pay $3.2 million to resolve claims that it violated California labor laws and the unfair competition law (UCL) by misclassifying newspaper carriers as independent contractors under a class action settlement that received preliminary approval Oct. 17 from a federal judge (Yvonne Dalton, et al. v. Lee Publications, Inc., No. 08-1072, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148240).
NEW YORK - A suit brought on behalf of California owners of vehicles manufactured by General Motors LLC (New GM) should be remanded to California state court, Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas argues in a memorandum filed Oct. 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, site of the General Motors ignition switch multidistrict litigation (In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-md-02543-JMF, People of the State of California v. General Motors LLC, No. 1:14-cv-07787-JMF, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appellate panel on Oct. 10 affirmed that a class action suit alleging that a gas and electric company deceptively misrepresented how much revenue it required to provide safe and reliable natural gas service in violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) was barred because it would interfere with the continuing jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in pending regulatory matters against the defendant (Filomena Guerrero, et al. v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., et al., No. A139429, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 909).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Oct. 6 granted a motion to lift a stay of bankruptcy to allow a plaintiff to pursue two claims, including a state unfair competition law (UCL) claim, against the individual defendants in a breach of contract case 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.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142107).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6 declined to grant certiorari in a dispute over whether a user-restricting license agreement connected with Microsoft Inc.'s Windows 2007 operating system violated antitrust laws, denying a petition by Israeli software firm MiniFrame Ltd. (MiniFrame Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 14-60, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge dismissed two of eight claims filed by a California woman who alleges that a food manufacturer has mislabeled its waffles as "All Natural" when they contain a synthetic ingredient (Ana Belen Ham v. Hain Celestial Group, Inc., No. 14-2044, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141157).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Criticisms of both sides' expert opinions in an antitrust class action related to Apple Inc.'s iTunes store and iPod devices go to weight, not admissibility, a California federal judge concluded Sept. 26, denying both sides' motions to exclude testimony under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) (The Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation, No. 4:05-cv-00037, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136437).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In an unpublished opinion, a federal judge in California on Sept. 25 dismissed claims against two financial institutions in a mortgage foreclosure suit, saying that because the plaintiffs' other claims failed, they could not support a claim for violation of the state's unfair competition law (UCL) (Merilyn Fulinara, et al. v. Bank of New York Mellon, et al., No. 13-3963, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136012).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Sept. 25 declined to dismiss a state unfair competition law (UCL) claim in a mortgage foreclosure dispute, saying that if the defendant did have a policy of temporarily wiping loans off the books only to later threaten foreclosure on the same loan absent full payment with penalties, such conduct would fall within the purview of the "unfair" prong of the law (Elizabeth Ann Williams v. Well Fargo Bank, No. 13-3387, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136010).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Homeowners' claims against mortgage lenders, including a claim under California's unfair competition law (UCL), were dismissed with leave to amend on Sept. 24 by a California federal judge (Celedonia Amacker, et al. v. Bank of America, et al., No. 13-3550, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134854).
NEW YORK - Plaintiffs United States and 17 states and defendants American Express Co. and American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc. (collectively, Amex) filed their redacted post-trial briefs following the conclusion of the bench trial in federal court in New York on the plaintiffs' claims that Amex's rules preventing merchants from steering customers toward the use of another credit card violate federal antitrust law (United States of America, et al. v. American Express Co., et al., No. 10-cv-4496, E.D. N.Y.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California appeals court on Sept. 22 held for the second time that a district attorney's unfair competition law (UCL) claims seeking civil penalties for violations of state workplace safety regulations are preempted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (federal/OSHA) (Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC, et al. v. The Superior Court of Orange Co., The People, real party in interest, No. G047661, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3).
DENVER - Granting in part a defendants' motions to exclude the testimony of damages experts in a dispute over a purported conspiracy to monopolize college student off-campus housing, a Colorado federal judge on Sept. 18 ruled on issues of untimely disclosure, hearsay and prejudgment interest in an antitrust setting (Auraria Student Housing at the Regency LLC v. Campus Village Apartments LLC, No. 1:10-cv-02516, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130959).
SAN FRANCISCO - A college rating agency violated the unlawful prong of California's unfair competition law (UCL) through its failure to have more than one academic on a show cause team evaluating the City College of San Francisco's accreditation, a state court judge held Sept. 19 (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 - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 16 denied United Air Lines' motion to dismiss claims that it participated in a conspiracy to fix the price of air cargo shipments in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, finding that discovery was necessary to determine whether the antitrust claim was discharged in United's bankruptcy (DPWN Holdings [USA], Inc. v. United Air Lines, Inc., et al., No. 11-CV-564, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130154).
SAN DIEGO - The makers of a glucosamine dietary supplement will pay $3.1 million and stop making claims that the product provides joint health benefits under a settlement reached with consumers alleging that the companies' false representations about the product violated California's unfair competition law (UCL), according to a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement filed Sept. 15 in federal court (Ed Hazlin, et al. v. Botanical Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 13-618, S.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - A dietary supplement company violates California consumer protection laws, including the unfair competition law (UCL), by marketing and selling its product as having beneficial health and aphrodisiac properties to improve male strength and performance when in fact none of the ingredients in the product provides such benefits, a consumer alleges in a class action complaint filed Sept. 15 in federal court (Trevor Dixon v. Magna-Rx, Inc., No. 14-7196, C.D. Calif.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - While a California state court correctly granted judgment in favor of an automobile dealership on consumer class claims that the dealership's former practice of "backdating" second sales contracts to the original date of sale violated the unfair competition law (UCL), the court erred in not entering judgment on a UCL claim for an individual customer who won his fraud claim against the dealership, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held Sept. 16 (Raceway Ford Cases, Nos. E054517, E056595, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 842).
BOSTON - Counsel for a $325 million Neurontin third-party payer class settlement on Sept. 15 asked a Massachusetts federal court for $108.33 million in attorney fees and expenses, or 33-1/3 percent of the settlement fund (In Re: Neurontin Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1629, No. 1:04-10981, D. Mass.).
NEWARK, N.J. - Plaintiffs involved in an antitrust and racketeering multidistrict litigation case accusing Aetna Inc. of underpaying out-of-network reimbursement claims asked a New Jersey federal court on Sept. 12 to deny the defendant's motion to dismiss the suit, which Aetna had filed just two days after the plaintiffs' filed a motion in support of a $120 million settlement (In Re: Aetna UCR Litigation, Master File No. 07-3541, MDL 2020, D. N.J.).
PHOENIX - Even though evidence shows that the public frequently uses the word "Google" as a verb, an Arizona federal judge on Sept. 11 held that the primary significance of the mark is still the search engine operated by Google Inc. and, thus, the mark has not become generic (David Elliott, et al. v. Google Inc., No. 2:12-cv-01072, D. Ariz.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127352).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on Sept. 10 dismissed antitrust, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act and unjust enrichment claims against the third-party administrator of prescription medication and remanded the remaining state law claims to state court (Star Discount Pharmacy Inc., et al. v. MedImpact Healthcare System Inc., et al., No. 11-2206, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126606).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California appeals court on Sept. 12 revived a state court consumer class action alleging that Apple Inc. marketed and sold defective iPhones in violation of the unfair competition law (UCL), finding that the lower court erred in ruling that a cell phone network carrier was a necessary party to the lawsuit (Ingrid Van Zant v. Apple Inc., No. H039354, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 831).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 11 upheld the denial of class certification in a lawsuit file by customers of a diagnostic and clinical testing provider who allege that they were improperly overbilled for tests (Richard Grandalski, et al. v. Quest Diagnostics Inc., et al., No. 13-4329, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17543).