Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Antitrust Suit Against MLB, NHL, Distributors Over Showing Of Games Continues

    NEW YORK - Consolidated putative antitrust class actions related to live-game video offerings against Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Hockey League (NHL) and their member clubs and against multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) Comcast and DirecTV and their affiliated regional sports networks (RSNs) that televise the games will continue, a federal judge in New York ruled Aug. 8 in denying the defendants' motions for summary judgment (Thomas Laumann, et al. v. National Hockey League, et al., No. 12-cv-1817; Marc Lerner, et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, et al., No. 12-cv-3704, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109951).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - UCL Class Allegations Against EBay, PayPal Survive Motion To Dismiss

    OAKLAND, Calif. - Some class action allegations against eBay Inc. and PayPal Inc. under California's unfair competition law (UCL) fail because they are based on contract terms that users agree to, but allegations based on unfair exercise of discretion by eBay and arbitrary monetary holds by PayPal state claims sufficiently enough to survive a motion to dismiss, a federal judge held Aug. 11 (Maggie Campbell v. eBay, Inc., and PayPal, Inc., No. 13-2632, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110806).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Google Sanctioned For Minimal Discovery Production In AdWords Class Action

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - Google Inc. did not fully comply with a discovery order by producing only information it believed was relevant to a particular category of data, a California federal magistrate judge ruled Aug. 8, granting in part a motion for sanctions by the lead plaintiff in a putative class action alleging fraud in the Internet giant's AdWords program (Rick Woods, et al. v. Google Inc., No. 5:11-cv-01263, N.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Appeals Court: Noncompete Agreement Suit Not Aimed At Protected Activity

    SANTA ANA, Calif. - Two companies' cross-claims under California's unfair competition law (UCL) that a rival company used illegal noncompete agreements with its employees to unlawfully compete with its competitors are not barred by the state's law banning strategic lawsuits against public participation (anti-SLAPP statute) because the claims are based on the rival's business practices and not its litigation conduct, a state appellate panel held Aug. 8 in affirming a trial court's ruling (Pathology, Inc. v. Aviir, Inc., et al., No. G048824, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5621).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - MDL Judge Grants Drugmaker Judgment On Claims That It Marketed Celexa Unlawfully

    BOSTON - The Massachusetts federal judge overseeing multidistrict litigation involving the antidepressant drug brands Celexa and Lexapro on Aug. 8 granted summary judgment to the manufacturer of Celexa on a California man's claims that the company violated that state's unfair competition law (UCL) by misrepresenting that the drug was safe and effective for minor children (In re: Celexa and Lexapro marketing and sales practices litigation, MDL No. 09-2067; [Scott A. Wilcox v. Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Forest Laboratories, Inc., No. 10-10154, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109667]).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Imposes Injunction Against NCAA In Student Compensation Antitrust Case

    OAKLAND, Calif. - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules barring student athletes from receiving a share of the revenue that the NCAA and its member schools earn from the sale of licenses to use the student athletes' names, images and likenesses in video games, live game telecasts and other footage violate federal antitrust law, a federal judge in California ruled Aug. 8 (Edward O'Bannon, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. C 09-3329, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110036).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Chat Site Operator Denied Subpoena Request For UCL Claims Against Spammers

    SAN FRANCISCO - A company that operates a Web platform for chatting online cannot conduct early discovery to identify domain name owners accused of spamming the website in violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) because the company did not first make a sufficient effort to identify the spammers "through reasonably available mechanisms," a federal magistrate judge ruled Aug. 7 (Skout, Inc. v. Jen Processing, Ltd., et al., No. 14-2341, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109332).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Rejects Apple's, Google's $324M Settlements In Employees' Conspiracy Suit

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 8 rejected $324.5 million partial class action settlements between employees and Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. on the 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.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110064).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Federal Judge Deals Final Blow To Homeowners' UCL Claims Against Lender

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 6 dismissed for the second time two homeowners' claims under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) that their mortgage lender's unfair business practices caused them to default on their loan after finding that the homeowners again failed to allege that they suffered any economic injury (Scott Paulhus and Lynette Paulhus v. Fay Servicing, LLC, et al., No. 14-736, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108635).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - 'Fishing Expedition' For UCL Claim Not Allowed, Magistrate Judge Rules

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A man alleging that an insurance company violated California motor vehicle laws by not changing the title to a salvaged auto so it can be inspected and driven cannot use discovery to determine if a claim under the state unfair competition law (UCL) will allow him to meet the amount-in-controversy requirement for diversity jurisdiction, a federal magistrate judge held Aug. 5 in dismissing the man's lawsuit (Manuel Quiroz, Jr. v. Praetorian Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-1652, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108389).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Standing Lacking For UCL Claim In Foreclosure Dispute, 9th Circuit Affirms

    PASADENA, Calif. - Homeowners' wrongful foreclosure claims against mortgage lenders, including a claim under California's unfair competition law (UCL), alleging that the assignment of their home loan obligation to a securitized investment trust was void because it did not comply with the pooling and servicing agreement (PSA) governing the trust fail because the allegation is not plausible, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 6 (Paul Junod and Patricia Junod v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., et al., No. 12-55712, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15142).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - GM Removes Orange County Suit To Federal Court, Cites Pending Actions In New York

    SAN DIEGO - General Motors LLC (GM) on Aug. 5 removed to federal court a suit filed by Orange County, Calif., alleging that the automaker concealed defects in its vehicles to avoid recalls (The People of the State of California, et al. v. General Motors LLC, No. 8:14-cv-01238-AG [RNBx] S.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Class Action Seeks Damages For Owners Of Recalled Jeep SUVs

    LOS ANGELES - A California woman filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on July 28, seeking to represent owners of the more than 792,000 Jeep vehicles that are part of a recall announced by Chrysler Group LLC on July 22 to address ignition-switch defects (Latoya Lumpkin, et al. v. Chrysler Group LLC, No. 14-01555, C.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Quaker Oats To Remove Trans Fat Ingredients Under UCL Settlement

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Quaker Oats Co. will remove trans fat ingredients from dozens of oatmeal and snack bar products for at least 10 years under a settlement of class action unfair competition law (UCL) claims approved July 29 by a California federal judge (In Re Quaker Oats Labeling Litigation, No. 10-00502, N.D. Calif.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Will Bar Evidence Of Litigation Uncertainty

    PHILADELPHIA - The Federal Trade Commission on July 29 prevailed on a motion to preclude a pharmaceutical company from presenting evidence of "litigation uncertainty" surrounding its prescription drug patent at an upcoming reverse payments antitrust trial (Federal Trade Commission v. Cephalon Inc., No. 08-2141, E.D. Pa.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - False Advertising Claims Against Yelp Survive Anti-SLAPP Motion, Panel Finds

    LOS ANGELES - Reversing a lower court's ruling, a California appeals panel on July 24 found that a man's complaint against Yelp Inc. was "aimed squarely at false advertising claims" and, as such, should not have been dismissed under California's strategic lawsuit against public participation (anti-SLAPP) statute (James Demetriades v. Yelp Inc., No. B247151, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 671).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California's Top Court Says Suit Alleging Employee Misclassification Can Proceed

    SAN FRANCISCO - 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 in order to avoid paying payroll taxes or provide workers' compensation, the California Supreme Court held July 28 (The People ex rel. Kamala D. Harris, etc. v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc., et al., No. S194388, Calif. Sup.; 2014 Cal. LEXIS 5181).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Opt-Out Complaints Against Visa, MasterCard, Banks Will Continue

    NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on July 18 refused to dismiss suits by merchants that opted out of the $7.25 billion class action settlement between approximately 12 million merchants and Visa, MasterCard and a large number of banks, which allegedly fixed the price of interchange fees paid by merchants when customers use Visa and MasterCard credit cards (In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation $(All Opt-Out Cases$), No. 14-md-1720, E.D. N.Y.).

    Mealey"s Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Most Of Warranty Claims, All Fraud Claims Survive Dismissal In Shop-Vac MDL

    WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 17 dismissed warranty claims filed by one out of three named plaintiffs in a multidistrict litigation over the power and capacity of vacuums but allowed the other claims of the remaining two named plaintiffs to proceed, along with the consumer fraud claims filed by all three plaintiffs (In Re: Shop-Vac Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 12-2380, M.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98075).

    Mealey"s Antitrust/Unfair Competition - No Proof Of Collusion In Tobacco Pricing, Kansas Court Of Appeals Rules

    TOPEKA, Kan. - A class of Kansas cigarette purchasers has failed to show that the major tobacco manufacturers conspired to fix wholesale prices for cigarettes, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled July 18 (Daric Smith, et al. v. Philip Morris Companies Inc., et al., No. 108,491, Kan. App.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Cable Providers' Motion To Compel Arbitration Of Tying Claim Is Denied

    OKLAHOMA CITY - Cox Communications Inc. waived any right to demand arbitration of class claims that Cox tied access to its premium cable services to rental of a set-top box, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled July 18, noting that Cox did not file its motion to compel arbitration until five months prior to trial in a case that has been litigated for five years (In re: Cox Enterprises, Inc. Set-Top Cable Television Box Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-MDL-2048-C, W.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98142).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Software Company Seeks High Court Review Of Challenge To Microsoft's License

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - MiniFrame Ltd. asked the U.S. Supreme Court on July 16 to review the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that the 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 (MiniFrame Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 14-60, U.S. Sup.).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Apple Reaches $400M Settlement With States, Class In E-Books Antitrust Case

    NEW YORK - Apple Inc. has agreed to pay $400 million to 33 states and a certified class of consumers to settle claims that it conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books, according to a motion for preliminary approval filed July 16 in federal court in New York (In re Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-md-2293, S.D. N.Y. [State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-3394, S.D. N.Y.]).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Trader Joe's To Pay $3.3 Million To Resolve 'All Natural' Labeling Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO - Grocery store chain Trader Joe's Co. will pay $3,375,000 and remove the terms "All Natural" and "100% Natural" from the labels of certain food products to settle class claims alleging that the terms are misleading and violate California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other statutes under an agreement that received final approval July 11 from a federal judge (Tamar Davis Larsen, et al. v. Trader Joe's Company, No. 11-05188, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95538).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Homeowner States Valid Claims Of Unlawful Fees, Actions, Judge Finds

    SAN FRANCISCO - A condominium owner can pursue class claims under California's unfair competition law (UCL) based on violations of the state's Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act because she sufficiently alleges that a debt collection company hired by her homeowners association improperly attempted to collect fees from her and foreclose on her home in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal judge ruled July 11 in denying the company's motion to dismiss (Gena Hanson v. JQD, LLC, d/b/a Pro Solutions, No. 13-05377, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94742).