SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 21 affirmed a federal court's dismissal of a putative class action brought by credit cardholders alleging that banks violated the U.S. Constitution via their over-limit and late fees, finding that the substantive due process jurisprudence developed to limit punitive damages in the tort context does not apply to contractual penalties such as credit card penalty fees (In Re Late Fee and Over-Limit Fee Litigation $(Andrew T. Pinon, et al. v. Bank of America, NA, et al.$), No. 08-15218, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1091).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A study on deaths caused by crib bumpers generally and opposition to the products by numerous advocacy groups do not make the products' defect a "fact," a California federal judge held Jan. 16 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Aida Corral, et al. v. Carter's Inc., et al., NO. 13-0262, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5880).
SAN DIEGO - A man's voluntarily dismissed California unfair competition law (UCL) class action seeking to enjoin unlawful debt collection practices fell under the public interest exception to the anti-Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (anti-SLAPP) statute, a California appeals panel held Jan. 16 (David Tourgeman v. Nelson & Kennard, et al., No. D063473, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 36).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to estop United Airlines and Continental Airlines from opposing airline ticket purchasers' national market definition, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 16 in an unpublished opinion affirming the dismissal of the purchasers' complaint challenging the airlines' merger under Section 7 of the Clayton Act (Michael Malaney, et al. v. UAL Corporation, et al., No. 12-15182, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. 880).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Jan. 16 rejected Apple Inc.'s argument that the external compliance monitor the judge appointed after ruling that Apple conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books should be disqualified and denied Apple's motion requesting a stay of the appointment based on the monitor's disqualification (United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 2826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5795).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in California on Jan. 16 granted JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A.'s (Chase) motion for summary judgment on the remaining two claims in a borrowers' wrongful foreclosure suit, finding that the borrowers lack standing to challenge their mortgage's securitization process and that the disputes of material fact that they raise have already been resolved (Son T. Nguyen, et al v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., No. 12-4183, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6009).
SAN DIEGO - According to its docket, the California Supreme Court on Jan. 15 denied a petition for review but depublished a California unfair competition law (UCL) opinion in which the lower court found that a couple's calls to its lender did not create "dual tracking" (Henry Aspiras, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. S214297, Calif. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 14 declined to review a federal district court's order granting class certification in an antitrust suit accusing high-tech companies of conspiring to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 13-80223, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A state's lawsuit seeking restitution for itself and its citizens, in which it is the only named plaintiff, does not qualify as a mass action under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Jan. 14 (State of Mississippi, ex rel. Jim Hood, Attorney General v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 12-1036, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 645).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - While a woman's own testimony regarding her decision to purchase tea may eventually make proving reliance on alleged misrepresentations involving antioxidants difficult, she adequately pleads it for standing purposes under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held Jan. 6 (Nancy Lanovaz, et al. v. Twinings North America Inc., No. 12-2646, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Food and Drug Administration declined to provide a more formal definition of the term "natural" in a Jan. 7 letter to judges in California unfair competition law (UCL) cases involving alleged abuse of the term (Elizabeth Cox, et al. v. Gruma Corp., No. 12-6502, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs adequately allege that Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC's advertising that its PlayStation 3 would permit an "other OS" feature it eventually killed would confuse consumers, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 6 in reinstating California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (In re Sony PS3 'Other OS' Litigation, No. 11-18066, 9th Cir.).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 3 reversed summary judgment for defendant milk bottlers in an antitrust case, finding that a factual dispute exists regarding the nature of the alleged conspiracy with milk producers and that the trial court erroneously barred the plaintiffs' geographic market expert (In re: Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litigation; Food Lion, et al. v. Dean Foods Co., et al,, No. 12-5457, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 66).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Two Facebook Inc. users filed a putative class action against the social networking giant on Dec. 30, alleging federal and state law violations springing from Facebook's purported reading and analyzing of users' private messages for the purpose of providing targeted advertising (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California judge on Jan. 2 granted a preliminary injunction in a California unfair competition law (UCL) case in which the State of California accuses a college rating agency of making a "politically motivated decision" to revoke accreditation from the City College of San Francisco in retaliation for its public policy stances (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 - The U.S. Department of Justice and several states on Dec. 30 opposed Apple Inc.'s motion requesting a stay of the appointment of an external compliance monitor pending Apple's appeal to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of a ruling that Apple conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books (United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 2826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Dec. 23 awarded $12.5 million in attorney fees and $574,000 in expenses to class counsel following a cash and coupon settlement between airline passengers and Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. and Asiana Airlines Inc. on the passengers' claims that the airlines conspired to fix fares and fuel surcharges for passenger air transportation on flights between the United States and Korea (In re Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. Antitrust Litigation $(All Actions$), MDL No. 07-01891, Master File No. CV 07-05107, C.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - Federal organic labeling law preempts California unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims based on consumer protection statutes, a state appeals court held Dec. 23 (Michelle Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms Inc., No. B239602, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3).
NEW YORK - A 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, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Dec. 23 (MiniFrame Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 13-1607, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25583).
NEW YORK - The class plaintiffs who opposed the merger of bankrupt American Airlines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. by filing an adversary complaint in the bankruptcy of American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp., on Dec. 19 filed a designation of appeal contending that evidence presented in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York was not considered (Carolyn Fjord, et al. v. AMR Corporation, et al. $(In Re: AMR Corporation$), No. 11-15463, Adv. No. 13-01392, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK - A hotel and movie theater operator on Dec. 19 moved for the preliminary approval of a settlement of a putative class action in a New York federal court alleging that American Express Co.'s merchant discount fee violates antitrust provisions of the Sherman Act (The Marcus Corp. v. American Express Co., et al., No. 04-5432, S.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES - Under California's "shine the light" (STL) privacy law, consumers must actually try to request the required disclosures before an injury exists; a company's failure to provide contact information alone does not suffice, a state appeals court held Dec. 19 in affirming dismissal of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (David Boorstein v. CBS Interactive Inc., No. B247472, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Dow Chemical Co. is not precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel from relitigating the issue of the existence of a conspiracy in antitrust actions by direct-action plaintiffs (DAPS) who opted out of the class action in polyether polyol price-fixing litigation that ended in a $1 billion judgment against Dow, a federal judge in Kansas ruled Dec. 16, in denying the DAPs' motion for partial summary judgment (In re: Urethane Antitrust Litigation $(Polyether Polyol Case: Carpenter Co., et al. v. BASF SE, et al.$), MDL No. 1616, Nos. 04-MD-1616, 08-2617, D. Kan.).
BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on Dec. 13 granted final approval of settlements worth $163.5 million between purchasers and the market leaders in the production of titanium dioxide on the purchasers' claims that the manufacturers engaged in price fixing, with the last agreement being reached on the eve of trial (In re Titanium Dioxide Antitrust Litigation [All Actions], No. 10-0318, D. Md.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176099, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176100).
NEW YORK - Indirect purchasers on Dec. 13 moved for preliminary approval of a $2.2 million settlement with Weisheng Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd. - two Chinese manufacturers of vitamin C - on the indirect purchasers' allegations that the defendants conspired to unlawfully fix prices of vitamin C to be exported to the United States and committed other unlawful practices designed to inflate the prices of vitamin C sold to the purchasers in the United States (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation $(All Indirect Purchaser Actions$), Nos. 06-MD-1738, 06-988, 06-987, 06-149, E.D.N.Y.).