LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Federal Judge Rules Viable Claims Asserted Over Student Debt Collection

    PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge refused to dismiss some putative class action claims stemming from the collection of student debts, saying March 28 that the plaintiff had stated viable claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Pennsylvania's Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA) (Megan Donohue v. Regional Adjustment Bureau Inc., et al., No. 12-1460, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45044).

    Bank's Conduct Was Not Fraudulent, Federal Judge Rules

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Claims that Chevy Chase Bank F.S.B. and successor Capital One N.A. made it impossible for a mortgage holder to make timely payments and unfairly reported late payments to credit agencies were dismissed March 28 by a District of Columbia federal judge through summary judgment or as preempted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (Christopher Ihebereme v. Capital One, et al., No. 10-1106 (ABJ), D. D.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44392).

    9th Circuit Panel Rejects Continuous Violation Doctrine In Contract Case

    SAN FRANCISCO - A man has not adequately pleaded an injury or that the continuous violation doctrine saves his California unfair competition law (UCL) claim stemming from his contract with a franchiser, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held March 28 (Sultan Hameed v. IHOP Franchising LLC, et al., No. 10-2276, No. 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6251).

    Antitrust Claims Dismissed From LIBOR Suit; Commodity Manipulation Claims Survive

    NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 28 dismissed federal antitrust claims brought by over-the-counter, bondholder, exchange-based and Charles Schwab plaintiffs against 16 banks involving alleged manipulation of the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR), an interest rate benchmark (In re: LIBOR-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, No. 11 MD 2262, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45909).

    Illinois Judge Finds Causation, Reliance Lacking In Annuity Disclosure Case

    CHICAGO - An elderly widow has not shown that representations in an allegedly untimely disclosure form factored into her purchase of an annuity or decision to keep the policy past the 30-day free cancellation period, a federal judge in Illinois held March 26 in dismissing a California unfair competition law (UCL) claim (Estella Rowe, et al. v. Bankers Life and Casualty Co. and Bankers Life Insurance Co. of Illinois, No. 09-491, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42168).

    Calif. Top Court Declines Competition Law Mid-Term Insurance Cancellation Case

    SAN FRANCISCO - According to its docket, the California Supreme Court on March 27 denied a petition challenging a finding that failure to disclose the method of calculating refunds for mid-policy cancellations supports a claim under the unfair competition law (UCL) (Craig Streit, et al. v. Farmers Group Inc., et al., No. S208017, Calif. Sup.).

    Visa, MasterCard, Banks Oppose Motion To Alter Judgment In ATM Fee Antitrust Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Visa, MasterCard and several banks on March 22 opposed a motion to alter the judgment of a federal judge in the District of Columbia dismissing actions brought by independent operators of automated teller machines (ATMs) and several ATM users who alleged that Visa and MasterCard violated federal antitrust law by establishing and enforcing a uniform agreement among payment card-issuing banks in the United States to fix prices for ATM services (The National ATM Council, Inc., et al v. Visa Inc., et al., No. 11-1803; Andrew Mackmin v. Visa Inc., et al., No. 11-1831; Mary Stoumbos v. Vis Inc., et al., No. 11-1882, D. D.C.).

    High Court: Class Certification In Antitrust Case Was Improper

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 27 ruled 5-4 that a district court may not certify a class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) without resolving whether the class has introduced admissible evidence, including expert testimony, to show that the case is susceptible to awarding damages on a classwide basis (Comcast Corporation, et al. v. Caroline Behrend, et al., No. 11-864, U.S. Sup.).

    DOJ, Michigan Move To Dismiss Antitrust Suit Against Blue Cross Over MFN Clauses

    DETROIT - Following the Michigan Legislature's passage of bills prohibiting the use of "most favored nation" (MFN) clauses, the United States, Michigan and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan on March 25 filed a joint motion to dismiss allegations that Blue Cross violated federal and state antitrust laws by including such clauses in its contracts with hospitals in Michigan (United States of America and the State of Michigan v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 10-14155, E.D. Mich.).

    Reverse-Payment Settlements Presumptively Anticompetitive, FTC Tells High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Trade Commission told the U.S. Supreme Court in oral arguments on March 25 that the court should treat reverse-payment settlements of patent litigation between the holder of a drug patent and potential generic manufacturers of the drug as presumptively invalid (Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc., et al., No. 12-416, U.S. Sup.).

    Solicitor General Views Invited By Supreme Court In Lanham Act Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 25 invited the government to weigh in on a dispute over Lanham Act false advertising claims levied in connection with food labels (POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co., No. 12-761, U.S. Sup.).

    Court: Insurer's Low-Ball Offer For Third Party's Harms Not An Effort to Defraud

    SAN DIEGO - An insurer's denial of liability and a low-ball settlement offer to an individual allegedly injured by its insured do not constitute an effort to defraud, a state court held March 18 in affirming dismissal of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Emanuel McCray v. Metropolitan Transit System, et al., No. D060802, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1943).

    Silver Price-Fixing Allegations Against JPMorgan Are Dismissed

    NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 18 dismissed allegations that JPMorgan violated federal antitrust law by participating in a conspiracy to manipulate market prices for silver futures (In re Commodity Exchange, Inc. Silver Futures and Options Trading Litigation, No. 11 md 02213, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37122).

    California Top Court Rejects Competition Law Injunction Case Against Law Firm

    SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on March 20 declined to review a California unfair competition law (UCL) injunction against an immigration law firm and its shareholder that a lower court found regulated fraud and not the practice of law (The People ex rel. Dennis J. Herrera, as city attorney, etc. v. Christopher Stender, et al., No. No. S208570, Calif. Sup.).

    Judge's Transfer Requires Necessity, Not Economy, 9th Circuit Chief Says

    SAN FRANCISCO - A chief federal appeals judge has turned down the offer of a multidistrict litigation judge to preside over remanded cases in litigation over motor fuel temperature sales practices, saying March 19 that U.S. Supreme Court rules do not allow such a transfer absent a showing of necessity from a district court in his circuit (In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices Litigation, No. 2:07-md-01840-KHVJPO, 9th Cir.; Lerner v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 2:07-cv-01216-GHK-FMO, C.D. Calif.; Rushing v. Alon USA, Inc., No. 4:06-cv-07621-PJH, N.D. Calif.; Wyatt v. B.P. America Corp., No. 3:07-cv-01754-BTM-JMA, S.D. Calif.).

    Federal Judge: California Competition Law Claims Proceed Against Supplement Maker

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Two consumers adequately pleaded that they purchased a vitamin C product based on allegedly misleading representations regarding its potency and benefits, a New York federal judge held March 15 (Patrick Hughes and Nafise Nina Hodjat, et al. v. The Ester C. Co., NBTY Inc., and NatureSmart LLC, No. 12-41, E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36652).

    MDL Judge Approves Settlement Between Toshiba, Direct CRT Purchasers

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on March 18 certified a settlement class and granted preliminary approval of a $13.5 million settlement between direct purchasers of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and Toshiba on the direct purchasers' price-fixing claims in antitrust multidistrict litigation (In re: Cathode Ray Tube $(CRT$) Antitrust Litigation $(Indirect Purchaser Actions$), MDL No. 1917, No. 3:07-cv-05944, N.D. Calif.).

    Indirect Purchasers Voluntarily Dismiss Samsung From CRT Antitrust MDL

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on March 13 approved a stipulation dismissing Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Samsung Electronics America Inc. from antitrust multidistrict litigation brought by indirect purchasers of cathode ray tubes (CRTs)against CRT manufacturers (In re: Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Antitrust Litigation $(Indirect Purchaser Actions$), MDL No. 1917, No. 3:07-cv-05944, N.D. Calif.).

    Court Allows Lawyer's Competition Law Action Against Online Legal Provider

    SANTA ANA, Calif. - A lawyer claiming increased costs and reduced income from an online legal provider's conduct alleges injury under the California unfair competition law (UCL) and may pursue the action even though he lacks direct business dealings with it, a California appeals court panel held March 14 (Law Offices of Mathew Higbee v. Expungement Assistance Services, No. G046778, Calif. App., 4th Dist.; Div. 3).

    Tying Arrangement Does Not Violate Antitrust Law, Illinois Federal Judge Rules

    CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on March 13 dismissed a class action filed by a purchaser against a concert promoter who claimed that the promoter illegally tied ticket sales to parking fees in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA), concluding that the tying practice did not violate federal or state antitrust laws (James Batson v. Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., No. 11-cv-01226, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34424).

    Shareholders' Action Alleging Conspiracy Against Private Equity Firms Continues

    BOSTON - Shareholders who allege that several private equity firms fixed the prices paid for companies undergoing leveraged buyouts (LBOs) alleged sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue as to the existence of an "overarching conspiracy" to refrain from "jumping" each other's proprietary deals, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled March 13, denying the defendants' omnibus motion for summary judgment (Kirk Dahl, et al. v. Bain Capital Partners LLC, et al., No. 07-12388, D. Mass.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34771).

    Judge: Loan Modification Allegations Can't Support Competition Law Claims

    LOS ANGELES - A couple fail to adequately plead that their lender's attempts to modify their mortgage constituted unlawful, unfair or fraudulent conduct under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held March 13 (Noel G. Lesley Sr., et al. v. Ocwen Fin. Corp., et al., No. 12-1737, C.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35056).

    Magistrate Judge Recommends Class Certification Be Denied To Direct Purchasers

    TAMPA, Fla. - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on March 12 recommended that a group of direct purchasers of photochromic lenses be denied class certification in antitrust litigation against the lens manufacturers, concluding that the direct purchasers failed to demonstrate adequacy and predominance (In re: Photochromic Lens Antitrust Litigation, No. 8:10-md-2173-JDW-EAJ, M.D. Fla.).

    9th Circuit Panel Denies Rehearing In ATM Fee Antitrust Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 13 denied a petition for rehearing en banc filed by automated teller machine (ATM) cardholders in an antitrust class action lawsuit who are seeking damages related to the fixed interchange fee that a card-issuing bank pays to the ATM owner and the foreign ATM fee that the cardholder pays to his bank when the cardholder uses ATMs owned by other institutions (In re: ATM Fee Antitrust Litigation, Pamela Brennan, et al. v. Concord EFT, Inc., et al., No. 10-17354, 9th Cir.).

    Jury Finds Chinese Vitamin C Makers Fixed Prices; $153.3M Judgment Entered

    NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 14 entered judgment for $153.3 million after trebling a jury's $54.1 million verdict in favor of a direct purchaser class on its allegations that Chinese corporations participated in an illegal cartel to fix prices and limit supply for exports of vitamin C to the United States (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation $(Animal Science Products, Inc., et al. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., et al.$), No. 06-md-1738, No. 05-cv-0453, E.D. N.Y.).