NEW YORK - State antitrust, consumer protection and unfair competition claims asserted by indirect purchasers of air freight shipping services against foreign airlines are expressly preempted by the Federal Aviation Act (FAA), the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Oct. 11 (In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-5464, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 21091).
SAN FRANCISCO - The federal judge in California overseeing the film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) antitrust litigation on Oct. 15 preliminarily approved a $30 million settlement between Toshiba Corp. and direct purchasers, vacating a jury award of $87 million in damages to the purchasers on their claims that Toshiba engaged in a conspiracy with other manufacturers to raise and fix the price of TFT-LCD panels and certain products containing those panels imported into the United States (In re: TFT-LCD [Flat Panel] Antitrust Litigation [All Direct Purchaser Actions], MDL No. 3:07-md-1827 SI, N.D. Calif.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148033.
SAN DIEGO - A California judge on Oct. 11 found future harm from a data breach sufficient injury for the purposes of the "injury-in-fact" requirement of Article III of the U.S. Constitution but dismissed California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (In re: Sony Gaming Networks and Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, Nos. MDL 11-2258, S.D. Calif.).
HOUSTON - A safety company's claim that a purchaser's alert containing misrepresentations damaged its reputation and sales sufficiently pleads a California unfair competition law (UCL) Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, claim at the pleading stage, a Texas federal judge held Oct. 10 (Diamond Offshore Co. v. Survival Systems International Inc., No. 11-1701, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145962).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A manufacturer's statements regarding the "full power and performance" and "ultra-reliable" nature of its computers make no specific claim regarding power and constitute puffery, a federal judge held Oct. 10 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims without prejudice (David Elias, et al. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., et al., No. 12-421, N.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO - A woman's unfair competition law class action claims involving the alleged failure to disclose defects in heating pads involve common questions of functionality that differences in sizes and settings do not overcome, a federal judge held Oct. 5 in granting class certification for California consumers (Beverly Beck-Ellman, et al. v. Kaz USA Inc. and Kaz Inc., No. 10-2134, S.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full article.
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on October 4 declined to dismiss allegations by a developer of technology used to locate mobile handsets against a standard-setting organization (SSO), concluding that the developer plausibly alleged that the SSO, acting through three of its corporate members as its agents, joined in a conspiracy to exclude the developer's technology from the SSO's standard (TruePosition, Inc. v. LM Ericsson Telephone Company, et al., No. 11-4574, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143611).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Oct. 2 denied a consumer permission to intervene to file an appeal challenging approval of the settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and electronic book publishers Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Simon & Schuster Inc. on the government's claims that e-book publishers and Apple Inc. conspired to fix prices of digital books in violation of federal antitrust laws (United States of America v. Apple, Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 2826, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142670).
NEW YORK - Written statements of the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, although relevant to the defenses of Chinese corporations accused of participating in an illegal cartel to fix prices and limit supply for exports of vitamin C to the United States, are not admissible, a federal judge in New York ruled Oct. 1 (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation [Animal Science Products, Inc., et al. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., et al.], Nos. 06-MD-1738, 05-CV-0453, E.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142558).
ATLANTA - The federal judge in Georgia overseeing the multidistrict litigation in which direct and indirect purchasers allege that reverse settlement payments involving AndroGel violated antitrust laws ruled Sept. 28 that the brand-name drug company's underlying patent infringement lawsuit against generic drug companies was not objectively baseless (In re: Androgel Antitrust Litigation [No. II], No. 1:09-MD-2084-TWT, MDL No. 2084 [all cases], N.D. Ga.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140259).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge on Oct. 1 dismissed California unfair competition law (UCL) Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, and antitrust claims against a rare-coin dealer, finding allegations that he attempted to eliminate competition through control of the real-time coin trading market insufficient (William Dominik and Westwood Rare Coin Gallery Inc. v. Collectors Universe Inc., et al., No. 12-4782, C.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141950).
SAN FRANCISCO - A woman's allegation that the continued reporting of a bankruptcy-discharged debt as delinquent prevented her from obtaining necessary services satisfactorily pleads her credit-reporting and California unfair competition law (UCL) Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, claims, a federal judge held Oct. 1 (Karen King v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 12-4168, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141963).
LOS ANGELES - A juice maker's California-based headquarters and advertising decisions warrant certifying a nationwide class of consumers under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, and other statutes, a federal judge held Sept. 28 (In re: POM Wonderful LLC Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. MDL 2199, ML 10-02199, C.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141150).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 ruled 2-1 that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to have concluded that a rival manufacturer violated federal antitrust law by entering into long-term agreements (LTAs) with customers, affirming the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware's denial of the defendant's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial (ZF Meritor, LLC, et al. v. Eaton Corporation, Nos. 11-3301, 11-3426, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20342).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal magistrate judge on Oct. 1 ordered Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and two nonparty hospitals to produce documents to the U.S. Department of Justice and the state in an action seeking to enjoin Blue Cross from including "most favored nation" (MFN) 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.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141355).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 1 denied a pharmaceutical drug developer's petition seeking review of a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the developer did not have antitrust standing to sue pharmaceutical marketers for entering into an anti-competitive agreement (SigmaPharm, Inc. v. Mutual Pharmaceutical Company, Inc., et al., No. 11-1275, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES - A real estate investor lacks a causal connection between a lender's allegedly deceptive conduct in the neighborhood and the resulting decrease in his property values, a California appeals court held Sept. 26 in affirming dismissal of an unfair competition law (UCL) claim (Zeev Levavi v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. B234760, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7070).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 25 denied the motion of a class of approximately 2 million nonbasic cable television customers in the Philadelphia market to enforce a settlement of its antitrust claims because the term sheet that the class sought to enforce against Comcast was incomplete and intended further negotiation (Caroline Behrend, et al. v. Comcast Corporation, et al., No. 03-6604, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137451).
SAN DIEGO - A vessel owner cannot pursue restitution under the California unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, because adequate remedy exists through a breach of contract claim and the policy's expiration moots his injunctive relief claim, a federal judge held Sept. 24 (Robert McAdam v. State National Insurance Co. Inc. and ROES 1 through 23, inclusive, No. 12-1333, S.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136444).
LOS ANGELES - A woman insufficiently pleads allegations against a lender that allegedly received kickbacks from third-party services, a federal judge held Sept. 24 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Penelope Bergman, et al. v. Fidelity National Financial Inc., and DOES 1-10, inclusive, C.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136711).
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania federal judge overseeing the budeprion XL multidistrict litigation on Sept. 20 denied a motion by the Texas attorney general to intervene in an approved class settlement of litigation involving the generic version of Wellbutrin XL antidepressant (In Re: Budeprion XL Marketing & Sales Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2107, No. 09-md-2107, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135313).
TRENTON, N.J. - Merck & Co. Inc., MSD Consumer Care Inc. and Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. have agreed, via a settlement agreement filed in New Jersey federal court on Sept. 21, to stop using certain terms when labeling, promoting and advertising their Coppertone sunscreen products and pay between $3 million and $10 million to end the false advertising suit brought on behalf of a nationwide class of purchasers (Steven Brody, et al. v. Merck & Co., Inc., et al., No. 12-4774, D. N.J.). Subscribers may view the settlement agreement available within the full article.
NEW YORK - A consumer who alleged that a New York City provider of electricity-generating capacity violated antitrust laws by engaging in a swap transaction lacks antitrust standing because he was an indirect purchaser, and his claims are otherwise barred by the filed-rate doctrine, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Sept. 20 (Charles Simon v. KeySpan Corporation, et al., No. 11-2265, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 19815).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Sept. 20 sentenced Taiwan-based AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) to pay a $500 million criminal fine for engaging in a global conspiracy to fix worldwide prices of thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display panels for use in computer monitors and televisions in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1 et seq. (United States of America v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 09-cv-0110 SI, N.D. Calif.). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80605.
DETROIT - A drainage district lacks standing to assert antitrust, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act., 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 1961 et seq., and state noncontractual claims against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and others on allegations that the defendants conspired to overcharge the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) for repairing a sewer collapse, a federal judge in Michigan ruled Sept. 17, finding that the district was an indirect purchaser (Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District, et al. v. Kwame Kilpatrick, et al., No.11-13101, E.D. Mich.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132395).