Judge: Competition Law Claims Proceed Against Chase For Acquired Loan

    SAN FRANCISCO - A man may pursue his California unfair competition law (UCL) claims against Chase Home Finance LLC for conduct associated with a loan it acquired after Washington Mutual Bank went into receivership, an appeals court held Feb. 11 (Scott Call Jolley v. Chase Home Finance LLC, et al., No. A134019, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2).

    Court Denies Rehearing; Reversal Of $203M Overdraft Suit Stands

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 denied rehearing and en banc rehearing of a ruling reversing a $203 million jury award involving a bank's debit card transaction processing and resulting overdrafts (Veronica Gutierrez, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank NA, Nos. 10-16959, 10-17468, 10-17689, 9th Cir.).

    Judge Allows Claims Against Hair-Product Manufacturer

    LOS ANGELES - Hair-product consumers may proceed on their California unfair competition law (UCL) unlawful-prong claims but have not adequately alleged affirmative misrepresentations by the manufacturer, a federal judge held Feb. 6 (Jill Guido, et al. v. L'Oreal USA Inc., et al., Nos. 11-1067, 11-5465, C.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16915).

    Justice Department, 5th E-Book Publisher Reach Deal On Price-Fixing Claims

    NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Justice and electronic book publishers Verlagsgruppe Georg Von Holtzbrinck GMBH and Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC, doing business as Macmillan (collectively, Macmillan) on Feb. 8 filed a proposed settlement of the government's claims that Macmillan conspired with other e-book publishers and Apple Inc. 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.).

    Michigan Federal Judge Dismisses As Untimely Antitrust Claims Related To Merger

    DETROIT - Claims that a producer of oxidates monopolized the domestic market for oxidates following its purchase of a competitor's product line in violation of federal and state antitrust laws were untimely filed, a federal judge in Michigan ruled Feb. 5, concluding that price increases were not "independent" "acts that were unrelated to the merger" (Z Technologies Corporation v. The Lubrizol Corporation, No. 12-12206, E.D. Mich.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15125).

    Wisconsin Appeals Court Affirms $22M Drug-Pricing Judgment Against Pharmacia

    MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin appeals court panel on Feb. 6 upheld a $22 million judgment against Pharmacia Corp. for reporting inflated average wholesale prices (AWPs) that resulted in the state Medicaid program overpaying for prescription drugs (State of Wisconsin v. Abbott Laboratories, et al., No. 2010AP232-AC, Wis. App., Dist. IV).

    MDL Created For Fuel Economy Competition Law Claims Against Hyundai And Kia

    LOS ANGELES - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Feb. 5 consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California 12 cases challenging Kia Motors America Inc. and Hyundai Motor America's marketing, sale and advertising of fuel economy (In re: Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation, No. JPMDL, MDL 2424, E.D. Pa.).

    Judge Finds Infringement By Former Owner Of Electrical Franchise

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas franchise owner infringed on a franchisor by continuing to use the company's marks after termination of his agreement, a Kansas federal judge said Feb. 6 (Mr. Electric Corp. v. Reiad Khalil and Alber Electric Co., Inc., No. 06-2414, D. Kansas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15723).

    Dismissal Of Claims Over Lunch Meat Fat Affirmed By 11th Circuit

    ATLANTA - Dismissal of a putative class action alleging that companies misleadingly labeled the fat content of their lunch meats was affirmed Feb. 1 by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which said the trial court correctly found that the claims were preempted and failed to state a claim (Brad Kuenzig, et al. v. Hormel Foods Corp., et al., No. 12-11180, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22650).

    Canadian Potash Producers Settle Antitrust Claims For $97.5 Million

    CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 30 preliminarily approved an $80 million settlement between direct purchasers of potash and three Canadian potash producers and a $17.5 million dollar settlement between indirect purchasers and the producers on the purchasers' class action allegations that the defendants engaged in a global price-fixing conspiracy in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (In re: Potash Antitrust Litigation II, MDL No. 1996, No. 08-cv-6910, N.D. Ill.).

    9th Circuit: Automaker Not A Party To Dealership-Buyer Arbitration Agreements

    PASADENA, Calif. - An automaker may not compel arbitration of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims based on agreements involving consumers and the dealerships where they purchased their vehicles, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 30 (Jessica Kramer, et al. v. Toyota Motor Corp., et al., No. 12-55050, 9th Cir.).

    Claims Relating To Refusal To License Patents Fail, California Federal Judge Rules

    OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Jan. 24 dismissed without prejudice an alleged patent troll's antitrust claims alleging that manufacturers of devices that use the Android operating system and an anti-troll company engaged in a group boycott of the plaintiffs' technology licenses (Cascades Computer Innovation LLC v. RPX Corporation, et al., No. 12-CV-01143, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10526).

    Judge Says Damage From Logging Mudslide Is Not Clearly Excluded

    SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge has denied cross-motions for summary judgment in a case disputing a denial of insurance coverage for mudslide damage triggered by logging uphill from the damaged property, saying Jan. 22 that genuine issues of material fact exist (Frank John Mettler III, et al. v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, No. 3:12-cv-05163; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8622).

    Dow Seeks Decertification Of Class In Antitrust MDL On Eve Of Trial

    KANSAS City, Kan. - Dow Chemical Co., the sole remaining defendant in multidistrict litigation involving antitrust claims against manufacturers of polyether polyol products (PPPs), moved to decertify the class on Jan. 22, one day before trial began (In re: Urethane Antitrust Litigation $(Polyether Polyol Cases$), MDL No. 1616, Civil No. 2:04-md-01616-JWL, D. Kan.).

    Calif. Court: UCL Subject To Common-Law Accrual; Continuous Accrual Saves Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO - Common-law accrual rules apply in California unfair competition law (UCL) cases, but continuous accrual principles prevent demurrer stage statute of limitations dismissal of a man's action alleging recurring excess charges, the California Supreme Court held Jan. 24 (Jamshid Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions Inc., No. S184929, Calif. Sup.).

    Judge: Adjuster For Insurance Company Cannot Be Sued

    SEATTLE - A nondiverse insurance adjuster was fraudulently joined by a couple dissatisfied with the handling of their fire claim, a Washington federal judge said in an opinion filed Jan. 22, dismissing consumer and insurance claims against the adjuster and denying remand to state court (Randy and Monica Garoutte v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 2:12-cv-1787, W.D. Wash.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8559).

    Court: Card Dealer Tip Pooling Passes Labor Code Muster

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A casino's tip-pooling arrangement never resulted in it keeping an employee's tips, a state appeals court held Jan. 23 in affirming judgment on California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Haim Avidor v. Sutter's Place Inc., No. H037142, Calif. App., 6th Dist.).

    Reverse-Payment Settlements Are Presumptively Anti-Competitive, FTC Argues

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Trade Commission told the U.S. Supreme Court in its opening merits brief on Jan. 22 that reverse-payment settlements of patent litigation between the holder of a drug patent and potential generic manufacturers of the drug are presumptively anti-competitive and unlawful (Federal Trade Commission v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. 12-416, U.S. Sup.).

    Dismissal Of Electronic Data Interchange Provider's Antitrust Claims Stands

    RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 23 denied an electronic data interchange (EDI) provider's motion for rehearing of an unpublished panel opinion affirming dismissal of its allegations that its competitor engaged in unlawful anti-competitive conduct (Loren Data Corporation v. GXS, Inc., No. 11-2062, 4th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 26471).

    3rd Circuit: Drug Company That Licensed Distribution Lacks Antitrust Standing

    PHILADELPHIA - A French pharmaceutical company that sold its product in the United States through an exclusive U.S. distributor did not suffer antitrust injury because it could not compete in the U.S. market without U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to do so, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Jan. 23 in ruling that the French company did not have antitrust standing (Ethypharm S.A. France v. Abbott Laboratories, No.11-3602, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1567).

    Settlement Reached On Eve Of Antitrust Trial Between Farmers, Milk Marketers

    GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Dairy farmers on Jan. 21 filed an expedited motion for preliminary approval of their proposed $158.6 million class action settlement with Dairy Farmers of America Inc. and the other remaining defendants on claims that the defendants engaged in anti-competitive actions related to raw Grade A milk processed in the Southeast (In re: Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litigation, Master File No. 2:08-MD-1000, E.D. Tenn. $(Sweetwater Valley Farm, Inc., et al. v. Dean Foods, et al., No. 2:07-CV-208, E.D. Tenn.$)).

    Judge: Limitations Period On Odometer Claim Began When Buyer Became Aware

    PHILADELPHIA - The statute of limitations for fraud stemming from an allegation of odometer tampering began not at the time of a vehicle's purchase but when the plaintiff obtained a report from a company that documents automobile histories, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Jan. 18, denying summary judgment (C. Dov Sacks v. DJA Automotive LLC, No. 12-cv-00284-TON, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7824).

    Federal Judge Overseeing MDL Denies Discovery For Use In Foreign Antitrust Case

    SAN FRANCISCO - Direct purchasers of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) in the antitrust multidistrict litigation (MDL) against CRT manufacturers are not required to produce discovery to Sharp Corp. for use in Sharp's antitrust action filed in South Korea, a federal judge in California ruled Jan. 17 in adopting a special master's report and recommendation (R&R) (In re: Cathode Ray Tube $(CRT$) Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1917, No. C-07-5944-SC, N.D. Calif.).

    Judge: Software Company's Alleged Conduct Unlikely To Deceive Consumers

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A company has not shown that consumers are likely to be deceived by a call center software provider who allegedly inserted a forum selection clause into a contract and damaged software to rack up fees, a federal judge held Jan. 16 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims with prejudice (Mohit Randhawa, aka Harpal Singh and Shannon Callnet PVT Ltd v. Skylux Inc., et al., No. 09-2304, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6808).

    Judge: Selling A Product Rejected By Mark Owner Violates Lanham Act

    CLEVELAND - The sale of aftermarket automobile wheels that had been rejected over quality issues by the owner of the mark constitutes trademark infringement, an Ohio federal judge said Jan. 16, granting partial summary judgment to the plaintiff (Wheel Specialties Ltd., d/b/a Custom Wheels Unlimited v. Starr Wheel Group Inc., et al., No. 4:10cv2460, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6511).