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).
SAN FRANCISCO - A man may amend his California unfair competition law (UCL) unlawful-prong action against his lenders who allegedly failed to provide due diligence, but the remainder of his claims lack sufficient particularity, a federal judge held Sept. 17 (John Avila v. Wells Fargo Bank, et al., No. 12-1237, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132499).
SAN FRANCISCO - Loan documents a couple attached as evidence of fraud in their California unfair competition law (UCL) action lay out the precise terms of the loan they received, a federal judge held Sept. 17 in dismissing the claims (Rosa M Villegas and Gerardo Chavez v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and DOES 1-20, inclusive, No. 12-2004, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132511).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Humana Health of Puerto Rico Inc., a health insurer, sufficiently alleged that eight physicians violated federal and state antitrust laws by price-fixing, a federal judge in Puerto Rico ruled Sept. 17 in denying the physicians' motion to dismiss (Humana Health of Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Juan L. Vilaro, et al., No. 12-1445, D. Puerto Rico). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 14 declined to reconsider or to certify for interlocutory appeal his ruling declining to dismiss allegations by a developer of technology used to locate mobile handsets that three corporate members of a standard-setting organization (SSO) engaged 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 131453).
SAN FRANCISCO - Toshiba Corp. and direct purchasers of film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) on Sept. 10 agreed to a $30 million settlement following a federal jury in California's awarding $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 for more than 10 years, resulting in overcharges to the purchasers, in violation of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1 et seq., (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 124793.
WILMINGTON, Del. - The Supreme Court of Delaware on Sept. 7 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an excess insurer has no duty to reimburse its insured for defense costs or indemnity claims related to the insured's defense of underlying antitrust lawsuits (Intel Corporation v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., et al., No. 692, 2011, Del. Sup.; 2012 Del. LEXIS 480).
BOSTON - A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 7 affirmed the dismissal of a Medicare fee reimbursement suit, saying that the health maintenance organization defendants could compensate the plaintiff doctors in a manner of their choosing and that no antitrust violations occurred (Carlos P. Gonzalez-Maldonado, et al. v. MMM Healthcare Inc., et al., No. 11-1880, 1st. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18913).
NEW YORK - A federal judge on Sept. 5 approved a 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.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
SAN FRANCISCO - A company adequately discloses the possibility of purchasing invalid tickets through its website and the terms of its guarantee, a judge held Sept. 4 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Celina Z. Porras, et al. v. Stubhub Inc. And DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, , No. 12-1225, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126111).
NEW YORK - Attorneys general of 55 U.S. states, districts and territories on Aug. 29 moved for preliminary approval of settlements worth $69 million with HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Hachette Book Group Inc., Simon & Schuster Inc. and Simon & Schuster Digital Sales Inc. related to allegations that the publishers engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices of digital books in violation of federal antitrust laws (In re Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-md-02293, S.D. N.Y. [ State of Texas, et al. v. Hachette Book Group, Inc., et al., No. 12-civ-6625, S.D. N.Y.]). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90190.
SAN FRANCISCO - No reasonable consumer assumes that a credit card comes without an annual fee simply because advertising fails to disclose it, and consumers can avoid any injury by canceling the card, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 31 in dismissing unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law (FAL) claims (Gary Davis, et al. v. HSBC Bank Nevada N.A. et al., No. 10-56488, U.S. App., 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18503).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Aug. 28 dismissed without prejudice claims that PayPal Inc. violated federal antitrust law by permanently suspending the accounts of certain dating Websites for violation of its Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) while not suspending the accounts of other similar Websites, but the judge allowed unfair competition and common-law breach claims to continue (Infostream Group, Inc., et al. v. PayPal, Inc., No. C 12-748 SI, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122255).
SAN FRANCISCO - Consumers in an unfair competition law (UCL) Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 class action allege that a cat litter maker made falsifiable claims regarding the odor absorption abilities of the carbon it uses; however, claims that cats prefer it are puffery and not actionable, a California federal judge held Aug. 24 (In re: Clorox Consumer Litigation, Nos. 12-280, 12-764, 12-356, 12-649, 12-1051, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120697).
ATHENS, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge on Aug. 28 refused to dismiss allegations that a Georgia furniture company infringed on the Humphrey Bogart name, or to exclude the plaintiff's expert in celebrity licensing (Bogart LLC vs. Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., et al., No. 3:10-CV-39 (CDL), M.D. Ga., Athens Div.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121787).