SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 30 dismissed a putative class action complaint alleging violation of the state's unfair competition law (UCL) over the labeling of a human growth hormone supplement, saying the plaintiff alleged a substantiation claim, for which there is no private right of action, instead of a false advertising claim. The judge added that the plaintiff could amend her complaint to assert the correct cause of action (Serena Kwan v. SanMedica International, No. 14-3287, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154051).
PHILADELPHIA - Plaintiffs in the antitrust lawsuit that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court and accuses Comcast Corp. of conspiring with other cable companies to remain the exclusive provider in certain areas moved Oct. 28 for certification of a settlement class and preliminary approval of a $50 million settlement (Stanford Glaberson, et al. v. Comcast Corporation, et al., No. 03-6604, E.D. Pa.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A members-only real estate agent organization filed a complaint against the operator of a popular real estate information website on Oct. 27, alleging that Zillow Inc. misappropriated its proprietary listings of upcoming listings and disseminated them to www.zillow.com users (Top Agent Network Inc. v. Zillow Inc., No. 4:14-cv-04769, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - Each of three arguments asserted by General Motors LLC (New GM) against remand of a suit brought on behalf of California owners of GM-manufactured vehicles must fail, Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas argues in a reply memorandum filed Oct. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-md-02543-JMF, People of the State of California v. General Motors LLC, No. 1:14-cv-07787-JMF, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 21 declined to dismiss a class complaint accusing a potato chip maker of falsely labeling its reduced fat chips, finding that the lead plaintiff has sufficient proof to proceed at this stage (Richard Hall v. Diamond Foods, Inc., No. 14-2148, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149673).
SAN DIEGO - California homeowners cannot pursue a claim for injunctive relief under the state's unfair competition law in a breach of policy action against their insurer but can proceed with their restitution claim under the UCL, even though other legal remedies may be available should they prevail, a federal judge held Oct. 20 in partially dismissing the homeowners' complaint (William Eastman and Patricia Eastman v. Allstate Insurance Company, No. 14-703, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149017).
NEW YORK - A suit brought By Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas on behalf of California owners of vehicles manufactured by General Motors LLC (New GM) belongs in the GM ignition-switch multidistrict litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the automaker argues in an Oct. 16 response to a motion to remand the suit to state court in California (In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-md-02543-JMF, People of the State of California v. General Motors LLC, No. 1:14-cv-07787-JMF, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN DIEGO - A newspaper company will pay $3.2 million to resolve claims that it violated California labor laws and the unfair competition law (UCL) by misclassifying newspaper carriers as independent contractors under a class action settlement that received preliminary approval Oct. 17 from a federal judge (Yvonne Dalton, et al. v. Lee Publications, Inc., No. 08-1072, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148240).
NEW YORK - A suit brought on behalf of California owners of vehicles manufactured by General Motors LLC (New GM) should be remanded to California state court, Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas argues in a memorandum filed Oct. 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, site of the General Motors ignition switch multidistrict litigation (In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 14-md-02543-JMF, People of the State of California v. General Motors LLC, No. 1:14-cv-07787-JMF, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appellate panel on Oct. 10 affirmed that a class action suit alleging that a gas and electric company deceptively misrepresented how much revenue it required to provide safe and reliable natural gas service in violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) was barred because it would interfere with the continuing jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in pending regulatory matters against the defendant (Filomena Guerrero, et al. v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., et al., No. A139429, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 909).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Oct. 6 granted a motion to lift a stay of bankruptcy to allow a plaintiff to pursue two claims, including a state unfair competition law (UCL) claim, against the individual defendants in a breach of contract case for failing to deliver computers or refund the bitcoin used to pay for the merchandise (Pete Morici v. Hashfast Technologies, et al., No. 14-87, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142107).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6 declined to grant certiorari in a dispute over whether a user-restricting license agreement connected with Microsoft Inc.'s Windows 2007 operating system violated antitrust laws, denying a petition by Israeli software firm MiniFrame Ltd. (MiniFrame Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 14-60, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge dismissed two of eight claims filed by a California woman who alleges that a food manufacturer has mislabeled its waffles as "All Natural" when they contain a synthetic ingredient (Ana Belen Ham v. Hain Celestial Group, Inc., No. 14-2044, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141157).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Criticisms of both sides' expert opinions in an antitrust class action related to Apple Inc.'s iTunes store and iPod devices go to weight, not admissibility, a California federal judge concluded Sept. 26, denying both sides' motions to exclude testimony under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) (The Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation, No. 4:05-cv-00037, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136437).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In an unpublished opinion, a federal judge in California on Sept. 25 dismissed claims against two financial institutions in a mortgage foreclosure suit, saying that because the plaintiffs' other claims failed, they could not support a claim for violation of the state's unfair competition law (UCL) (Merilyn Fulinara, et al. v. Bank of New York Mellon, et al., No. 13-3963, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136012).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Sept. 25 declined to dismiss a state unfair competition law (UCL) claim in a mortgage foreclosure dispute, saying that if the defendant did have a policy of temporarily wiping loans off the books only to later threaten foreclosure on the same loan absent full payment with penalties, such conduct would fall within the purview of the "unfair" prong of the law (Elizabeth Ann Williams v. Well Fargo Bank, No. 13-3387, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136010).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Homeowners' claims against mortgage lenders, including a claim under California's unfair competition law (UCL), were dismissed with leave to amend on Sept. 24 by a California federal judge (Celedonia Amacker, et al. v. Bank of America, et al., No. 13-3550, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134854).
NEW YORK - Plaintiffs United States and 17 states and defendants American Express Co. and American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc. (collectively, Amex) filed their redacted post-trial briefs following the conclusion of the bench trial in federal court in New York on the plaintiffs' claims that Amex's rules preventing merchants from steering customers toward the use of another credit card violate federal antitrust law (United States of America, et al. v. American Express Co., et al., No. 10-cv-4496, E.D. N.Y.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California appeals court on Sept. 22 held for the second time that a district attorney's unfair competition law (UCL) claims seeking civil penalties for violations of state workplace safety regulations are preempted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (federal/OSHA) (Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC, et al. v. The Superior Court of Orange Co., The People, real party in interest, No. G047661, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3).
DENVER - Granting in part a defendants' motions to exclude the testimony of damages experts in a dispute over a purported conspiracy to monopolize college student off-campus housing, a Colorado federal judge on Sept. 18 ruled on issues of untimely disclosure, hearsay and prejudgment interest in an antitrust setting (Auraria Student Housing at the Regency LLC v. Campus Village Apartments LLC, No. 1:10-cv-02516, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130959).
SAN FRANCISCO - A college rating agency violated the unlawful prong of California's unfair competition law (UCL) through its failure to have more than one academic on a show cause team evaluating the City College of San Francisco's accreditation, a state court judge held Sept. 19 (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 - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 16 denied United Air Lines' motion to dismiss claims that it participated in a conspiracy to fix the price of air cargo shipments in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, finding that discovery was necessary to determine whether the antitrust claim was discharged in United's bankruptcy (DPWN Holdings [USA], Inc. v. United Air Lines, Inc., et al., No. 11-CV-564, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130154).
SAN DIEGO - The makers of a glucosamine dietary supplement will pay $3.1 million and stop making claims that the product provides joint health benefits under a settlement reached with consumers alleging that the companies' false representations about the product violated California's unfair competition law (UCL), according to a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement filed Sept. 15 in federal court (Ed Hazlin, et al. v. Botanical Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 13-618, S.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - A dietary supplement company violates California consumer protection laws, including the unfair competition law (UCL), by marketing and selling its product as having beneficial health and aphrodisiac properties to improve male strength and performance when in fact none of the ingredients in the product provides such benefits, a consumer alleges in a class action complaint filed Sept. 15 in federal court (Trevor Dixon v. Magna-Rx, Inc., No. 14-7196, C.D. Calif.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - While a California state court correctly granted judgment in favor of an automobile dealership on consumer class claims that the dealership's former practice of "backdating" second sales contracts to the original date of sale violated the unfair competition law (UCL), the court erred in not entering judgment on a UCL claim for an individual customer who won his fraud claim against the dealership, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held Sept. 16 (Raceway Ford Cases, Nos. E054517, E056595, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 842).