SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 27 dismissed a consumer's amended complaint in which she asserted violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims related to partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in popcorn that she purchased, finding that the pleading contained the same defects as the original complaint (Jacquelyn McGee v. Diamond Foods Inc., No. 14cv2446, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44723).
SAN DIEGO - A class lawsuit over nutritional supplement labeling belongs in state court because the combined amount in controversy is less than $5 million, even when a 25 percent attorney fee award is included, a California federal judge ruled March 24, rejecting arguments by both sides that the case should remain in federal court (Paige Petkevicius, et al. v. NBTY, Inc., et al., No. 14-2616, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43636).
SAN FRANCISCO - A de novo standard of review must be applied in a claimant's suit seeking long-term disability benefits because the plan's discretionary authority provision is void under California state law, a California federal judge said March 27 (Peter Englert v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 15-4814, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44833).
SAN FRANCISCO - Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. have agreed to pay $110 million to end claims by a class of individuals who allege that the banking company opened accounts, enrolled them in products and services and submitted applications for products and services without consent, according to a joint notice of settlement filed March 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Shahriar Jabbari, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al., No. 15-2159, N.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - After finding that all of a newspaper's challenges to a jury verdict in favor of former employees, who asserted claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other causes of action related to the termination of their jobs, failed, a California court on March 23 affirmed an award of damages in their favor for unpaid wages and overtime (Sun K. Byun, et al. v. Joong-Ang Daily News California, Inc., No. B270539, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2015).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California court on March 22 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a demurrer filed by a mortgage company to a complaint filed by borrowers in relation to a foreclosure, finding that they did not allege sufficient facts to support their claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Lonnie Ratliff, Jr. v. EMC Mortgage LLC, et al., No. A144123, Calif. App., 1st. Dist., Div. 3, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2057).
SAN FRANCISCO - The variety of contracts at issue and evidence that at least some of the contracted pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) understood that a pharmacy's usual and customary rate did not include the rate offered for generic drugs in its membership program defeat a motion for class certification of insured purchasers of generic drugs, a federal judge in California held March 21 (Christopher Corcoran, et al. v. CVS Health, et al., No. 15-3504, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40783).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 21 granted a motion to dismiss a class complaint accusing Campbell Soup Co. of deceiving customers by labeling soup as healthy even though it contained trans fat but denied motions by both parties seeking sanctions (Harold Brower, et al. v. Campbell Soup Company, No. 16-1005, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40792).
SAN FRANCISCO - An attorney representing the named plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour class complaint must pay $7,706.32 in sanctions after acting in an "unprofessional" and "disrespectful" manner during deposition, a California federal magistrate judge ruled March 21, adding that the attorney "might benefit from mental health treatment and sensitivity training" (Shaon Robinson, et al. v. The Chefs' Warehouse, No. 15-5421, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40824).
SAN DIEGO - An insurer is entitled to $37,000 in restitution from a man who pleaded guilty to misrepresenting to the company that nurses he sent to work at skilled-nursing facilities were computer programmers to obtain a lower workers' compensation policy premium, a California appeals panel ruled March 22 in affirming the man's conviction (People v. John Paul Riddles, No. D069419, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 1st Div., 2017 Calif. App. LEXIS 259).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 22 granted in part a motion for summary judgment by Apple Inc., finding that the plaintiffs in a putative antitrust class action failed to establish the primary alleged aftermarket for iPhone voice and data services related to claimed service exclusivity through AT&T Mobility, but the judge deemed a narrower aftermarket related to iPhones not unlocked for service provider exclusivity sufficiently alleged (Zack Ward, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 4:12-cv-05404, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A network of "vendors" who perform maintenance and repair services at properties owned by Field Asset Services Inc. (FAS) are employees, not independent contractors, and are owed overtime and business expenses, a California federal judge ruled March 17 in an order granting the vendors' motion for partial summary judgment and denying FAS's motion to decertify the class of vendors (Fred Bowerman, et al. v. Field Asset Services Inc., et al., No. 13-57, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39000).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on March 17 dismissed without prejudice a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against a professional liability insurer in a coverage dispute arising from the insured's alleged breach of a loan agreement (GemCap Lending, LLC v. Scottsdale Indemnity Co., et al., No. 15-09942, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38931).
SAN DIEGO - A safety engineer and accident reconstruction expert may not testify regarding Sea World LLC's liability relating to the safety of an area at the time of a woman's accident while visiting the park, a California federal judge held March 17 (Eusebia Baltazar v. Sea World Parks Entertainment LLC, No. 15-2893, S.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39039).
LOS ANGELES - Because a plaintiff can arguably state a claim against an insurance claims adjuster for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the claims adjuster is not a sham defendant and was not fraudulently joined to defeat federal jurisdiction, a California federal judge said March 17 in remanding the insureds' suit seeking additional coverage for mold damage to California state court (Health Pro Dental Corp., et al. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al., No. 17-637, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38944).