SAN FRANCISCO - A company that operates a Web platform for chatting online cannot conduct early discovery to identify domain name owners accused of spamming the website in violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) because the company did not first make a sufficient effort to identify the spammers "through reasonably available mechanisms," a federal magistrate judge ruled Aug. 7 (Skout, Inc. v. Jen Processing, Ltd., et al., No. 14-2341, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109332).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 8 rejected $324.5 million partial class action settlements between employees and Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. on the employees' claims that the high-tech companies conspired to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees in violation of federal antitrust law (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2509, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110064).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 6 dismissed for the second time two homeowners' claims under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) that their mortgage lender's unfair business practices caused them to default on their loan after finding that the homeowners again failed to allege that they suffered any economic injury (Scott Paulhus and Lynette Paulhus v. Fay Servicing, LLC, et al., No. 14-736, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108635).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A man alleging that an insurance company violated California motor vehicle laws by not changing the title to a salvaged auto so it can be inspected and driven cannot use discovery to determine if a claim under the state unfair competition law (UCL) will allow him to meet the amount-in-controversy requirement for diversity jurisdiction, a federal magistrate judge held Aug. 5 in dismissing the man's lawsuit (Manuel Quiroz, Jr. v. Praetorian Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-1652, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108389).
PASADENA, Calif. - Homeowners' wrongful foreclosure claims against mortgage lenders, including a claim under California's unfair competition law (UCL), alleging that the assignment of their home loan obligation to a securitized investment trust was void because it did not comply with the pooling and servicing agreement (PSA) governing the trust fail because the allegation is not plausible, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 6 (Paul Junod and Patricia Junod v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., et al., No. 12-55712, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15142).
SAN DIEGO - General Motors LLC (GM) on Aug. 5 removed to federal court a suit filed by Orange County, Calif., alleging that the automaker concealed defects in its vehicles to avoid recalls (The People of the State of California, et al. v. General Motors LLC, No. 8:14-cv-01238-AG [RNBx] S.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - A California woman filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on July 28, seeking to represent owners of the more than 792,000 Jeep vehicles that are part of a recall announced by Chrysler Group LLC on July 22 to address ignition-switch defects (Latoya Lumpkin, et al. v. Chrysler Group LLC, No. 14-01555, C.D. Calif.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Quaker Oats Co. will remove trans fat ingredients from dozens of oatmeal and snack bar products for at least 10 years under a settlement of class action unfair competition law (UCL) claims approved July 29 by a California federal judge (In Re Quaker Oats Labeling Litigation, No. 10-00502, N.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Federal Trade Commission on July 29 prevailed on a motion to preclude a pharmaceutical company from presenting evidence of "litigation uncertainty" surrounding its prescription drug patent at an upcoming reverse payments antitrust trial (Federal Trade Commission v. Cephalon Inc., No. 08-2141, E.D. Pa.).
LOS ANGELES - Reversing a lower court's ruling, a California appeals panel on July 24 found that a man's complaint against Yelp Inc. was "aimed squarely at false advertising claims" and, as such, should not have been dismissed under California's strategic lawsuit against public participation (anti-SLAPP) statute (James Demetriades v. Yelp Inc., No. B247151, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 671).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) does not preempt a California unfair competition law (UCL) lawsuit filed by the state alleging that a trucking company misclassifies drivers as independent contractors in order to avoid paying payroll taxes or provide workers' compensation, the California Supreme Court held July 28 (The People ex rel. Kamala D. Harris, etc. v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc., et al., No. S194388, Calif. Sup.; 2014 Cal. LEXIS 5181).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on July 18 refused to dismiss suits by merchants that opted out of the $7.25 billion class action settlement between approximately 12 million merchants and Visa, MasterCard and a large number of banks, which allegedly fixed the price of interchange fees paid by merchants when customers use Visa and MasterCard credit cards (In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation $(All Opt-Out Cases$), No. 14-md-1720, E.D. N.Y.).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 17 dismissed warranty claims filed by one out of three named plaintiffs in a multidistrict litigation over the power and capacity of vacuums but allowed the other claims of the remaining two named plaintiffs to proceed, along with the consumer fraud claims filed by all three plaintiffs (In Re: Shop-Vac Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 12-2380, M.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98075).
TOPEKA, Kan. - A class of Kansas cigarette purchasers has failed to show that the major tobacco manufacturers conspired to fix wholesale prices for cigarettes, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled July 18 (Daric Smith, et al. v. Philip Morris Companies Inc., et al., No. 108,491, Kan. App.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Cox Communications Inc. waived any right to demand arbitration of class claims that Cox tied access to its premium cable services to rental of a set-top box, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled July 18, noting that Cox did not file its motion to compel arbitration until five months prior to trial in a case that has been litigated for five years (In re: Cox Enterprises, Inc. Set-Top Cable Television Box Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-MDL-2048-C, W.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98142).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - MiniFrame Ltd. asked the U.S. Supreme Court on July 16 to review the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that the software maker failed to sufficiently allege that Microsoft Corp. violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act by restricting its Windows 2007 license to a single user and in pricing its multiuser software (MiniFrame Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 14-60, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Apple Inc. has agreed to pay $400 million to 33 states and a certified class of consumers to settle claims that it conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books, according to a motion for preliminary approval filed July 16 in federal court in New York (In re Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-md-2293, S.D. N.Y. [State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-3394, S.D. N.Y.]).
SAN FRANCISCO - Grocery store chain Trader Joe's Co. will pay $3,375,000 and remove the terms "All Natural" and "100% Natural" from the labels of certain food products to settle class claims alleging that the terms are misleading and violate California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other statutes under an agreement that received final approval July 11 from a federal judge (Tamar Davis Larsen, et al. v. Trader Joe's Company, No. 11-05188, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95538).
SAN FRANCISCO - A condominium owner can pursue class claims under California's unfair competition law (UCL) based on violations of the state's Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act because she sufficiently alleges that a debt collection company hired by her homeowners association improperly attempted to collect fees from her and foreclose on her home in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal judge ruled July 11 in denying the company's motion to dismiss (Gena Hanson v. JQD, LLC, d/b/a Pro Solutions, No. 13-05377, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94742).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on July 10 denied preliminary approval of a $750,000 work-related expenses class action settlement, finding that the agreement contains several deficiencies (Lawrence Daniel Christensen, et al. v. Hillyard, Inc., No. 13-4389, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94667).
ALBANY, N.Y. - An Australian technology company cannot pursue claims against a French company under California's unfair competition law (UCL) alleging that it misrepresented the performance of a licensed software product because there is no evidence that any alleged misrepresentation occurred in California and because there are no allegations of injury to the general public, a New York federal judge held July 9 (CingleVue International Pty, Ltd. v. eXo Platform NA, LLC, No. 13-818, N.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93634).
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on July 9 dismissed an appeal of a consumer class action alleging a state unfair competition law (UCL) violation against a wireless phone company for failing to disclose the amount of taxes charged for phones, remanding the case in light of the court's recent decision in a similar case finding that California's tax code provides the sole remedy for consumers who believe that a retailer improperly charged taxes, according to a court docket entry (Richard A. Yabsley v. Cingular Wireless, LLC, et al., No. S176146, Calif. Sup.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge on July 7 preliminarily approved a $2 million settlement of a class action complaint filed six years ago alleging that the compensation practices of a group of car dealerships for its service technicians violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and federal and state wage-and-hour statutes (Jose Ontiveros v. Robert Zamora, et al., No. 08-567, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91964).
SAN DIEGO - A California woman cannot pursue class action claims that Wells Fargo Bank N.A. failed to properly maintain escrow accounts in violation of the state unfair competition law (UCL) because the claims are preempted by the Home Owners' Loan Act (HOLA), a federal judge ruled July 3 (Michelle Hayes v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 13-1707, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91149).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on June 30 denied a bid by eBay Inc. to dismiss a consumer's class action claims under California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other statutes that the online auction company's unfair and deceptive business practices caused sellers to lose time remaining on their prepaid listing periods and to lose money in fees paid to relist items, finding that the consumer adequately alleged that members of the public are likely to be deceived by eBay's practices (Luis Rosado v. eBay Inc., No. 12-04005, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89863).