SAN FRANCISCO - Not only do two consumers have constitutional standing to pursue claims under California's unfair competition law (UCL) challenging a yogurt company's products that were labeled with "evaporated cane juice" instead of sugar, they also have statutory standing because they have shown that they relied on the misleading label when purchasing the products, a federal judge held March 13 (Frank Morgan, et al. v. Wallaby Yogurt Company, Inc., No. 3:13-cv-00296, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., suing on behalf of 38 failed banks, filed a complaint in a New York federal court on March 14 against 19 banks, including Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Chase), alleging that they manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) in order to illegally boost their profits (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., et al. v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 14-1757, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK - A purchaser and seller of COMEX gold futures and options sued five financial institutions in New York federal court on March 12, alleging that the defendants engaged in a scheme to manipulate the price of gold and gold derivatives contracts in violation of the Sherman Act (Peter DeNigris v. Bank of Nova Scotia, et al., No. 14-1638, S.D. N.Y.).
NEWARK, N.J. - On March 13, just two days after plaintiffs filed a brief in a New Jersey federal court in support of a $120 million settlement agreement in a dispute over out-of-network reimbursement rates, defendant Aetna Inc. filed a notice of termination of the settlement, saying opt-outs from the settlement exceed allowed thresholds (In Re: Aetna UCR Litigation, Master File No. 07-3541, MDL 2020, D. N.J.).
LOS ANGELES - A homeowner's claims against his burglar alarm company that its early termination fee is a fraudulent and deceptive business practice and violates California's unfair competition law are pleaded sufficiently enough to state a claim for fraud, a panel of the Second District California Court of Appeal held March 12 in reversing and remanding a trial court's judgment sustaining a demurrer to the homeowner's complaint (Sean Jaquez v. Protection One Alarm Monitoring, Inc., et al., No. B245829, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
SAN DIEGO - A woman's claim that she missed a year's worth of mortgage payments because of a loan servicer's conduct satisfies the standing requirements of the California unfair competition law (UCL), but she has not adequately stated a claim under any of the three prongs, a federal judge held March 13 (Thang M. Ngo v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, et al., No. 13-2929, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33826).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A woman's proposed class action claims against two washing-machine manufacturers under the California unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law (FAL) fail because she did not plead the claims with the heightened particularity required for fraud allegations, a federal judge held March 11 in dismissing the claims, though with leave to amend (Laury Smith v. LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc., et al., (No. 13-4361, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31577).
SAN FRANCISCO - Although a California federal judge on March 10 found that the putative plaintiffs in a privacy and fraud class action against Google Inc. failed to establish their claim under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), he found their unfair competition claim sufficiently pleaded, granting in part and denying in part Google's motion to dismiss (In Re Google Android Consumer Privacy Litigation, No. 3:11-md-00264, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31430).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on March 7 dismissed a woman's lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and HSBC Bank USA, finding that she lacked standing to challenge the assignment of her mortgage loan in 2007 and that she was unable to show how Wells Fargo's alleged violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) caused her to suffer an injury (Marialuz A. Barnares v. wells Fargo Bank N.A., et al., No. C-13-4896, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29909).
LOS ANGELES - The California Department of Transportation's waiver of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims in settling an administrative action against outdoor advertising companies does not bar the state's UCL action against the same companies, a state appeals court held March 5 (The People, et al. v. World Wide Mediacom, et al., No. B241365, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1599).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California appeals court on March 7 affirmed the issuance of preliminary injunctions enjoining three Internet cafes from offering "sweepstakes" on computers in their shops, finding that the district attorney will likely prevail on her claim under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) (The People v. Kirnpal Grewal, et al., Nos. F065450, F065451, F065689, Calif. App., 5th Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 214).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 10 invited the solicitor general to file a brief addressing whether Congress' removal of a private right of action from the Truth in Savings Act (TISA) bars consumers' California unfair competition law (UCL) claim (Bank of America N.A. v. Harold C. Rose, et al., No. 13-662, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A former starting running back for the West Virginia University football team filed an antitrust class complaint in California federal court on March 5 against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the "Power Conferences" for the cap placed on athletic scholarships (Shawne Alston, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. 14-1011, N.D. Calif.).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on March 5 dismissed certain state law claims from a multidistrict litigation alleging that HSBC Bank USA NA improperly charged overdraft fees to debit card customers, holding that cardholders cannot bring claims in states where they have no connection (In Re: HSBC Bank USA N.A. Debit Card Overdraft Fee Litigation, No. 13-2451, E.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES - A California state court erred in granting summary judgment to a condominium developer on claims by condo unit owners that they were exposed to potential liability for a mechanics lien due to the developer's unfair conduct, a state appeals panel held Feb. 26 in reinstating unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Isak Beraze, et al. v. Wilshire Landmark, LLC, et al., No. B243782, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1354).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 3 agreed to review a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling sustaining the FTC's determination that dentists in North Carolina, through the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners, are conspiring to exclude non-dentists from providing teeth-whitening services in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, No. 13-534, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The California unfair competition law (UCL)'s four-year statute of limitations bars a woman's action claiming that Pfizer Inc. misrepresented the efficacy of Zoloft, a federal judge held Feb. 21 (Laura A. Plumlee, et al. v. Pfizer Inc., No. 13-414, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23172).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 24 declined to review a ruling by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the anti-discrimination provisions of the Communications Act do not apply to a video programming distributor with a 24 percent share in the national market (Tennis Channel, Inc. v. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, et al., No. 13-676, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 24 declined to review a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that Pilgrim's Pride Corp., a large integrated poultry company, did not violate the Packers and Stockyards Act by idling, rather than selling, a chicken processing plant, thereby reducing the supply of chickens and increasing prices (Gary Heath Agerton, et al. v. Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, No. 13-840, U.S. Sup.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Federal law preempts a district attorney's California unfair competition law (UCL) action seeking civil penalties for violation of state workplace safety regulations because the state's federally approved workplace safety plan lacks such a remedy, an appeals court held Feb. 24 (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. 4).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A software application provider lacked standing to assert monopolization and attempted monopolization claims under the Sherman Act against a rival that sued it for copyright infringement because the provider failed to demonstrate injury or market restraint, a federal judge in Puerto Rico ruled Feb. 24 in dismissing the provider's antitrust counterclaim (Computer Automation Systems, Inc. v. Intelutions, No. 13-1292, D. Puerto Rico; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22980).
SAN FRANCISCO - A manufacturer of prosthetic knees failed to demonstrate that its rival violated California's antitrust law by using its market power to manipulate insurance reimbursement for such knees because the manufacturer failed to prove that competition was adversely affected, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Feb. 24 in an unpublished opinion (DAW Industries, Inc. v. Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc., No. 11-56858, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3406).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Feb. 20 dismissed with prejudice a third amended complaint brought by plaintiffs claiming that misrepresentations made by loan servicers about the borrowers' ability to obtain loan modifications they did not qualify for resulted in the foreclosure of their homes, finding that the allegations did not include the required amount of specificity (Tom Casault v. Federal National Mortgage Association, et al., No. 11-10520, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 24 declined to review an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed the dismissal of attempted monopolization claims brought by the losing bidder in a bankruptcy auction of a steel mill's assets against the successful bidder, based on a finding that there was high cross-elasticity of supply, which deters monopoly pricing (Gulf States Reorganization Group, Inc. v. Nucor Corporation, No. 13-717, U.S. Sup.; 2013 U.S. Briefs 717; 2013 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 5120).
OAKLAND, Calif. - An Alameda County, Calif., Superior Court judge on Feb. 19 entered a $6,828,000 judgment against Overstock.com Inc. under the California unfair competition law (UCL) after finding that the company misrepresented sales prices by inflating comparable "list" or "compare at" prices (People of the State of California v. Overstock.com Inc., No. RG10546833, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).