SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate on March 21 refused to dismiss a putative class action alleging that a mortgage lender and an insurer were involved in an unjust kickback scheme involving force-placed flood insurance (Stephen Ellsworth, et al. v. U.S. Bank, N.A., et al., No. C 12-02506 LB, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38691).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Because a counterclaim alleged against a union is based on traditional union activity, the counterclaim cannot be sustained as the conduct is exempt from federal antitrust laws, an Oregon federal judge said March 24 (International Longshore and Warehouse Union et al., v. ICTSI Oregon Inc. et al., No. 12-1058, D. Ore.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38056).
HOUSTON - A federal jury in Texas on March 25 awarded $52 million in compensatory damages to steel distributor MM Steel LP on its claims that its competitors and steel producers conspired to put it out of business by engaging in a group boycott in violation of federal antitrust law (MM Steel, LP, et al. v. Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., et al., No. 4:12-cv-01227, S.D. Texas).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 25 ruled that "to come within the zone of interests in a suit for false advertising under" Section 1125(a) of the Lanham Act, "a plaintiff must allege an injury to a commercial interest in reputation or sales" (Lexmark International Inc. v. Static Control Components Inc., No. 12-873, U.S. Sup.).
CLEVELAND - Although a woman's strict product liability claim regarding a birth control patch fails based on the learned intermediary doctrine, her claim under California's unfair competition law (UCL) sufficiently alleges that the product's manufacturers used untrue or misleading statements intended to induce consumers to buy the product, an Ohio federal judge held March 24 (Tash Casso v. Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc., et al., No. 1:11-oe-40006, N.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38443).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 19 remanded a state's lawsuit accusing nearly two dozen liquid crystal display (LCD) companies of artificially inflating prices to the federal trial court for an entry of an order remanding the case to state court after finding that the lawsuit brought on behalf of the state's citizens is not a class action (State of Mississippi, ex rel Jim Hood, Attorney General v. AU Optronics Corporation, et al., No. 12-60704, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5184).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge on March 17 dismissed a home seller's claim that a bank's practice of requiring monetary contributions from defaulting purchasers of real property in exchange for its agreement to allow a short sale of the property violates California's unfair competition law (UCL), finding that other claims on which the UCL claim is predicated are barred by statutes of limitations and lack merit (Jason Hunt v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 2:13-cv-02435, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35330).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on March 14 declined to dismiss consumer claims under California law, including the unfair competition law (UCL), that a grocery store's use of "evaporated cane juice" on product labels is misleading, deceptive unfair and fraudulent. The judge found that the consumers have standing to bring cane juice claims under the UCL because they adequately alleged actual reliance and that the consumers sufficiently alleged that a reasonable consumer could be deceived by the term "evaporated cane juice" (Amy Gitson, et al. v. Trader Joe's Company, No. 13-01333, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33936).
SAN FRANCISCO - A man's claims that a company's statements regarding the antioxidant content of its black teas violated labeling laws gives him standing under the California unfair competition law (UCL), and he may also pursue claims for products he didn't purchase but that contain the same alleged misrepresentations, a federal judge held March 14 (Adam Victor v. R.C. Bigelow Inc., No. 13-2976, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34550).
SAN FRANCISCO - Although a consumer sufficiently alleges that he relied on statements made by Apple Inc. when buying an iMac computer that had a faulty display screen, his claims under California's unfair competition law (UCL) and Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) fail because he did not adequately allege that his iMac had a defect that Apple had a duty to disclose or that the alleged defect was "contrary to" any actionable representation actually made by Apple, a federal judge held March 14 (Corbin Rasmussen v. Apple Inc., No. 3:13-cv-4923, N.D. Calif.).
TRENTON, N.J. - Four college football and basketball players filed a class complaint on March 17 in New Jersey federal court, accusing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and five major NCAA conferences of violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act by imposing "an artificial and unlawful ceiling on" the compensation college players may receive (Martin Jenkins, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. 14-1678, D. N.J.).
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.).