LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Federal Judge Orders Consumers To Arbitrate Antitrust Claims

    DALLAS - Plaintiffs alleging that online travel companies and hotels conspired to fix the prices of hotel rooms must arbitrate their federal antitrust claims against Travelocity, based on the arbitration clause and its class waiver provision in the company's user agreement, a federal judge in Texas ruled June 14 (In re: Online Travel Company $(OTC$) Hotel Booking Antitrust Litigation, No. 3:12-cv-3515-B, N.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84842).

    Company Fails To Prove Conspiracy, Monopolization, 1st Circuit Rules

    BOSTON - A company that sells aviation fuel at an airport failed to demonstrate that a competitor conspired with the airport authority to interfere with its business in violation of federal antitrust law, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 17 (Diaz Aviation Corporation, et al. v. Airport Aviation Services, Inc., et al., No. 12-1859, 1st Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12069).

    High Court Won't Consider Whether Sherman Act Preempts Tribal Sovereignty

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 denied review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that antitrust laws do not preempt and a cigarette tax collection agreement between a Native American tribe and the State of Washington does not waive the tribe's sovereign immunity (Daniel T. Miller, et al. v. Chad Wright, et al., No. 12-1237, U.S. Sup.).

    High Court Denies Review Of Plausibility Standard In Antitrust Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 denied an electronic data interchange (EDI) provider's petition seeking review of an unpublished Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that dismissed its allegations that its competitor engaged in anti-competitive conduct in violation of the Sherman Act (Loren Data Corp. v. GXS, Inc., No. 12-1273, U.S. Sup.).

    $150M Settlement Receives Final Approval In Flonase Sham Litigation Case

    PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 14 granted final approval to a $150 million cash settlement between Flonase manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) and a certified class of 33 direct purchasers on the direct purchasers' claims that GSK filed a series of sham citizen petitions with the Food and Drug Administration to delay the entry of a generic version of Flonase into the market in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act (In re Flonase Antitrust Litigation $(Direct Purchaser Actions$), No. 08-3149, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83976).

    San Francisco Sues Companies Selling Large-Capacity Gun Magazines

    SAN FRANCISCO - Four companies flout the state's ban on magazines containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition by disguising them as "repair kits," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera alleges in a California unfair competition law (UCL) action filed June 10 (People of the State of California, ex rel. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera v. 44Mag Distributing LLC, d/b/a 44MAG.com, et al., No. 531982, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).

    Federal Judge Allows Fraud Claims To Proceed In Mercedes Fuel Tank Class

    ATLANTA - Some plaintiffs have pleaded common-law fraud and statutory consumer claims sufficient to defeat dismissal of their claims over alleged Mercedes Benz fuel line leaks, the Georgia federal judge overseeing a putative class action said June 7 (Ronan McCabe, et al. v. Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, No. 1:12-cv-2494-TCB, N.D. Ga., Atlanta Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80161).

    Federal Judge Allows FTC To Intervene In Pool Products MDL

    NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana who is overseeing the pool products distribution market antitrust multidistrict litigation ruled June 5 that the Federal Trade Commission may intervene for the purpose of precluding the parties from seeking documents that would reveal the identities of confidential informants during the agency's earlier investigation (In re: Pool Products Distribution Market Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2328, No. 2:12-md-02328, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79077).

    FTC, Hospitals Agree To Preliminary Injunction Halting Merger

    ALBANY, Ga. - A federal judge in Georgia on June 5 approved the terms of a preliminary injunction agreed to by the Federal Trade Commission and Putney Health System Inc., enjoining the further integration of Georgia hospitals (Federal Trade Commission, et al. v. Phoebe Putney Health System Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-58, M.D. Ga.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68658).

    Fiduciary Duty Claims Related To Wells Fargo's Securities Lending Program Continue

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - A federal judge in Minnesota on June 4 ruled that Wells Fargo Bank N.A. is not entitled to summary judgment on claims that it breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by investing the assets of ERISA plans in risky securities as part of its securities lending program (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 11-2529, D. Minn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78018).

    Court Rejects Real Estate Agent's Competition Law Action Involving Insurance

    SANTA ANA, Calif. - An errors and omissions insurance provision was secondary to the agreement between a real estate and broker and thus not unlawfully sold, a California appeals court held June 3 in affirming dismissal of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Marshall S. Griffith v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Co., No. G047506, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3).

    Produce Company Will Appeal After Stipulated Dismissal Of Competition Law Claims

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A produce company on June 4 both stipulated to dismissal of its California unfair competition law (UCL) claims against the joint owner of a tote bag concept and notified the court of its intent to appeal, after a federal judge said only common-law claims for "passing off" could proceed to trial (Gerawan Farming Inc. v. Rehrig Pacific Co., No. 11-01273, E.D. Calif.).

    4th Circuit: FTC Properly Concluded That State Dental Board Violated FTC Act

    RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 31 declined to review the Federal Trade Commission's ruling 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. 12-1172, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 11006).

    Purchasers' Settlement With Video Game Software Maker Receives Final Approval

    OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal judge in California on May 30 granted final approval to a $27 million settlement of purchasers' claims that a manufacturer of interactive video game software violated antitrust law by entering into exclusive trademark licenses with U.S. football associations (Geoffrey Pecover, et al. v. Electronic Arts Inc., No. 08-cv-02820, N.D. Calif.).

    Landslide Is Excluded Peril, 1st Circuit Rules

    BOSTON - A landslide caused by torrential rain was an excluded peril and not compensable, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 31 ruled against the claims of a company whose self-storage warehouse suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages (Stor/Gard, Inc. v. Strathmore Insurance Company, No. 12-1650, 1st Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 11015).

    Several State-Law Claims Against Apple Are Dismissed On Eve Of Antitrust Trial

    NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York overseeing the multidistrict litigation against Apple Inc. on claims that the company conspired with several publishers to fix prices of electronic books approved the dismissal of several state-law claims on May 29, just days before the June 3 trial date (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 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.).

    Cookie Company's Lawsuit Crumbles Over Lack Of Utah Jurisdiction

    SALT LAKE CITY - Saying that a cookie company asserting trademark infringement and unfair competition failed to show Utah jurisdiction over the New Jersey-based defendant, a federal judge on May 29 dismissed the claims (Caspers Ice Cream Inc. v. The Fatboy Cookie Company Inc., No. 1:12-CV-133, D. Utah, Central Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76058).

    Jury's Rejection Of Amway's Interference Suit Is Affirmed By Judge

    SHERMAN, Texas - Amway, the world's largest multilevel marketing (MLM) company, lost its bid for a new trial alleging unfair business practices and tortious interference in the marketing of "energy drinks" when a Texas federal magistrate judge on May 29 refused to set aside a jury's unanimous verdict for the defense (Amway Corp., et al. v. bHIP Global Inc., et al., No. 4:10-CV-549, E.D. Texas, Sherman Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75393).

    Judge: Tennessee Doesn't Recognize A Cause For Common-Law Bad Faith

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Saying that Tennessee does not recognize a common-law cause of action against an insurer for bad faith, a federal judge there dismissed an insured's counterclaims for coverage of a leaky hotel roof on May 29 (Westfield Insurance Company v. RLP Partners LLC, et al., No. 3:13-cv-106, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75673).

    Visa, MasterCard, Issuing Banks Sue Retailers Over Interchange Fees

    NEW YORK - Visa, MasterCard and issuing banks who are defendants in the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation on May 24 filed a declaratory action against the named class action plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation who have indicated that they will be opting out of the $7.25 billion settlement (In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation [Visa U.S.A. Inc., et al. v. National Association of Convenience Stores, et al.], No. 1:05-md-01720, E.D. N.Y.).

    Judge: Indirect Purchasers Of Pool Products May Pursue Competition Law Claims

    NEW ORLEANS - Pool owners who purchased pool products may proceed with California unfair competition law (UCL) claims alleging that a manufacturer's anti-competitive conduct caused them to pay higher prices, a Louisiana federal judge held May 24 (In re: Pool Products Distribution Market Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2328, No. 2:12-md-02328, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74192).

    Class Action Brought Against Oil Companies For Benchmark Manipulation

    NEW YORK - A U.S. commodities trading company on May 22 sued BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Statoil ASA, alleging that the oil companies engaged in an unlawful conspiracy to fix North Sea Brent Crude oil market prices and the prices of Brent Crude oil futures contracts by intentionally reporting inaccurate information regarding crude Brent Crude oil prices to the leading global provider of pricing for Brent Crude oil markets (Prime International Trading, Ltd. v. BP PLC, et al., No. 7:13-cv-3473-KMK, S.D. N.Y.).

    Retailers File Antitrust Suit Against Visa, MasterCard Over Fees

    NEW YORK - Target Corp., Macy's Inc. and several other retailers on May 23 sued Visa and MasterCard, alleging that the defendants exercised their market power to preclude issuing banks from competing for merchant acceptance of credit and debit cards, thereby causing the merchants to pay excessive interchange fees (Target Corporation, et al. v. Visa Inc., et al., No. 13-3477, S.D. N.Y.).

    States, Penguin Settle E-Books Price-Fixing Litigation; Apple Set For Trial

    NEW YORK - Texas and several other states and territories and classes of purchasers have reached an agreement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc. on allegations that several publishers and Apple Inc. conspired to fix prices of electronic books, according to a May 22 letter filed with the federal judge in New York overseeing the multidistrict litigation (In re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation $(All Actions$), No. 11 MD 2293, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.)

    9th Circuit Panel Finds Competition Law Debit Card Fee Claims Preempted

    SAN FRANCISCO - While it is based on law of general applicability, a man cannot escape the fact that his California unfair competition law (UCL) action challenging monthly debit card fees seeks to impose specific disclosures, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 22 in finding the claims preempted (Tyrone L. Robinson v. Bank of America N.A., No. 11-57194, 9th Cir.).