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.).
LOS ANGELES - Although a California appeals panel on Feb. 18 found that an insurer and its agent were not responsible for the theft of $220,000 from one of its annuity holders, the panel held that fact disputes exist regarding the agent's role in the sale of the annuity to the septuagenarian, possibly constituting financial abuse of an elder under state law (Emily Lucille Wheeler v. Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. B241324, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1100).
LOS ANGELES - A consumer who made no attempt to obtain a magazine's statutorily required information-sharing disclosures has not suffered injury under either the shine the light (STL) law or the California unfair competition law (UCL), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed Feb. 18 (Melissa Miller, et al. v. Hearst Communications Inc., No. 12-57231, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2921).
SAN FRANCISCO - Seasonings applied on shells of sunflower seeds are meant to be consumed and therefore fall outside the exemption on nutrient disclosures for inedible portions of a product, a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held in reversing dismissal of a woman's California unfair competition law (UCL) action Feb. 20 (Aleta Lilly, et al. v. ConAgra Foods Inc., No. 12-55921, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK - Generic drug manufacturers Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. have agreed to pay the State of New York $150,000 each and to end their "pay-to-delay" agreement relating to generic versions drugs, the New York Attorney General's Office announced Feb. 19 (In the Matter of the Investigation by Eric T. Schneiderman, et al., Assurance No. 14-034, N.Y., Atty. Gen.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Citibank Inc. will pay up to $7.9 million to settle allegations that it fraudulently charged its debit card customers overdraft fees, according to a document filed Feb. 14 in a California federal court by the plaintiff in a putative class action (Ronald S. Arendas v. Citibank Inc., et al., No. 11-6462, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Consumers challenging Apple Inc.'s advertising of the Siri personal assistant feature have not alleged the specific statements on which they relied nor that a reasonable consumer would expect the program to work more consistently than it does, a California federal judge held Feb. 14 (In re iPhone 4S Consumer Litigation, No. 12-1127, N.D. Calif.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 11 denied a motion to consolidate cases brought by the United States and state attorneys general and several merchants challenging American Express Co. and American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc.'s (collectively, American Express) "anti-steering" rules, which prevent U.S. merchants from providing consumers with incentives to use forms of payment that are less expensive to the merchant than American Express-branded payment cards (In re: American Express Anti-Steering Rules Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2221, United States of America, et al. v. American Express Co., et al., No. 10-4496, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17226).
BOSTON - On Feb. 12, the federal judge in Massachusetts overseeing the multidistrict litigation involving purchasers of Nexium's antitrust claims - that the manufacturer of the heartburn medication and generic drug manufacturers entered into reverse-payment agreements to keep generic versions of the medication out of the market - made rulings on pending summary judgment motions and continued the date the trial was to commence (In re Nexium [Esomeprazole] Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-md-02409, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17718).
LOS ANGELES - A lender's alleged failure to work with a customer in a mortgage forbearance agreement does not permit a California unfair competition law (UCL) action where the borrower cannot show a sufficient link between the conduct and foreclosure on his home, a state appeals court affirmed Feb. 7 (Marvin Baldwin v. Bank of America, N.A., No. B243789, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 934).