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).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Early termination fees (ETFs) that Adobe Systems Inc. charges customers who cancel their subscriptions to the company's Creative Cloud software package constitute unlawful penalties under California law and are unlawful and unfair under the state's unfair competition law (UCL), a former Creative Cloud subscriber says in a class action complaint filed June 27 in federal court (Scotty Mahlum v. Adobe Systems Incorporated, No. 14-2988, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on July 1 granted review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the Natural Gas Act (NGA) does not preempt state law claims asserted by retail purchasers of natural gas (In re: Western States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation [ONEOK, Inc., et al. v. Learjet, Inc.], No. 13-271, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg on June 30 outlined the details of a program for compensating claimants alleging death or injury in accidents related to defective General Motors (GM) ignition switches.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 30 agreed to determine whether a dismissal in a consolidated action can be immediately appealed, regardless of whether claims remain in the consolidated action, in granting a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation who alleged that several banks rigged the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) (Ellen Gelboim, et al. v. Credit Suisse Group AG, et al., No. 13-1174, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 30 let stand a ruling by California's highest court that Congress has not barred a state unfair competition law (UCL) consumer class action against Bank of America N.A. predicated on a violation of the federal Truth in Savings Act (TISA) (Bank of America, N.A. v. Harold C. Rose, et al., No. 13-662, U.S. Sup.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - The delayed accrual doctrine does not prevent the statute of limitations from barring a homeowner's claim under California's unfair competition law (UCL) that a lender misrepresented the terms of a mortgage because the homeowner should have learned the terms of the mortgage when he signed the loan agreement, a state appellate panel held June 25 (Azubueze Jiagbogu v. Bank of America, N.A., No. G048858, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3).
HOUSTON - Steel producers and distributors that were ordered to pay $156 million in treble damages on claims that they conspired to put distributor MM Steel LP out of business by engaging in a group boycott in violation of federal antitrust law on June 24 and 25 filed notices of appeal to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of the amended final judgment following the trial court's denial of their motions for a new trial (MM Steel, LP, et al. v. Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., et al., No. 4:12-cv-01227, S.D. Texas).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A consumer cannot pursue class claims alleging that Gerber Products Co. misrepresents the contents of its baby foods in violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) because it is not "administratively feasible" to determine whether a person is a class member, a federal judge held June 23 in denying class certification (Natalia Bruton v. Gerber Products Company, No. 12-2412, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86581).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge on June 23 dismissed a California consumer's class action claims that Wal-Mart Inc. violates the state unfair competition law (UCL) by misrepresenting the benefits of a dietary supplement product after finding that the consumer failed to allege facts establishing a minimum regulatory standard for the supplement (Thamar Santisteban Cortina v. Wal-Mart, Inc., No. 13-2054, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85941).
BOISE, Idaho - A federal judge in Idaho on June 25 granted a stay of the divestiture of a consummated merger between Idaho's largest health system and the state's largest independent, multispecialty physician group pending the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal's ruling on the emergency motion for stay (Saint Alphonsus Medical Center - Nampa, Inc., et al. v. St. Luke's Health System, Ltd., No. 12-560, D. Idaho; Federal Trade Commission, et al. v. St. Luke's Health System, Ltd., et al., No. 13-116, D. Idaho).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Eaton Corp. and ZF Meritor LLC and Meritor Transmission Corp. told a federal judge in Delaware on June 23, on the eve of trial, that they had reached a settlement on claims for antitrust damages based on Eaton's entering into long-term conditional-rebate agreements (LTAs) with customers (ZF Meritor LLC, et al. v. Eaton Corporation, No. 1:06-cv-00623, D. Del.).
PHILADELPHIA - Direct purchasers cannot establish as a matter of law an overall antitrust conspiracy to restrain trade in the modafinil market based on bilateral reverse settlement agreements between prescription drug manufacturer Cephalon and four generic drug manufacturers, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled June 23 in granting motions for summary judgment filed by Cephalon and the generic defendants and denying the motion for summary judgment filed by the direct purchaser class plaintiffs (King Drug Company of Florence, Inc., et al. v. Cephalon, Inc., et al., No. 2:06-cv-1797, E.D. Pa.; Vista Healthplan, Inc., et al. v. Cephalon, Inc., et al., No. 2:06-cv-1833, E.D. Pa.; Apotex, Inc. v. Cephalon, Inc., et al., No. 2:06-cv-2768, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84818).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on June 19 certified a class of consumers who are suing the maker of a dietary supplement that is advertised as having aphrodisiac properties, alleging the product didn't live up to its labeling claims (Frank Ortega, et al. v. Natural Balance, Inc., et al., No. 13-5942, C.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84391).
SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco city attorney on June 23 used the hammer of $2,500 per-violation penalties under California's "tough" unfair competition law (UCL) in demanding that several companies, including Apple Inc., stop offering computer apps that allow the companies and motorists to sell public parking spaces.
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 20 ruled that the association and law firms representing National Football League (NFL) players may seek relief from a stipulation of dismissal in a lawsuit alleging unlawful salary caps under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) based on new evidence that the players claim shows that the dismissal was procured via fraud, misrepresentation or misconduct (Reggie White, et al. v. National Football League, et al., Nos. 13-1251 and 13-1480, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11623).
LOS ANGELES - There are genuine issues of fact about whether an apparel company's marketing of a skull design violates California's unfair competition law (UCL) and infringes the copyright and trademark for another company's design, a federal judge held June 16 in denying summary judgment to both parties (Lambert Corp. v. LBJC Inc., et al., No. 13-00778, C.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83108).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 13 declined to certify three classes of consumers, who are suing ConAgra Foods Inc. over allegedly deceptive and misleading labels, finding that each of the classes failed to meet several requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Levi Jones, et al. v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., No. 12-1633, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81292).