LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Cash Payment Required For Settlement To Fall Under Actavis, Federal Judge Says

    NEWARK, N.J. - The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis does not apply to a settlement between a holder of a drug patent and a generic manufacturer that delays entry of a generic drug but does not involve a cash payment, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Jan. 24 (In re: Lamictal Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation $(All Direct Purchaser Actions$), No. 12-995, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9257).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Motorola's Antitrust Claims For Foreign Purchases Of LCD Panels Are Dismissed

    CHICAGO - Motorola's claims that suppliers of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels engaged in a global price-fixing conspiracy based on overseas purchases by Motorola's foreign affiliates do not fall under the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act's (FTAIA) domestic injury exception and are properly dismissed, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Jan. 23 in granting the suppliers' motion to reconsider an order entered by a multidistrict litigation court (Motorola Mobility, Inc. v. AU Optronics Corporation, et al., No. 09 C 6610, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8492).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Hospital System's Acquisition Of Physician Group Must Be Undone, Federal Judge Rules

    BOISE, Idaho - A federal judge in Idaho on Jan. 24 ordered the divestiture of a consummated merger between Idaho's largest health system and the state's largest independent, multispecialty physician group, finding that the acquisition was anti-competitive (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; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9264).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Hospital's Conspiracy Claims Against Competitor Hospital And Ambulance Service Fail

    HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A Mississippi hospital's claims that a rival hospital and an ambulance service conspired in violation of the Sherman Act to divert patients to the rival hospital failed because the rival hospital controlled the ambulance service, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled Jan. 22 (Wesley Health System, LLC v. Forrest County Board of Supervisors, No. 2:12-CV-59-KS-MTP, S.D. Miss.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7764).

    Mealey's Personal Injury - Split 7th Circuit Panel Says Pradaxa MDL Judge Can't Sanction Via Deposition Venue

    CHICAGO - The federal judge overseeing the Pradaxa multidistrict litigation overstepped his authority by ordering defendant Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. to have 13 of its employees deposed in the United States as part of a sanction for bad faith discovery violations, a split Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said Jan. 24, granting a writ of mandamus quashing the sanction (In Re: Petition of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., In Re: Pradaxa [Dabigatran Etexillate] Products Liability Litigation, No. 13-3898, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1479).

    Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - FTC Opposes High Court Review Of Immunity Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Trade Commission on Jan. 22 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to deny review of 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.).

    Federal Judge Rejects Need For 'Magic Words' In Competition Law Case

    SAN FRANCISCO - I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Spray (ICBINBS) falls under federal regulations for "spray" products, but plaintiffs need not plead "magic words" to demonstrate that they relied on the labeling in purchasing the product, a federal judge held Jan. 22 in allowing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Kym Pardini and Carrie Wood, et al. v. Unilever United States Inc., No. 13-1675, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7900).

    Competition Law Claims Against Insurer Not Among Those Revived By Appeals Court

    LOS ANGELES - A trustee does not allege the type of purposeful denial of claims necessary to bring a California unfair competition law (UCL) action against an insurer, a state appeals court held Jan. 21 (Bruce T. Mulhearn, et al. v. Lawyers Title Insurance Co., et al., No. B244893, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 373).

    Lithium Battery Direct, Indirect Purchasers' Price-Fixing Complaints Dismissed

    OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Jan. 21 dismissed consolidated amended class action complaints of both direct and indirect purchasers who alleged that 18 Japanese and Korean manufacturers of lithium ion battery cells and their American subsidiaries engaged in a multiyear, international price-fixing conspiracy in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (In re: Lithium Ion Batteries Antitrust Litigation $(All Indirect and Direct Purchaser Actions$), No. 13-MD-2420, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7516).

    Juror May Not Be Struck Based On Sexual Orientation; New Antitrust Trial Ordered

    SAN FRANCISCO - Equal protection prohibits peremptory strikes of potential jurors based on sexual orientation, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 21 in remanding for a new trial a case in which a federal jury in California found that Abbott Laboratories did not violate antitrust laws by raising the price of its critical component of HIV drugs by 400 percent while keeping the price of its own boosted HIV drug unchanged (SmithKline Beecham Corporation v. Abbott Laboratories, Nos. 11-17357, 11-17373, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1128).

    U.S. Supreme Court Won't Hear State's Parens Patriae Price-Fixing Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 21 declined to decide whether the citizenship of the individuals on whose behalf a state brought restitution claims in a price-fixing case satisfies the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) minimal diversity requirement for a "mass action" (AU Optronics Corporation, et al. v. State of South Carolina, No. 12-911, U.S. Sup.).

    9th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Credit Card Fees Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 21 affirmed a federal court's dismissal of a putative class action brought by credit cardholders alleging that banks violated the U.S. Constitution via their over-limit and late fees, finding that the substantive due process jurisprudence developed to limit punitive damages in the tort context does not apply to contractual penalties such as credit card penalty fees (In Re Late Fee and Over-Limit Fee Litigation $(Andrew T. Pinon, et al. v. Bank of America, NA, et al.$), No. 08-15218, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1091).

    Woman Doesn't Allege Crib Bumpers' Defect Is A 'Fact,' Judge Finds

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A study on deaths caused by crib bumpers generally and opposition to the products by numerous advocacy groups do not make the products' defect a "fact," a California federal judge held Jan. 16 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Aida Corral, et al. v. Carter's Inc., et al., NO. 13-0262, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5880).

    Panel: Debt Collection Case Seeking Injunctive Relief Not Subject To Anti-SLAPP

    SAN DIEGO - A man's voluntarily dismissed California unfair competition law (UCL) class action seeking to enjoin unlawful debt collection practices fell under the public interest exception to the anti-Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (anti-SLAPP) statute, a California appeals panel held Jan. 16 (David Tourgeman v. Nelson & Kennard, et al., No. D063473, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 36).

    9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Challenge To United, Continental Merger

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to estop United Airlines and Continental Airlines from opposing airline ticket purchasers' national market definition, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 16 in an unpublished opinion affirming the dismissal of the purchasers' complaint challenging the airlines' merger under Section 7 of the Clayton Act (Michael Malaney, et al. v. UAL Corporation, et al., No. 12-15182, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. 880).

    Judge Refuses To Disqualify Monitor Or Grant Stay In E-Books Case; Apple Appeals

    NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Jan. 16 rejected Apple Inc.'s argument that the external compliance monitor the judge appointed after ruling that Apple conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books should be disqualified and denied Apple's motion requesting a stay of the appointment based on the monitor's disqualification (United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 2826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5795).

    Magistrate Judge Dismisses Remaining Claims From Foreclosure Suit

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in California on Jan. 16 granted JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A.'s (Chase) motion for summary judgment on the remaining two claims in a borrowers' wrongful foreclosure suit, finding that the borrowers lack standing to challenge their mortgage's securitization process and that the disputes of material fact that they raise have already been resolved (Son T. Nguyen, et al v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., No. 12-4183, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6009).

    California Top Court Rejects Review But Depublishes Opinion On 'Dual Tracking'

    SAN DIEGO - According to its docket, the California Supreme Court on Jan. 15 denied a petition for review but depublished a California unfair competition law (UCL) opinion in which the lower court found that a couple's calls to its lender did not create "dual tracking" (Henry Aspiras, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. S214297, Calif. Sup.).

    9th Circuit Denies Review Of Certification Of Suit Against High-Tech Employers

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 14 declined to review a federal district court's order granting class certification in an antitrust suit accusing high-tech companies of conspiring to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 13-80223, 9th Cir.).

    U.S. High Court: State's Lawsuit On Behalf Of Citizens Is Not Mass Action

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A state's lawsuit seeking restitution for itself and its citizens, in which it is the only named plaintiff, does not qualify as a mass action under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Jan. 14 (State of Mississippi, ex rel. Jim Hood, Attorney General v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 12-1036, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 645).

    Judge Finds Woman Adequately Alleges Reliance In Competition Law Tea Case

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - While a woman's own testimony regarding her decision to purchase tea may eventually make proving reliance on alleged misrepresentations involving antioxidants difficult, she adequately pleads it for standing purposes under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held Jan. 6 (Nancy Lanovaz, et al. v. Twinings North America Inc., No. 12-2646, N.D. Calif.).

    FDA Refuses Judges' Requests To Further Define The Term 'Natural'

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Food and Drug Administration declined to provide a more formal definition of the term "natural" in a Jan. 7 letter to judges in California unfair competition law (UCL) cases involving alleged abuse of the term (Elizabeth Cox, et al. v. Gruma Corp., No. 12-6502, N.D. Calif.).

    9th Circuit Revives Competition Law Claims Involving Sony's PS3 'Other OS'

    SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs adequately allege that Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC's advertising that its PlayStation 3 would permit an "other OS" feature it eventually killed would confuse consumers, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 6 in reinstating California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (In re Sony PS3 'Other OS' Litigation, No. 11-18066, 9th Cir.).

    6th Circuit Resurrects Milk Antitrust Case, Says Market Expert Wrongly Excluded

    CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 3 reversed summary judgment for defendant milk bottlers in an antitrust case, finding that a factual dispute exists regarding the nature of the alleged conspiracy with milk producers and that the trial court erroneously barred the plaintiffs' geographic market expert (In re: Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litigation; Food Lion, et al. v. Dean Foods Co., et al,, No. 12-5457, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 66).

    Facebook Sued Over Scanning Of Users' Private Messages

    OAKLAND, Calif. - Two Facebook Inc. users filed a putative class action against the social networking giant on Dec. 30, alleging federal and state law violations springing from Facebook's purported reading and analyzing of users' private messages for the purpose of providing targeted advertising (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif.).