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).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 10 denied Apple Inc.'s motion to stay pending appeal the portion of a district court's order that imposed an external compliance monitor after the district court ruled that Apple conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books (United States of America v. Apple Inc., Nos. 13-3741, 14-60, 2nd Cir.; Texas, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 14-61, 2nd Cir.).
NEW YORK - Carolyn Fjord, who represents a class of plaintiffs who opposed the merger of bankrupt American Airlines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. by filing an adversary complaint in the bankruptcy of American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp., on Feb. 7 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing that she should be permitted to file an amended complaint (Carolyn Fjord, et al. v. AMR Corporation, et al. [In Re: AMR Corporation], No. 11-15463, Adv. No. 13-01392, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA - A ticket to a sporting event is a contract, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said in a Feb. 10 decision affirming a lower court's dismissal of fraud claims brought by fans who did not get the seats promised for Super Bowl XLV (Richard Pollock, et al. v. NFL, et al., No. 13-1987, 3rd Cir.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A consumer adequately alleges that a computer manufacturer knew or should have known that its power supplies could not support high-performance components but continued to allow consumers to upgrade to such devices, a federal judge held Feb. 5 in allowing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (David Elias, et al. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., No. 12-421, N.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Feb. 3 granted a loan servicer's motion to dismiss a couple's claim for accounting but found that the plaintiffs sufficiently stated claims for alleged violations of California Civil Code Section 2923.6 and the unlawful prong of California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 (Sally Rosenfeld, et al. v. NationStar Mortgage LLC, et al., No. 13-cv-4830-CAS-CWx, C.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14034).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - On remand, a woman may attempt to allege that her lender violated the California unfair competition law (UCL) by putting her in a nonconforming trial loan modification, a California appeals court held Feb. 5 (Svetlana Nersesyan v. Bank of America, N.A., No. C071934, Calif. App., 3rd Dist.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Direct purchasers of airline tickets who alleged that the merger between Southwest Airlines Co. and AirTran Holdings Inc. violated antitrust law are not entitled to a divestiture order, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Feb. 4 in an unpublished opinion (Wayne Taleff, et al. v. Southwest Airlines Co., et al., No. 11-17995, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2121).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 5 that the City of San Jose, Calif., will not suffer irreparable harm if its appeal of a federal trial court ruling - that its challenge to Major League Baseball's role in preventing a franchise from moving to San Jose is subject to the baseball exemption from antitrust regulation - is not expedited (City of San Jose, et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, et al., No. 14-15139, 9th Cir.).
PASADENA, Calif. - There was nothing deceptive in an automaker's use of Environmental Protection Agency mileage estimates, and the California unfair competition law (UCL) imposes no duty to disclose lower, internal estimates, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Feb. 5 (Tracy Gray, et al. v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., Toyota Motor North America Inc., No. 12-55362, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The existence of five contracts handling fee disclosures differently, contested store signage and oral representations creates individualized issues and required denying class certification of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed Feb. 3 (Benjamin Berger, et al. v. Home Depot USA Inc., DBA The Home Depot, No. 11-55592, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2059).
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The federal judge in Tennessee overseeing multidistrict litigation involving claims that brand-name pharmaceutical company King Pharmaceuticals LLC and generic drug manufacturer Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. conspired to delay the entry of generic versions of Skelaxin into the market denied certification of an indirect purchaser class and an end-payer class on Jan. 30 (In re: Skelaxin $(Metaxalone$) Antitrust Litigation, No. 1:12-md-2343, E.D. Tenn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11467).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Because the plaintiff in an uninsured motorist (UM) benefits lawsuit did not file her complaint as a class action, a California federal judge on Jan. 29 ruled that she could not bring a claim under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) on behalf of the general public, granting a motion to strike that portion of her claim (Brooke Poland v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:12-cv-03105, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11102).
SAN FRANCISCO - Although a California federal judge on Jan. 29 found some flaws with antitrust claims brought by three airline passengers against a provider of in-flight Internet service, he found that the claims were sufficiently pleaded to survive the provider's dismissal motion (James Stewart, et al. v. Gogo Inc., No. 3:12-cv-05164, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An internet cafe on Jan. 30 agreed to cease operations, settling the City and County of San Francisco city attorney's California unfair competition law (UCL) action alleging that the company offered gambling through computerized slot machines (City And County of San Francisco, et al. v. Thomas Lacey, et al., No. 535314, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Jan. 28 dismissed with prejudice a man's claims that Wells Fargo violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the unfair and unlawful prongs of California Business and Professions Code Section 17200, after finding that his second amended complaint failed to remedy deficiencies in his allegations (Karthik Subramani v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. C 13-1605 SC. N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10426).