LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Government Says 6 Months Of Discovery Needed In American Airlines Antitrust Trial

    NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Aug. 27 filed a brief and a proposed scheduling order in its antitrust lawsuit seeking to prevent the planned merger of American Airlines Inc. and US Airways Inc., arguing that "given what is at stake," the district court hearing the case should allow both sides "a full opportunity" to develop evidence in discovery in preparation for a trial (United States of America v. US Airways Inc., et al., No. 13-01236, D. D.C.).

    Judge: Legal Basis For Insurer's Competition Law Claims Lacking

    SAN FRANCISCO - Rules governing bar members' conduct cannot form the basis of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims for unlawful conduct, and an insurer fails to tether the challenged conduct to any constitutional, statutory or regulatory provision for its unfair-prong claim, a federal judge held in dismissing the claims with prejudice on Aug. 26 (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Centex Homes, et al., Nos. 13-0088, 12-0371 & 11-3638, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121401).

    Judge Finds Injury, But Dismisses Some Of Consumers' Formula Advertising Claims

    NEWARK, N.J. - Consumers who claim that they paid a premium based on representations about the benefits of probiotics in formula and baby cereals adequately allege injury, but sufficiently alleged causation only in regard to product labeling, not the advertising campaign as a whole, a New Jersey federal judge held Aug. 23 in dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) and other states' consumer protection law claims (In re: Gerber Probiotic Sales Practices Litigation, No. 12-835, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121192).

    Libor Suit Plaintiffs May Not Amend Antitrust Complaints, Federal Judge Rules

    NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York overseeing the London InterBank Offered Rate (Libor) antitrust litigation on Aug. 23 denied motions by over-the-counter (OTC), bondholder and exchange-based plaintiffs for leave to amend their amended complaints to add allegations of antitrust injury related to their claims that 16 banks manipulated the Libor interest rate benchmark (In re: LIBOR-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, No. 11 MD 2262, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120674).

    California: College Accrediting Commission's Decision-Making Tainted, Unfair

    SAN FRANCISCO - The commission responsible for accrediting community colleges ignored the conflict of interest created by lobbying to end the "open access policy" of the City College of San Francisco while simultaneously evaluating the school's accreditation, resulting in a "politically motivated decision" to end its accreditation, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera alleges in an Aug. 22 action seeking an injunction under the California unfair competition law (UCL) (People of the State of California, ex. Rel. Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, No. 533693, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).

    Student-Athlete's Antitrust Lawsuit Related To Scholarships Continues

    INDIANAPOLIS - A student-athlete who brought a putative class action against the National Collegiate Athletic Association alleging that NCAA bylaws prohibiting multiyear scholarships and capping the amount of allowable scholarships violated federal antitrust law defined a relevant market sufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss, a federal judge in Indiana ruled Aug. 16 (John Rock v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 1:12-cv-1019, S.D. Ind.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116133).

    7th Circuit Finds No Venue Under Clayton Act; Rehearing Sought

    CHICAGO - A company that is alleging that its competitor violated federal antitrust laws filed a petition for hearing and rehearing en banc on Aug. 16 of a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision interpreting the venue provisions of Section 12 of the Clayton Act and the general venue statute (KM Enterprises, Inc. v. Global Traffic Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 12-3406, 7th Cir.).

    Purchasers Of Pigment Defeat Summary Judgment Motions In Price-Fixing Case

    BALTIMORE - Direct purchasers of titanium dioxide alleged parallel conduct and "plus factors" sufficient to proceed with their price-fixing claims against two manufacturers, a federal judge in Maryland ruled Aug. 14 in denying the defendants' motions for summary judgment (In re Titanium Dioxide Antitrust Litigation $(All Actions$), No. 10-0318, D. Md.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114927).

    Claims Related To Exclusive Supplier Agreements Fail Against Suppliers, Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO - A chain of hardware stores may continue with its claim that Home Depot USA Inc. violated federal antitrust law under the rule of reason by entering into exclusive agreements with two power tool suppliers but not its federal antitrust claims against the suppliers, a federal judge in California said Aug. 13 in a tentative order "issued solely to prepare counsel for oral argument" (Orchard Supply Hardware LLC v. Home Depot USA, Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-06361, N.D. Calif.).

    Panel: Litigation Privilege Doesn't Bar Competition Law Debt Collection Case

    FRESNO, Calif. - Litigation privilege does not prevent a district attorney's California unfair competition law (UCL) action challenging collection practices specifically prohibited by state and federal statute, a state appeals court panel held Aug. 15 (The People v. Persolve LLC, et al., No. F064571, Calif. App., 5th Dist.).

    Judge Applies 'Hot Fuels' Judgment Ruling To California Claims

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A previous ruling granting summary judgment in the "hot fuels" case applies equally to California consumers' unfair competition law (UCL) claims against the remaining defendants, a federal judge held Aug. 14 (In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices Litigation, MDL 1840, 07-1840, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114654).

    D.C. Circuit Vacates, Remands Class Certification In Railroad Price-Fixing Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 9 vacated class certification to direct purchasers who allege that railroad freight haulers violated antitrust laws by conspiring to charge excessive fuel surcharges, and the court remanded for reconsideration in light of Comcast v. Behrend (In re: Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation $(BNSF Railway Company, et al., Petitioners$), No. 12-7085, D.C. Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16500).

    U.S. Government, 6 States Seek Injunction Blocking Merger Of American, US Airways

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice on Aug. 13 filed a lawsuit against US Airways Group Inc. and AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines Inc., seeking a full injunction to prevent the proposed merger of the two airlines on grounds that it violates federal antitrust law and that "consumers will get the shaft" (United States of America, et al. v. US Airways Group, et al., No. 13-01236, D. D.C.).

    9th Circuit: Razor Maker's 'Incredible Comfort' Claims Are Puffery

    SAN FRANCISCO - A razor manufacturer's claim that one of its products provides "incredible comfort" is puffery and does not suggest superiority over another of its products, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Aug. 9 in affirming dismissal of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Ryan Edmundson, et al. v. The Procter & Gamble Co., No. 11-56664, 9th Cir.).

    Airline Customers: Merger Of American, US Airways Is Antitrust Violation

    NEW YORK - A group of airline customers on Aug. 6 filed an adversary complaint against bankrupt AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines Inc., in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that the proposed $11 billion merger of American Airlines and US Airways Group Inc. would be a violation of federal antitrust laws (Carolyn Fjord, et al. v. AMR Corporation $(In Re: AMR Corporation$), No. 11-15463, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).

    Federal Judge Allows Late-Fees Suit Against Sallie Mae To Proceed

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Aug. 5 found that SLM Corp. (Sallie Mae) and other defendants have not established that the choice-of-law provisions in promissory notes bar claims at the pleading stage of a putative class action alleging that Sallie Mae's late fees violate California's consumer protection law, allowing the case to continue (Tina M. Ubaldi, et al. v. SLM Corporation, et al., No. 11-1320, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109877).

    United States, States Debate Apple Over Remedies In E-Book Conspiracy Case

    NEW YORK - The United States and the 33 states that prevailed in federal district court in New York on their claims that Apple Inc. conspired with five publishers to fix prices of electronic books submitted their proposed remedy on Aug.2 (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.).

    Federal Judge Approves $10.5M Settlement In Price-Fixing Suit Against Insurers, Brokers

    TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey federal judge overseeing the insurance brokerage antitrust multidistrict litigation on Aug. 1 approved a $10.5 million settlement between insurance companies and policyholders who accused the insurers of conspiring with insurance brokers in a price-fixing scheme to inflate commercial insurance prices (In re Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1663, No. 04-5184, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108042).

    4th Circuit Denies Rehearing Of State-Action Test In FTC Action

    RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 30 denied the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners' petition seeking rehearing and rehearing en banc of a ruling declining to review the Federal Trade Commission's holding that dentists in North Carolina, through the board, 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.).

    City Of Philadelphia Sues Banks Over Interest-Rate Swap Libor Losses

    PHILADELPHIA - The City of Philadelphia sued nine London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) Panel banks and certain of their subsidiaries in Pennsylvania federal court on July 26, claiming that the defendants manipulated the Libor in an effort to minimize returns on a derivative they sold to entities such as the city in violation of federal antitrust laws (The City of Philadelphia v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 13-4352, E.D. Pa.).

    California Federal Judge Dismisses Conspiracy Claims Against Kaiser, Union

    SAN DIEGO - A hospital system failed to allege that a managed care organization and its related entities conspired with a labor union to exclude competition in the markets for emergency and acute-care hospital services, a federal judge in California ruled July 25 (Prime Healthcare Services, Inc. v. Service Employees International Union, et al., No. 11-2652, S.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).

    Competition Law Claims Against iPhone 4S, 'Siri,' Found Lacking By Judge

    SAN FRANCISCO - California law allows out-of-state plaintiffs to pursue California unfair competition law (UCL) claims challenging the efficiency of Apple Inc.'s iPhone 4S and its digital assistant "Siri" at the pleading stage, but none of the plaintiffs has shown the requisite injury, a federal judge held July 23 (In re iPhone 4S Consumer Litigation, No. 12-1127, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103058).

    Antitrust, Some ERISA Claims Dismissed From Wellpoint Reimbursement MDL

    LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on July 19 dismissed antitrust and other claims alleging that WellPoint Inc. and other companies conspired to use a flawed database to set the rates for which out-of-network medical services (ONS) are reimbursed (In re: WellPoint Inc. Out-Of-Network "UCR" Rates Litigation, MDL No. 2:09-ml-02074, C.D. Calif.).

    Gas Station Operators Don't Support Sherman Act Claims, 4th Circuit Rules

    RICHMOND, Va. - Gas station operators failed to present sufficient evidence to defeat wholesale distributors' motion for summary judgment on the operators' monopolization and attempted monopolization claims, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 19 in an unpublished opinion (SSS Enterprises, Inc., et al. v. Nov Petroleum Realty, LLC, et al., No. 12-2088, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 14641).

    Dealer Failed To Prove That Favorable Pricing Is Unlawful, 9th Circuit Rules

    SAN FRANCISCO - An aftermarket automobile parts dealer did not demonstrate that its competitor knew that the price advantages it received from a distributor resulted from anything other than its large volume of purchases or that an alleged agreement between its competitor and the distributor resulted in anti-competitive harm to the relevant market, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 19 in affirming summary judgment against the dealer on its Robinson-Patman Act and Sherman Act claims (Gorlick Distribution Centers, LLC v. Car Sound Exhaust Sytem, Inc., et al., No. 10-36083, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 14635).