LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    State Dental Board Asks 4th Circuit To Reconsider State- Action Test In FTC Action

    RICHMOND, Va. - The North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners on July 15 filed a petition seeking rehearing and rehearing en banc of a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals 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.).

    Judge Grants Final Approval Of $30M Settlement Between Toshiba, Direct Purchasers

    SAN FRANCISCO - The federal judge in California overseeing the film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) antitrust litigation on Dec. 18 granted final approval to a $30 million settlement between Toshiba Corp. and direct purchasers, vacating a jury award of $87 million in damages to the purchasers on their claims that Toshiba engaged in a conspiracy with other manufacturers to raise and fix the price of TFT-LCD panels and certain products containing those panels imported into the United States (In re: TFT-LCD $(Flat Panel$) Antitrust Litigation $(All Direct Purchaser Actions$), MDL No. 3:07-md-1827 SI, N.D. Calif.; See October 2012).

    Price-Fixing Settlement Funds To Be Disbursed To LCD Direct Purchasers

    SAN FRANCISCO - The federal judge in California overseeing the film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) antitrust litigation on July 12 approved the first distribution of settlement funds to direct purchaser class members on their claims that Toshiba Corp. and other manufacturers engaged in a conspiracy to raise and fix the price of TFT-LCD panels and certain products containing those panels imported into the United States (In re: TFT-LCD $(Flat Panel$) Antitrust Litigation $(All Direct Purchaser Actions$), MDL No. 3:07-md-1827 SI, N.D. Calif.).

    Cross-Elasticity Of Supply Dooms Attempted Monopolization Claim, 11th Circuit Rules

    ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 15 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, finding that there was high cross-elasticity of supply, which deters monopoly pricing (Gulf States Reorganization Group, Inc. v. Nucor Corporation, No. 11-14983, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 14187).

    Employees Reach Settlement With 2 High-Tech Employers On Conspiracy Claims

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - Employees who allege that seven high-tech companies conspired to restrict the mobility of technical employees by entering into agreements not to compete for each other's employees told a federal judge in California on July 12 that they have reached an agreement with defendants Pixar and Lucasfilm Ltd. (In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-CV-02509, N.D. Calif.).

    Jury Rules Against Colorado Nightclub On Antitrust Claims Against Rival

    DENVER - A federal jury in Colorado on July 10 found against Denver nightclubs on their unlawful tying, monopolization and attempted monopolization claims that a competitor nightclub and the owner of a digital download service and the defendant nightclub coerced disc jockeys to perform at the competitor nightclub in violation of federal antitrust laws (Regas Christou, et al. v. Beatport, LLC, et al., No. 10-cv-02912, D. Colo.).

    Calif. Cipro Purchasers Seek Approval Of Settlement With Bayer Over Pay-For-Delay

    SAN DIEGO - California purchasers of the antibiotic Cipro and third-party payers who reimbursed for California purchases of Cipro on July 11 asked a state court to grant preliminary approval to their $74 million cash settlement with Bayer Corp. and Bayer AG (collectively, Bayer) on claims that Bayer paid drug companies nearly $400 million to drop challenges to Bayer's Cipro patent and to refrain from selling generic versions of the drug (CIPRO Cases I and II $(All Actions$), Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding Nos. 4154 and 4220, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).

    Apple Conspired To Raise Prices Of E-Books, Federal Judge Rules

    NEW YORK - Apple Inc. conspired with several publishers to fix prices of electronic books in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and various states' laws, a federal judge in New York ruled July 10 following a bench trial (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.).

    Passengers, Korean Air Reach $39M Cash, $26M Coupon Antitrust Settlement

    LOS ANGELES - Airline passengers on July 3 asked a federal judge in California to grant preliminary approval to their July 3 settlement with Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. on the passengers' claims that Korean Air conspired with Asiana Airlines Inc. to fix fares and fuel surcharges for passenger air transportation on flights between the United States and Korea (In re Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. Antitrust Litigation $(All Actions$), MDL No. 07-01891, Master File No. CV 07-05107, C.D. Calif.).

    U.S. Postal Service, Supplier Are Immune From Antitrust Suit, Federal Judge Rules

    DENVER - The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and its authorized supplier of blank label rolls were not subject to antitrust liability based on USPS's requiring contract postal units (CPUs), which provide postal services to the public pursuant to contracts with USPS, to purchase the label rolls from the supplier because such conduct fell outside the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act's (PAEA) waiver of immunity, a federal judge in Colorado ruled July 3 (TOG, Inc., et al. v. United States Postal Service, et al., No. 1:12-cv-01946, D. Colo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93598).

    Calif. Court Allows Claims In Competition Law Case Involving Continuous Accrual

    SAN FRANCISCO - After its previous ruling was reversed by the California Supreme Court on the basis of continuous accrual, a state appeals court on July 9 rejected alternative arguments for dismissing a man's California unfair competition law (UCL) action alleging excess charges (Jamshid Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions Inc., No. B213104, Calif. Super., 2nd Dist.).

    9th Circuit Rejects Petition To Rehear Advertised-Discount Injury Case

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 declined to rehear a case in which it found that falsely advertised discounts constituted an injury under the California unfair competition law (UCL) (Antonio Hinojos, et al. v. Kohl's Corp., et al., No. 11-55793, 9th Cir.).

    Calif. Senate Committee Passes Bill Allowing State Bar Competition Law Recoveries

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Senate Committee on Judiciary on July 1 passed legislation allowing for civil penalties under the California unfair competition law (UCL) for the unauthorized practice of law.

    Attorney Claims Asbestos Firm Failed In Duty As Self-Insured Malpractice Carrier

    SAN FRANCISCO - In a complaint filed July 1, an attorney claims that asbestos plaintiffs' law firm's conduct and errors resulted in legal malpractice claims against him and that the firm violated the California's unfair competition law (UCL) by failing to properly defend him from the charges (Christopher Andreas v. Brayton Purcell; Alan R. Brayton; and DOES 1-10, No. 532536, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).

    Pharmacies' Monopsony Challenge To Medco, Express Scripts Merger Is Dismissed

    PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 28 dismissed claims made by pharmacies and pharmacy trade groups that the consummated $29 billion merger of pharmaceutical benefit management (PBM) companies Express Scripts Inc. (ESI) and Medco Health Solutions Inc. gave the merged PBMs monopsony power as purchasers of retail community pharmacy services in state markets (National Association of Chain Drug Stores, et al. v. Express Scripts, Inc., et al., No. 2:12-cv-00395-CB, W.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90763).

    Advocacy Group Challenging Conduct Suffers Injury, Has Standing, Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO - A public advocacy firm spending its funds battling a foie gras company's conduct suffers injury and has standing under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a federal judge held June 25 (Animal Legal Defense Fund and Regal Vegan Inc. v. HVFG LLC, et al., No. 12-5809, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89169).

    Visa, MasterCard Seek Stay Of Retailers' Antitrust Suit Over Fees

    NEW YORK - In response to retailers' complaint that they exercised their market power to preclude issuing banks from competing for merchant acceptance of credit and debit cards, thereby causing the merchants to pay excessive interchange fees, Visa and MasterCard on June 25 moved to stay all proceedings pending final decision on transfer by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) (Target Corporation, et al. v. Visa Inc., et al., No. 13-3477, S.D. N.Y.).

    Supreme Court Will Not Decide Whether State Antitrust Law Is Preempted

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 declined to review a Nevada Supreme Court ruling that the state attorney general's action for damages under the state antitrust law is preempted as a matter of law by federal regulation of natural gas markets (The State of Nevada, et al. v. Reliant Energy, Inc., et al., No. 12-980, U.S. Sup.).

    Preliminary Approval Given To Settlement Involving GMOs, 'All Natural' Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 21 gave preliminary approval to a $4 million settlement in a California unfair competition law (UCL) class action challenging the presence of genetically modified organisms in more than 40 food products labeled as "all natural" (Richard W. Trammell v. Barbara's Bakery Inc., et al., No. 12-2664, N.D. Calif.).

    Indirect Purchasers' $35M Settlement Gets Final Approval In Flonase Antitrust Case

    PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 19 granted final approval to a $35 million settlement between prescription drug Flonase manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) and indirect purchasers on the indirect purchasers' claims that GSK filed a series of sham citizen petitions with the Food and Drug Administration to delay the entry of a generic version of Flonase into the market (In re Flonase Antitrust Litigation $(Indirect Purchaser Actions$), No. 08-3301, E.D. Pa.).

    Judge: Computer Power Action Challenges Puffery, Is Insufficiently Pleaded

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A consumer's California unfair competition law (UCL) claims largely involve puffery surrounding power claims and insufficiently plead knowledge of the alleged defects, a federal judge held June 20 (David Elias, et al. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., No. 12-421, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87748).

    Judge Permits Unlawful, Fraudulent Claims Against 'Cramming' Defendant

    SAN FRANCISCO - A man may proceed under the unlawful and fraudulent prongs of his California unfair competition law (UCL) claim against an aggregator accused of cramming consumers with unsolicited text-message update services, a federal judge held June 21 (Edward Fields, et al. v. Wise Media LLC, et al., No. 12-5160, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87671).

    High Court Remands Reverse-Payment Settlement Cases To 3rd Circuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 vacated the judgment of the Third Circuit in antitrust litigation involving the drug K-Dur and remanded for further consideration in light of its recent ruling in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc., et al., in which it held that reverse-payment settlements of patent litigation between the holder of a drug patent and potential generic manufacturers of the drug should be analyzed under the rule of reason (Merck & Co., Inc. v. Louisiana Wholesale Drug Co., et al., No. 12-245, U.S. Sup.; Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. v. Louisiana Wholesale Drug Co., et al., No. 12-265, U.S. Sup.).

    Supreme Court Denies Review In Divestiture Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 denied Polypore International Inc.'s petition seeking review of an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision upholding a Federal Trade Commission ruling that Polypore's acquisition of Microporous Products would substantially lessen competition in three relevant North American markets for battery separators and that a complete divestiture, including a plant in Austria, was required to restore competition in those markets (Polypore International, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission, No. 12-1016, U.S. Sup.).

    1st Circuit: Error To Apply Heightened Pleading Standard In Antitrust Case

    BOSTON - A recycling company sufficiently alleged that polystyrene food service packaging manufacturers and trade associations refused in concert to deal with the company in its recycling business method in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 19, finding that the trial court misapplied the plausibility requirement at the pleading stage (Evergreen Partnering Group, Inc. v. Pactiv Corporation, et al., No. 12-1730, 1st Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12505).