Preview: LexisNexis® Antitrust Legal News
LexisNexis® Antitrust Legal News
Headline Antitrust Legal News from LexisNexis®
Judge Allows Overarching Conspiracy Claim To Go To Jury In Nexium Antitrust Trial
BOSTON - On Sept. 4, the federal judge in Massachusetts overseeing the multidistrict litigation involving the antitrust claims by purchasers of Nexium - 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 - explained his previous rulings on summary judgment motions before the six-week trial on liability that is set to begin Oct. 20 (In re Nexium [Esomeprazole] Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-md-02409, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126954; See February 2014).
Federal Antitrust Claims Related To Reverse Payment Agreement In Niaspan Litigation Survive
PHILADELPHIA - Direct purchasers who challenged a reverse payment settlement agreement paid by the brand-name drug manufacturer of Niaspan against a generic drug manufacturer to settle patent infringement litigation sufficiently alleged a reverse payment and antitrust injury under federal antitrust law, a federal judge in New York ruled Sept. 5; however, some of the end-payer plaintiffs' state law antitrust and consumer protection claims were dismissed (In re: Niaspan Antitrust Litigation [All Actions], MDL No. 2460, No. 13-md-2460, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124818).
Lipitor Purchasers Fail To Estimate Value Of Reverse Payment, Claims Dismissed
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 12 dismissed with prejudice claims by direct purchasers of Lipitor that the brand manufacturer and a generic manufacturer entered into a reverse-payment settlement agreement (RPSA) that violated antitrust laws, concluding that the purchasers failed to provide a reliable foundation to estimate the monetary value of the settlement (In re: Lipitor Antitrust Litigation [All Direct Purchaser Class Actions], No. 3:12-cv-2389, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127877; See September 2013).
Reverse Payment Requires Cash Consideration Under Actavis, Federal Judge Rules
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Purchasers' claims that agreements settling patent infringement litigation between the manufacturer of Loestrin 24 FE, an oral contraceptive, and generic drug manufacturers, which had the effect of keeping generic versions of the medication out of the market, violated federal antitrust law failed because the settlements did not involve a cash payment, a federal judge in Rhode Island ruled Sept. 4 (In re: Loestrin 24 FE Antitrust Litigation [All Actions], MDL No. 13-2472, D. Rhode Island; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123322).
FTC Rejects Proposed Consent Agreement Relating To Georgia Hospital Merger
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Trade Commission on Sept. 5 rejected a proposed consent agreement with the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County and Phoebe Putney Health System Inc. that settled FTC charges that the acquisition of Palmyra Park Hospital harmed competition in six Georgia counties (In the Matter of Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., et al., No. 9348, FTC; See September 2013).
Claim That Merck Monopolized Mumps Vaccine Market Will Continue
PHILADELPHIA - Physicians who brought a putative class action against Merck & Co. Inc., the sole manufacturer licensed by the Food and Drug Administration to sell mumps vaccine in the United States, survived a motion to dismiss their claim that Merck's alleged fraudulent reporting of the efficacy of the vaccine led to Merck's monopoly of the mumps vaccine market, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Sept. 5 (United States of America, ex rel. Stephen A. Krahling, et al. v. Merck & Co., Inc., Nos. 10-4374, 12-3555, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123836).
Microsoft Says High Court Review Of Challenge To Its License Is Not Warranted
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Microsoft Corp. told the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 26 that review is not warranted of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that a software maker failed to sufficiently allege that Microsoft Corp. violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act by restricting its Windows 2007 license to a single user and in pricing its multiuser software (MiniFrame Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 14-60, U.S. Sup.; See July 2014).
Print-On-Demand Author's Antitrust Suit Against Amazon Dismissed As Untimely
SEATTLE - In addition to finding that an author failed to file his putative antitrust class action against Amazon.com Inc. within the appropriate statute of limitations, a Washington federal judge on Aug. 28 also held that the plaintiff failed to support his claim of unlawful tying related to Amazon's services for print-on-demand (POD) authors, granting the online retailer's motion for summary judgment (Rhawn Joseph v. Amazon.com Inc., et al., No. 2:13-cv-01656, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121050).
Post-Trial Briefs Filed In Antitrust Action Against Amex On Anti-Steering Rules
NEW YORK - Plaintiffs United States and 17 states and defendants American Express Co. and American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc. (collectively, Amex) filed their redacted post-trial briefs following the conclusion of the bench trial in federal court in New York on the plaintiffs' claims that Amex's rules preventing merchants from steering customers toward the use of another credit card violate federal antitrust law (United States of America, et al. v. American Express Co., et al., No. 10-cv-4496, E.D. N.Y.; See May 2014).
Judge: Discovery Needed To Determine If Antitrust Claim Discharged In Bankruptcy
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 16 denied United Air Lines' motion to dismiss claims that it participated in a conspiracy to fix the price of air cargo shipments in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, finding that discovery was necessary to determine whether the antitrust claim was discharged in United's bankruptcy (DPWN Holdings [USA], Inc. v. United Air Lines, Inc., et al., No. 11-CV-564, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130154; See March 2014).
Plaintiffs In Reimbursement MDL Oppose Dismissal Of Complaint, Support Amendment
NEWARK, N.J. - Plaintiffs involved in an antitrust and racketeering multidistrict litigation case accusing Aetna Inc. of underpaying out-of-network reimbursement claims asked a New Jersey federal court on Sept. 12 to deny the defendant's motion to dismiss the suit, which Aetna had filed just two days after the plaintiffs' filed a motion in support of a $120 million settlement (In Re: Aetna UCR Litigation, Master File No. 07-3541, MDL 2020, D. N.J.; See March 2014).
Filed-Rate Doctrine Bars Some Conspiracy Claims Against Airlines, Federal Judge Rules
SAN FRANCISCO - In a class action brought by airline passengers alleging that international airlines engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices for passenger air transportation, the filed-rate doctrine barred treble damages only as to the rates that the airlines actually filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation, a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 23 (In re Transpacific Passenger Air Transportation Antitrust Litigation, No. C 07-05634, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134104).
Judge Permits Some Damages Experts' Testimony In Student Housing Antitrust Suit
DENVER - Granting in part a defendants' motions to exclude the testimony of damages experts in a dispute over a purported conspiracy to monopolize college student off-campus housing, a Colorado federal judge on Sept. 18 ruled on issues of untimely disclosure, hearsay and prejudgment interest in an antitrust setting (Auraria Student Housing at the Regency LLC v. Campus Village Apartments LLC, No. 1:10-cv-02516, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130959; See January 2013).
Plaintiff Has Constitutional Standing, May Amend Complaint, Federal Judge Rules
OAKLAND, Calif. - The trustee for the Ritz Camera & Image LLC bankruptcy estate has standing to represent a class of direct purchasers of raw and finished NAND flash memory products in its antitrust litigation against SanDisk Corp., even though Ritz did not purchase any raw NAND flash memory products from SanDisk, a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 19 in an order allowing the plaintiffs to alter the market definition and to add an attempted monopolization claim (Alfred T. Giuliano v. SanDisk Corporation, et al., No. C 10-02787, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132163).
Major League Baseball, Comcast Are Denied Interlocutory Appeal Of Exemption Ruling
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York overseeing consolidated putative antitrust class actions related to live-game video offerings against Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Hockey League (NHL) and their member clubs and against multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) Comcast and DirecTV and their affiliated regional sports networks (RSNs) that televise the games on Sept. 22 denied MLB's and Comcast Corp.'s motion for leave to immediately appeal the judge's denial of MLB's motion for summary judgment (Fernanda Garber, et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, et al., No. 12 Civ. 3704, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133743; See August 2014).
D.C. Circuit: Judge May Use Discretion In Considering Service Of Process On OPEC
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 12 ruled that a federal district court properly held that a plaintiff failed to effectuate service of process of a price-fixing complaint on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) but erred by failing to exercise its discretion to consider whether service could be effectuated on OPEC through its U.S. counsel (Freedom Watch, Inc. v. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, No. 13-7019, D.C. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17608).
Federal Claims In Prescription Drug Case Dismissed; Remaining Claims Remanded
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on Sept. 10 dismissed antitrust, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act and unjust enrichment claims against the third-party administrator of prescription medication and remanded the remaining state law claims to state court (Star Discount Pharmacy Inc., et al. v. MedImpact Healthcare System Inc., et al., No. 11-2206, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126606).
Antitrust Suit Against MLB, NHL, Distributors Over Showing Of Games Continues
NEW YORK - Consolidated putative antitrust class actions related to live-game video offerings against Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Hockey League (NHL) and their member clubs and against multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) Comcast and DirecTV and their affiliated regional sports networks (RSNs) that televise the games will continue, a federal judge in New York ruled Aug. 8 in denying the defendants' motions for summary judgment (Thomas Laumann, et al. v. National Hockey League, et al., No. 12-cv-1817, S.D. N.Y.; Marc Lerner, et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, et al., No. 12-cv-3704, S.D.N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109951; See December 2012).
Judge Imposes Injunction Against NCAA In Student Compensation Antitrust Case
OAKLAND, Calif. - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules barring student athletes from receiving a share of the revenue that the NCAA and its member schools earn from the sale of licenses to use the student athletes' names, images and likenesses in video games, live game telecasts and other footage violate federal antitrust law, a federal judge in California ruled Aug. 8 (Edward O'Bannon, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. C 09-3329, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110036; See June 2014).
Direct Purchasers Fail To Allege Agreement To Join Conspiracy, Judge Rules
CHICAGO - Direct purchaser plaintiffs failed to present sufficient evidence to support their allegation that a cheese distributor engaged in a conspiracy to inflate prices of milk futures by purchasing cheese on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) in violation of federal antitrust law, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Aug. 18 (In re: Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. Cheese Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2031, No. 1:09-cv-03690, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114162).
Price-Fixing Class Action Claims Against DIPF Sellers Will Continue
TRENTON, N.J. - Direct purchasers of ductile iron pipe fittings (DIPF) have adequately pleaded facts suggesting that sellers of DIPF engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Aug. 13 in denying the sellers' motions to dismiss (In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings [DIPF] Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-711, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111988).
Bid-Rigging Claims Fail To State Conspiracy Claim, Federal Judge Rules
SAN DIEGO - Antitrust conspiracy claims related to the process through which service providers may compete for government contracts through the federal AbilityOne Program were dismissed by a federal judge in California on Aug. 20 (Bona Fide Conglomerate, Inc. v. SourceAmerica, No. 14cv0751, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116200).
High Court Review Sought Of Summary Judgment Standard In Milk Price-Fixing Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Milk bottlers that are defendants in antitrust conspiracy litigation on Aug. 1 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals improperly applied the summary judgment standard by permitting a plaintiff to reach a jury without evidence of a causal link between the defendants' alleged anti-competitive conduct and the plaintiff's alleged injury (Dean Foods Company, et al. v. Food Lion, LLC, et al., No. 14-110, U.S. Sup.; See March 2014).
New Settlement Reached In Leveraged Buyout Antitrust Litigation
BOSTON - Shareholders who allege in Massachusetts federal court that several private equity firms fixed the prices paid for companies undergoing leveraged buyouts (LBOs) by agreeing to refrain from "jumping" each other's announced proprietary deals in violation of federal antitrust law reached a $325 million settlement with Blackstone Group LP, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and TPG Capital LP on Aug. 7, bringing the total amount of proposed settlements to $475.5 million (Kirk Dahl, et al. v. Bain Capital Partners LLC, et al., No. 07-12388, D. Mass.).
8th Circuit Won't Rehear Market Allocation Ruling
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 19 declined to rehear its ruling that factual disputes preclude summary judgment in litigation over whether two wholesale grocers violated federal antitrust law by entering into an asset-exchange agreement that allegedly allocated customers and markets (In re Wholesale Grocery Products Antitrust Litigation [D&G, Inc., DeLuca's Market Corp. v. SuperValu, Inc., et al.], No. 13-1297, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15971; See May 2014).
11th Circuit Affirms Denial Of Class Certification In Pharmaceutical Tying Case
ATLANTA - A Florida hospital is an indirect purchaser and lacks standing to recover damages on claims that Astellas US LLC is forcing health care providers to buy its adenosine drug at a 450 percent markup compared to competitors' versions of the same drug by unlawfully tying the implied license to perform its patented cardiac test to the purchase of its unpatented drug for use during that test, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 15 in ruling that the hospital would not be an adequate representative for a damages class (Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Inc. v. Astellas US, LLC, et al., No. 13-12709, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15669).
Judge Rejects Apple's, Google's $324M Settlements In Employees' Conspiracy Suit
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 8 rejected $324.5 million partial class action settlements between employees and Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. on the employees' claims that the high-tech companies conspired to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees in violation of federal antitrust law (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2509, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110064; See May 2014).
Federal Judge Denies Class Certification In Intel Antitrust Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - The federal judge in Delaware overseeing the Intel Corp. antitrust litigation on July 31 adopted the special master's July 2010 recommendation that the indirect purchasers' motion for class certification be denied for failing to demonstrate common impact, adequacy of representation, commonality and manageability (In re: Intel Corp. Microprocessor Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 05-1717, D. Del. [Phil Paul, et al. v. Intel Corporation, No. 04-485, D. Del.; See August 2010).
Class Action Representative Lacks Standing Based On Assignment, Federal Judge Rules
NEWARK, N.J. - A domestic purchaser of magnesite lacked standing to bring price-fixing claims as a direct purchaser where its claims were based on an assignment from a broker but where there was no allegation that the broker actually purchased magnesite from a defendants, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled July 24 in dismissing the complaint with leave to amend (Animal Science Products, Inc., et al. v. China Minmetals Corp., et al., No. 2:05-cv-04376, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102661).
Apple's $400M E-Books Settlement Granted Preliminary Approval
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Aug. 1 granted preliminary approval of a settlement by Apple Inc. under which it has agreed to pay $400 million to 33 states and a certified class of consumers to settle claims that it conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books (In re Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-md-2293, S.D. N.Y. [State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-3394, S.D. N.Y.]; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106260; See July 2014).
California Federal Judge Grants 1 Opt-Out, Denies 1 In CRT Settlement
SAN FRANCISCO - One company out of two that filed delinquent opt-out notices in a settlement between direct purchasers of cathode ray tube (CRT) products and two manufacturers was successful in convincing a California federal judge on Aug. 20 to find that its negligence was excusable (In Re: Cathode Ray Tube [CRT] Antitrust Litigation, No. 03-5944; Sharp Electronics Corp., et al. v. Hitachi, Ltd., et al., No. 13-1173, Dell Inc., et al. v. Hitachi, Ltd., et al., No. 13-2171, N.D. Calif.).
10th Circuit Reinstates Monopolization Claims Brought By Manufacturer
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 5 reversed summary judgment in favor of Medtronic Inc. on claims that it engaged in unlawful monopolization and attempted monopolization when one of its subsidiaries initiated a recall of its competitor's product, finding that genuine issues of material fact existed regarding market definition, monopoly power, exclusionary conduct and harm to competition (Lenox Maclaren Surgical Corporation v. Medtronic, Incorporated, et al., No. 13-1307, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15049).
Claims Based On Marketing Contract Are Subject To Rule Of Reason, Magistrate Says
MIAMI - Antitrust claims asserted by a manufacturer that entered into an agreement to work with a marketer that later acquired the manufacturer's rival are to be analyzed under the rule of reason, a federal magistrate judge in Florida ruled July 30 (Procaps S.A. v. Patheon Inc., No. 12-24356, S.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104070; See February 2014).
FTC Tells High Court That State-Action Doctrine Doesn't Exempt Conduct
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Trade Commission on July 30 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling 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.; See May 2014).
Divided Federal Circuit Remands Antitrust Claims Based On Citizen Petition
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A majority of the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 6 reversed in part a federal district court's ruling that a drug patent holder did not violate antitrust laws by filing a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration seeking to bar a generic drug manufacturer from obtaining permission to market its generic version of the drug (Tyco Healthcare Group LP, et al. v. Mutual Pharmaceutical Company, Inc., et al., No. 2013-1386, Fed. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15096).
Filed-Rate Doctrine Doesn't Bar Some Purchasers' Antitrust Claims, Judge Rules
PITTSBURGH - The filed-rate doctrine precludes the antitrust claims of individual and some small-group purchasers of health insurance against insurer Highmark Inc. and health care provider University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), but the filed-rate doctrine may not be applicable to claims of small-group purchasers that asserted a measure of damages based on unregulated rates, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Aug. 21 in granting in part the purchasers' motion for leave to file a third amended complaint (Royal Mile Company, Inc., et al. v. UPMC, et al. No. 2:10-cv-01609, W.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116224; See October 2013).
Surgeon's Antitrust Claims Following Revocation Of Privileges Are Dismissed
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Aug. 12 ruled that a surgeon whose staff and clinical privileges were revoked failed to allege antitrust injury because she maintained such privileges at other hospitals but that the surgeon could continue with her hostile work environment claims (Yelena Levitin, et al. v. Northwest Community Hospital, et al., No. 13-5553, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110830).
Pennsylvania Federal Judge Will Bar Evidence Of Litigation Uncertainty
PHILADELPHIA - The Federal Trade Commission on July 29 prevailed on a motion to preclude a pharmaceutical company from presenting evidence of "litigation uncertainty" surrounding its prescription drug patent at an upcoming reverse payments antitrust trial (Federal Trade Commission v. Cephalon Inc., No. 08-2141, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102958; See March 2014).
Indirect Purchaser May Seek Umbrella Damages Under California Antitrust Law
SAN FRANCISCO - An indirect purchaser of plasma-derivative protein therapies is not barred under California's antitrust statute from recovering as damages any overcharges it incurred in purchasing the protein therapies from nonconspirators, even if the purchaser would have paid a lower price in the absence of the conspiracy to restrict the supply of such products, a federal judge in California ruled Aug. 20 (County of San Mateo v. CSL Limited, et al., No. 10-cv-05686, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116342).
9th Circuit Upholds $500M Fine, Prison Sentences For TFT-LCD Conspiracy
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 10 upheld a $500 million criminal fine imposed on a Taiwanese company and the convictions of the company's corporate officers for engaging in a global conspiracy to fix worldwide prices of thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display panels (TFT-LCDs) for use in computer monitors and televisions in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (United States of America v. Hui Hsiung, No. 12-10492, 9th Cir.; United States of America v. Hsuan Bin Chen, No. 12-10493, 9th Cir.; United States of America v. AU Optronics Corporation, No. 12-10500, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13051).
7th Circuit Vacates Opinion, Will Rehear FTAIA Ruling In LCD Case
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 1 vacated its earlier ruling that Motorola Mobility LLC 's claims that the 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 were properly dismissed (Motorola Mobility LLC v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 14-8003, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12704; See May 2014).
Apple Reaches $400M Settlement With States, Class In E-Books Antitrust Case
NEW YORK - Apple Inc. has agreed to pay $400 million to 33 states and a certified class of consumers to settle claims that it conspired with publishers to fix prices of electronic books, according to a motion for preliminary approval filed July 16 in federal court in New York (In re Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-md-2293, S.D. N.Y. $(State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-3394, S.D. N.Y.$); See June 2014).
No Proof Of Collusion In Tobacco Pricing, Kansas Court Of Appeals Rules
TOPEKA, Kan. - A class of Kansas cigarette purchasers has failed to show that the major tobacco manufacturers conspired to fix wholesale prices for cigarettes, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled July 18 (Daric Smith, et al. v. Philip Morris Companies Inc., et al., No. 108,491, Kan. App.; 2014 Kan. App. LEXIS 49).
Final Approval Granted To Indirect Purchasers, State AG In DRAM Settlement
OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal judge in California on June 27 granted final approval to global settlements totaling more than $310.72 million between makers of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and indirect purchasers and state attorneys general on price-fixing claims (In re Dynamic Random Access Memory $(DRAM$) Antitrust Litigation $(All Indirect Purchaser Actions, et al.$), Nos. 02-md-01486, 06-4333, 06-6436, 07-1347, 07-2589, 12-5213, 12-5214, 12-5215, 12-5230, 12-5229, 12-5231, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89622).
Boycott, Conspiracy Claims Related To Standard-Setting Process Are Dismissed
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A table saw manufacturer failed to sufficiently allege that other manufacturers conspired not to license safety technology or to adopt the technology as an industry standard, a federal judge in Virginia ruled July 15 in dismissing the antitrust complaint (SD3, LLC, et al. v. Black & Decker $(U.S.$), Inc., et al., No. 1:14-cv-191, E.D. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96256).
Opt-Out Complaints Against Visa, MasterCard, Banks Will Continue
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on July 18 refused to dismiss suits by merchants that opted out of the $7.25 billion class action settlement between approximately 12 million merchants and Visa, MasterCard and a large number of banks, which allegedly fixed the price of interchange fees paid by merchants when customers use Visa and MasterCard credit cards (In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation $(All Opt-Out Cases$), No. 14-md-1720, E.D. N.Y.; See January 2014).
Competitor Fails To Allege SanDisk's Licensing Scheme Violates Antitrust Law
SAN FRANCISCO - PNY Technologies Inc. failed to adequately allege that the short-term or easily terminable nature of SanDisk Corp.'s exclusive agreements with retailers was illusory or unlawfully foreclosed competition in the market for secure digital (SD) cards, a federal judge in California ruled July 2 in dismissing PNY's exclusive dealing and attempted monopolization claims (PNY Technologies, Inc. v. SanDisk Corporation, No. 11-cv-04689, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90649).
Software Company Seeks High Court Review Of Challenge To Microsoft's License
WASHINGTON, D.C. - MiniFrame Ltd. asked the U.S. Supreme Court on July 16 to review the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that the software maker failed to sufficiently allege that Microsoft Corp. violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act by restricting its Windows 2007 license to a single user and in pricing its multiuser software (MiniFrame Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 14-60, U.S. Sup.; See January 2014).
Performing Rights Organization Must Defend Monopoly Claims Related To Licensing
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 26 dismissed a radio station industry organization's price-fixing and group boycott claims against a performing rights organization (PRO), finding that the organization failed to sufficiently allege an agreement to fix license fees, but allowed the organization's monopolization claims to continue (Radio Music License Committee, Inc. v. SESAC, Inc., et al., No. 2:12-CV-5807-CDJ, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86898).
Federal Circuit Partly Affirms In Patent, Trademark, Antitrust Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Four consolidated cases presenting issues that are "numerous and diverse" - ranging from patent and trademark infringement to antitrust violations - yielded a mixed ruling from the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 30 (Southern Snow Manufacturing Co. Inc., et al. v. SnoWizard Inc., Nos. 13-1586, 14-1043, Fed. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12242).
Preliminary Approval Of Antitrust Settlement Denied In Milk Monopsony Case
RUTLAND, Vt. - A federal judge in Vermont on July 9 denied without prejudice preliminary approval of a $50 million settlement in an antitrust case filed by dairy farmers over alleged suppression of raw milk prices, saying that information regarding the ground for the class representatives' opposition to the proposed settlement is necessary for her to assess whether the proposed settlement is "fair, reasonable, and adequate" (Alice H. Allen, et al. v. Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., et al., No. 09-230, D. Vt.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94007; See June 2014).
Supreme Court Will Hear Antitrust Preemption Case
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.; See June 2014).
Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Dismissal Is Appealable In Libor Suit
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.; See April 2014).
Medicaid Provider May Seek Injunctive Relief Against County, Rival, Judge Rules
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 2 ruled that a health care provider may seek injunctive relief, but not antitrust damages, on its claim that Merced County and the county's sole Medicaid managed care plan conspired to monopolize the Medicaid health care provider market in the county in violation of the Sherman Act, a federal judge in California ruled July 2 (Horisons Unlimited, et al. v. Santa Cruz-Monterey-Merced Managed Medical Care Commission, et al., No. 1:14-cv-00123, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93330).
Federal Judge Issues Permanent Injunction In Telephone System Tying Case
CAMDEN, N.J. - After a jury found that Avaya Inc. engaged in attempted monopolization and unlawful tying related to post-warranty maintenance agreements, a federal judge in New Jersey on June 30 declined to cancel the majority of Avaya's contracts but rather issued a "narrow" permanent injunction (Avaya, Inc. v. Telecom Labs, Inc., et al., No. 06-2490, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88815).
Cable Providers' Motion To Compel Arbitration Of Tying Claim Is Denied
OKLAHOMA CITY - Cox Communications Inc. waived any right to demand arbitration of class claims that Cox tied access to its premium cable services to rental of a set-top box, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled July 18, noting that Cox did not file its motion to compel arbitration until five months prior to trial in a case that has been litigated for five years (In re: Cox Enterprises, Inc. Set-Top Cable Television Box Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-MDL-2048-C, W.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98142; See January 2013).
Michigan Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Approval In Health Care Antitrust Case
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on June 26 granted preliminary approval to settlement worth $29.99 million in a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that a health insurance company's conduct of incorporating "most favored nation" (MFN) clauses into its contracts with hospitals results in antitrust violations (The Shane Group Inc., et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 10-14360, E.D. Mich.; See December 2012).