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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging Ordinance 124968, which permits independent-contractor drivers, represented by an entity denominated an "exclusive driver representative," and driver coordinators to agree on the "nature and amount of payments to be made by, or withheld from, the driver coordinator to or by the drivers." The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the Chamber's federal antitrust claims because the ordinance sanctions price-fixing of ride-referral service fees by private cartels of independent-contractor drivers. The panel held that the State-action immunity doctrine did not exempt the ordinance from preemption by the Sherman Act because the State of Washington had not clearly articulated and affirmatively expressed a state policy authorizing private parties to price-fix the fees that for-hire drivers pay to companies like Uber or Lyft in exchange for ride-referral services. Furthermore, the active-supervision requirement for state-action immunity applied, and was not met. The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Chamber's National Labor Relations Act preemption claims. View "U.S. Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Seattle" on Justia Law

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Nev. Rev. Stat. 600A.030 does not preclude a defendant from demonstrating that certain information is readily ascertainable and not a trade secret even where the defendant acquired the information through improper means. An employee of Peppermill Casino, Inc. accessed slot machines of a casino owned by MEI-GSR Holdings, LLC (GSR) to obtain their theoretical hold percentage information (par values). GSR filed suit against Peppermill and its employee, asserting violation of Nevada’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The jury returned a special verdict in favor of Peppermill, finding that GSR’s stolen par values did not constitute a trade secret under section 600A.030 because GSR had failed to prove that its par information was not readily ascertainable by proper means. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in instructing the jury concerning trade secrets under section 600A.030; and (2) GSR’s other assignments of error lacked merit. View "MEI-GSR Holding, LLC v. Peppermill Casinos, Inc." on Justia Law

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Under New York law, a plaintiff asserting claims of misappropriation of a trade secret, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment may not recover damages that are measured by the costs the defendant avoided due to its unlawful activity because, under the common law, compensatory damages must return the plaintiff, as nearly as possible, to the position it would have been in had the wrongdoing not occurred, but no more. This case was tried in federal court on three theories of trade secret theft, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit asked the Court of Appeals to resolve three questions of New York’s law relating to damages, specifically, whether, as a matter of law, any plaintiff may recover a defendant’s avoided costs on one or another of these three theories of liability. The Court of Appeals held that, in any of these three actions, a plaintiff may not elect to measure its damages by the defendant’s avoided costs in lieu of its own losses. View "E.J. Brooks Co. v. Cambridge Security Seals" on Justia Law

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Defendant Samer Shami was charged with violating the Tobacco Products Tax Act (TPTA) for possessing, acquiring, transporting, or offering for sale tobacco products with an aggregate wholesale price of $250 or more as a manufacturer without a license in violation of MCL 205.423(1) and MCL 205.428(3). Defendant was the manager of Sam Molasses, a retail tobacco store owned by Sam Molasses, LLC. Investigation revealed that the labels on several plastics tubs of tobacco in the store’s inventory did not match those listed on the invoices from tobacco distributors. Defendant explained that he had mixed two or more flavors of tobacco to create a new “special blend,” which was then placed in the plastic tubs and relabeled. Defendant also explained that he repackaged bulk tobacco from a particular distributor by taking the packets of tobacco out of the boxes, inserting them into metal tins, and placing his own label on the tins, which were then sold at the store. The issue presented in this case for the Michigan Supreme Court's review was whether an individual who combined two different tobacco products to create a new blended product or repackages bulk tobacco into smaller containers with a new label was considered to be a manufacturer of a tobacco product and must have the requisite license. The Court of Appeals held that, in either instance, such a person was a manufacturer. According to that Court, manufacturing simply requires a change from the original state of an object or material into a state that makes it more suitable for its intended use, and a person who changes either the form or delivery method of tobacco constitutes a manufacturer for purposes of the TPTA. Although the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals’ conclusion that an individual combining two different tobacco products to create a blended product, relabeling that new mixture, and making it available for sale to the public is a manufacturer of a tobacco product, the Court disagreed with the Court of Appeals that merely repackaging bulk tobacco into smaller containers renders an individual a manufacturer under the TPTA. Therefore, the Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the Court of Appeals. This case was remanded to the Circuit Court for further proceedings. View "Michigan v. Shami" on Justia Law

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Defendant Samer Shami was charged with violating the Tobacco Products Tax Act (TPTA) for possessing, acquiring, transporting, or offering for sale tobacco products with an aggregate wholesale price of $250 or more as a manufacturer without a license in violation of MCL 205.423(1) and MCL 205.428(3). Defendant was the manager of Sam Molasses, a retail tobacco store owned by Sam Molasses, LLC. Investigation revealed that the labels on several plastics tubs of tobacco in the store’s inventory did not match those listed on the invoices from tobacco distributors. Defendant explained that he had mixed two or more flavors of tobacco to create a new “special blend,” which was then placed in the plastic tubs and relabeled. Defendant also explained that he repackaged bulk tobacco from a particular distributor by taking the packets of tobacco out of the boxes, inserting them into metal tins, and placing his own label on the tins, which were then sold at the store. The issue presented in this case for the Michigan Supreme Court's review was whether an individual who combined two different tobacco products to create a new blended product or repackages bulk tobacco into smaller containers with a new label was considered to be a manufacturer of a tobacco product and must have the requisite license. The Court of Appeals held that, in either instance, such a person was a manufacturer. According to that Court, manufacturing simply requires a change from the original state of an object or material into a state that makes it more suitable for its intended use, and a person who changes either the form or delivery method of tobacco constitutes a manufacturer for purposes of the TPTA. Although the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals’ conclusion that an individual combining two different tobacco products to create a blended product, relabeling that new mixture, and making it available for sale to the public is a manufacturer of a tobacco product, the Court disagreed with the Court of Appeals that merely repackaging bulk tobacco into smaller containers renders an individual a manufacturer under the TPTA. Therefore, the Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the Court of Appeals. This case was remanded to the Circuit Court for further proceedings. View "Michigan v. Shami" on Justia Law

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SBA filed suit seeking to enjoin rescission of an informal opinion letter issued by the FTC (the 2016 Letter). The 2016 Letter stated that it was the FTC staff's opinion that telemarketing technology used by SBA's members was subject to the FTC's regulation of so-called "robocalls," and it announced the rescission of a 2009 FTC staff letter that had reached the opposite conclusion. The DC Circuit dismissed the complaint for failure to state claim and held that because the 2016 staff opinion letter did not constitute the consummation of the Commission's decisionmaking process by its own terms and under the FTC's regulations, it was not final agency action. Finally, SBA's speech claims were pleaded as Administrative Procedure claims under 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(B) and could not proceed without final agency action. View "Soundboard Association v. FTC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed an interlocutory order granting a permanent injunction in favor of DataScout, LLC on its claims that Apprentice Information Systems, Inc. and David Randall Lamp (collectively, AIS) were liable for violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and for tortious interference with a business expectancy. The circuit court concluded that AIS was liable to DataScout and ordered a permanent injunction against AIS. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court’s grant of a permanent injunction was an abuse of discretion because (1) DataScout only brought an action against a private entity under FOIA and failed to sue an entity covered by FOIA; (2) DataScout failed to prove with particularity any business expectancy with whom AIS interfered; and (3) DataScout’s ADPTA claim did not provide for injunctive relief. View "Apprentice Information Systems, Inc. v. DataScout, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed an interlocutory order granting a permanent injunction in favor of DataScout, LLC on its claims that Apprentice Information Systems, Inc. and David Randall Lamp (collectively, AIS) were liable for violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and for tortious interference with a business expectancy. The circuit court concluded that AIS was liable to DataScout and ordered a permanent injunction against AIS. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court’s grant of a permanent injunction was an abuse of discretion because (1) DataScout only brought an action against a private entity under FOIA and failed to sue an entity covered by FOIA; (2) DataScout failed to prove with particularity any business expectancy with whom AIS interfered; and (3) DataScout’s ADPTA claim did not provide for injunctive relief. View "Apprentice Information Systems, Inc. v. DataScout, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s final judgment awarding damages to DataScout, LLC on DataScout’s claims that Apprentice Information Systems, Inc. and David Randall Lamp (collectively, Appellants) violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and tortiously interfered with DataScout’s business expectancy. The Court held (1) for the reasons set out in another appeal decided today, Apprentice Information Systems, Inc. V. DataScout, LLC, 2018 Ark. 284, the circuit court’s findings that Appellants engaged in tortious interference with a valid business expectancy and violated FOIA are reversed; (2) the circuit court erred in finding that Appellants violated the ADTPA and in awarding compensatory damages; and (3) having no basis to award compensatory damages, the circuit court erred in awarding punitive damages to DataScout. View "Apprentice Information Systems, Inc. v. DataScout, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals certified a question of South Carolina law to the South Carolina Supreme Court. Sarah Hartsock was killed in an automobile crash on Interstate 26 in Calhoun County, South Carolina. Her personal representative, Theodore Hartsock, Jr., brought a survival and wrongful death action asserting claims under South Carolina law for negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty. Hartsock alleged that the vehicle in which Mrs. Hartsock was riding was struck head-on by another vehicle. That vehicle had crossed the median after suffering a blowout of an allegedly defective tire that Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America Ltd. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company [collectively "Goodyear"] designed, manufactured, and marketed. The federal court had subject-matter jurisdiction based upon complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and damages alleged to be greater than $75,000. During pretrial discovery a dispute arose between the parties over certain Goodyear material relating to the design and chemical composition of the allegedly defective tire. Goodyear objected to producing this material, asserting that it constituted trade secrets. The district court eventually found, and Hartsock did not dispute, that the material did, in fact, constitute trade secrets. However, the court ordered Goodyear to produce the material subject to a confidentiality order. In doing so, the court applied federal discovery standards, rejecting Goodyear's contention that South Carolina trade secret law applied. The federal appellate court asked the South Carolina Supreme Court whether South Carolina recognized an evidentiary privilege for trade secrets. The South Carolina Court responded yes, but that it was a qualified privilege. View "Hartsock v. Goodyear" on Justia Law