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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq., does not preempt unfair competition and consumer protection claims based on workplace safety and health violations when, as in California, there is a state plan approved by the federal Secretary of Labor. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health charged Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC with five violations of state occupational safety and health regulations. The District Attorney of Orange County subsequently filed this action for civil penalties under the state’s unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, and fair advertising law (FAL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17500. The court of appeal concluded that the federal OSH Act preempted the district attorney’s UCL and FAL claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was no implied or express preemption of the district attorney’s UCL and FAL claims. View "Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court of Orange County" on Justia Law

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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq., does not preempt unfair competition and consumer protection claims based on workplace safety and health violations when, as in California, there is a state plan approved by the federal Secretary of Labor. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health charged Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC with five violations of state occupational safety and health regulations. The District Attorney of Orange County subsequently filed this action for civil penalties under the state’s unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, and fair advertising law (FAL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17500. The court of appeal concluded that the federal OSH Act preempted the district attorney’s UCL and FAL claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was no implied or express preemption of the district attorney’s UCL and FAL claims. View "Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court of Orange County" on Justia Law

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In this dispute between retailers and direct competitors in the gas station and convenience store market, the circuit court correctly determined that W. Va. Code 47-11A-6(a) does not include taxes in the calculation of a retailer’s cost under the West Virginia Unfair Practices Act. Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants alleging that Defendants had violated the Act by selling gasoline below cost. Both parties moved for summary judgment seeking a determination as to whether section 47-11A-6(a) includes taxes within the calculation of a retailer’s cost. The circuit court concluded that the calculation of a retailer’s cost does not include tax and awarded summary judgment to Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute does not include taxes in the calculation of a retailer’s cost. View "Alan Enterprizes LLC v. Mac's Convenience Stores LLC" on Justia Law

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In this action challenging an insurance company’s doubling of Plaintiff’s insurance premium, the Seventh Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim, holding that Plaintiff was entitled to relief on her contract claim and that the allegations Plaintiff raised were enough to permit her to go forward on her other theories. When Plaintiff was sixty-seven years old, she discovered that Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) more than doubled her insurance premium. Plaintiff brought this lawsuit against MetLife on behalf of herself and a proposed class, alleging breach of contract, deceptive and unfair business practices, and common-law fraud. The district court granted MetLife’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, concluding that the insurance policy unambiguously permitted MetLife to raise Plaintiff’s premium. The First Circuit disagreed, holding that the allegations raised in the complaint were enough to entitle Plaintiff to prevail on the liability phase of her contract claim and to go forward on her remaining claims. View "Newman v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Purchasers of egg products accused suppliers of conspiring to reduce the supply of eggs and increase the price for egg products in violation of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. Plaintiffs alleged that the producers conspired to reduce the population of egg-laying hens, resulting in a reduced supply of eggs and, given the inelasticity of demand, supra-competitive prices. A trade association coordinated a certification program under which participants had to increase their cage sizes and not replace hens that died. Plaintiffs alleged that the proffered animal welfare rationale was a pretext to reduce supply. The district court, citing a bar on indirect purchaser actions, concluded that the purchaser-plaintiffs lacked standing. The Third Circuit reversed. As a matter of first impression, a direct purchaser of a product that includes a price-fixed input has antitrust standing to pursue a claim against the party that sold the product to the purchaser, where the seller is a participant in the price-fixing conspiracy, but the product also includes some price-fixed input supplied by a third-party non-conspirator. The direct relationship between the purchasers and their suppliers and the fact that the suppliers are alleged price-fixing conspirators, not merely competitors of those conspirators, are key factors. Regardless of who collected the overcharge, the purchasers’ econometric analysis purports to show the “difference between the actual [supracompetitive] price and the presumed competitive price” of the egg products they purchased. This purported difference, and the purchasers’ resulting injury, was allegedly a direct and intended result of the suppliers’ conspiracy. View "In Re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law

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At issue in these certified questions was the proper interpretation of the safe-harbor provision of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), Ark. Code Ann. 4-88-101(3). The Supreme Court exercised its discretion to reformulate the questions and answered that the ADTPA’s safe-harbor provision should be applied according to the specific-conduct rule, rather than the general-activity rule. Here, Petitioner filed suit against Respondent in federal district court, alleging, inter alia, violations of the ADTPA. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that it should receive the benefit of the safe-harbor provision of the ADTPA. Because the Supreme Court never expressly interpreted the safe-harbor provision of the ADPTA, the federal district court presented the Supreme Court with questions regarding the proper interpretation of the safe-harbor provision. The Supreme Court answered as set forth above, which meant that the provision precludes claims only when the actions or transactions at issue have been specifically permitted or authorized under laws administered by a state or federal regulatory body or officer. View "Air Evac EMS, Inc. v. Usable Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed two orders of the circuit court unsealing an index of 349 documents and directing the Attorney General to produce eighty-nine of those documents. Steel of West Virginia, Inc. (Steel) brought this action to enforce its request for production of material under West Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Attorney General received the 349 documents at issue in connection with his investigative powers under the West Virginia Antitrust Act regarding the proposed merger of St. Mary’s Medical Center, Inc. and Cabell Huntington Hospital, Inc. The Attorney General and St. Mary’s contended that the index of the 349 documents and the eighty-nine documents to be produced were exempt from disclosure. The circuit court awarded the production of the index as a sanction against the Attorney General for sharing part of the index with the Federal Trade Commission. The Supreme Court held (1) the sanction was inappropriate; and (2) the eighty-nine documents were not subject to rpdocution because the statutory exemption set forth in W.Va. Code 29B-1-4, which incorporates the confidentiality provisions of the Antitrust Act. View "St. Mary's Medical Center, Inc. v. Steel of West Virginia" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the district court’s order dismissing with prejudice Plaintiff’s complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff, an attorney, filed a complaint for breach of contract against Defendant. The trial court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend. Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint including claims for tortious conversion and a violation of Nebraska’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, holding (1) neither general nor specific personal jurisdiction over Defendant existed; but (2) the district court erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice. The court modified the district court’s order to a dismissal without prejudice. View "Nimmer v. Giga Entertainment Media, Inc." on Justia Law

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To track accounting, payroll, inventory, sales, parts, service, finance, and insurance, auto dealerships use computerized dealer‐management systems. Some systems use open architecture, under which third parties have some access to dealer‐originated data in the system. Others use closed architecture, under which that type of data scraping is forbidden under the license. One provider, CDK, decided to change from an open system to a closed system. CDK and another provider, Reynolds, entered into agreements to ease the transition, which allowed their subsidiaries (Authenticom’s competitors) continued access to the data. Authenticom, in the business of collecting data from dealer‐management systems and selling or using it for applications, sued under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. Because Authenticom’s loss of access to the data was imperiling its survival, it obtained preliminary injunctions. CDK and Reynolds took an interlocutory appeal. The Seventh Circuit vacated the injunctions, which did not focus on the agreements that are the focus of Authenticom’s lawsuit. Instead, they address the measures that the court believed necessary to “extend a lifeline to Authenticom, to maintain its viability until this case is finally decided on the merits.” The court ordered the defendants to enter into a new arrangement with Authenticom, rather than simply barring implementations of the challenged agreement. View "Authenticom, Inc. v. Reynolds and Reynolds Co." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit agreed with the judgment of the district court that the facts in this case alleging unlawful monopolization could not subject San Juan Cable LLC, doing business as “OneLink,” to liability under the so-called “sham” exception to the Noerr-Pennington immunity. Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC) sought permission from the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board (TRB) to offer internet protocol television services to Puerto Rico residents. OneLink, which provided cable television service to residents of several municipalities in Puerto Rico, petitioned the TRB and other governmental tribunals and officials, to impede PRTC’s efforts. PRTC eventually obtained the requested permission from the TRB. Thereafter, PRTC filed this antitrust action claiming that OneLink’s interference with its permitting efforts constituted unlawful monopolization and attempted monopolization. The district court granted summary judgment to OneLink, concluding that OneLink’s actions were immune from suit under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, which conditionally protects the right to petition the government. On appeal, PRTC argued that the facts could support a finding that OneLink abused its right to petition and could be found liable under the sham exception to Noerr-Pennington immunity. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the facts in this case could not subject OneLink to liability under the sham exception. View "Puerto Rico Telephone Co. v. San Juan Cable LLC" on Justia Law