Justia Antitrust & Trade Regulation Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Antitrust
Credit Bureau Servs. v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc.
Credit Bureau Services (CBS) brought an action against Experian Information Solutions (Experian) alleging that Experian sought to drive CBS out of business in violation of Neb. Rev. Stat. 59-805, a provision of Nebraska's antitrust act. After a jury trial, the district court entered judgment in favor of Experian. CBS appealed, and Experian cross-appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed but for different reasoning than that of the district court, holding that the district court erred when it overruled Experian's motion for directed verdict, as CBS failed to prove each element of section 59-805, and therefore, CBS failed to show that Experian engaged in an act of violation of section 59-805.View "Credit Bureau Servs. v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Antitrust
Tyler v. Michael Stores, Inc.
Employees of Michaels Stores, Inc. request and record customers' zip codes in processing credit card transactions. Plaintiff, a customer of Michaels, filed an action on behalf of herself and a putative class of Michaels customers in the federal district court, alleging that Michaels unlawfully writes customers' personal identification information on credit card transaction forms in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93, 105(a) (the statute). The Supreme Court accepted certification to answer questions of state law and held (1) a zip code constitutes personal identification information for purposes of the statute; (2) a plaintiff may bring an action for violation of the statute absent identity fraud; and (3) the term "credit card transaction form" in the statute refers equally to electronic and paper transaction forms.View "Tyler v. Michael Stores, Inc." on Justia Law
Holbrook v. Healthport, Inc.
Appellant requested her medical records from a medical clinic. Pursuant to its contract with Appellant's medical care provider, Healthport, Inc., a private company that fulfills such requests for medical records, obtained and sold Appellant the copies of her requested medical records. Healthport collected sales tax on charges for services rendered in retrieving and copying the medical records. Appellant subsequently filed a class-action complaint against Healthport for violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), unjust enrichment, and a declaratory judgment that Healthport illegally collected the sales tax. Healthport impleaded the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DF&A) by filing a counterclaim and a third-party complaint seeking declaratory judgment on whether the State's tax statutes require the collection of sales tax on labor and copy charges associated with the production of medical records. The circuit court granted Healthport's and DF&A's motions for summary judgment, finding that sales tax applied to the sale of copies of medical records and that this conclusion rendered Appellant's additional claims moot. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant's appeal without prejudice for lack of a proper Ark. R. Civ. P. 54(b) certificate, as the circuit court's Rule 54(b) certificate failed to comply with Rule 54(b).View "Holbrook v. Healthport, Inc." on Justia Law
Jones v. Boykan
In 2003, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against a police officer and city, alleging that, in 1999, the officer entered Plaintiffs' convenience store, arrested two of the plaintiffs, and beat all of the plaintiffs. Two of the plaintiffs were acquitted of criminal charges, but, in the meantime, Plaintiffs lost their business and suffered physical and emotional injuries. More than thirteen years after the incident and after a "tortuous" procedural history, the case arrived at the Supreme Court on limited further appellate review. In Jones II, the appeals court ordered the reinstatement of a 2004 default judgment against Defendants. The Court also had before it on direct appellate review an order of the superior court that amended the 2004 default judgment to correct a clerical error and that reinstated it. The Supreme Court (1) vacated the default judgment and remanded the matter for further proceedings to assess damages, holding that, under the circumstances here, a remand was necessary; and (2) vacated the amended judgment, holding that the superior court did not have jurisdiction to entertain a motion to amend the earlier default judgment, even to correct a clerical mistake, at the time the motion judge acted in 2012.View "Jones v. Boykan" on Justia Law
Frazier v. Castle Ford, Ltd.
Petitioner filed a complaint against Respondent for unfair and deceptive trade practices and for common law fraud. Petitioner's complaint was based on an automobile warranty he purchased from Respondent that expired more than two years earlier than he had been led to believe. Petitioner purported to bring his action on behalf of others similarly situated. Before Petitioner filed a motion to certify the class, however, Respondent paid to extend Petitioner's warranty. The circuit court (1) denied Petitioner's motion for class certification, finding that because he had been made whole, Petitioner was no longer a member of any class; (2) granted in part Respondent's motion for summary judgment, finding Petitioner's claim moot; and (3) granted Petitioner attorney's fees for the period before and after Respondent tendered Petitioner individual relief. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Respondent's tender of individual compensatory relief to Petitioner did not require the court to deny class certification; (2) an award of punitive damages is not foreclosed by the tender of individual compensatory damages; and (3) an award of attorney's fees to Petitioner under a fee-shifting provision of the Consumer Protection Act is not limited to fees incurred before the tender. View "Frazier v. Castle Ford, Ltd." on Justia Law
Seacoast RV, Inc. v. Sawdran, LLC
Prime Motor Cars sold Seacoast RV, Inc. a car. The car had modifications that voided the manufacturer's warranty and caused mechanical problems that may not have been apparent when the car was sold because the "check engine" light was covered with opaque tape. Seacoast filed a complaint against Prime, alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty, fraud, violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act (UTPA), and punitive damages. The district court granted Prime's motion for judgment as a matter of law on the UTPA and punitive damages claims. The court then concluded that Prime's conduct constituted breach of contract and breach of warranty, but found against Seacoast on the fraud claim. The court rescinded the contract and ordered Prime to refund Seacoast and Seacoast to return the vehicle to Prime. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its judgment.View "Seacoast RV, Inc. v. Sawdran, LLC" on Justia Law
Bradbury v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC
Jeffrey Stephan was a GMAC Mortgage employee who signed summary judgment affidavits on behalf of GMAC in foreclosure proceedings instituted in Maine. The notarization on the summary judgment documents falsely stated that Stephan personally appeared and swore before the notary, when he did not. The U.S. District Court for the District of Maine certified the following question of state law to the Maine Supreme Court: "Is Maine's common law judicial proceedings privilege an available defense to both legal and equitable claims brought under the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act based upon statements made in court filings of affidavits and certifications in state judicial foreclosure proceedings?" The Supreme Court declined to answer the certified question, where (1) if the Court answered the question in the affirmative, then the claim would be immediately and summarily dismissed even though the facts may have established that the privilege was not available to the defendant under any circumstances; and (2) if the Court answered the question in the negative, it would render a broad pronouncement of law that would have no application to this case if a threshold issue produced the same result - namely, that the judicial proceedings privilege was simply unavailable on these particular facts.View "Bradbury v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC" on Justia Law
Creative Playthings Franchising Corp. v. Reiser
Plaintiff Creative Playthings Ltd., a Massachusetts corporation, entered into a franchising agreement with Defendant under which Defendant agreed to operate a Creative Playthings franchise store in Florida. Plaintiff later terminated its agreement with Defendant and commenced this action against Defendant in the U.S. district court for breach of contract and associated claims. Defendant filed several counterclaims against Creative. Creative moved for summary judgment on Defendant's counterclaims, asserting they were time barred under the limitations provision in the franchise agreement. The federal district court judge declined to decide Creative's motion and instead certified the question of whether contractually shortened statutes of limitations are generally enforceable under Massachusetts law. The Supreme Court answered by holding that, in a franchise agreement governed by Massachusetts law, a limitations period in the contract shortening the time within which claims must be brought is valid and enforceable under Massachusetts law if the claim arises under the contract and the agreed-upon limitations period is subject to negotiation by the parties, is not otherwise limited by controlling statute, is reasonable, is not a statute of repose, and is not contrary to public policy.View "Creative Playthings Franchising Corp. v. Reiser" on Justia Law
Muccio v. Hunt
Appellants filed a complaint against Appellees asserting claims for conspiracy, fraud, and violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act after Appellees took control of a biotech company and bought out the former CEO of the company. The circuit court entered summary judgment in favor of Appellees. Appellants then filed a motion to reconsider seeking to vacate the judgment, which was denied. On appeal, Appellees filed motions to dismiss Appellants' appeal, alleging that Appellants' motion to reconsider was a nullity and that the notice of appeal was untimely because it was not filed within thirty days of entry of summary judgment. The Supreme Court denied the motions to dismiss, holding that the motion to reconsider was a valid motion.View "Muccio v. Hunt" on Justia Law
DIRECTV, Inc. v. Murray
Appellee initiated this putative class-action lawsuit against DIRECTV, seeking damages for herself individually and on behalf of other former DIRECTV subscribers who paid an early cancellation fee to DIRECTV after they terminated DIRECTV's service. Appellee alleged that DIRECTV's enforcement and collection of its early cancellation fee was deceptive and unconscionable in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Appellee moved to certify the litigation as a class action. DIRECTV moved to compel Appellee to arbitration in accordance with the arbitration provision in the customer agreement that DIRECTV alleged had been mailed with Appellee's first billing statement. The circuit court denied the motion to compel arbitration and granted Appellee's motion for class certification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court correctly denied DIRECTV's motion to compel Appellee to arbitration on the basis that Appellee cancelled her service so quickly she did not assent to the arbitration agreement by her continued use of service; and (2) there was no merit to DIRECTV's arguments for reversal of the class-certification order.View "DIRECTV, Inc. v. Murray" on Justia Law