Justia Antitrust & Trade Regulation Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
Najah Edmundson v. Klarna Inc.
Defendant Klarna, Inc. ("Klarna") provides a "buy now, pay later" service that allows shoppers to buy a product and pay for it in four equal installments over time without incurring any interest or fees. Plaintiff paid for two online purchases using Klarna. Plaintiff incurred $70 in overdraft fees. Plaintiff brought this action on behalf of herself and a class of similarly situated consumers, alleging that Klarna misrepresents and conceals the risk of bank-overdraft fees that consumers face when using its pay-over-time service and asserting claims for common-law fraud and violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practice Act ("CUTPA"). Klarna moved to compel arbitration. The district court denied Klarna's motion. The Second Circuit reversed he district court's order and remanded with instructions to grant Klarna's motion to compel arbitration. The court explained that when Plaintiff arrived at the Klarna Widget, she knew well that purchasing the GameStop item with Klarna meant that she was entering into a continuing relationship with Klarna, one that would endure at least until she repaid all four installments. The Klarna Widget provided clear notice that there were terms that would govern this continuing relationship. A reasonable internet user, therefore, would understand that finalizing the GameStop transaction, entering into a forward-looking relationship with Klarna, and receiving the benefit of Klarna's service would constitute assent to those terms. The court explained that Plaintiff was on inquiry notice that her "agreement to the payment terms," necessarily encompassed more than the information provided on the Klarna Widget, and the burden was then on her to find out to what terms she was accepting. View "Najah Edmundson v. Klarna Inc." on Justia Law
Van Sant & Co. v. Town of Calhan, et al.
Plaintiff Van Sant & Co. (Van Sant) owned and operated a mobile home park in Calhan, Colorado, for a number of years. In 2018, Van Sant began to publicly explore the possibility of converting its mobile home park to an RV park. In October 2018, Calhan adopted an ordinance that imposed regulations on the development of new RV parks, but also included a grandfather clause that effectively exempted the two existing RV parks in Calhan, one of which was connected to the grandparents of two members of Calhan’s Board of Trustees (Board) who voted in favor of the new RV park regulations. Van Sant subsequently filed suit against Calhan, several members of its Board, the owners of one of the existing RV parks, and other related individuals. asserting antitrust claims under the Sherman Act, as well as substantive due process and equal protection claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants successfully moved for summary judgment. Van Sant appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "Van Sant & Co. v. Town of Calhan, et al." on Justia Law
Barber Group, Inc. v. New Motor Vehicle Bd.
Barber Group, Inc., doing business as Barber Honda (Barber)—a car dealer in Bakersfield, California—brought an establishment protest to the California New Motor Vehicle Board (Board), challenging a decision by American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (Honda) to open a new dealership about nine miles away. The Board overruled Barber’s protest, and the trial court denied Barber’s petition for administrative mandate challenging the Board’s decision. On appeal, Barber argued the Board prejudicially erred when it: (1) relied on Honda’s dealer performance standards at the protest hearing without first deciding whether those standards were reasonable; (2) permitted the proposed new dealership to exercise a peremptory challenge to an administrative law judge initially assigned to the protest hearing, contrary to notions of fairness and the Board’s own order in the matter; and (3) denied Barber’s request that it take official notice of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finding no reversible error, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "Barber Group, Inc. v. New Motor Vehicle Bd." on Justia Law
Magellan Technology, Inc. v. United States Food and Drug Administration
Magellan, a manufacturer of electronic nicotine delivery systems (“ENDS”) products, sought authorization from the FDA to market ENDS under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (the “TCA”). The FDA denied Magellan's application related to the company's flavored ENDS products, finding insufficient evidence showing that marketing the pods would be appropriate for the protection of public health, a finding that requires denial of an application under the TCA. Magellan petitioned for review, arguing the FDA action was arbitrary and capricious. Magellan also argues that the FDA exceeded its statutory authority by requiring applicants to demonstrate that their flavored ENDS products are more effective than tobacco-flavored products at promoting cessation or switching from combustible cigarettes to ENDS products.The Second Circuit affirmed. The FDA did not impose a new evidentiary standard on Magellan; therefore, the FDA did not need to provide notice or consider its reliance interests. Thus, the court concluded that the FDA did not act arbitrarily or capriciously. View "Magellan Technology, Inc. v. United States Food and Drug Administration" on Justia Law
State ex rel Rosenblum v. Living Essentials, LLC
The Oregon Attorney General brought this action against defendants, Living Essentials, LLC and Innovation Ventures, LLC, alleging that they had made representations about their products that violated two different provisions of the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act (UTPA). The trial court ruled for defendants, explaining that the relevant provisions of the UTPA required the State to prove that the misrepresentations were “material to consumer purchasing decisions,” and that the State had not done so. The Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. The Oregon Supreme Court granted the State’s petition for review to consider whether the lower courts correctly construed the statute. After such review, the Supreme Court concluded, contrary to the trial court and the Court of Appeals, that the UTPA provisions at issue contained no “material to consumer purchasing decisions” requirement. The Supreme Court also rejected defendants’ argument that, without such a requirement, the provisions facially violated the free speech provisions of the State and federal constitutions. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and remanded to that court for further proceedings. View "State ex rel Rosenblum v. Living Essentials, LLC" on Justia Law
Federal Trade Commission v. Yu Lin
The appeal is another installment in a series of disputes involving an enforcement action by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against a group of fraudulent real estate developers (the Sanctuary Belize enforcement action). Appellants, a group of 14 individual investors and a family-owned corporation moved to intervene in an action brought by others and sought relief from the district court’s judgment. Appellants did not do so until after the district court had entered final judgment and that judgment had been appealed to the Fourth Circuit. Because the Sanctuary Belize enforcement action was already on appeal when Appellants filed their motions, the district court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain those motions. It held alternatively that the motions should be denied as meritless. The Fourth Circuit affirmed. The court held that a district court lacks jurisdiction over a motion to intervene while an appeal is pending, regardless of who noted the appeal. Further, the court explained that because the district court correctly determined it lacked jurisdiction on a matter that had been appealed to the Fourth Circuit, the court held that it only has jurisdiction to review that decision, not to entertain the underlying merits. View "Federal Trade Commission v. Yu Lin" on Justia Law
Uetricht v. Chicago Parking Meters, LLC
During the 2008 recession, Chicago faced a $150 million shortfall in revenue and sought an alternative to raising taxes. The city awarded a 75-year Concession over designated parking spaces to the private firm CPM, which agreed to give Chicago an upfront payment of more than a billion dollars. After CPM took over, the price of parking in areas covered by the Concession more than doubled. Litigation in both state and federal courts followed. A federal class action filed by “two car drivers who live in Chicago,” asserted that CPM has violated the federal antitrust laws, 15 U.S.C. 1, 2.The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the antitrust theories as barred by the state-action immunity doctrine. The Concession represents a use of municipal authority to substitute, during the term of the lease, exclusive private operation for direct city operation of specified areas of Chicago’s on-street parking facilities. It swaps one “monopolist” (Chicago) for another (CPM). Chicago had the authority to enter into the Concession and has reserved meaningful powers to oversee and regulate CPM’s performance. The court also theorized that there might not be a monopoly; Chicago cars can be found in apartment building parking garages, private residential garages, private lots, public lots, unregulated streets, and metered parking. View "Uetricht v. Chicago Parking Meters, LLC" on Justia Law
National Horsemen’s Benevolent v. Black
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is a federal law that nationalizes governance of the thoroughbred horseracing industry. To formulate detailed rules on an array of topics, HISA empowers a private entity called the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (the “Authority”), which operates under Federal Trade Commission oversight. Soon after its passage, HISA was challenged by various horsemen’s associations, which were later joined by Texas and the state’s racing commission. Plaintiffs argued HISA is facially unconstitutional because it delegates government power to a private entity without sufficient agency supervision. The district court acknowledged that the plaintiffs’ “concerns are legitimate,” that HISA has “unique features,” and that its structure “pushes the boundaries of public-private collaboration.” Nonetheless, the court rejected the private non-delegation challenge. The Fifth Circuit declared that the HISA is unconstitutional because it violates the private non-delegation doctrine. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court’s decision and remanded. The court explained that while acknowledging the Authority’s “sweeping” power, the district court thought it was balanced by the FTC’s “equally” sweeping oversight. Not so. HISA restricts FTC review of the Authority’s proposed rules. If those rules are “consistent” with HISA’s broad principles, the FTC must approve them. And even if it finds an inconsistency, the FTC can only suggest changes. What’s more, the FTC concedes it cannot review the Authority’s policy choices. The Authority’s power outstrips any private delegation the Supreme Court or the Fifth Circuit has allowed. Thus the court declared HISA facially unconstitutional. View "National Horsemen's Benevolent v. Black" on Justia Law
Carr v. Mississippi Lottery Corporation
In a matter of first impression before the Mississippi Supreme Court, the issue presented for review required an interpretation and application of the federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d). Jonathan Carr registered five domain names that included variations of the identifying marks of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation (MLC). After an unfavorable decision from a national arbitration board, Carr brought a reverse domain name hijacking claim against the MLC, which countersued for cybersquatting. The Mississippi Supreme Court dismissed Carr’s first appeal in this case for lack of a final appealable judgment. Carr appealed the trial judge’s Order Granting and Denying Motions for Injunctive Relief, Order on Motion for New Trial, or In the Alternative, Motion for a Trial By Jury, and Order on Motion for New Trial and/or In the Alternative, to Alter or Amend the Judgment. After a careful review of federal and state law, the Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the trial court on all issues. View "Carr v. Mississippi Lottery Corporation" on Justia Law
Vicentin S.A.I.C. v. United States
In this appeal from an antidumping investigation of biodiesel from Argentina the Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of the United States Court of International Trade, holding that two challenged calculations Commerce used to determine antidumping duties were supported by substantial evidence.The two calculations at issue were export price and constructed value of the subject biodiesel, a renewable fuels subject to traceable tax credits. In calculating export price, Commerce subtracted the value of the traceable credits, calling them price adjustments under 19 C.F.R. 351.401(c). Calculating constructed normal value of the biodiesel, Commerce used an international market price for soybeans, the price of which is subsidized in Argentina. Appellant argued that correcting for the soybean subsidy in the export price constituted an improper double remedy. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding (1) substantial evidence supported the value Commerce used for the traceable "price adjustment" credits; and (2) substantial evidence supported the constructed value calculation, and the calculation did not result in a double remedy. View "Vicentin S.A.I.C. v. United States" on Justia Law