Justia Antitrust & Trade Regulation Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Injury Law
Orca Commc’ns Unlimited, LLC v. Noder
Orca Communications Unlimited, LLC filed this action against Ann Noder, its former president, and the competing company Noder started after she left Orca, asserting common law tort clams based on alleged misappropriation of confidential information. The superior court dismissed the complaint, concluding that Orca’s common law claims were preempted by Arizona’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act (AUTSA), which creates an exclusive cause of action - and displaces conflicting causes of action - for claims based on the misappropriation of trade secrets. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) AUTSA does not displace common-law claims based on alleged misappropriation of confidential information that is not a trade secret; and (2) therefore, AUTSA did not displace Orca’s unfair competition claim. View "Orca Commc’ns Unlimited, LLC v. Noder" on Justia Law
Baker v. Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Dragon Systems, Inc. (Dragon), a voice recognition software company that faced a deteriorating financial situation, hired Goldman Sachs (Goldman) to provide financial advice and assistance in connection with a possible merger. In 2000, Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V. (Lernout & Hauspie) acquired Dragon. When it was discovered that Lernout & Hauspie had fraudulently overstated its earnings, the merged company filed for bankruptcy, and the Dragon name and technology were sold from the estate. Plaintiffs, two groups of Dragon shareholders, filed suit against Goldman, alleging negligent and intentional misrepresentation, negligence, gross negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A. A jury found in favor of Goldman on Plaintiffs’ common law claims, and district court found that Goldman had not violated chapter 93A. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly articulated the legal standard applicable to Plaintiffs’ chapter 93A claims and correctly applied that standard to its factual findings; and (2) Plaintiffs’ arguments that they were entitled to a new trial on their common law claims because of evidentiary errors and erroneous jury instructions were without merit. View "Baker v. Goldman, Sachs & Co." on Justia Law
Ferring Pharm. Inc. v. Watson Pharm., Inc.
Ferring and Watson market competing prescription progesterone products. Progesterone plays a key role in helping women become pregnant and maintain pregnancies by preparing and maintaining the uterine lining to support the embryo during early pregnancy. Historically, women have received progesterone through intramuscular shots, which are not FDA-approved and which patients consider painful. Both companies manufacture a product that administers progesterone to women through vaginal inserts rather than shots. Ferring’s product, Endometrin, is delivered in capsule form. Watson’s product, Crinone, is a gel delivered via applicator. Ferring unsuccessfully sought a preliminary injunction under the Lanham Act, based on two presentations made by Watson in 2012 to healthcare professionals concerning Crinone. Watson’s consultant, Dr. Silverberg made statements concerning a “Black Box” warning on Endometrin’s package insert; a patient preference survey comparing the products; and Endometrin’s effectiveness in women over the age 35. Silverberg was alerted to the inaccuracy of his statement about a Black Box warning after the first webcast and certified to Ferring and to the court that he would not repeat the statement. The district court held that Ferring failed to demonstrate irreparable harm. The Third Circuit affirmed, citing Supreme Court holdings that a party bringing a claim under the Lanham Act is not entitled to a presumption of irreparable harm when seeking a preliminary injunction and must demonstrate that irreparable harm is likely. View "Ferring Pharm. Inc. v. Watson Pharm., Inc." on Justia Law
Long v. Dell, Inc.
Plaintiffs, Nicholas Long and Julianne Ricci, purchased Dell computers in late 2000. In 2003, Plaintiffs filed this putative class action lawsuit alleging that Dell violated the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DPTA) and was negligent in charging Plaintiffs sales tax on nontaxable services purchased in conjunction with the computers. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of Dell. The case remained pending for more than ten years. Here, the Supreme Court (1) affirmed the grant of summary judgment on the negligence count and on the request for injunctive relief by Long; (2) vacated the grant of summary judgment on the DTPA count by Ricci; and (3) affirmed the superior court’s grant of Plaintiffs’ motion to strike the tax administrator’s affirmative defenses. Remanded. View "Long v. Dell, Inc." on Justia Law
United Nat’l Maint. v. San Diego Convention Ctr.
UNM, a trade show cleaning company, filed suit against SDC, alleging claims for interference with contract, interference with prospective economic advantage, and antitrust violations. The court reversed the district court's holding that under California law, SDC could not be held liable for the tort of intentional interference with contractual relationship; reversed the grant of judgment as a matter of law on that ground; affirmed the district court's holding that it committed instructional error by not interpreting the terms of the contract and that this error constituted prejudicial error that warranted a new trial; affirmed the district court's holding that SDC possessed state action immunity from UNM's antitrust claim; held that the a new trial is warranted on UNM's claim for intentional interference with contractual relationship; and concluded that, under California law, SDC could not be liable for punitive damages because it is a public entity. View "United Nat'l Maint. v. San Diego Convention Ctr." on Justia Law
Cent. Trust & Inv. Co. v. SignalPoint Asset Mgmt., LLC
After Central Trust and Investment Company purchased Springfield Trust & Investment Company (STC), Central Trust filed an action against SignalPoint Asset Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor, for affiliating with STC’s ex-employee, who had acquired STC’s client list and had become an independent advisor representative of SignalPoint. The circuit court entered summary judgment in favor of SignalPoint on its claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference with business relations, and civil conspiracy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Central Trust did not demonstrate that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether SignalPoint “misappropriated” Central Trust’s client list as that term is defined by the Missouri Uniform Trade Secrets Act; (2) this failure also justified the grant of summary judgment against Central Trust’s claim of tortious interference with business relations; and (3) Central Trust’s civil conspiracy claim was moot. View "Cent. Trust & Inv. Co. v. SignalPoint Asset Mgmt., LLC" on Justia Law
Arloe Designs LLC v. Ark. Capital Corp.
Arloe Designs, LLC proposed to build a building at an airport. Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC) and National Bank of Arkansas (NBA) allegedly worked together to procure a loan for the building’s construction. After the NBA approved financing for the project, Arloe entered into a thirty-year lease for the new hangar. Later that month, Arloe learned that NBA would not close the loan without a bond as collateral, which Arloe did not give, and therefore, the loan was not closed. Arloe sued ACC and NBA, alleging breach of contract, violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trades Practices Act, negligence, and promissory estoppel. The circuit court granted summary judgment to Defendants as to all but Arloe’s promissory estoppel claim, and limited damages for that claim to the money Arloe had spent in reliance on the claimed promise. At trial, a jury found Arloe had not proved that either defendant had made a promise to loan Arloe money. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Arloe’s claims that the circuit court erred in denying it recovery for lost profit damages and limiting its damages on its promissory-estoppel claim were moot; and (2) summary judgment was proper in regard to the remainder of Arloe’s claims. View "Arloe Designs LLC v. Ark. Capital Corp." on Justia Law
Fairchild Heights Residents Ass’n, Inc. v. Fairchild Heights, Inc.
Fairchild Heights Residents Association, Inc. (Association), filed suit against Defendant, Fairchild Heights, Inc., for negligence and violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The trial court found in favor of Defendant on all counts. The Association appealed, arguing that the appellate court erred in concluding that it failed to exhaust its administrative remedies before requesting declaratory relief and that it did not have standing to bring an action under CUTPA. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the Association had standing to assert a CUPTA claim, as (1) there was no administrative remedy the association could have exhausted to obtain the relief it sought before bringing its CUTPA claim; and (2) the Association did not require the participation of all its individual members to allege ascertainable loss for the purpose of obtaining injunctive and other equitable relief under CUTPA. Remanded for a new trial on Plaintiff’s CUTPA claim. View "Fairchild Heights Residents Ass’n, Inc. v. Fairchild Heights, Inc." on Justia Law
McVey v. USAA Cas. Ins. Co.
Appellant was involved in a car accident with Kent Blough. Appellant's insurer, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, concluded that Appellant was the majority at fault for the accident and refused to honor Appellant's $300,000 UM/UIM coverage. Appellant filed suit against Blough, and in an apparent attempt to prevent Appellant from prevailing, USAA unsuccessfully tried to intervene in the lawsuit. Blough's insurer paid Appellant the limit of Blough's insurance policy. USAA's expert eventually determined that Blough, whom USAA had already paid under Appellant's policy, had been the majority at fault. USAA then tendered to Appellant its $300,000 UM/UIM policy limit. Appellant filed a complaint against USAA for, among other claims, violations of the Montana Unfair Trade Practices Act and emotional distress as a result of the mishandling of her claim. The district court entered summary judgment for USAA. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court (1) erred in determining that Appellant may not pursue a claim based upon USAA's alleged failure to reasonably investigate her claim as required under Mont. Code Ann. 33-13-201(4); and (2) erred when it granted summary judgment in favor of USAA regarding Appellant's claim for damages arising from emotional distress. View " McVey v. USAA Cas. Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Ulbrich v. Groth
Plaintiff successfully bid at a combined foreclosure sale of real estate and secured party auction of personal property owned by Debtors. Bank held mortgage and security interests in the real and personal property. Auctioneer conducted the auction. After purchasing the property, Plaintiff discovered he would not receive much of the personal property he believed to be in the sale. Plaintiff and the current owner of the property (Plaintiffs) brought this action against Debtors, Bank, and Auctioneer (collectively, Defendants), claiming that Defendants' failure to inform Plaintiffs there were conflicting claims as to the ownership of the property constituted negligence and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), among other causes of action. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiffs on four of their counts. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the trial court (1) improperly concluded that Defendants had a common-law duty to Plaintiffs to properly identify the personal property that was subject to the secured party sale; and (2) lacked the authority to award nontaxable costs pursuant to CUTPA. View "Ulbrich v. Groth" on Justia Law