Justia Antitrust & Trade Regulation Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's judgment for Plaintiff, a cardiovascular surgeon who sued Defendant, a hospital and Plaintiff's former employer, for engaging in a retaliatory "whisper campaign" against him, holding that the lower courts erred.After leaving the employment of Defendant for a new rival, Plaintiff brought this complaint alleging that Defendant used faulty data on his patients' mortality rates to suppress competition and injure his reputation and practice. The jury rejected Plaintiff's anticompetition claims but concluded that the hospital had defamed him and disparaged his professional association. The trial court granted summary judgment for Plaintiff, and the court of appeals affirmed. At issue on appeal was how a reasonable juror would interpret the charge that was given for the defamation and business disparagement claims. The Supreme Court held (1) the plain text of the charge must be given its commonsense meaning in the context of the case; and (2) the trial court erred in awarding Plaintiff damages for defamation and business disparagement. View "Memorial Hermann Health System v. Gomez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing Plaintiff's claims against Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff brought this lawsuit based on a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 38a0815 et seq., asserting breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq. The trial court dismissed the claims, determining that the litigation privilege deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the litigation privilege barred Plaintiff's CUTPA-CUIPA claim. View "Dorfman v. Smith" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court concluding that Defendant, as a hospital, was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the Connecticut Product Liability Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-572m et seq., under the circumstances of this case, holding that the trial court did not err.Plaintiff brought this complaint alleging injuries arising from Defendant's violations of, among other things, the product liability act, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq., and common law. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that Defendant was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the product liability act and that Plaintiff's CUTPA and common law claims were time barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Defendant provided general information regarding various medical procedures on its website and did not significantly participate in placing the medical device at issue into the stream of commerce Defendant was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the product liability act; and (2) the statutes of limitations governing Plaintiff's remaining claims were not tolled. View "Normandy v. American Medical Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this action brought by the administrators of the estates of nine people killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Supreme Court held that the trial court properly determined that, although the trial court properly struck most of Plaintiffs’ claims against various manufacturers, distributors and sellers of the Bushmaster XM15-E2S semiautomatic rifle, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), 15 U.S.C. 7901 through 7903, did not bar Plaintiffs’ claims that Defendants violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUPTA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq., by marketing the firearm to civilians for criminal purposes and that those wrongful marketing tactics contributed to the massacre.Adam Lanza carried out the massacre using a XM15-E2S. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment that most of Plaintiffs’ claims were precluded by established Connecticut law and/or PLCAA. However, as to Plaintiffs’ claims that Defendants knowingly marketed, advertised, and promoted the XM15-E2S for civilians to use to carry out offensive, military style combat missions, the Supreme Court held that Plaintiffs pleaded allegations sufficient to survive a motion to strike because (1) PLCAA does not bar Plaintiffs’ wrongful marketing claims; and (2) to the extent that it prohibits the unethical advertising of dangerous products for illegal purposes, CUTPA qualifies as a predicate statute. View "Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed a district court order denying Appellant’s special motion to dismiss, holding that the district court properly denied Appellant’s special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statutes.Appellant was sued under Nevada’s Deceptive Trade Practice and RICO statutes. In denying the special motion to dismiss, the district court found that Appellant failed to demonstrate that his conduct was “a good faith communication that was either truthful or made without knowledge of its falsehood,” one of the statutory requirements for anti-SLAPP protection. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the appropriate standard of review for a district court’s denial or grant of an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss is de novo; and (2) the district court did not err in denying Appellant’s special motion to dismiss because Appellant failed to demonstrate that the challenged claims arose from activity protected by Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.660. View "Coker v. Sassone" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court in this dispute between Associated Management Services, Inc. (AMS) and Daniel R. Ruff and Ruff Software, Inc. (collectively, Ruff) over the parties’ relative rights regarding the web-based payroll processing software, TimeTracker, developed by Ruff and licensed to AMS.The district court granted summary judgment to Ruff on AMS’s claims and granted summary judgment to AMS on Ruff’s counterclaims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in ruling that the 2008 licensing agreement was valid and enforceable and that AMS had no right to TimeTracker other than as provided under the terms of the agreement; (2) correctly granted summary judgment on the Ruff counterclaims for breach of the licensing agreement, tortious conversion, contract and tortious misappropriation of intellectual property, violation of the Montana Uniform Trade Secrets Act, tortious interference with business relations or prospective economic advantage, and unjust enrichment; and (3) did not abuse its discretion in denying Ruff’s second motion to compel or claim for attorney fees. View "Associated Management Services, Inc. v. Ruff" 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