Distribution, Competition, and Antitrust / Intellectual Property (IP) Law

Can the State Seek Restitution After a Class Action Settlement?

In The People of the State of California v. IntelliGender, LLC, 771 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. Nov. 7, 2014) (Wardlaw, J.), the Ninth Circuit said the answer is “no.”  A federal court had approved a class action settlement involving false advertising and unfair competition claims that, among other things, awarded $10 per approved claim.  Subsequently, the California Attorney General’s Office San Diego City Attorney(*) brought its own Section 17200 suit challenging the same practices and seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief as well as restitution under its parens patriae authority.

The Ninth Circuit held that the State could maintain its action for penalties and injunctive relief.  However, its claim for restitution was barred under the doctrine of res judicata, because as to the sought-after restitution, the State stood in privity with the settlement class members.  Res judicata barred the claim for restitution even though the State did not participate in the private class action.

The decision will help simplify the settlement calculus for defendants sued in class actions who otherwise would remain exposed to subsequent similar monetary claims brought by a state enforcer under its parens patriae authority.

(*) The Court repeatedly references the State, but in actuality the suit was brought by San Diego.  Apologies for the confusion — and thanks to a reader in government who noticed.

Motorola’s FTAIA Quest Ends With a Whimper in the Seventh Circuit

On November 26, 2014, the Seventh Circuit (Posner, J.) issued its order upon rehearing of Motorola Mobility LLC v. AU Optronics Corp. (Case No. 14-8003). Motorola still effectively lost the appeal, but the Court’s more circumspect reasoning means … [Continue reading]

Three Billy Goats Gruff

(You know . . .  the fairy tale about trolls.) This summer, PwC published its 2014 Patent Litigation Study.  The tagline of the study is "[a]s case volume leaps, damages continue general decline." Some of they key findings -- which are quite … [Continue reading]

Is the NCAA a Cartel?

The usually good Planet Money program has an excellent recent podcast setting forth the arguments for and against the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] being an unlawful cartel. … [Continue reading]

Could Amazon Possibly Be a Monopolist? (Updated) (Again)

Franklin Foer, at the New Republic, argues that the answer is yes.  The alleged "crime": predatory pricing -- if not express, than at least in spirit. In "There's one huge problem with calls for anti-trust action against Amazon" at vox.com, … [Continue reading]

Can you ever successfully Daubert an antitrust economist?

It's really a very difficult thing to do -- and query whether it's worth the effort.  See, e.g., The Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136437 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 26, 2014) (Gonzalez Rogers, J.) (denying Daubert motions all … [Continue reading]

Ninth Circuit Holds State Action Immunity Doctrine Bars Claims Against Convention Center

In United National Maintenance, Inc. v. San Diego Convention Center, Inc., No. 12-56809 (9th Cir. May 14, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the San Diego Convention center enjoyed state-action immunity from … [Continue reading]

N.D. Cal. Just Opened the Damages Umbrella

In County of San Mateo v. CSL, Limited, Case No. 3:10-cv-05686-JSC (N.D. Cal. Aug. 20, 2014) (Corley, M.J.), the Northern District of California held that California's antitrust law, the Cartwright Act, allows the recovery of umbrella damages.  If … [Continue reading]

The Senate is Considering Minimum Resale Pricing for Contact Lenses

NPR has the story.  Under federal law, of course, RPM is subject to the Rule of Reason.  Apparently the Senate is interested because a large portion of the contact lens market is subject to the restrictions. It is unclear to me whether the … [Continue reading]

Northern District of California Addresses Functional Discounts, Price Discrimination Claims

In Mathew Enterprise, Inc. v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95522 (N.D. Cal. July 11, 2014) (Freeman, J.), the court dismissed certain Robinson-Patman Act price discrimination claims and allowed others to proceed, and in so doing … [Continue reading]

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE
%d bloggers like this: