Mealey's California Section 17200

  • December 05, 2019

    California Woman Says TikTok, Musical.ly Apps Collect, Transmit User Data

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — In a putative class complaint filed Nov. 27 in California federal court, a college student claims that the popular TikTok video-sharing app and its predecessor Musical.ly have “clandestinely . . . vacuumed up” users’ personally identifiable information (PII) and transferred it to China, alleging computer fraud, invasion of privacy and unfair competition, among other things (Misty Hong v. ByteDance Inc., et al., No. 5:19-cv-07792, N.D. Calif.).

  • December 05, 2019

    Federal Judge Trims Class Claims In Suit Over Bad Checks Diversion Program

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Nov. 20 trimmed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), California unfair competition law (UCL) and state tort law claims against the operator of a diversion program for individuals accused of intentionally passing bad checks related to letters sent by the company offering the program as an alternative to prosecution and left in place only claims related to fees the company charged (Karen Solberg, et al. v. Victim Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-5266, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201622).

  • December 03, 2019

    9th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Man’s TILA, Unfair Competition Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 2 upheld the dismissal of a man’s lawsuit accusing Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and U.S. Bank N.A. of violating the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and California’s unfair competition law (UCL), finding that the causes of action were barred by claim preclusion because they could have been raised in an earlier lawsuit (Vahe Aftandilian v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., et al., No. 18-56666, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35768).

  • December 02, 2019

    Judge Tosses Suit Alleging Google Unlawfully Restricted Conservative Group’s Content

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A California judge on Nov. 19 dismissed a conservative organization’s lawsuit asserting California unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims against YouTube LLC and its parent company Google Inc. in a lawsuit alleging that they unlawfully restricted the plaintiff’s content on YouTube (Prager University v. Google LLC, et al., No. 19-340667, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co., 2019 Cal. Super. LEXIS 2034).

  • December 02, 2019

    Panel Affirms Dismissal Of UCL Claim In Suit Over Contaminated Frozen Fruit Mixture

    PASADENA, Calif. — Partially affirming, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 27 held that a lower federal court properly dismissed a claim for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) in a dispute arising from a frozen fruit mixture containing pomegranate arils that were contaminated with the hepatitis A virus, concluding that the lower court properly interpreted that the jury did not find the pomegranate arils supplier fully liable for the pomegranate adulteration (Townsend Farms, Inc. v. United Juice Corp., et al., Nos. 18-55067 and 18-55068, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35589).

  • December 02, 2019

    Federal Judge Rejects UCL, Sherman Act Counterclaims In Trade Secret Dispute

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Nov. 26 granted a medical technology company’s motion to strike and/or dismiss counterclaims under the Sherman Act and California’s unfair competition law (UCL) in its lawsuit alleging that a company used its confidential, proprietary and trade secret information to develop a line of spectral flow cytometers (Becton, Dickinson and Company v. Cytek Biosciences Inc., et al., No. 18-00933, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205465).

  • November 25, 2019

    Class Certified In UCL Suit Claiming Bank Failed To Pay Interest On Escrow Accounts

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Nov. 20 granted a plaintiff’s motion for class certification in a lawsuit brought under California’s unfair competition law (UCL) alleging that a bank failed to pay interest on escrow accounts on mortgage loans, noting that it “is hard to imagine a case more worthy of class treatment” (William Kivett v. Flagstar Bank, FSB, et al., No. 18-05131, N.D. Calif.. 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202448).

  • November 18, 2019

    Magistrate:  Claims Involving GNC Product Labels ‘Plausibly Establish UCL Standing’

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate judge in California on Nov. 15 denied GNC Holdings Inc.’s motion to dismiss California unfair competition law (UCL) and all other claims in a consumer class lawsuit alleging that the product labels describing GNC’s dietary supplements' functions were unlawful because they did not include a federally required disclaimer (Richa Arora, et al. v. GNC Holdings, Inc., No. 19-02414, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198723).

  • November 18, 2019

    UCL Claim ‘Pointedly’ Does Not Seek Penalties, Magistrate Says In Labor Dispute

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate judge in California on Nov. 8 partially denied an employer’s motion for partial summary judgment in a wage and hour violations lawsuit brought by a former employee, finding that the California unfair competition law (UCL) claim survives the motion because it seeks only restitution and not statutory or civil penalties (Stephen Carter v. Golden Gate Freightliner Inc., No. 19-02034, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194910).

  • November 18, 2019

    Federal Judge Dismisses Messenger App Creator’s Antitrust Suit Against Google

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Nov. 14 granted Google Inc.’s motion to dismiss California unfair competition law (UCL) and Sherman Act claims in a messenger application developer’s lawsuit alleging that it monopolized application distributionwith Google Play and Android to suppress competition (Paul Joseph Sayre v. Google, Inc., No. 19-02247, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198622).

  • November 18, 2019

    Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss UCL Claim In Class Action Against Loan Servicer

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Nov. 12 denied a loan servicer’s motion to dismiss California unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims in a class action alleging that it conducted “fraudulent assessment and collection of unperformed, unfair, or unlawfully marked-up property valuation and inspection fees” (Mary A. Rhodeman, et al. v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, et al., No. 18-2363, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197944).

  • November 18, 2019

    Judge Grants Hershey’s Summary Judgment Motion In Class Suit Over Product Labeling

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Nov. 15 granted The Hershey Co.’s motion for summary judgment on California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims in a class suit alleging that Hershey falsely labels its Brookside Dark Chocolate products as flavored with natural ingredients when they contain artificial flavor (Howard Clark, et al. v. The Hershey Company, No. 18-6113, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198630).

  • November 15, 2019

    Insurer’s Fraud Suit Remanded After Judge Finds No Preemption By ERISA

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — An insurer’s lawsuit accusing a number of substance abuse treatment centers of common-law fraud, violation of California’ unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims can proceed in state court, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 13, holding that the plaintiff company’s claims are not preempted by the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (Health Net Life Insurance Co. v. Morningside Recovery LLC, et al., No. 19-cv-1342, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197937).

  • November 14, 2019

    Ocean Spray Agrees To $5.4M Settlement In Drink Labeling Lawsuit

    SAN DIEGO — Consumers who filed a class complaint accusing Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. of misleading buyers with its juice labels filed a motion on Nov. 8 in a California federal court seeking preliminary approval of an agreement that will provide a $5.4 million settlement fund and will halt sales in the United States of drinks labeled with “no artificial flavors” that contain artificial versions of malic acid and/or fumaric acid (Crystal Hilsley, et al. v. Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., No. 17-2335, S.D. Calif.).

  • November 12, 2019

    Harley-Davidson Buyer’s Class Suit Over Dealer Prep Charges Is Remanded

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The makers of Harley-Davidson motorcycles failed to show that a class complaint bringing various state claims, including violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), involves damages in excess of $5 million, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 7, granting a motion to remand (Matthew D. Greene, et al. v. Harley-Davidson, Inc., et al., No. 19-1647, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194896).

  • November 11, 2019

    Order Striking Class Allegations In Labor Code Suit Is Not Appealable, Panel Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals panel on Nov. 8 held that a lower court’s order that struck class allegations in a plaintiff’s lawsuit alleging unlawful business practices against her former employer is not appealable under the death knell doctrine, dismissing the appeal (Emielou Williams v. Impax Laboratories, Inc., No. A155479, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 1119).

  • November 11, 2019

    Judge Says Bank’s 2013 Communications Did Not Violate Equal Credit Act

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Nov. 4 granted in part Wells Fargo Bank N.A.’s motion for summary judgment in a couple’s lawsuit accusing it of violating the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), finding that communications the lender had with the plaintiffs in 2013 about a loan modification application did not violate the statute because the borrowers were still in default on their mortgage loan (Walter H. Hackett III, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. 17-CV-07354, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193296).

  • November 07, 2019

    $40 Million Settlement Of Inflated Facebook Ad Metrics Preliminarily Approved

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Two advertisers who brought fraud and unfair competition class claims against Facebook Inc. over inflated video advertising metrics saw their proposed settlement with the social network preliminarily approved Nov. 6 by a California federal judge, who deemed the $40 million settlement of the three-year old lawsuit to be “fair, reasonable, and adequate” (LLE One LLC, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:16-cv-06232, N.D. Calif.).

  • November 06, 2019

    Class:  Reverse Mortgage Lender Conducts Excessive Inspections, Improperly Places Insurance

    LOS ANGELES — Reverse mortgage lender American Advisors Group (AAG) “is scamming the nation’s senior citizens and their heirs out of millions of dollars” by conducting and charging for numerous property inspections and force-placing property insurance on properties that are insured, the co-executors of a woman’s estate claim in a putative class action filed Nov. 4 in California federal court (Nancy Palombi, et al. v. American Advisors Group, et al., No.19-cv-2120, C.D. Calif.).

  • November 04, 2019

    Federal Judge Preliminarily Approves Class Settlement Of UCL, Song Beverly Act Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Nov. 1 granted a consumer’s motion for conditional certification of a settlement class and for preliminary approval of a class settlement of  a putative class action brought under the Song-Beverly Act and Section 17200 of the California Business and Professions Code arising from allegedly defective Samsung televisions (Alexis Bronson, et al. v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc. et al., No. 18-02300, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190350).