Mealey's California Section 17200

  • February 14, 2020

    Panel Affirms Denial Of Class Certification In Dispute Over $1 Promotional Rate

    LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on Feb. 6 affirmed a lower court’s denial of a motion for class certification in a California unfair competition law and false advertisement lawsuit brought against Public Storage LLC, finding that “substantial evidence continues to support the trial court's finding that common issues do not predominate on the question of whether the ads that class members saw were deceptive” (Cheryl Downey, et al. v. Public Storage, Inc., No. BC575661, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2, 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 92).

  • February 14, 2020

    Federal Judge Stands By Refusal To Dismiss ILSA Anti-Fraud, ‘Unlawful’ UCL Claims

    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Feb. 7 denied a defendant’s motion to reconsider a ruling that denied its motion to dismiss a plaintiff’s anti-fraud claim under the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act and a related claim under the “unlawful” prong of  California’s unfair competition law (UCL), noting that the court’s prior order “departed from the law of the case because it was clear that it relied on an incorrect legal standard” (Jason Brooks v. Tarsadia Hotels, et al., No. 18-2290, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22035).

  • February 13, 2020

    Federal Judge Remands UCL Suit Against H&R Block Involving Free File Tax Program

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Feb. 11 granted California’s motion to remand its lawsuit alleging that H&R Block Inc. engaged and continues to engage in unfair, fraudulent and deceptive business practices in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), finding that the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction (The People Of The State Of California v. H&R Block, Inc., et al., No. 19-04933, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24557).

  • February 11, 2020

    On Eve Of Hearing, Uber, Drivers Tell 9th Circuit Of Data Hack Suit Settlement

    SAN FRANCISCO — Less than a week before a scheduled hearing in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, two former drivers with Uber Technologies Inc. on Feb. 7 filed a notice of settlement, informing the appeals court that they had reached a confidential settlement with the ride share company over a 2014 database hacking incident (Sasha Antman, et al. v. Uber Technologies Inc. No. 18-16100, 9th Cir.).

  • February 10, 2020

    Federal Judge Dismisses Class Action Alleging Deceptive Gigabyte Advertising

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Jan. 23 entered a take-nothing judgment in favor of a manufacturer and seller of electronic storage devices one day after finding that despite having amended their putative class action complaint, the plaintiffs have failed to a state a claim that the defendant’s product packaging is misleading under California's unfair competition law (UCL), Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and false advertising law (FAL) (John Dinan, et al. v. SanDisk LLC, No. 18-05420, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10155).

  • February 07, 2020

    Google To 9th Circuit: AdWords UCL Suit Properly Dismissed For Lack Of Standing

    SAN FRANCISCO — In a Feb. 3 appellee brief, Google LLC tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a trial court properly dismissed claims alleging breach of contract and violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) related to a purported overcharge scheme in its AdWords program, arguing that the lone plaintiff in the nine-year-old lawsuit lacked standing and failed to comply with federal discovery rules (Rene Cabrera v. Google LLC, No. 19-16466, 9th Cir.).

  • February 05, 2020

    Chipotle Agrees To Settle Class Claims Over GMO-Free Promises For $6.5 Million

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Jan. 31 granted preliminary approval of a class action settlement under which Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. will pay $6.5 million to end claims that it violated California’s unfair competition (UCL) and other states’ laws by advertising its products as “non-GMO [genetically modified organism]” and “GMO free” even though it allegedly sources it meat and dairy products from animals fed with GMO-derived food and offers soft drinks containing corn syrup, a GMO (Martin Schneider, et al. v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 16-2200, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16365).

  • February 05, 2020

    Preliminary Approval Granted For Voucher Settlement By Retailer In Pricing Row

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Jan. 28 granted preliminary approval of a voucher class settlement in a lawsuit in which a children’s clothing retailer is accused of routinely advertising false “original” prices when discounting its merchandise in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other state laws (Monica Rael, et al. v. The Children’s Place, Inc., et al., No. 16-370, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13970).

  • February 03, 2020

    Judge Certifies Class In Loan Modification Suit As To Breach Of Contract Claim Only

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Jan. 29 granted borrowers’ motion for class certification only as to their breach of contract claim in their lawsuit alleging that a mortgage servicer failed to provide them with loan modifications, finding that denial of certification of the state subclasses based on violations of state consumer protection laws is warranted because the state consumer laws are materially different and common issues would not predominate (Alicia Hernandez, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al., No. 18-07354, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15844).

  • February 03, 2020

    Panel Affirms Ruling In Hearst’s Favor In UCL Suit Over Print Advertising Prices

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals panel on Jan. 31 affirmed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the San Francisco Chronicle’s corporate owner, subsidiary and employees in a competitor’s lawsuit alleging that they sold print advertising at prices that violated both California’s unfair competition law and unfair practices act (San Francisco Print Media Company v. The Hearst Corporation, et al., No. A152930, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3, 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 80).

  • February 03, 2020

    No Exceptional Circumstances Dooms Stay In Vineyard Workers’ Wage Class Suit

    FRESNO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Jan. 29 denied a motion for stay filed by a California vineyard and a farm labor contractor in a putative class complaint brought by workers who allege numerous wage violations, including under the Agricultural and Migrant Worker Protection Act (AWPA) and California’s unfair competition law (UCL), finding that no “exceptional circumstances” exist to warrant the court waiting for a ruling in a state case bringing some of the same claims against the same defendants (Sebastiana Martinez-Sanchez, et al. v. Anthony Vineyards, Inc., et al., No. 19-1404, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15785).

  • January 31, 2020

    Motion To Intervene Denied As Settlement Is Near In Drink Labeling Suit

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Jan. 29 denied a motion to intervene filed in a class suit nearing settlement of California unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims that Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. misled buyers with its juice labels, ruling that the two proposed intervenors, who have filed their own complaint containing similar claims, could derail the settlement and have other available avenues, including filing an objection or opting out (Crystal Hilsley, et al. v. Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., et al., No. 17-2335, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14813).

  • January 31, 2020

    Johnson & Johnson Must Pay $343.9M For California Pelvic Mesh Consumer Violations

    SAN DIEGO — A California state court judge on Jan. 30 ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Ethicon Inc. to pay civil penalties of $343.99 million for deceptively marketing pelvic mesh devices in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) in a way that was likely to deceive doctors and consumers about the “risks and dangers” of the products (California v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 37-2016-00017229-CU-MC-CTL, Calif. Super., San Diego Co., Central Branch).

  • January 29, 2020

    Insured: Insurers ‘Devised A Scheme’ As To The Adjustment Of Woolsey Fire Claim

    LOS ANGELES — An insured sued its homeowners insurer and its affiliate for breach of contract, bad faith and unfair business practices in a California court on Jan. 17, alleging that they “devised a scheme and plan” that relinquished adjustment of his wildfire claim to “Hired Consultants” who denied or lowballed the claim under the defendants’ “directive, consent and approval” (Kambiz Aramnia v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 20VECV00077, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

  • January 27, 2020

    Triable Issues Of Fact ‘Plague’ Summary Judgment Motion In False Advertising Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Jan. 22 denied the majority of defendants’ motions for summary judgment in a false advertising class action over their marketing of skin care products, finding that “triable issues plague” the motions and also denied as moot the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification (Kari Miller, et al. v. Peter Thomas Roth, LLC, et al., No. 19-00698, N.D, Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10854).

  • January 23, 2020

    Original Class Certification Order Reinstated In Aphrodisiac Labeling Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Jan. 8 — in a case that made its way all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court in an appeal over equitable tolling and the lead plaintiff’s appeal of a class decertification decision — reinstated the original 2014 class certification order in the case challenging the labeling of dietary supplements (Troy Lambert, et al. v. Nutraceutical Corp., No. 13-5942, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6391).

  • January 23, 2020

    Split 9th Circuit: No Class List To Find Named Plaintiff Before Certification

    SAN FRANCISCO — A trial court erred when it applied California discovery rules in a case over bedding thread counts and ruled that the lead plaintiff could obtain a list of the proposed class members from the retailer he was suing prior to class certification being granted, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 13, granting the retailer’s petition for a writ of mandamus and ordering the trial court to vacate its order (In re:  Williams-Sonoma, Inc., No. 19-70522, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1046).

  • January 23, 2020

    Coconut Oil Makers Pay $1.85 Million To Settle Labeling Class Claims

    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Jan. 6 granted final approval of a class settlement between consumers and coconut oil makers that will result in changes to health claims on the labeling and a $1,850,000 payment (Sherry Hunter, et al. v. Nature’s Way Products, LLC, et al., No. 16-532, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1706).

  • January 17, 2020

    Final Approval Sought For $40 Million Settlement Of Facebook Ad Metrics Suit

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Two months after a California federal judge preliminarily approved a $40 million settlement over inflated video advertising metrics on Facebook Inc.’s social network, the two remaining advertiser plaintiffs on Jan. 15 moved for final approval of the settlement of their unfair competition and breach of duty claims (LLE One LLC, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:16-cv-06232, N.D. Calif.).

  • January 17, 2020

    N.Y. Federal Judge Dismisses UCL, CLRA, FAL Claims For Failing To Identify Speaker

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A federal judge in New York on Jan. 13 dismissed with prejudice plaintiffs’ putative class action claims under California's Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), false advertising law (FAL) and unfair competition law (UCL), finding that the claims are deficient because they fail to identify the speaker (Philip Brady, et al. v. Anker Innovations Limited, et al., No. 18-11396, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5672).