SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on May 27 granted an employer’s motion to dismiss claims for failure to properly pay sick leave wages but refused to dismiss claims for failure to pay all wages due on separation and unfair business practices (Angela Flores v. Dart Container Corporation, et al., No. 19-00083, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93524).
LOS ANGELES — The people of California on May 26 sued a wellness company, seeking to enforce California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law (FAL) for the company’s alleged sale of fraudulent “at home” COVID-19 tests and “disinfectants” “designed to take advantage of, and profit from, the fear, anxiety, and misinformation arising from the global pandemic” (The People of the State of California v. Wellness Matrix Group, Inc., et al., No. 20-19955, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
LOS ANGELES — A woman filed a putative class action lawsuit against Walmart Inc. in California federal court on May 22, contending that its sale of the herbicide Roundup is in violation of the state’s unfair competition law because the store sold Roundup despite knowledge that it may cause cancer (Sherry Hanna v. Walmart Inc., No. 20-1075, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Insureds recently asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s ruling that held, under California Insurance Code Section 533.5, that a directors and officers liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify them against an underlying unfair competition and false advertising lawsuit brought by the California attorney general (Adir International LLC et al. v. Starr Indemnity and Liability Company, No. 19-56320, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A University of California alumnus on May 19 notified a California federal court that he voluntarily dismissed a travel insurer from his breach of contract and bad faith class complaint arising from a deluxe travel company’s failure to provide a refund for a cruise canceled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the insurer’s subsequent denial of trip cancellation benefits (Guy Saperstein v. Thomas P. Gohagan & Company, et al., No. 20-03143, N.D. Calif.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A beneficiary of her father’s life insurance policy sued the life insurer in a California federal court on May 8 for declaratory relief, breach of contract, violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and financial elder abuse, arguing that the insurer refuses to comply with the mandatory provisions of California Insurance Code and common law that regulate the lapse and termination of life insurance policies (Susan L. Holland-Hewitt v. Allstate Life Insurance Company, No. 20-00652, E.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES — A musician and his production company and a record label defendant on May 5 filed a stipulation to stay their dispute over royalties pending the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ resolution of the plaintiffs’ appeal challenging a lower federal court’s denial of their motion for class certification (Leonard Williams v. Warner Music Group Corp., No. 18-9691, C.D. Calif.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A company that was granted the exclusive nationwide commercial distribution rights to broadcast an international soccer game filed a notice of settlement in a California federal court on May 11 announcing that it has reached a settlement of all claims, including violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), brought against defendants for the interception and broadcast of the game without its authorization (Innovative Sports Management, Inc. v. Pedro Zerpa, et al., No. 19-02791, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75484).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on May 4 dismissed fraudulent misrepresentation, intentional interference with prospective economic relations and violations of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims that a service provider brought against Angie’s List Inc. but allowed the breach of contract claim to proceed (Pro Water Solutions, Inc. v. Angie's List, Inc., et al., No. 19-08704, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78128).
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Facebook has reached a $52 million class settlement with its U.S. content moderators, who sued the social media giant alleging that they were traumatized by their jobs reviewing disturbing material reported by users, attorneys for the plaintiffs announced May 12. The plaintiffs have moved for preliminary approval of the agreement and class certification in a California court (Selena Scola, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 18-05135, Calif. Super., San Mateo Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A University of California alumnus on May 7 filed a class complaint in California federal court against a deluxe travel company and a travel insurer, alleging breach of contract, bad faith, intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and violations of the state unfair competition law (UCL) and seeking a permanent injunction to prohibit the travel company from withholding refunds as a result of trip cancellations due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and prohibit the insurer from denying trip cancellation benefits resulting from the coronavirus quarantine (Guy Saperstein v. Thomas P. Gohagan & Company, et al., No. 20-03143, N.D. Calif.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Consumers accusing Samsung of knowingly selling certain models of Galaxy cellphones that overheated to California residents filed a second amended class complaint on May 11 under several California laws, including the unfair competition (UCL) and false advertising laws (FAL), a week after a federal judge in California agreed to reinstate the case that had been stayed for two years while Samsung pursued arbitration with those consumers who had been shown to have notice of an arbitration agreement (In re: Samsung Galaxy Smartphone Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 16-6391, N.D. Calif.).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A class complaint accusing Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group LLC of selling motorcycles with defective antilock braking systems (ABS) in violation of Illinois law was stayed by a federal judge in Illinois on May 11 pending resolution of “substantially-related” class action brought under California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 in a California federal court (Kenneth Bouas v. Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group, LLC, No. 19-1367, S.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82262).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on May 5 entered a default judgment and a permanent injunction against a restaurant operator in a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false representation and false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act, violation of mark rights under common law and California law and violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) (Mikui Ginko, Ltd. v. Feng Chen Buffet, Inc., No. 20-00556, C.D. Calif., 20-00556, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79462).
SAN FRANCISCO — Owners of two San Francisco restaurants on May 4 sued their property insurer in a California federal court for breach of contract, bad faith, unfair business practices and declaratory relief, arguing that although the insurer “collected at least tens of millions of dollars in property insurance premiums in 2019 alone,” it “appears to be categorically denying claims brought by businesses ordered to close following the Coronavirus” as part of a “premeditated strategy” (Nari Suda LLC v. Oregon Mutual Insurance Company, No. 20-3057, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A majority of the California Supreme Court on April 30 held that causes of action brought under California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law (FAL) seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties are equitable in nature and are properly tried by a court and not a jury, reversing an appeals court’s ruling to the contrary (Nationwide Biweekly Administration, Inc., et al. v. The Superior Court of Alameda County, et al., No. S250047, Calif. Sup., S250047).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 5 reversed a lower federal court’s ruling that dismissed a class action against Apple Inc., finding that the consumers’ arguments that they expected to be able to use the full 16 gigabytes of advertised storage capacity for iPhones and iPads and that they did not expect to be denied for their own use the percentage of the device storage capacity that is estimated to be not available are not resolvable on a motion to dismiss (Paul Orshan, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 18-17329, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 14280).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on April 29 held that because a cloud-based unified communication services company has stated claims for trade libel, defamation and interference with prospective economic advantage against its competitor, its California unfair competition law claim also survives (RingCentral, Inc. v. Nextiva, Inc., et al., No. 19-02626, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77235).
PASADENA, Calif. — A trial court properly excluded an expert’s opinions due to his faulty methods and correctly held that a class of car owners in an unfair competition suit over alleged defective windows in Honda vehicles could not be certified without the expert’s opinions, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided April 29 in a divided opinion (Phyllis Grodzitsky, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., No. 18-55417, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 13742).
SAN JOSE — A federal judge in California on April 24 amended an earlier order granting a motion for an appeal bond after a the class member filed notice that he was appealing the final approval of a settlement that will provide up to $20 to each class member to end claims that a beer maker packaged and marketed its product to mislead consumers into believing that it is brewed in Hawaii (Theodore Broomfield, et al. v. Craft Brew Alliance, Inc., No. 17-1027, N.D. Calif.).