SAN DIEGO — A federal magistrate judge in California on April 23 ordered a grocery chain to provide further responses to certain discovery requests in a lawsuit accusing it of violating California laws, including the unfair competition law (UCL), related to ingredients used in certain bread crumb products and ordered the chain’s counsel to attend ethics and discovery practice courses (Shavonda Hawkins, et al. v. The Kroger Company, No. 15-2320, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72311).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A class complaint filed April 21 in a California federal court seeks to hold Amazon.com Inc. accountable for unlawful price increases during the novel coronavirus pandemic, contending that “Amazon’s position as a vital seller in times of contagion does not place it above the law” (Mary McQueen, et al. v. Amazon.Com, Inc., No. 20-2782, N.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES — Four class complaints by small businesses filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on April 19 accuse banks processing applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which launched April 3 in response to closures impacting small businesses due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, of prioritizing applications for higher loan amounts to collect larger origination fees, constituting unfair, fraudulent and unlawful business (Law Office of Sabrina Damast, Inc., et al. v. Bank of America Corporation, et al., No. 20-3591, Cyber Defense Group, LLC, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., et al., No. 20-3589, Law Office of Irina Sarkisyan, et al. v. U.S. Bancorp, et al., No. 20-3590, BSJA, Inc., et al. v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al., No. 20-3588, C.D. Calif.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on April 15 granted a plaintiff’s motion to remand his lawsuit alleging that his employer violated California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and Labor Code, finding that the employer failed to produce appropriate evidence to support its calculation of the amount in controversy (Robert Earl Mann v. Altec Industries, Inc., No. 20-00273, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67183).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on April 9 held that a telescope seller has adequately proven its California unfair competition law (UCL) claim against a telescope manufacturer, further concluding that the seller has demonstrated the prerequisites for injunctive relief (Optronic Technologies, Inc. v. Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd., et al., No. 16-06370, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62795).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California appeals panel on March 24 held that there is insufficient evidence to support a lower court’s judgment in favor of plaintiffs on their California unfair competition law (UCL) claim because they failed to introduce evidence demonstrating that the name in question acquired a secondary meaning entitling them to relief under the UCL, reversing the lower court in part (Redding Gastroenterology, LLC v. Paramvir Singh et al., No. C087007, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1897).
LOS ANGELES — A fabric supplier on April 6 answered a wholesale upholstery company’s trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit and brought counterclaims for trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising under California law and common-law unfair competition two weeks after a California federal judge rejected its argument that the common-law claims for trademark infringement and unfair competition are legally duplicative of the other statutory claims (Pelm Products LLC v. Plaza Fabrics Inc., No. 2:19-cv-08017, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50174).
TAMPA, Fla. — One day after two users of an online securities trading platform filed an amended complaint in Florida federal court for a week-long outage the company experienced in March, the parties on April 8 jointly moved to transfer the putative class action to California federal court (Travis Taaffe, et al. v. Robinhood Markets Inc., et al., No. 8:20-cv-00513, M.D. Fla.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on April 7 held that a third amended complaint states a claim for violation of California’s Homeowners Bill of Rights (HBOR), which is sufficient to satisfy the unlawfulness prong of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), allowing the HBOR, UCL and a few other claims to proceed in a lawsuit alleging wrongful foreclosure and eviction (Calvin Mountjoy v. Bank Of America N.A., et al., No. 15-02204, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62023).
OAKLAND, Calif. — Finding that it is not plausible that a reasonable consumer would be deceived by the packaging of Ghirardelli Chocolate Co.’s “Premium Baking Chips Classic White Chips,” a federal judge in California on April 8 granted the chocolate manufacturer’s motion to dismiss without prejudice class action claims brought under California’s unfair competition law (UCL), false advertising law (FAL) and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) (Linda Cheslow, et al. v. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, No. 19-07467, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62044).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on April 3 dismissed with prejudice a putative class action alleging that Major League Baseball and two teams committed fraud, negligence and unjust enrichment and violated California and other states’ consumer protection laws by engaging in conduct that harmed fans who were participating in fantasy baseball contests through DraftKings Inc., finding that the plaintiffs fail to identify a sufficient nexus between the transaction that purportedly harmed them and the defendants to support consumer protection claims (Kristopher R. Olson, et al. v. Major League Baseball, et al., No. 20-632, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59218).
SAN FRANCISCO — On March 31, Zoom Video Communications Inc. was named in its second putative class complaint in California federal court in as many days, with two users of its videoconferencing platform alleging negligence, unfair competition and privacy violations for Zoom’s admitted sharing of certain personally identifiable information (PII) of users operating its app on Apple Inc.’s operating system (iOS) (Samuel Taylor v. Zoom Video Communications Inc., No. 3:20-cv-02170, Robert Cullen v. Zoom Video Communications Inc., 5:20-cv-02155, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on March 24 held that plaintiffs provided sufficient evidence of standing to take their challenge to the defendants’ atmospheric absorption advertisement to trial, granting the plaintiffs’ motion to reconsider an earlier ruling in favor of defendants in a false advertising class action over their marketing of skin care products (Kari Miller, et al. v. Peter Thomas Roth, LLC, et al., No. 19-00698, N.D, Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51898).
PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 23 left undisturbed a lower federal court’s “legally sound, if imperfect” order certifying a narrower class in a lawsuit alleging that a life insurer’s informational documents of potential investment earnings violated California’s unfair competition law (UCL) (Joyce Walker, et al. v. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, No. 19-55241, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8983).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on March 4 dismissed with prejudice insureds’ claims alleging that their homeowners insurer’s undervaluation of insurance policy values was negligent, fraudulent and the product of a conspiracy with the developers of two software programs that were used to determine their initial insurance policy value and the cost to rebuild or repair their property following wildfire damage (Brian Sheahan, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-cv-06186, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37590).
SAN DIEGO — A California appeals panel on March 20 held that a lower court erred in finding that plaintiffs have demonstrated a probability of prevailing on the merits of their libel, false light and unfair competition claims arising from the publication of an article regarding the safety of a cannabidiol (CBD) product, reversing and remanding with directions to enter an order granting the defendants' motion to strike these three claims under California’s strategic lawsuit against public participation (anti-SLAPP) statute (Medical Marijuana, Inc., et al. v. ProjectCBD.com, et al., No D074755, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1, 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 233).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A class complaint accusing a membership-only warehouse club of violating California wage laws and California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 et seq. by failing to pay workers for time spent going through exit security inspections must stay in federal court as the penalties for one claim alone may go as high as $70 million, a California federal judge ruled March 10, denying the lead plaintiff’s motion to remand (Megan Rough, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., No. 19-1340, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41545).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on March 12 entered a preliminary injunction barring arbitration proceedings in a federal court in Ohio between Matco Tools Corp. and two franchisees who complain that they are being wrongfully treated as independent contractors as opposed to employees, finding that the plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence of the likelihood of success on their argument that provisions in a distribution agreement between the parties may render it unenforceable (Emanuel Aguilera, et al. v. Matco Tools Corp., No. 19-01576, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43283).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 13 held that a plaintiff has not alleged any violations of California's automatic renewal law (ARL) that would support her claim for unlawful or unfair business practices against the publisher of People Magazine, dismissing the putative class action complaint with prejudice (Linda Hall v. Time, Inc., et al. No. 19-01153, C.D. Calif., Southern Div., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44149).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 9 refused to dismiss a plaintiff’s California unfair competition law (UCL) claim for an “unlawful” act or practice to the extent that it is based upon SharkNinja Operating LLC’s purported violation of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty acts, further granting in part and denying in part SharkNinja’s motion to dismiss claims in a consumer class action alleging that it knowingly sold defective Ninja Blenders to consumers (Krystal Wallace v. SharkNinja Operating, LLC, No. 18-05221, N.D Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40594).