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).
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).
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.).
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).
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).
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).
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.).
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.).
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).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Oct. 29 concluded that the California unfair competition law (UCL) and other state claims alleged against Trader Joe’s Co. in a putative class action are preempted by the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), granting Trader Joe’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissing the claims with prejudice (Christina Webb v. Trader Joe's Company, No. 19-1587, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187494).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Oct. 22 denied a motion by mortgagors to reconsider a previous ruling that dismissed their California unfair competition laws (UCL), unjust enrichment and other claims against their mortgage servicer, finding that the motion “simply reargues” their previous contention that an alleged fee-splitting scheme violated the UCL (Lamar Bigsby, Jr., et al. v. Barclays Capital Real Estate, Inc., No. 14-1398, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183641).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Oct. 23 granted a recording company’s motion to dismiss all California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims accrued outside the relevant statute of limitations in a copyright infringement dispute but denied the motion as to all other claims (Syl Johnson, et al. v. UMG Recordings Inc., No. 19-02364, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184455).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An insured filed objections on Oct. 3 to $10,978.46 as part of the costs issued by a California federal judge following his ruling that the insured failed to demonstrate any economic loss from entering into a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) and, thus, lacks standing to sue under California unfair competition law (UCL) (Pet Food Express Ltd. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., No. 16-01211, E.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Citing an unjustified delay by Facebook Inc. in moving to dismiss an app developer’s claims against it under California’s Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (anti-SLAPP) statute, a California appeals panel on Sept. 30 affirmed denial of that motion, permitting claims against the social network under California’s unfair competition law (UCL) to proceed (Six4Three LLC v. Facebook Inc., et al., Nos. A154890 and A155334, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6616).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Oct. 11 granted Apple Inc.’s motion to dismiss 10 claims in a putative class action alleging that it falsely advertised that its computer screens were of the “highest quality” even though they contained a “critical defect” that it knew about, rejecting the plaintiffs’ contention that Apple’s fraudulent omissions makes it liable under the California’s unfair competition law (UCL) (Kim Ahern, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 18-07196, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177425).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Oct. 8 stayed a consumer’s lawsuit alleging L'Oréal’s USA Inc.’s marketing and sale of an eye repair cream is “unlawful” under California's unfair competition law (UCL) pending a determination by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding whether the cream is a “new drug” that must undergo approval (Kristen Brinkerhoff v. L'Oréal USA, Inc., No 18-2034, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175711).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California held on Oct. 11 that there are genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment in favor of International Business Machines Corp. on certain claims in a software sales representative’s suit alleging that IBM owed him unpaid commissions (David Swafford v. International Business Machines Corporation, No. 18-04916, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177346).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Oct. 7 dismissed without prejudice a Catholic high school’s former employee’s unfair competition law (UCL) claim based on a violation of California Labor Code Section 203 but allowed the remainder of his UCL claim, four other claims and his request for punitive damages to proceed in the adverse employment action (Torrey Eason v. The Roman Catholic Bishop Of San Diego, et al., No. 19-577, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173964).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A federal judge in New York on Sept. 26 granted a California company’s motion to dismiss a New York company’s California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and breach of contract claims but allowed claims for trade secret misappropriation and replevin to proceed in a dispute over proprietary information (ValveTech, Inc. v. Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., No. 17-6788, W.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165556).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Sept. 24 held that a plaintiff relies on “vague allegations” to support his claim that an automobile insurer and a broker engaged in unfair and fraudulent business practices, dismissing with leave to amend the plaintiff’s complaint asserting that his automobile insurance policy for his 1966 Ford Fairlane was inadequate (Terry Guy Overfelt v. Hagerty Insurance Agency, LLC, et al., No. 19-04297, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165787).