Mealey's California Section 17200

  • October 26, 2023

    9th Circuit Vacates Denial Of Motion To Dismiss Minor’s $5M Suit For Lootbox Sales

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 25 vacated a district court’s ruling denying video game company Blizzard Entertainment Inc.’s motion to dismiss or compel arbitration of a minor’s putative class action accusing it of violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by deceptively marketing sales of in-game “lootboxes” to minors, citing “serious questions” regarding the court’s jurisdiction and the plaintiff’s standing.

  • October 26, 2023

    Judge Allows Invasion Of Privacy Claim For Retailer’s Recording Of Customer Chats

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge refused to dismiss one count for invasion of privacy but dismissed the remainder of a consumer’s putative class claims against a retailer, including for violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL), based on the retailer using a third-party company to intercept, duplicate and analyze online chats on the retailer’s website between customers and company representatives.

  • October 25, 2023

    Panel Partly Reverses Denial Of Anti-SLAPP Motion Against OnlyFans Account Manager

    LOS ANGELES — A California appellate panel partly reversed a trial court’s denial of a model’s anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) motion against her OnlyFans account’s former management company, which she accuses of violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL), after finding that the manager’s cross-claim applies to speech protected by litigation privilege.

  • October 24, 2023

    On Remand, Judge Dismisses UCL Suit Against CVS For Misleading Hand Sanitizer

    LOS ANGELES — Applying new precedent, a California federal judge granted CVS Pharmacy Inc. and its affiliate’s motion for reconsideration and dismissed a consumer’s putative class suit accusing them of violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by selling a hand sanitizer product that claims on the label that it “kills 99% of germs” after the Ninth Circuit U.S Court of Appeals vacated the judge’s denial of class certification.

  • October 23, 2023

    Tesla, Solar Roof Customers’ $6.08M Settlement Granted Preliminary Approval

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Oct. 20 granted preliminary approval of a $6.08 million settlement filed by solar roof customers who accuse Tesla Inc. of increasing the cost for solar roofs after customers sign contracts.

  • October 20, 2023

    Judge Denies Injunction In UCL Health Care Data Case Against Google

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Plaintiffs’ privacy and California unfair competition law (UCL) claims appear to turn on whether Google LLC simply acquires health information as a vendor or actually uses that data in some fashion, a federal judge said while concluding that the balance of hardships weighs against granting a motion for a preliminary injunction.  In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Google’s own artificial intelligence suggested that Google’s collection of health data might run afoul of various laws.

  • October 20, 2023

    NJOY Sues 30 Sellers Of Disposable Flavored Vapes For Violating California Laws

    LOS ANGELES — E-cigarette maker NJOY LLC, a subsidiary of Altria Group Inc., on Oct. 19 filed a complaint in California federal court against 30 manufacturers of flavored disposable vapes (FDVs), accusing them of harming its business by selling flavored tobacco products without Food and Drug Administration approval in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and a statewide ban on flavored tobacco sales.

  • October 19, 2023

    Google: UCL Plaintiffs Can’t Show Violations, Injury In Bard AI Chatbot Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — Class action plaintiffs who complain that Google LLC trained artificial intelligence chatbot Bard on personal and copyrighted information trade “prolixity for precision,” fail to allege a privacy or property interest in material publicly posted on the internet and lack sufficient allegations that they read a privacy policy or can demonstrate an underlying statutory violation, the company says in a motion to dismiss unfair competition law (UCL), copyright and other claims filed in a California federal court.

  • October 17, 2023

    2nd Circuit Won’t Rehear Appeal Of New York Times Auto Renewal Settlement

    NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel denied a class settlement objector’s petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc after the appellate judges determined that a trial court employed the wrong legal standard when it approved a settlement between The New York Times and subscribers in a case over auto renewals and erred in finding that the access codes provided as part of the settlement were not coupons under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) but reiterated the holding in Melito v. Experian Marketing Solutions, Inc. and ruled “that incentive awards are not per se unlawful.”

  • October 17, 2023

    Flyer Defends Suit Accusing Delta Of ‘Greenwashing’ From Motion To Dismiss

    LOS ANGELES — A flyer on Oct. 16 filed a brief in California federal court opposing Delta Air Lines Inc.’s motion to dismiss her suit accusing it of violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by misleading consumers with “greenwashing” statements such as describing itself as “carbon-neutral” based on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, writing that Delta’s argument for dismissal treats airline marketing as an unregulated “Wild West.”

  • October 17, 2023

    Tesla Owner, Minor Son Ordered To Arbitrate Claims Over Vehicle Video Access

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Tesla Inc. customer and his minor son who filed a class complaint accusing the company of permitting employees to access, use and share video recordings and images of customers captured by vehicle cameras without customers’ consent must arbitrate their claims, a federal magistrate judge in California ruled, finding in part “that under the principles of equitable estoppel,” the son must abide by the agreement to which his father agreed.

  • October 16, 2023

    Late Exclusion Bid Follows Final OK Of Life Insurance COI Increase Settlement

    PHILADELPHIA — Following final approval of a class settlement of two similar cases over universal life insurance policy cost of insurance (COI) increases, two groups on Oct. 13 asked a Pennsylvania federal court to let them request that 52 policies be excluded from the settlement class even though the opt-out deadline has passed.

  • October 16, 2023

    Man Sues Walgreens For Sale Of Ineffective Decongestants, Seeks Class Action

    CHICAGO — A man filed a putative class action in an Illinois federal court against pharmacy chain Walgreens for selling its brand of decongestant products that contained an active ingredient that a Food Drug and Administration advisory panel recently agreed is not effective as advertised.

  • October 16, 2023

    High Court Denies Petition Against Sony Over Trademark Rights In Celebrity Personas

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari in which the executor of a deceased actor’s estate asks the U.S. Supreme Court to find that a celebrity owns trademark rights in his or her persona under the Lanham Act, as part of a lawsuit for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) against Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. based on usage of the actor’s persona in a Quentin Tarantino film.

  • October 16, 2023

    Hospitals Must Disclose ER Fees To Patients, California Supreme Court Told

    SAN FRANCISCO — A patient tells the California Supreme Court in an opening brief on the merits that it should find that California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) require a hospital to disclose emergency room visitation fees to patients, an issue on which a “split of authority” exists among California appellate courts.

  • October 13, 2023

    FTX Investor Says Competitor’s Tweets Caused ‘Collapse’ In Value

    OAKLAND, Calif. — An investor in FTX Trading Ltd. filed a putative class action in California federal court accusing Binance Holdings Ltd., a competing cryptocurrency exchange, its affiliates and its CEO of violating securities laws and California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by selling off FTX tokens and tweeting negative statements about FTX that allegedly contributed to FTX’s “collapse.”

  • October 13, 2023

    Judge Dismisses Claims Bermuda Unfairly Denied Investor’s Reinsurance Bid

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge dismissed with prejudice the remaining claims brought by a California investor who accused a Bermudan regulatory agency and its two officers of violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and tortious interference by denying its bid to become the controlling shareholder of a Bermudan reinsurance company.

  • October 13, 2023

    ChatGPT Makers Claim Writers’ Copyright Claims Inapplicable To AI Tech

    SAN FRANCISCO — OpenAI Inc. and affiliated companies that developed the ChatGPT artificial intelligence (AI) program filed a reply in California federal court in support of their motion to dismiss two putative class actions for copyright infringement and other claims brought by copyright holders, urging the court to reject the plaintiffs’ “erroneous” theory “that every single output of ChatGPT is a prima facie copyright infringement.”

  • October 13, 2023

    Bank Of America Removes, Answers UCL Suit For Ending Client’s ‘AutoPay’

    SAN DIEGO — Bank of America Corp. removed to California federal court and answered a putative class complaint accusing it of violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other laws by allegedly not notifying a banking customer in advance that his automatic payments would be disabled due to account inactivity, allegedly causing his accounts to go overdue and harming his credit score.

  • October 12, 2023

    $725 Million Settlement Of Facebook Profile-Sharing Class Action Gets Final OK

    SAN FRANCISCO — Six months after preliminarily approving a $725 million settlement between Meta Platforms Inc. and the social media users whose Facebook profiles were shared with an analytics company, a California federal judge granted final approval to the agreement, deeming it “fair, reasonable, and adequate and in the best interests of the Settlement Class Members.”

  • October 12, 2023

    Judge Certifies Class Suing Company For Faking Reviews To Sell Shoddy Electronics

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge granted a motion to certify a class accusing a California company ultimately owned by a Chinese manufacturer of violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other laws by paying for fake reviews on Amazon.com to deceive consumers into buying its low-quality electronics.

  • October 12, 2023

    9th Circuit: Accrued Vacation Owed When Hotel Announced Pandemic Temporary Layoff

    PASADENA, Calif. — A hotel chain owed workers accrued vacation pay when it temporarily laid them off at the start of the coronavirus pandemic as that was “a discharge that triggers the prompt payments provision of” California Labor Code Section 201, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled, partially reversing a trial court’s summary judgment ruling for Hyatt Corp.

  • October 11, 2023

    Homeowners May Change Plaintiffs In Anchors Defect Case, Magistrate Rules

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge on Oct. 10 granted a group of homeowners’ motion to file an amended complaint changing certain plaintiffs in their putative class action alleging that a manufacturer sold them defective home connectors and anchors, despite the manufacturer’s arguments that adding new plaintiffs and allegations about a new home will cause it to incur thousands of dollars in inspection and discovery-related costs.

  • October 11, 2023

    Judge Dismisses UCL Claim, Allows Debt-Collection Claims In Mortgage Servicing Row

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a suit brought against a mortgage lender, its affiliate and a servicer, finding that the borrower and a resident of the property at issue did not allege a loss of money as required by their claim for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) but brought valid debt collection claims for unfair practices pertaining to payment of a consumer debt during a COVID-19 forbearance period.

  • October 10, 2023

    Citing Mudpie, 9th Circuit Affirms Virus Exclusion Bars Coverage For COVID-19 Losses

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of insureds’ lawsuit seeking coverage for their losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent governmental orders, finding that, as in Mudpie, Inc. v. Travelers Cas. Ins. Co. of Am., the insureds failed to plausibly assert that “the efficient cause” of their losses was anything other than the spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout California.