Mealey's California Section 17200

  • March 27, 2024

    Judge Remands UCL Suit Against Gift Card Issuer Over Drained Cards

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on March 26 remanded a complaint filed by the San Francisco city attorney on behalf of California against a gift card issuer and three banking entities that the city attorney accuses of violating the state’s unfair competition law (UCL) by issuing insufficiently secured pre-loaded debit cards that were allegedly drained before being used by customers who paid for the cards.

  • March 27, 2024

    Judge Dismisses Construction Defects Insurance Suit After Parties Agree To Settle

    OAKLAND, Calif. — After the parties notified the court that they had reached a global settlement, a federal judge in California on March 26 dismissed with prejudice the case between two excess insurers and a construction firm and related entities that sought a defense for a series of construction defect claims.

  • March 26, 2024

    Judge Grants Preliminary Approval To Settlement For Lender’s ‘Junk Fees’

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge granted a motion for preliminary approval of a settlement under which Ocwen Financial Corp. and Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC (together, Ocwen) will pay an estimated $53 million to resolve a mortgagor’s class action claims against it for charging “hidden junk fees” in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and California’s unfair competition law (UCL).

  • March 26, 2024

    Panel Says Sex Toy Maker’s ‘Inconspicuous’ Arbitration Agreement Not Binding

    LOS ANGELES — A California appellate panel on March 25 affirmed a trial court’s denial of a sex toy maker’s motion to compel arbitration of a putative class action filed against it by a consumer who claimed that the company deceptively marketed one of its products in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), finding that the company’s “browsewrap” arbitration agreement could be viewed only by clicking a “tiny, inconspicuous link.”

  • March 26, 2024

    UCL, Declaratory Judgment Counterclaims Tossed In Dispute Over Marks, Logo

    HARTFORD, Conn. — Trademark infringement and false advertising plaintiffs secured dismissal on March 25 of allegations that they violated the California unfair competition law (UCL), with a federal judge in Connecticut ruling that complained-of securities transactions took place overseas.

  • March 25, 2024

    Judge Grants Summary Judgment On Driver’s UCL Claim For ‘Unfair’ COVID Premiums

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge granted GEICO’s motion for summary judgment on an insured’s claim against it for violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by unfairly profiting from a premium giveback program initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part citing evidence that state insurance regulators deemed GEICO’s givebacks sufficient.

  • March 22, 2024

    Meta, Spotify Back Epic’s Motion To Enforce Injunction In App Store Antitrust Row

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Agreeing with plaintiff Epic Games Inc. that Apple Inc. has not complied with an injunction requiring it to permit app developers to inform users of methods of making in-app purchases (IAPs) outside of the App Store, Meta Platforms Inc., Spotify USA Inc. and others moved to file amicus curiae briefs in California federal court supporting Epic’s motion to enforce the injunction.

  • March 19, 2024

    Plaintiffs Fire Back In UCL, Copyright Case Involving Google AI Training Data

    SAN FRANCISCO — Individuals enjoy a property right in their personal information, and a complaint alleges unlawful and unfair conduct sufficiently enough for claims under all three prongs of the California unfair competition law (UCL), plaintiffs in a copyright and privacy class action accusing Google LLC of “wide-scale data theft” in the training of its artificial intelligence tell a federal court in opposing dismissal.

  • March 18, 2024

    California AirTag Stalking Victims’ Claims Against Apple May Proceed, Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on March 15 denied Apple Inc.’s motion to dismiss negligence and strict product liability claims brought against it by three plaintiffs who claim that they were stalked in California through the use of Apple’s AirTag devices but dismissed claims brought by 35 other plaintiffs, writing in a second order that the claims brought by out-of-state plaintiffs were insufficiently pleaded.

  • March 15, 2024

    Judge OKs Arbitral Review Of Esports Players’ $120M Monopoly Claims

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge dismissed a putative class action brought by two professional players of the video game “Call of Duty” (CoD) and one affiliated business entity against developer Activision Blizzard Inc. after the parties filed a stipulation agreeing that an international arbitral tribunal will decide the arbitrability of claims that Activision monopolized CoD-related esports.

  • March 14, 2024

    Epic Says New Apple App Store Policies Flout UCL Injunction In Antitrust Suit

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Epic Games Inc. filed a motion on March 13 asking a California federal court to enforce an injunction requiring Apple Inc. to permit app developers to inform users of methods of making in-app purchases (IAPs) outside of the App Store, stating that Apple’s newly instituted policies “introduce new restrictions and burdens that . . . effectively nullify” the injunction’s relief for anti-steering provisions that were deemed in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL).

  • March 14, 2024

    Pepperdine Seeks Summary Judgment Reconsideration In Pandemic Closure Class Case

    LOS ANGELES — Pepperdine University filed a motion on March 13 for reconsideration of its summary judgment motion that was partially granted and partially denied just over a year ago in a class action by students seeking partial refunds for tuition fees and room and board after the school transitioned to online learning in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the school argues that Berlanga et al. v. University of San Francisco clarified the standard of review to be used in such a case.

  • March 13, 2024

    Judge Certifies Settlement Class Over Alleged Fraud, Won’t Approve $195,000 Deal

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Citing reasons including “serious concerns about the scope of recovery,” a California federal judge granted preliminary certification of a settlement class in a suit over alleged fraud involving captive reinsurance but denied preliminary approval of the proposed $195,000 settlement.

  • March 13, 2024

    Consumers Say Acne Products Marketed As ‘Safe’ Contained Carcinogens

    LOS ANGELES — Two consumers filed a putative class action accusing Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (J&J) of deceptively labeling its “Neutrogena” and “Clean & Clear” and other skincare products as “safe” in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), alleging that the products contain high amounts of the carcinogen benzene.

  • March 12, 2024

    Judge Sends Suits Accusing Tesla Of Misrepresenting Battery Range To Arbitration

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge granted Tesla Inc.’s motion to compel individual arbitration of the plaintiffs’ claims in two related putative class action lawsuits against it for allegedly misrepresenting the driving range of its vehicles in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other laws.

  • March 11, 2024

    Judge Amends Consent Decree Order In Case Over Alleged Counterfeit Policies

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In a March 8 amended ruling entering a consent decree in a sprawling suit over allegations of fraud, trademark counterfeiting and trademark infringement involving captive reinsurance programs, a Kentucky federal judge said he “inadvertently omitted the names of two parties.”

  • March 11, 2024

    Tesla’s $6.08M Solar Roof Settlement Approved By Federal Judge In California

    SAN FRANCISCO — A $6.08 million settlement to be paid by Tesla Inc. to end a class complaint by solar roof customers who allege that the costs increased after they signed contracts was granted final approval by a federal judge in California on March 8.

  • March 07, 2024

    Disney Passholder Settlement In Blocked Dates Case Granted Final Approval

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A federal judge in California granted final approval of a $9.5 million class settlement in a case by passholders who brought claims under California law, including the state’s unfair competition law (UCL), and accused Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc. of misleading them regarding blocked-out dates.

  • March 07, 2024

    Judge Partly Dismisses UCL Suit Challenging ‘Natural’ Claims On Frozen Chicken

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California federal judge dismissed all claims in a putative class action against a food products manufacturer for labeling its frozen chicken products as “natural” allegedly in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), except for claims relating to its “Popcorn Chicken” product, finding that claims relating to all of the other relevant products were preempted by federal regulations.

  • March 06, 2024

    Judge Strikes Dismissal Of Putative Class Suit Against Alleged Gambling App

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge struck a plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of his putative class suit against a “sweepstakes” app for allegedly enticing the plaintiff into illegal sports gambling in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and directed the plaintiff to file further briefing establishing whether the plaintiff received any settlement or consideration for dismissal and if dismissal will prejudice the interests of potential class members.

  • March 06, 2024

    9th Circuit: Google Didn’t Deceive Android Users By Gathering App, OS Data

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 5 affirmed the dismissal of two smartphone users’ fraud, unfair competition and breach of contract claims against Google LLC for collecting data on third-party app usage via its Android operating system (OS), finding that Google adequately disclosed its collection of consumer data across both Google apps and third-party apps using its OS.

  • March 05, 2024

    Georgia Judge Grants Final OK In Chick-Fil-A Hidden Delivery Fee Settlement

    ATLANTA — A settlement agreement that includes a cash settlement fund of up to $1.45 million and up to $2.95 million in gift cards reached in a consolidated class complaint accusing a fast food chain of offering free or low-cost delivery while hiding charges within increased food prices was granted final approval by a Georgia judge.

  • March 05, 2024

    Consumers Tell 9th Circuit UCL Claims Against Chipmaker Were Wrongly Dismissed

    SAN FRANCISCO — Consumers filed an appellant brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that their putative class claims against a modem chipmaker for violation of antitrust laws and California’s unfair competition law (UCL) should not have been dismissed on summary judgment and alternatively urging the court to certify a question to the California Supreme Court on their state law claims.

  • March 04, 2024

    Consumer Accuses Apple Of ‘Rigging’ Devices To Monopolize Cloud Storage

    SAN FRANCISCO — A consumer on March 1 filed a putative class action complaint against Apple Inc. in California federal court, accusing it of monopolizing access to its iCloud data storage service by configuring Apple mobile devices to require users to sign up for iCloud to store certain digital files, allegedly in violation of federal and state antitrust laws and California’s unfair competition law (UCL).

  • March 01, 2024

    Elon Musk Takes On OpenAI’s Altman With Contract, UCL Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — OpenAI’s founders breached the company’s founding agreements dictating that it operate as a nonprofit and be open source when they partnered with Microsoft in exchange for millions of dollars, Elon Musk alleges in a Feb. 29 lawsuit filed in California against Sam Altman for breach of contract and violation of the California unfair competition law (UCL).