If the September 2020 Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. opinion is any indicator, the answer seems to be “yes,” at least where an alleged violation of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (“FRAND”) terms and conditions is concerned. Following on the heels of F.T.C. v. Qualcomm Inc., the Northern District of Texas dismissed a complaint in which Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. (“Continental”) alleged, among other things, that Nokia Corporation and other technology companies (together, “Licensor Defendants”) violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act by pooling their standard essential patents (“SEP”) in joint licensing entities called Avanci, LLC and Avanci Platform International Limited (together, “Avanci”). Continental Auto. Sys., Inc. v. Avanci, LLC
The California Court of Appeal recently confirmed, in case there was any doubt, that plaintiffs must allege (and ultimately prove) actual reliance to adequately state a fraudulent prong Unfair Competition Law claim (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200). In Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, the plaintiff brought a variety of claims related to her alleged wrongful termination, both against her former employer, and the employer’s payroll services provider. The Court of Appeal determined, among other things, that plaintiff lacked standing to bring the fraudulent prong UCL claim against the payroll services provider.
On November 17, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit published a precedential order denying a petition for a writ of mandamus to overturn a district court’s determination. In In re: Rearden LLC, Rearden MOVA LLC, MO2, LLC, MOVA, LLC, the defendants in the underlying case had petitioned for a writ of mandamus to challenge the district court’s order compelling them to produce allegedly privileged documents.
A sharply divided New York Court of Appeals recently held that defendants who allegedly made intentional and repeated use of New York correspondent bank accounts for money laundering thereby purposefully transacted business related to the plaintiffs’ claims, and thus were subject to the personal jurisdiction of the New York courts. According to the three-judge dissent, the decision, Rushaid v. Pictet & Cie, broke with 40 years of precedent, expanding the reach of the state’s long arm statute to encompass individuals who performed no acts directed at New York. Because correspondent bank accounts enable foreign banks to facilitate transactions in U.S. currency and the U.S. market, and New York is the home of many correspondent banks, any expansion of personal jurisdiction in New York based on correspondent banking relationships could have a significant impact. Courts and practitioners may have to reconsider their assumptions about personal jurisdiction in future cases.
Before plaintiffs could light the pilot on antitrust claims against two propane tank distributors, a split Eighth Circuit panel cut the gas. In doing so, the majority espoused a narrow view of the applicability of the continuing violations theory in antitrust litigation.
In 2014, following an FTC administrative complaint, class plaintiffs brought suit against defendant distributors Ferrellgas and AmeriGas, alleging that in 2008, facing rising costs of propane, the distributors conspired to reduce the fill level of 20-pound propane tanks from 17 pounds to 15 pounds while maintaining the price. Though a separate group of indirect purchasers settled with Defendants regarding similar claims in 2008, Plaintiffs argued that Defendants’ conspiracy continued, and that Defendants continued to sell the propane tanks at higher prices and at lower fill levels long after the settlements.
In today’s litigation practice, a defendant often receives a copy of a filed complaint before it is formally served with the pleading. Sometimes, plaintiff’s counsel emails a copy to the defendant’s counsel after filing. If it is a particularly newsworthy lawsuit, an employee or officer of a corporate defendant may download a copy of the filed complaint from a news website. Or someone may post a copy of the complaint on social media.
The Second Circuit recently set aside a $147 million verdict against two Chinese companies accused of conspiring to fix the price and supply of vitamin C sold to U.S. buyers. In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation. The panel held that the complaint should have been dismissed after the Chinese government submitted an amicus curiae brief confirming that Chinese law required the companies to fix prices and, in effect, violate U.S. antitrust law. The panel found that the companies could not simultaneously comply with U.S. and Chinese law and, drawing on principles of international comity, vacated the district court judgment.
In Baral v. Schnitt, the California Supreme Court addressed a question that has divided California appellate courts for more than a decade: whether a special motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP statute (C.C.P. 425.16) can be granted with respect to a “mixed cause of action” that combines allegations concerning both protected conduct, i.e., the rights of petition and free speech, and unprotected activity.