On December 22, 2016, a federal District Court Judge in the Northern District of California denied certification of three proposed classes of statewide consumers who purchased or leased certain Ford Fusion or Ford Focus vehicles. The plaintiffs allege that their vehicles contain defective Electronic Power Assisted Steering (“EPAS”) systems prone to sudden and premature failure during normal driving situations. The plaintiffs claim that Ford knew as early as 2007 that the EPAS system was defective, and Ford fraudulently concealed this defect. The plaintiffs also contend they paid more for their cars than they would have if Ford had disclosed the defect. The plaintiffs brought causes of action for (1) common law fraudulent concealment; (2) violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”); (3) implied warranty under California’s Song-Beverly Act; and (4) implied warranty under the federal Magnuson-Moss Act.
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.
Can Spanish-language media content constitute a proper antitrust product submarket for purposes of a Sherman Act claim? A federal district court in Houston appears to be the first to address the issue and has signaled that, at least at the motion to dismiss stage, the answer may be sí, se puede. With 13.1% of U.S. residents speaking Spanish at home as of 2014, media companies with merger plans or business arrangements relating to Spanish-speaking consumers should pay close attention.
In Hartford Accident and Indemnity v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance et al., the Eleventh Circuit recently reversed a District Court’s decision refusing to vacate its prior judgments even though vacatur was a condition of a settlement agreement negotiated between two litigating parties. The Eleventh Circuit found the District Court abused its discretion and misapplied the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Company v. Bonner Mall Partnership, which sets out an equitable approach that generally counsels against granting requests for vacatur made after the parties settle, absent exceptional circumstances. The Eleventh Circuit decision is consistent with analyses out of the First and Second Circuits.
A long-running dispute between Chevron and Ecuador appears to have reached its end after the Supreme Court declined to take up Ecuador’s question of whether United States courts had jurisdiction to confirm a $96 million arbitration award in favor of Chevron.
The case arose out of a decades-long contractual dispute between Ecuador and Texaco Petroleum. In the 1970s, the oil giant and the South American country entered into a contract for Texaco to develop Ecuadorian oil fields in exchange for selling oil to the Ecuadorian government at below-market rates. Texaco brought several lawsuits in the 1990s in Ecuador’s courts, alleging that Ecuador violated the terms of the agreement. Chevron acquired Texaco in 2000. Meanwhile, in 1993, Ecuador and the United States had entered into a Bilateral Investment Treaty (“BIT”) under which Ecuador offered to arbitrate disputes with American investors involving investments that existed on or after the treaty’s effective date.
An antitrust class action lawsuit brought by golf caddies against the Professional Golf Association will not be afforded a mulligan after a federal district court dismissed their complaint with prejudice. A putative class of similarly-situated golf caddies sued PGA Tour, Inc. over the “bibs” that caddies wear during Tour-sponsored golf tournaments. Plaintiffs alleged that, by adopting and implementing a uniform policy that required caddies to wear a bib as a condition of their participation in a Tour event, the Tour violated the Sherman Act and the Lanham Act, misappropriated the caddies’ images and likenesses, breached its contracts with the caddies, was unjustly enriched, engaged in acts of duress and business compulsion, and violated California’s unfair competition law.