Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : October 6, 2011

On October 3, 2011, the Ninth Circuit held that parens patriae actions commenced by state attorneys general are not “class actions” under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) and, therefore, could not be removed from federal to state court under the CAFA removal provisions.  Washington v. Chimei Innolux Corp., No. 11–16862, 2011 WL 4543086 (9th Cir. Oct. 3, 2011).  The California and Washington attorneys general commenced actions under state law in their respective state courts to recover damages for their citizens as a result of price fixing among LCD manufacturers.  These actions are based on the same allegations in MDL No. 1827.  Defendants removed them asserting jurisdiction under CAFA.  CAFA creates subject matter jurisdiction and authorizes removal in a class action where there is minimal diversity of citizenship between a defendant and one named or unnamed putative class member and the amount sought by the class exceeds $5,000,000.  Defendants argued that a parens patriae action is just like a class action and the CAFA removal provision should thus apply.  Joining the Fourth Circuit, West Virginia ex rel. McGraw v. CVS Pharm., Inc., 646 F.3d 169 (4th Cir.2011), the Ninth Circuit held that the language of CAFA does not permit treating parens patriae actions as class actions.  It then affirmed the district court’s remand orders.



Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : January 19, 2011

On January 11, 2011, Bioelements and the California Attorney General entered into a consent decree that enjoins Bioelements from entering into any agreements with retailers and distributors concerning what price they may charge for Bioelements’ products and to send notice to all retailers and distributors that any such polices are immediately rescinded.  The action was brought in California Superior Court under the Cartwright Act, which the California Attorney General has interpreted to provide per se treatment for resale price maintenance in contrast to Section 1 of the Sherman Act after Leegin.  See March 12, 2010 Post.  Notably, the injunction extends to all of Biolelements’ transactions even if they take place outside of California.  Bioelements also had to pay $51,000 in fines and expenses.  This action is a cautionary tale that companies cannot rely on Leegin that resale price maintenance will be subject to lenient rule of reason treatment.  A number of state attorneys general have brought resale price maintenance actions under their state laws and Maryland amended its antitrust law expressly to prohibit resale price maintenance.



Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : March 12, 2010

On February 23, 2010, the California Attorney General entered into a consent decree with Dermaquest, Inc., which prohibits Dermaquest from engaging in resale price maintenance.  Specifically, the order enjoins Dermaquest from requiring resellers to charge a specified price or to increase their prices.  The action was brought under the Cartwright Act and the Unfair Competition Law.  California now joins Illinois, New York and Michigan (see March 31, 2008 Post) in treating resale price maintenance as a per se offense in violation of its state antitrust law even though such conduct is subject to rule of reason review under section 1 of the Sherman Act after Leegin Creative Leather Prods., Inc. v. PSKS, Inc., 551 U.S. 877 (2007).  This case reinforces the dangers to a manufacture when it implements a resale price maintenance program under the belief that because such conduct might be permissible under the Sherman Act, there is no genuine exposure.  The California complaint and consent decree appear here:Dermaquest Complaint  and Dermaquest Judgment.