Justia Class Action Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
Ritz Camera & Image, LLC v. Sandisk Corp.
SanDisk allegedly controls the market for NAND flash memory, a computer chip that can be erased and reprogrammed that is widely used in consumer products such as digital cameras, mobile phones, and USB drives. Retailers purchase from SanDisk, the patentee, and its licensees. Ritz filed a class action, alleging that SanDisk violated the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 2 by fraudulently procuring patents by failing to disclose prior art and making misrepresentations to the Patent and Trademark Office and established its monopoly by enforcing patents against competitors and by threatening competitors’ customers. SanDisk asserted that Ritz lacked standing to bring a Walker Process antitrust because Ritz faced no threat of an infringement action and had no other basis to bring a declaratory judgment action challenging the patents. The district court rejected the argument, acknowledging that such claims normally are brought by competitors of the patentee as counterclaims in infringement actions, but noting that the Walker Process decision places no limitation on eligible plaintiffs. On interlocutory appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed that a direct purchaser is not categorically precluded from bringing a Walker Process antitrust claim, even if it would not be entitled to seek declaratory relief against the patentee under the patent laws. View "Ritz Camera & Image, LLC v. Sandisk Corp." on Justia Law
Arctic Slope Native Assoc., Ltd. v. Sebelius
ASNA is an inter-tribal consortium of federally recognized tribes situated in Alaska. In 1996, 1997, and 1998, ASNA contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services, under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to operate a hospital. ISDA requires the government to pay costs reasonably incurred in managing the programs, 25 U.S.C. 450j-1. There have been three previous class actions concerning payments. One resulted in settlement; in two the courts denied class certification for failure to exhaust administrative remedies because claims had not first been submitted to the contracting officer. ANSA brought its claim, arguing that it was a putative class member in those suits even though it did not individually present claims to the contracting officer within the Contract Disputes Act six-year limitations period and that the limitations period was tolled while those cases were pending. The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals dismissed. The Federal Circuit reversed. The class actions involved similar issues and parties, and put the government on notice of the general nature and legal theory underlying ASNA’s claims. ASNA monitored the legal landscape, took action as appropriate, and reasonably relied upon controlling authority, holding that it did not need to exhaust administrative remedies to be a class member.View "Arctic Slope Native Assoc., Ltd. v. Sebelius" on Justia Law
Russell v. United States
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service issues credit cards to military personnel to purchase uniforms and other merchandise from post-exchange stores on military bases. During the relevant period balances for uniforms were interest-free. Plaintiff opened an account in 1997 and became delinquent in 2000. In 2009 He filed suit claiming that the interest rate on delinquent debt exceed that specified in the agreement. The Exchange the conducted an audit and adjusted the accounts of 46,851 individuals, including plaintiff, who received a refund. A second audit resulted in adjustments to accounts of an additional 103,320 individuals. The district court dismissed plaintiff's claim as moot and denied class certification. The Federal Circuit vacated. While plaintiff's individual claim was moot, it is unclear whether the claims of all class members were satisfied. View "Russell v. United States" on Justia Law