Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
DiCroce v. McNeil Nutritionals, LLC
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's putative class action against McNeil Nutritionals, LLC and Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. challenging certain statements on the packaging of Lactaid products, holding that the district court correctly dismissed the complaint.Plaintiff brought this action claiming that Lactaid's labels violated federal labeling requirements, leading Plaintiff to have been mislead into purchasing Lactaid products, which she claimed were more expensive than other lactase supplements. The district court granted Defendants' second motion to dismiss. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff's claims were impliedly preempted by the statutory enforcement authority of the Food and Drug Administration. View "DiCroce v. McNeil Nutritionals, LLC" on Justia Law
Anvar v. Dwyer
In this appeal arising out of a challenge to Rhode Island's liquor laws the First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment for Defendants as to all claims, holding that the district court erred in granting summary judgment as to the constitutionality of the in-state-presence requirement for retailers.Plaintiffs, Rhode Island wine consumers, brought this action alleging that, in violation of the Commerce Clause, Rhode Island consumers are denied access to alcohol deliveries from out-of-state retailers. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The First Circuit vacated the lower judgment in part, holding that the district court erred in entering summary judgment as to the constitutionality of the in-state-presence requirement for retailers and remanded for a fuller consideration of the parties' respective offers of proof. The district court upheld the in-state-presence requirement for retailers. The First Circuit affirmed the judgment in part and vacated it in part and remanded the matter for further proceedings, holding that a discriminatory aspect of the State's version of the "three-tier system" could not be affirmed. View "Anvar v. Dwyer" on Justia Law
Allstate Insurance Co. v. Fougere
The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court entering summary judgment in favor of Allstate Insurance Company and dismissing the counterclaims brought by two of Allstate's former agents - James Fougere and Sarah Brody-Isbill - and A Better Insurance Agency, Inc. (ABIA) (collectively, Appellants), holding that there was no error.At issue in the underlying case were spreadsheets that Allstate alleged contained trade secrets misappropriated by Brody-Isbill and Fougere, thus breaching their contracts with Allstate. Allstate filed suit alleging claims for, among other things, breach of contract and trade secrets, violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, 28 U.S.C. 1836. Appellants counterclaimed, alleging claims for, inter alia, wrongful interference with contractual relations and violations of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A. The district court granted summary judgment for Allstate and dismissed Appellants' counterclaims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing Appellants' counterclaims; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in granting summary judgment to Allstate on liability for its trade secret and contract claims against Appellants. View "Allstate Insurance Co. v. Fougere" on Justia Law
Powers v. Receivables Performance Management, LLC
The First Circuit dismissed the appeal in the underlying putative action removed from Massachusetts state court to the federal district court concerning a motion to compel arbitration, holding that the order was not a final decision and not within an exception that would permit interlocutory review.Plaintiff brought this putative class action alleging that Defendant, a debt collector, alleging violations of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A and 940 Mass. Code Regs. 7.01-.10. Defendant moved to compel arbitration in the state court, relying on an arbitration provision in the service contract between Plaintiff and the holder of the alleged debt Defendant was attempting to collect. The state court denied the motion, after which Defendant removed the case to federal court, where it filed another motion to compel arbitration. The district court treated the motion as a motion for reconsideration of the state court order denying the arbitration and then denied it. The First Circuit dismissed Defendant's appeal, holding that this was an improper interlocutory appeal. View "Powers v. Receivables Performance Management, LLC" on Justia Law
Kleiner v. Cengage Learning Holdings II, Inc.
The First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court granting Defendant's motion to dismiss this lawsuit alleging unfair and deceptive business practices under Massachusetts law by intentionally obfuscating information regarding the sales of Plaintiff's published books, holding that this action was not barred.Plaintiff filed a putative class action complaint against Defendant on behalf of himself and other authors alleging a single count for violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring Defendant to disclose its royalty calculation methods and provide reasonable disclosures of royalty-related information. The district court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss, concluding that the choice of law in Plaintiff's publishing agreement mandating that all disputes be resolved according to New York law barred the assertion of a claim arising only under Massachusetts law. The First Circuit reversed, holding that Plaintiff's Chapter 93A claim was not precluded by the choice of law clause before the Court. View "Kleiner v. Cengage Learning Holdings II, Inc." on Justia Law
Conformis, Inc. v. Aetna, Inc.
The First Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's amended complaint bringing claims for product disparagement and related torts, holding that some of Plaintiff's claims were sufficiently plausible to warrant further proceedings.Plaintiff, a medical device company that designed and manufactured customized hip and knee replacements, brought this complaint against Aetna, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary (collectively, Aetna) alleging state common-law claims for product disparagement, tortious interference with both contractual and advantageous relations, and unfair trade practices, in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 93A. The district court granted Aetna's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The First Circuit reversed in part, holding that the district court correctly dismissed Plaintiff's claim for tortious interference with contractual relations but erred in dismissing Plaintiff's claim for tortious interference with advantageous relations. View "Conformis, Inc. v. Aetna, Inc." on Justia Law
Murray v. McDonald
The First Circuit vacated the approval of a class action settlement under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(e), holding that the absence of separate settlement counsel for distinct groups of class members made too difficult a determination whether the settlement treated class members equitably.Plaintiffs sued HelloFresh, a subscription service, alleging that its so-called "win back" marketing campaign violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The parties eventually arrived at a proposed settlement conditioned on court approval. The district court adopted the settlement agreement. An objector to the settlement appealed, arguing that the settlement process was unfair and led to an inequitable result. The First Circuit agreed and vacated the district court's approval, holding (1) the district court lacked the requisite basis for certifying the settlement class and approving an allocation among class members as fair, reasonable, and adequate; and (2) incentive payments to named class representatives are not prohibited so long as they fit within the bounds of Rule 23(e). View "Murray v. McDonald" on Justia Law
Azurity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Edge Pharma, LLC
The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the district court granting Edge Pharma, LLC's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim the allegations brought by Azurity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. under both the Lanham Act and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A based on statements that Edge made on its website, holding that Azurity's claims cannot survive.Azurity's suit alleged that the statements at issue falsely represented that Edge was not in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and that the statements falsely held out Edge's vancomycin drug as being superior to Azurity's. The district court concluded that the FDCA precluded Azurity's Lanham Act claim, which meant that the Chapter 93A likewise failed "as it is premised on the same allegations" as the Lanham Act claim. The First Circuit held (1) the district court properly dismissed the Lanham Act claim on the alternative ground that Azurity did not plausibly allege that some of the statements made a misleading representation of fact and that other statements at issue were in violation of the Lanham Act; and (2) insofar as no variant of Azurity's Lanham Act claim could survive, for the same reasons this Court vacates and affirms in part the dismissal of Azurity's Chapter 93A claim. View "Azurity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Edge Pharma, LLC" on Justia Law
McIntyre v. RentGrow, Inc.
The First Circuit affirmed the order of the district court entering summary judgment in favor of RentGrow, Inc. and dismissing Plaintiff's complaint alleging that RentGrow willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681-1681x, holding that summary judgment was properly granted.Plaintiff commenced a civil action in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, sued on her own behalf and as the representative of a putative class of similarly situated persons, alleging that Defendant was liable for both negligent and willful noncompliance with the FCRA. The district court entered summary judgment in Defendant's favor, denied class certification, and dismissed the action. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff did not meet her burden of adducing competent evidence sufficient to prove each and every element of her claim. View "McIntyre v. RentGrow, Inc." on Justia Law
Bessette v. IKO Industries, Inc.
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to IKO Industries, Inc. (IKO) on the Massachusetts state law contractual and consumer protection claims that Armand Bessette asserted with respect to roofing shingles that IKO manufactured and that he purchased in 1999, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion.In 2018, after having replaced the singles on the roof his home, Bessette brought suit against IKO in Massachusetts state court alleging claims under Massachusetts law in connection with the alleged premature deterioration of the shingles. IKO removed the case to the federal district court, which granted summary judgment in favor of IKO. Bessette appealed, challenging the summary judgment on his express warranty and implied warranty of merchantability claims and claims alleging a violation of Chapter 93A, the Massachusetts consumer protection law. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court properly granted summary judgment to IKO on the three claims at issue on appeal. View "Bessette v. IKO Industries, Inc." on Justia Law