Articles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting a company using registered trade names (Plaintiff) a permanent injunction, statutory damages, and attorney fees against a corporation using a similar name (Defendant), holding that that Plaintiff was entitled to relief, and this relief is unaffected by the Court's determination that Plaintiff proved only two of its three causes of action. Specifically, the Court held (1) the denial of Defendant's motion to dismiss under Neb. Rev. Stat. 6-1112(b)(6) is moot; (2) Defendant's argument that the trial court erred in denying its motion under section 6-1112 lacked merit; (3) Plaintiff met its burden of proof regarding its claims for trade name infringement and deceptive trade practices, but it did not establish tortious interference with a business relationship or expectancy; and (4) the relief ultimately granted was supported by Plaintiff's claims for trade name infringement and deceptive trade practices. View "Denali Real Estate, LLC v. Denali Custom Builders, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part the district court's denial of Defendants’ request for attorney fees and dismissed in part Defendants’ appeal from orders vacating summary judgment in favor of Defendants and overruling Defendants’ subsequent motion for summary judgment, holding that Defendants did not qualify as prevailing parties and that this Court lacked jurisdiction to review the summary judgment orders. The State brought claims against Defendants under Nebraska’s Consumer Protection Act, Neb. Rev. Sat. 59-1601 et seq., and the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 87-301 et seq. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of Defendants and then later vacated its order of summary judgment. Defendants moved again for summary judgment, which the district court denied. After years of litigation, the State voluntarily dismissed the claims. The district court denied Defendants’ request for attorney fees, finding that the State’s voluntary dismissal did not make Defendants prevailing parties or purposes of section 59-1608(1). The Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed in part, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction to review Defendants’ claim that the district court’s summary judgment orders were erroneous and that the district court did not err in denying Defendants’ motion for attorney fees. View "State ex rel. Peterson v. Creative Community Promotions, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the district court’s order dismissing with prejudice Plaintiff’s complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff, an attorney, filed a complaint for breach of contract against Defendant. The trial court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend. Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint including claims for tortious conversion and a violation of Nebraska’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, holding (1) neither general nor specific personal jurisdiction over Defendant existed; but (2) the district court erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice. The court modified the district court’s order to a dismissal without prejudice. View "Nimmer v. Giga Entertainment Media, Inc." on Justia Law

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ACI Worldwide Corp. sued Baldwin Hackett & Meeks, Inc., its cofounders, and other company principals (collectively, BHMI), alleging that BHMI misappropriated its trade secrets. BHMI counterclaimed, alleging that ACI tortiously interfered with a business relationship and violated provisions of Nbraska’s unlawful restraint of trade statutes. In 2014, a jury found against ACI on its misappropriation claim. In 2015, a jury found in favor of BHMI on all of its counterclaims. ACI then filed posttrial motions to vacate the jury’s judgments, reopen the evidence, and grant a new trial on the basis that ACI had discovered new evidence. The district court overruled ACI’s posttrial motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not abuse its discretion in overruling ACI’s motion to vacate the 2014 and 2015 judgments; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in awarding BHMI $2,732,962.50 in attorney fees. View "ACI Worldwide Corp. v. Baldwin Hackett & Meeks, Inc." on Justia Law

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Arlene Easter sold insurance for First Express Services Group, Inc. Arlene subsequently resigned from First Express and began to work for her son, Mark, who was a part owner of a competing agency. After resigning, Arlene took a customer list from First Express and transferred many of First Express' customers to Mark's agency. First Express sued Arlene for breach of contract and Arlene, Mark, and Mark's agency for misappropriation of trade secrets and unjust enrichment. After a jury trial, judgment was rendered for First Express on all claims. The Supreme Court (1) modified the judgment against Arlene, finding that Arlene was liable only for the portion of the judgment attributed by the district court to the breach of contract claim; and (2) reversed the judgment against Mark, holding that Mark was not liable for either misappropriation of trade secrets or unjust enrichment. View "First Express Servs. Group, Inc. v. Easter" on Justia Law

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Credit Bureau Services (CBS) brought an action against Experian Information Solutions (Experian) alleging that Experian sought to drive CBS out of business in violation of Neb. Rev. Stat. 59-805, a provision of Nebraska's antitrust act. After a jury trial, the district court entered judgment in favor of Experian. CBS appealed, and Experian cross-appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed but for different reasoning than that of the district court, holding that the district court erred when it overruled Experian's motion for directed verdict, as CBS failed to prove each element of section 59-805, and therefore, CBS failed to show that Experian engaged in an act of violation of section 59-805. View "Credit Bureau Servs. v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

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Prime Home Care, LLC sought a permanent injunction pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 87-217, part of the statutes governing the protection of trade names, and Neb. Rev. Stat. 87-303, part of the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, to prevent Pathways to Compassion, LLC from using the name "Compassionate Care Hospice." The district court granted Prime Home Care a permanent injunction and attorney fees. Pathways appealed, arguing that "Compassionate Care Hospice" was merely descriptive and had not acquired secondary meaning. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the name had acquired secondary meaning as it concerned Prime Home Care's hospice services; (2) the district court did not err when it granted Prime Home Care's request for a permanent injunction where confusion existed as a result of Pathways' use of Prime Home Care's protected trade name; and (3) the trial court did not err in granting Prime Home Care's request for attorney fees under either section 87-217 or section 87-303, and Prime Home Care was not entitled to additional attorney fees. View "Prime Home Care, LLC v. Pathways to Compassion, LLC" on Justia Law