Justia Commercial Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals
Reilly v. Ceridian Corp.
Defendant is a payroll processing firm that collects information about its customers' employees, which may include names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, and bank account information. In 2009, defendant suffered a security breach. It is not known whether the hacker read, copied, or understood the data. Defendant sent letters to the potential identity theft victims and arranged to provide the potentially affected individuals with one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. Plaintiffs, employees of a former customer filed a class action, which was dismissed for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. The Third Circuit affirmed. Allegations of hypothetical, future injury do not establish standing under the "actual case of controversy" requirement of Article III. View "Reilly v. Ceridian Corp." on Justia Law
Burtch v. Milberg Factors, Inc.
Factors purchase accounts receivable to assume garment manufacturers' risk with respect to amounts owed by retailer. A manufacturer typically cannot make sales to retailers for which factors decline to assume the risk. Factors determine the terms and conditions, including the discount rate at which they purchase receivables, payment terms required of retailers, and whether purchases by particular retailers will be financed. Plaintiff, a major discount clothing retailer had sub-par performance and declining sales for two years. Factors declined to extend credit, which caused increased costs and decreased profitability until plaintiff filed for bankruptcy. The trustee filed suit under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, and New York law, alleging that factors engaged in "cartel-like behavior," unlawfully exchanged information, and entered into illegal agreements in secretive weekly meetings and telephone conversations to minimize their risks and cost of doing business, maintain and stabilize pricing structures for factoring services; and stabilize their respective market shares. The district court dismissed. The Third Circuit affirmed, finding no direct evidence of agreement between the factors or of parallel behavior. View "Burtch v. Milberg Factors, Inc." on Justia Law
Township of Lyndhurst v. Priceline.com Inc.
Defendants, online booking companies, acquire inventories of hotel rooms at negotiated rates (wholesale rate) and rent the rooms to consumers at higher retail rates; they charge consumers a separate amount for hotel taxes. Defendants pay the taxes to the hotels, which in turn remit it to the state taxing authority. Plaintiff brought a claim on behalf of a putative class of New Jersey municipalities, alleging that basing the tax on the wholesale rate, rather than the retail rate, is a form of tax evasion. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on grounds of prudential standing ground, reasoning that the municipality was attempting to assert a legal right that was reserved to the Director of the Division of Taxation (aided by the Attorney General) to enforce municipal hotel occupancy taxes by determining the amount of tax due and then collecting the related revenue. The Third Circuit affirmed, reasoning that municipalities have authority to impose a local hotel tax under N.J. Stat. 40:48F, but enforcement is reserved to state officials.
Otos Tech. Co. Ltd. v. OGK Am., Inc.
The company sued, in New Jersey, for breach of contract, conversion, and embezzlement, based on defendant's retention of checks worth $587,775.05. Defendant asserted counterclaims based on termination of an employment contract. While the lawsuit was pending, the company brought an identical action in South Korea. In 2005, a South Korean court entered judgment for the company in an amount equivalent to $587,755.05 plus post-judgment interest. In 2006, the U.S. district court entered judgment for the company, $587,755.05 on the conversion claim, and for defendant, $910,000 on the counterclaim. The U.S. district court declined the company's request that a turnover order include a setoff, reasoning that setoff would result in double recovery. The Third Circuit affirmed, but remanded pending enforcement of the Korean judgment. Defendant paid the Korean judgment. The district court rejected an argument that the Korean judgment should be equalized with the American judgment in the amount of $205,540.05, the difference between the American judgment ($587,755.05) and actual payments adjusted by currency devaluation ($382,215). The Third Circuit affirmed, characterizing the claim as an attempt to satisfy the Korean judgment for a second time.
NJ Dep’t of Treasury v. Merrill Lynch & Co, Inc.
A division of New Jersey's Department of Treasury purchased $300 million in preferred stock issued by the defendant, which later asked New Jersey to convert its preferred shares to common stock. New Jersey agreed, if the terms of conversion were as favorable as terms governing the exchange of other stockholders' preferred shares. Defendant agreed and in July 2008 the parties entered into a share exchange agreement with a forum selection clause providing that "exclusive jurisdiction . . . shall lie in the appropriate courts of the State [of] New Jersey." The state sued for breach and the defendant sought to remove the case to federal court. The district court held that the agreement waived the right to remove the pending litigation to the federal district courts in New Jersey. The Third Circuit affirmed, stating that federal courts are in the states, but not "of" the states.