Articles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation

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Prime Motor Cars sold Seacoast RV, Inc. a car. The car had modifications that voided the manufacturer's warranty and caused mechanical problems that may not have been apparent when the car was sold because the "check engine" light was covered with opaque tape. Seacoast filed a complaint against Prime, alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty, fraud, violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act (UTPA), and punitive damages. The district court granted Prime's motion for judgment as a matter of law on the UTPA and punitive damages claims. The court then concluded that Prime's conduct constituted breach of contract and breach of warranty, but found against Seacoast on the fraud claim. The court rescinded the contract and ordered Prime to refund Seacoast and Seacoast to return the vehicle to Prime. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its judgment. View "Seacoast RV, Inc. v. Sawdran, LLC" on Justia Law

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Jeffrey Stephan was a GMAC Mortgage employee who signed summary judgment affidavits on behalf of GMAC in foreclosure proceedings instituted in Maine. The notarization on the summary judgment documents falsely stated that Stephan personally appeared and swore before the notary, when he did not. The U.S. District Court for the District of Maine certified the following question of state law to the Maine Supreme Court: "Is Maine's common law judicial proceedings privilege an available defense to both legal and equitable claims brought under the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act based upon statements made in court filings of affidavits and certifications in state judicial foreclosure proceedings?" The Supreme Court declined to answer the certified question, where (1) if the Court answered the question in the affirmative, then the claim would be immediately and summarily dismissed even though the facts may have established that the privilege was not available to the defendant under any circumstances; and (2) if the Court answered the question in the negative, it would render a broad pronouncement of law that would have no application to this case if a threshold issue produced the same result - namely, that the judicial proceedings privilege was simply unavailable on these particular facts. View "Bradbury v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC" on Justia Law

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The State filed an antitrust enforcement action against four MaineHealth entities based on the proposed acquisition by MaineHealth of two major cardiology practices. The matter was transferred to the business and consumer docket. Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) moved to intervene in the proceeding, arguing that it had an interest in the case as a principal competitor in cardiovascular surgery of one of MaineHealth's hospitals. The lower court denied CMMC's motion. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of CMMC's motion, holding (1) because CMMC made no evidentiary showing of bad faith, collusion, or other malfeasance on the part of the government, and did not demonstrate that the disposition of the antitrust action would impair its ability to protect its interests through independent litigation, intervention of right was properly denied; and (2) the lower court did not err in denying permissive intervention after determining that joining the private cause of action to the State's enforcement claim would unduly burden the proceedings and supplying an alternative method for CMMC to participate in the action by providing oral comments and written submissions to the court. View "State v. MaineHealth" on Justia Law

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After defendant Price-Rite, a fuel delivery business, failed to fulfill its prepaid delivery contracts, the state filed a five-count complaint charging Price-Rite with four violations of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act (UTPA). Following a jury-waived trial, Price-Rite moved for judgment as a matter of law, arguing for the first time that judgment should be granted to it because the state had not complied with the ten-day notice requirement of Me. Rev. Stat. 5, 209. The court denied the motion, finding that the failure to provide notice was inconsequential. The court then held that Price-Rite had violated the UTPA and imposed a civil penalty on Price-Rite's owner and CEO for the UTPA violations. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in denying Price-Rite's motion for judgment as a matter of law, and (2) the trial court's finding that the owner and CEO intentionally violated the UTPA was not clearly erroneous. View "State v. Price-Rite Fuel, Inc. " on Justia Law