Procedural Posture

Plaintiff insureds sued defendants–an insurer, its attorney, and the attorney’s law firm–alleging tortious conduct and breach of contract during the processing of an insurance claim. The United States District Court for the Central District of California ruled in defendants’ favor. Plaintiffs sought review of that decision. Plaintiff was represented by a civil litigation lawyer.

Overview

Plaintiffs’ claims arose from the processing of an insurance claim for losses incurred following a fire at the home of one of the plaintiffs. On appeal, they challenged nearly every substantive decision made by the district court. Plaintiffs’ arguments were without merit. The attorney and law firm were sham defendants because plaintiffs failed to allege viable claims against them. Roughly half of plaintiffs’ claims failed because the attorney and law firm were not parties to the insurance contract and did not owe any fiduciary duty to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ claims under Cal. Civ. Code § 1780(a) and Cal. Bus. and Prof. Code § 17200 were likewise without merit; plaintiffs had not satisfied various prerequisites for those claims and reliance on general common law principles, such as tort law, to support a claim alleging unfair insurance practices were unavailing. Without stating its analysis, the court also rejected plaintiffs’ various procedural challenges.

Outcome

The court affirmed the judgment of the district court.

Overview

Although a tomato canner was an indirect purchaser of hot-band steel, it had standing to bring the antitrust claims against the steel producers where it adequately alleged that it was in the same relevant market. However, the canner failed to adequately state an antitrust claim where it failed to allege any specifics related to a market allocation agreement. Without the specificity of pleading the agreement, the court could not determine its plausibility. Moreover, the canner had not sufficiently alleged specific intent of driving out competition.

Outcome

Motion to dismiss granted with leave to amend.