Justia Iowa Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation
Poller v. Okoboji Classic Cars, LLC
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court concluding that Plaintiffs were not entitled to relief on their contract claim and that Defendant was entitled to a verdict on its counterclaim for breach of contract, holding that judgment was improperly granted on Defendant's counterclaim.Plaintiffs, the owners of a 1931 Chevy, brought this lawsuit against Defendant, a company in the business of restoration of antique vehicles, arguing that Defendant violated certain provisions of the Motor Vehicle Service Trade Practices Act (MVSTPA), Iowa Code chapter 537B and breached its contract with Plaintiffs. Defendant filed a counterclaim alleging breach of contract. The district court concluded that there were no violations of the MVSTPA, that Plaintiffs were not entitled to relief on their contract claim, and that Defendant was entitled to damages on its counterclaim. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment in favor of Defendant on the counterclaim, holding that Defendant violated several provisions of Iowa Code chapter 537B and therefore may not seek to enforce the terms of a contract that was unlawfully formed, but Plaintiffs did not establish actual damages arising from the alleged damages. View "Poller v. Okoboji Classic Cars, LLC" on Justia Law
Sioux Pharm, Inc. v. Eagle Labs., Inc.
In this battle between two domestic producers of chondroitin sulfate, Plaintiffs filed suit claiming trade-secrets violations against Defendants. Before the Supreme Court was an interlocutory appeal on a discovery issue. The district court entered a protective order requiring the redesignation of Plaintiffs’ standard operating procedures from “attorneys’ eyes only” to “confidential,” which would allow these materials to be disclosed to the defendants themselves. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, while removing the “attorneys’ eyes only” designation may have been appropriate, the district court’s rationale for ordering redesignation was insufficient. Remanded for further consideration. View "Sioux Pharm, Inc. v. Eagle Labs., Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Antitrust & Trade Regulation
Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc.
Wellmark, Inc., an Iowa-based health insurer that belongs to the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) network, contracted with health care providers in Iowa to provide services at certain reimbursement rates. Wellmark agreed to make those rates available both to self-insured Iowa plans that it administers and to out-of-state BCBS affiliates when those entities provide coverage for services provided in Iowa. Plaintiffs, a number of Iowa chiropractors, sued Wellmark, claiming that Wellmark had abused monopoly power in violation of the Iowa Competition Law. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of some of the chiropractors’ antitrust claims and remanded on Plaintiffs’ remaining claims. On remand, Plaintiffs stipulated that their remaining antitrust claims regarding the agreements between Wellmark and both the self-insuring employers and the out-of-state BCBS affiliates were being asserted on a per se theory. The district court rejected Plaintiffs’ per se theories and entered summary judgment for Wellmark. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Wellmark’s arrangements with the self-insured employers and out-of-state BCBS licensees did not amount to per se violations of Iowa antitrust law. View "Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc." on Justia Law
Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc.
In this putative class action, Plaintiffs were doctors of chiropractic who alleged they had been victimized by the discriminatory practices of Iowa's largest health insurer, Wellmark, Inc. The district court (1) granted Wellmark's motion to dismiss claims brought under Iowa's insurance regulatory statutes because no private cause of action was provided therein; (2) granted Wellmark's motion for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' antitrust claims based on the "state action" exemption found in Iowa Code 553.6(4); (3) granted summary judgment on claims alleging Wellmark breached its obligations under a judicially approved national class action settlement in Love v. Blue Cross Blue Shield Ass'n; and (4) granted summary judgment on several specific antitrust claims. The Supreme Court (1) reversed in part, holding that the district court erred in granting summary judgment on Plaintiffs' antitrust claims based on the state action exemption, as the record failed to establish the challenged conduct fell within the exemption; and (2) otherwise affirmed. Remanded. View "Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc." on Justia Law