Articles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation

by
Drummond Financial Services, LLC and TMX Finance Holdings, Inc. were competitors in the automobile title loan business. Both companies were based in Georgia, with TMX doing business as “TitleMax.” In 2014, Drummond and several of its affiliated companies filed a lawsuit against TitleMax and several of its affiliated companies, alleging that TitleMax was “engaged in a nationwide campaign to systematically and illegally steal [Drummond’s] customers.” Based on these allegations, Drummond asserted claims against TitleMax under the laws of Georgia and various other states for trespass, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference with contracts, and unfair competition. Drummond filed a motion for a nationwide interlocutory injunction to prevent TitleMax from continuing to engage in practices that Drummond alleged were tortious and illegal. Following a hearing, the trial court granted a nationwide interlocutory injunction that prohibited TitleMax from “[e]ntering any of [Drummond’s] [s]tores or the parking lots [or certain portions of the parking lots] of [Drummond’s] [s]tores” to solicit Drummond customers or to record their license plate numbers or vehicle identification numbers (other than for purposes permitted by the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act). In addition, the injunction prohibited TitleMax from offering compensation to Drummond employees to refer Drummond customers to TitleMax. TitleMax appealed. Those aspects of the injunction appeared to the Georgia Supreme Court to have been based on the claims for trespass and misappropriation of trade secrets, but the laws of trespass and trade secrets (at least in Georgia) did not support the scope of the injunction. Accordingly, the Court vacated the injunction in those respects, and remanded for the trial court to reconsider the scope of its injunction. To the extent that the parties on remand might rely on law that varies significantly from state to state, the Court reminded them that activities in one state are not due to be enjoined simply because they might be unlawful if done in another state. View "TMX Financial Holdings, Inc. v. Drummond Financial Services, LLC" on Justia Law

by
McHugh Fuller Law Group, PLLC, a Mississippi-based law firm, ran a full-page advertisement in a Northeast Georgia local newspaper, noting that Heritage Healthcare of Toccoa, a Stephens County nursing home owned by PruittHealth, had been cited by the government for deficiencies in the care of its residents and inviting those suspecting abuse or neglect of a loved one at the facility to call the law firm. On the following day, PruittHealth filed a verified complaint for temporary and permanent injunctive relief under the Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA), and petitioned ex parte for a temporary restraining order. That same day, the Stephens County Superior Court entered a temporary restraining order enjoining McHugh Fuller from publishing, in any newspaper or other media, advertisements regarding PruittHealth utilizing the language of the ad. At the hearing, PruittHealth presented testimony that the government citation referenced in the ad arose from an old report, that the cited deficiencies had been resolved immediately, and the ad had caused severe damage to the facility's reputation. McHugh Fuller presented testimony to substantiate and justify the specific language used in the ad. The trial court found the ad to be deceptive and thus in violation of the UDTPA. Thereafter, the trial court signed an order enjoining McHugh Fuller “from publishing or causing the offending advertisement to be published in the future” and requiring McHugh Fuller remove postings of the ad. McHugh Fuller filed a verified answer and a motion to amend and/or for reconsideration of the court's order. The Supreme Court consolidated both parties' appeals of the trial court's rulings.. In case S15A0362, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court erred by granting permanent injunctive relief at the conclusion of the interlocutory hearing without giving McHugh Fuller clear notice at the time that it was doing so. In case S15A0641, the Court found the trial court erred in its conclusion that that the appellate record in McHugh Fuller's initial appeal should not have included any filings in the trial court submitted after the entry of the permanent injunction on June 2, 2014. View "McHugh Fuller Law Group, PLLC v. PruittHealth-Toccoa, LLC" on Justia Law