Articles Posted in Consumer Law

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Respondents filed a class-action complaint alleging, among other claims, that MoneyMutual, LLC, which operates a website allowing individuals to apply for short-term loans known as payday loans, matched Respondents with payday lenders that were unlicensed in Minnesota and that the terms of the payday loans were illegal. MoneyMutual moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, concluding that it could exercise specific personal jurisdiction over MoneyMutual based on MoneyMutual’s email correspondence with residents and advertising in Minnesota. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that sufficient minimum contacts existed for the exercise of personal jurisdiction over MoneyMutual and that exercising personal jurisdiction over MoneyMutual comported with notions of fair play and substantial justice. View "Rilley v. MoneyMutual, LLC" on Justia Law

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Appellant, a Delaware limited liability company, made short-term, high-interest payday loans to Minnesota residents over the Internet. Integrity conceded that its payday loans did not comply with several provisions of Minnesota’s payday-lending law. In 2011, the Minnesota Attorney General sued Integrity, alleging that it had violated Minnesota’s payday-lending law. Integrity counterclaimed by requesting a declaratory judgment that Minnesota’s payday-lending law was unconstitutional under the extraterritoriality principle of the Commerce Clause, which prohibits a state from regulating commerce that occurs wholly outside the state. The district court granted summary judgment to the State. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Minnesota’s payday-lending law does not violate the Commerce Clause. View "State v. Integrity Advance, LLC" on Justia Law

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The funds filed suit alleging that, among other things, the pharmacies engaged in fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive practices in connection with the sale of merchandise by failing to pass on the funds the entire difference between the acquisition cost of the generic prescription drug dispensed and its brand name equivalent as required by Minn. Stat. 151.121, subd. 4. The district court granted the pharmacies's Rule 12 motion to dismiss the complaint. The court held that section 151.21, subd. 4 does not create a private cause of action in favor of union-sponsored health and welfare benefit funds against pharmacies for failing to pass on the difference between the acquisition cost of brand name drugs and substituted generic prescription drugs; an omission-based consumer fraud claim is actionable under Minn. Stat. 325F.69, subd. 1 when special circumstances exist that trigger a legal or equitable duty to disclose the omitted facts; the amended complaint did not allege facts that would trigger a legal or equitable duty for the pharmacies to disclose prescription-drug acquisition costs; and, therefore, the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Minn. Stat. 325F.69, subd. 1. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part. View "Graphic Communications Local 1B, et al. v. CVS Caremark Corp., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff leased a vehicle from BMW. Plaintiff claimed the leased vehicle was defective and brought suit against BMW. After a bench trial, the trial court awarded Plaintiff $25,157 in damages based on Minnesota's lemon law. The district court then granted Plaintiff's motion for an award of attorney fees and litigation costs, awarding Plaintiff a total of $229,064 in fees and costs. In reaching its conclusion on attorney fees, the court determined that it was "improper to compare the amount of reasonable legal fees to the amount of recovery in determining the proper fee award." The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the amount involved in the litigation and the results obtained are relevant factors that the district court is to consider in awarding attorney fees under Minnesota's lemon law; and (2) the district court abused its discretion by failing to consider these factors in awarding attorney fees under the lemon law. Remanded. View "Green v. BMW of N. Am., LLC" on Justia Law

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Respondents brought this action on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated against Philip Morris, alleging that Philip Morris's marketing of its cigarettes violated Minnesota's consumer protection statutes. Respondents asserted claims under Minn. Stat. 8.31(3a) and for common law fraud and unjust enrichment. The district court granted Respondents' motion to certify the class. Subsequently, the court granted summary judgment to Philip Morris on the consumer protection claims asserted under section 8.31(3a) and then dismissed the case. The court of appeals affirmed the class certification but reversed the grant of summary judgment and reinstated Respondents' section 8.31(3a) consumer protection claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Respondents' consumer protection claims asserted under section 8.31(3a) were previously released; and (2) because all of Respondents' claims had been dismissed, the issue of whether the plaintiff class was properly certified was moot. View "Curtis v. Altria Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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The property at issue in this case was the interest of Respondent, the judgment debtor, in a spendthrift trust. The district court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting Respondent from disposing of any money or property he had received, was due to receive, or will receive from the trust. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) based on its plain language, Minn. Stat. 575.05 authorizes a district court to enjoin the deposition of a judgment debtor's property only if that property is in the hands of the judgment debtor or a third party or is due to the judgment debtor at the time the district court issues its order; and (2) because the judgment creditor, Appellant Fannie Mae, did not argue that Respondent's interest in the trust was Grossman's property that was currently in the hands of Grossman or a third party or currently due to Grossman, the requirements of section 575.05 were not met. View "Fannie Mae v. Heather Apartments Ltd. P'ship" on Justia Law

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Appellants, Leland and Ilene Haugen and Haugen Nutrition and Equipment, defaulted on promissory notes held by respondent United Prairie Bank-Mountain Lake (UPB). The various loan agreements between the parties contained provisions in which Appellants agreed to pay UPB's reasonable costs and attorney fees associated with the protection of UPB's security interests and the enforcement of Appellants' obligation to repay the loans. The district court denied Appellants' motion to submit the question of reasonable attorney fees to the jury and subsequently awarded UPB over $400,000 in attorney fees. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that UPB's claim for the recovery of attorney fees was equitable in nature and thus did not give rise to a jury trial right under the Minnesota Constitution. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Appellants were constitutionally entitled to a jury determination on UPB's claim for attorney fees because the nature of the claim was contractual and the remedy sought was legal. View "United Prairie Bank-Mountain Lake v. Haugen Nutrition & Equip., LLC" on Justia Law

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Appellants were trustees of eight family trusts. After stock of closely-held corporation belonging to the trusts was fractionalized in a reverse stock split and Appellants were forced to accept cash in exchange for their shares, Appellants brought suit against the corporation. The district court dismissed all of Appellants' claims. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the valuation of the stock was not the product of common law fraud; (2) Minn. Stat. 302A.471 does not provide for dissenters' rights in the event of a reverse stock split; (3) Appellants were not entitled to equitable relief under Minn. Stat. 302A.751 because the corporation did not frustrate Appellants' reasonable expectations as shareholders; (4) merely conducting an involuntary redemption of Appellants' stock at a fair price, without more, did not constitute a breach of fiduciary duty; and (5) the district court did not err in determining the fair value of Appellants' stock when it adopted a valuation that relied in part on asset value. View "U. S. Bank N. A. v. Cold Spring Granite Co." on Justia Law