Class actions keep going, and going...

The Ontario lithium ion batteries case was certified as a class action against Samsung, LG Chem, Panasonic, and other manufacturers. But so-called "umbrella purchasers" who bought batteries manufactured by companies that were not part of the alleged conspiracy were excluded from the class.

Earlier, NEC Corporation and NEC Tokin Corporation had the claim dismissed against them for lack of jurisdiction. Evidence showing a connection to Ontario was either insufficient or inadmissible.

The batteries decision also held that the Competition Act is a complete code; plaintiffs cannot assert other common law or equitable claims arising from breaches of the Act.

Earlier in 2015, the BC Court of Appeal took the opposite view in the Visa/MasterCard case, and allowed some common law claims based on breaches of the Act to proceed, but not claims for restitution.

Driven to the tribunal

Consumers cannot rent cars at prices advertised by Avis and Budget because additional mandatory fees make those prices misleading, the Commissioner claims in an application in the Competition Tribunal. This is the first case under new provisions added to the Competition Act by Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation, as some of the marketing in dispute was communicated through electronic messages. As this newsletter was going to press, Avis and Budget agreed to pay a $3m fine and stop "drip pricing".( See article)

Gas station hold-up

The Commissioner obtained the first ever merger injunction, against Parkland's proposed acquisition of 181 gas stations and 212 supply contracts from Pioneer in 14 communities in Ontario and Manitoba. The injunction requires Parkland and Pioneer to operate separately in six communities. The Tribunal required clear and non-speculative evidence of irreparable harm to grant the injunction. In March 2016, Parkland settled the case by agreeing to sell gas stations or contracts in six markets in Ontario and Manitoba. ( See article)

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