SALT LAKE CITY » A federal appeals court ruling has cleared the way for discount contact lens retailers to drop prices while a legal battle is waged between the state of Utah and manufacturers who want to impose minimum prices on their products.
The decision handed down from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Friday comes after three of the nation’s largest contact lens manufacturers sued to halt a hotly contested law.
Supporters, including Utah-based discount seller 1-800 Contacts, say the newly enacted legislation bans price fixing for contact lenses. But opponents, including Alcon Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson and Bausch & Lomb, say it’s a brazen overreach that allows discount sellers to violate interstate commerce regulations and skirt industry price standards.
Utah’s attorney general has said the companies are wrongly driving up prices and that the law is a legitimate antitrust measure designed to enhance competition and help customers. The ruling allows the law to go into effect while a legal battle over the measure works its way through the courts. The appeals court did agree to fast-track the case, and new briefs are due in the case later this month.
Utah’s Legislature passed the measure backed by 1-800 Contacts amid increasingly bitter pricing battles in the industry. While many contact lens sales come from eye doctors, discounters have been making inroads in recent years, and now 1-800 Contacts is now one of the nation’s largest lens retailers.
Eggs and gas boost U.S. wholesale prices
WASHINGTON » Prices at the wholesale level rose at the fastest pace in nearly three years in May, pushed higher by a sharp jump in the cost of gasoline and a record increase in the price of eggs related to an outbreak of avian influenza. But outside of increases in volatile food and energy costs, core inflation remained moderate.
The producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, spiked 0.5 percent in May, the Labor Department reported Friday. It was the biggest one-month increase since September 2012. The increase followed a 0.4 percent drop in wholesale prices in April. The May increase reflected a 17 percent rise in gasoline prices, the biggest hike since August 2009, and a record 56.4 percent surge in egg prices.
French agency tells Google to remove links
PARIS » France’s data privacy agency ordered Google to remove search results worldwide upon request, giving the company two weeks to apply the "right to be forgotten" globally. The order Friday from CNIL comes more than a year after Europe’s highest court ruled that people have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online.
So far, Google says it has received more than 268,000 requests to remove URLs after the May 2014 decision. French citizens lead the European Union in requests, with more than 55,000.
Honda links air bag to seventh death
Honda Motor on Friday confirmed that a rupturing air bag inflater fatally wounded the driver of a 2005 Civic in a crash in April. Counting this, at least seven deaths have been linked to defective airbags made by the Japanese supplier Takata.
Kylan Langlinais, 22, died in a hospital four days after the Civic she was driving crashed into a utility pole in Lafayette, La., according to a lawsuit filed this week by her family. The air bag exploded and sent metal fragments into Langlinais’ car, severing an artery in her neck, the lawsuit said.
The vehicle was included in what Honda called a "safety improvement campaign" announced last June, but no notice was sent to the car’s owner at the time, the automaker said. Langlinais acquired the vehicle in October.
Honda finally sent a safety notice for the car on April 2, three days before Langlinais’ crash.
Ice cream maker finds listeria again
COLUMBUS, Ohio » Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has found listeria in its plant again and has halted production and closed retail shops for the second time since April, the company said Friday.
Listeria was discovered during routine swabbing that is part of the monitoring process, and the Columbus-based company is taking steps to figure out how it got into the plant, CEO John Lowe said.
ON THE MOVE
Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club has three new appointments:
» Lanford Horie as IT systems manager, responsible for overseeing and managing the hotel’s informational technology projects and operations. He was previously store manager for HIE Retail and 7-Eleven Hawaii.
» Devin Hwang as controller of Hawaii Prince Golf Club. He was previously an accounting manager at Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk.
» Casey Collado has been promoted to conference services manager, responsible for servicing in-house group activities related to meeting and function spaces, guest rooms and restaurants. She was previously Hawaii Prince’s catering administrative/social media assistant.