Posts tagged California.
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On April 1, 2024, California’s Assembly Bill No.1228 (“AB 1228”) took effect, making the state’s fast food workers the highest paid in the United States. However, uncertainty regarding precisely who is covered under the new law has left some employers reeling, as the stakes for complying with California’s Labor Code remain as high as ever.

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In the realm of commercial leasing, the fine print of contracts can often hold significant consequences for both landlords and tenants. One area where contention often arises is with exculpatory clauses, which routinely aim to absolve landlords from responsibility for injuries or damages suffered by tenants or third parties, even if those harms result from the landlord’s negligence or failure to maintain premises adequately. However, the efficacy of exculpatory clauses becomes blurred when confronted with hazards such as asbestos, a notorious carcinogen found in many older commercial buildings, including some retail properties.

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Earlier this month, a Pennsylvania federal judge held that users of Bass Pro Shops’ and Cabela’s websites lacked Article III standing to sue the retailers for use of “session replay” software, where the users failed to allege that the software captured their personal information, such as financial data or medical diagnosis information.  In Re: BPS Direct, LLC, and Cabela's, LLC, Wiretapping, No. 2:23-md-03074 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 5, 2023).  

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On October 7, 2023 California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two landmark climate disclosure laws aimed at making major companies publicly disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and report on their climate-related financial risks. The first, the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act (SB 253), will require all business entities with an annual revenue exceeding $1 billion to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions in a format accessible to the public. The second, SB 261, will require all business entities with annual revenue exceeding $500 million to publish a report on their “climate-related financial risks” on their websites. These first-in-the-nation laws are broader than the proposed SEC climate disclosure rule and reach more than just California-based entities.

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As we reported Friday, the FTC has proposed a rule to ban misleading and hidden fees. While that initiative is pending, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed similar legislation, SB 478, into law. Effective July 1, 2024, the California statute prohibits advertising, displaying, or offering a price for a good or service that does not include all mandatory fees or charges other than taxes or fees imposed by a government on the transaction, or postage or carriage charges that will be reasonably and actually incurred to ship the physical good to the consumer. The legislation takes aim at ...

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The Federal Trade Commission and six states have filed suit against Roomster Corp. and two corporate executives, accusing the residential rental listing platform of using fake reviews and unverified listings to generate tens of millions of dollars in business. According to the complaint, these practices often occur at the expense of vulnerable customers who rely on Roomster to find safe low-cost housing within expensive housing markets.

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In an August 2022 decision, the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, held that retail websites without any connection to a physical space, such as a brick-and-mortar store, do not constitute “places of public accommodation” and, thus, are not within the purview of Title III of the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) or the Unruh Civil Rights Act (the “Unruh Act”). 

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In a case sure to send retail pharmacy corporate-types scurrying to board room meetings to ensure their bases are covered, a Northern District of California federal judge held that Walgreens’ Co.’s 15 year-long pattern of filling opioid prescriptions for customers without performing adequate due diligence as to the medical legitimacy of the prescription substantially contributed to the opioid crisis in San Francisco. As a result, Walgreens must—to a degree later to be decided in court—abate the opioid crisis in San Francisco that it helped to create. While the scope of Walgreen’s court-mandated abatement is not yet known, the fact that a retail pharmacy was held to be at least partially liable for the down-the-line harm stemming from its customers’ misuse of the prescriptions it fills is a headline holding, carrying with it the potential to raise the stakes of the everyday retail pharmacy work of filling prescriptions. In good news for other retail pharmacies generally and for Walgreens retail pharmacies in other states, the holding turned on two hinges that could swing the door of liability shut in other scenarios: 1) the habitual, 15 year-long practice of San Francisco Walgreens of skirting the due diligence required of them under the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), and 2) the application of California-specific nuisance law that many other states have yet to apply in the same way.

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On August 24, 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the Office of the Attorney General’s (“OAG’s”) first settlement of a California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) enforcement action, against Sephora, Inc.

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The Recall Roundup is a monthly survey of regulatory activity affecting the manufacture, distribution, and sale of consumer products.  Subject matter may include the latest product recalls, major federal agency developments, and proposed or new federal rules.  The blog’s goal is to provide an overview, rather than a comprehensive report on every development that could potentially affect businesses or consumers.  Nothing herein constitutes legal advice.  If you have questions or comments about the blog, please reach out to the authors.

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California’s tough plastic-labeling enforcement is about to get a little stricter.

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In the retail industry, staff shortages caused by COVID-19 exposure and positive cases can significantly disrupt business operations, particularly during this time of unprecedented turnover and resignations in the retail labor market.  During this latest surge in COVID-19 cases, retail employers should be aware of recent changes in federal, state, and local guidance related to COVID-19 isolation and quarantine requirements.  On December 27, 2021, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their isolation and quarantine recommendations for the general public, including more limited time periods for quarantine and isolation periods.  On December 30, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updated guidance to conform to the new CDC guidelines but added additional requirements, including testing to exit isolation or quarantine after the fifth day (which the CDC now acknowledges is the “best approach” but does not require as part of its formal guidance).  Notably, the new guidance also introduces a distinction between boosted and non-boosted individuals for the first time.  The key requirements and takeaways from this new guidance are detailed below.

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A group of Democratic representatives led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) have introduced a “Safer Beauty” bill package that would ban certain chemicals in cosmetics and require more ingredient transparency in the supply chain.  The Safer Beauty bill package is comprised of four separate bills targeting certain “chemicals of concern” commonly used in cosmetics—including PFAS, phthalates, and formaldehyde.

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Following the recent trend of retailers abandoning gendered store sections and product lines, California has passed legislation that will force certain large retailers to adopt non-gendered children’s sections in California store locations.

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The CPSC’s nine-year saga over magnet sets has finally concluded.  Magnet sets are clusters of small, separable, magnetic balls that a consumer can rearrange into countless shapes.  In 2012, a distributor refused to voluntarily recall the magnet sets, forcing the CPSC to file an administrative complaint alleging that the magnet sets were defective and presented a substantial ingestion hazard to young children.  In 2017, the CPSC concluded that the magnet sets posed a substantial product hazard that cannot be mitigated by package warnings and ordered the distributor to recall the magnet sets.  The distributor sued in federal court to block the CPSC’s order.  After multiple appeals, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately agreed with the CPSC.  Thus, this month the CPSC issued a rare mandatory recall of 10 million magnet sets.  The recall noted that two children who had ingested the magnets from the magnet sets required surgery to remove them and a 19-month-old child died after ingesting similar high-powered magnets.  The CPSC also issued a warning to consumers about the dangers of high-powered magnets, noting that from 2009 to 2018, there was an estimated 4,500 cases of children from 11 months old to 16 years old who were treated in US hospitals for ingestion of high-powered magnets.

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has proposed a Direct Final Rule implementing the new federal upholstered furniture flammability standard.  The Direct Final Rule, published by the CPSC on April 9, 2021, would codify California’s TB 117-2013 flammability standard as mandated by Congress, but with the following significant clarifications:
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A new bill in the California Assembly has the potential to alter substantially the existing legal framework of products liability for online retailers. Assembly Bill No. 1182 (“AB 1182”), which was introduced on February 18, 2021, would impose strict products liability on online retailers who (1) communicate offers of sale and (2) facilitate payment between a third-party seller and a purchaser, even if the online retailer never takes physical possession of the product.

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Congress has passed a law mandating nationwide compliance with California’s flammability standard for upholstered furniture.  The “COVID-19 Regulatory Relief and Work from Home Safety Act,” included in the massive appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on December 27, 2020, incorporates the provisions previously proposed in the Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability Act (SOFFA), a bill widely supported by the furniture industry.

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Earlier this year, The Retail Equation, a loss prevention service provider, and Sephora were hit with a class action lawsuit in which the plaintiff claimed Sephora improperly shared consumer data with The Retail Equation without consumers’ knowledge or consent. The plaintiff claimed The Retail Equation did so to generate risk scores that allegedly were “used as a pretext to advise Sephora that attempted product returns and exchanges are fraudulent and abusive.”

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Two putative class actions recently filed in the Northern District of California—Ambrose v. Kroger Co. and Nguyen v. Amazon.com, Inc. —preview a new theory of consumer claims relating to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Rather than rely on alleged omissions or representations about health risks, the plaintiffs claim that they relied on marketing statements that indicated the products they purchased (“compostable” disposable dinnerware) were disposable and would completely degrade over time and that the presence of PFAS in the products means those marketing statements were false. That focus on the environmental persistence of PFAS, rather than the substances’ alleged health effects, marks a new approach to PFAS consumer class actions.

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As previously reported in the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog, on April 7, 2020, the City of Los Angeles joined San Diego County and issued an Order that requires certain workers to wear cloth face coverings. Notably, the Order is more expansive than San Diego County’s face-covering mandate because it covers workers in more occupations, applies to customers and visitors of certain businesses, provides face-covering maintenance requirements, and requires certain employers to furnish face coverings and other sanitary products.

Read more on the Orders in San ...

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In a favorable decision for retailers, a California federal court judge scaled back a proposed class action seeking to bring nationwide class claims. Plaintiff Todd Carpenter alleged that he bought a rodent habitat at a California PetSmart and that the habitat was defective in such a way that his rodents were able to chew through and escape. He filed a class action in the US District Court for the Southern District of California for violations of California consumer protection laws, violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and common law fraud. The plaintiff sought to represent a nationwide class consisting of all purchasers of the rodent habitat along with a California subclass. PetSmart moved to strike the nationwide class on the grounds that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over PetSmart with respect to the nationwide class.

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In light of the various restrictions on retail businesses being issued nationwide in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19—such as the “safer at home” orders issued in Los Angeles County and throughout California last week—one Southern California city is taking action to support local businesses, while continuing to push compliance with the new legal restrictions.

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The Federal Trade Commission entered proposed final orders settling June 2018 charges filed against several online marketers of e-cigarettes, dietary supplements and skin creams for deceptively advertising “risk free” trial offers.

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Introduced by the architect of California’s existing paid sick leave law, AB 555 would expand paid sick leave to require employers to provide 40 hours, or 5 days, of sick leave by the employee’s 200th calendar day of employment. Additionally, employers are only able to cap the amount of paid sick leave a worker earns to 80 hours, or 10 days. Finally, the employer is required to allow an employee to carry over up to 5 days of sick leave into the following year of employment. This proposed amendment would necessarily have a negative impact on California retailers, both large and small. The bill and its amendments can be found here.

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Each year, the California Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) identifies proposed state legislation that the Chamber believes “will decimate economic and job growth in California.”  The Chamber refers to these bills as “Job Killers.” In March, the Chamber identified the first two Job Killers of 2019: AB 51 and SB 1. Both bills would negatively impact retailers in California. You can view the Chamber’s Job Killer site here.

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On January 7, 2019, California Assemblyman Phil Ting introduced Assembly Bill 161 which would prohibit businesses from providing paper receipts except upon request, citing “significant positive environmental and public health effects.” The goal of the Bill is to reduce consumers’ exposure to chemicals contained on paper receipts, such as BPA, and to reduce the carbon footprint.

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GlobeStreet reports that Rancho Cucamonga is in the midst of “retail transformation.” Significant population growth has resulted in both residential and retail development in the city, and further demand is expected—including in the vicinity of the Victoria Gardens Mall.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

“Black Truffle Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil” Case Dismissed Against Trader Joe’s

On August 30, 2018, the Southern District of New York dismissed class action claims for consumers who purchased Trader Joe’s “Black Truffle Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” The complaint alleged that the product label contained the words “black truffle” in large black letters, with the words “flavored” and “extra virgin olive oil” in smaller cursive letters underneath. However, DNA testing revealed that the oil did not contain actual truffle, but rather 2,4-dithiapentane, a petroleum-based synthetic injection that imitates the taste and smell of truffles.

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On August 29, 2018, despite industry criticism, the California state legislature passed AB 2998 (the “Bill”), which will require that levels of chemical flame retardants in covered products be below 1,000 parts per million. The Bill, which the governor is expected to sign into law, states that starting January 1, 2020, distributing children’s products, mattresses and upholstered furniture containing most chemical flame retardants will be illegal in the state of California. Samples of covered products sold to consumers will be provided to California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control for testing, and if a product is found to be noncompliant, a fine may be assessed against the manufacturer, distributor and/or retailer. 

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Just weeks after a federal judge called the science behind the alleged carcinogenicity of glyphosate “shaky,” a California state court jury hammered Monsanto with a $289 million verdict, blaming a former groundskeeper’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on his exposure to the Roundup® chemical. The August 10, 2018, verdict in Johnson v. Monsanto Co., No. CGC16550128 (California Superior Court, County of San Francisco)—which included $250 million in punitive damages—was just the first in the nearly 8,000 Roundup-related cases currently pending against Monsanto, many of ...

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What is California’s Proposition 65?

California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (“Prop 65”) is one of the most onerous chemical right-to-know statutes in the nation. It prohibits businesses with 10 or more employees, including businesses that merely ship products into California, from exposing people in California to listed chemicals without providing a “clear and reasonable” warning.

Why Should I Care?

Bringing a Prop 65 action is relatively easy and lucrative for private plaintiffs and their counsel. In 2017, there were nearly 700 cases settled with defendants paying more than $25,000,000 in plaintiffs’ attorneys fees and penalties. This does not include defense counsel fees, business interruption and other costs to comply.

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As reported on Hunton’s Privacy and Information Security Law blog, on June 28, 2018, the Governor of California signed AB 375, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the “Act”). The Act introduces key privacy requirements for businesses, and was passed quickly by California lawmakers in an effort to remove a ballot initiative of the same name from the November 6, 2018, statewide ballot. We previously reported on the relevant ballot initiative. The Act will take effect January 1, 2020.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

District Judge Boots Putative Class Action Against L.L. Bean

A federal district judge has dismissed an attempted class action against L.L. Bean involving the company’s long-standing no-questions-asked warranty policy. In February 2018, L.L. Bean announced that it was changing its policy to limit customers’ return period to one year, while committing to “work with our customers to reach a fair solution” if a problem arises more than a year after purchase. The plaintiff alleged that changing the warranty violated both the Magnusson-Moss Act and Illinois state law as an anticipatory repudiation of the guarantee. But the District Judge ruled that plaintiff neither alleged an injury nor had he stated a claim for which relief could be granted.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

Federal Court OKs Large Warning Requirement for Cigar Products

A federal court has upheld forthcoming health warning requirements that will take up 30 percent of the principal panels of cigar product packages and 20 percent of cigar product advertisements. The court found that the textual warnings were “unambiguous and unlikely to be misinterpreted by consumers,” and that the cigar sellers retained sufficient space on their packaging and advertisements “in which to effectively communicate their desired message.” It also concluded that, under the Zauderer standard for commercial speech, the size, format and other design features of the warning statements were reasonably related to the government’s substantial interest in “providing accurate information about, and curing misperceptions regarding, the health consequences of cigar use.” The case is captioned Cigar Assoc. of Am. et al. v. FDA et al. No. 1:16-cv-1460 (D.D.C.).

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California is the land of employment legislation, and 2018 is shaping up to be another year of change. We are less than six months into the year, and already several bills that could significantly impact California businesses—for better or for worse—are pending in the California legislature.

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As reported on Hunton's Employment & Labor Perspectives blog, the U.S. Supreme Court has voted to hear an appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Varela v. Lamps Plus, Inc. The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether workers can pursue their claims through class-wide arbitration when the underlying arbitration agreement is silent on the issue. The case could have wide-reaching consequences for employers who use arbitration agreements.

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The California Supreme Court has adopted a new three-part test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee under California’s wage orders, which regulate wages, hours and working conditions. The highly anticipated ruling could have wide-ranging effects for businesses operating in California and beyond, as companies try to navigate the new gig economy.

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As reported on Hunton’s Employment and Labor Perspective blog, earlier this month San Francisco amended its Fair Chance Ordinance, the city and county’s so-called “ban-the-box” legislation that limits how private employers can use an applicant’s criminal history in employment decisions. The amendments, which take effect on October 1, 2018, expand the scope and penalties of the San Francisco ordinance and add to the growing framework of ban-the-box legislation across California and other states.

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As reported on the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives blog, say an employee slips $20 from the register and even admits to it when you show the camera footage. Or, more innocently, say an employee is overpaid $20 entirely by accident. If the employee refuses to give it back, should you deduct the $20 from the employee’s paycheck?

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In a highly anticipated opinion, a Federal Judge in California ruled in favor of GrubHub, an internet food ordering service, finding it properly classified a delivery driver as an independent contractor.

In Lawson v. GrubHub, the plaintiff, a delivery driver, alleged that GrubHub violated California’s minimum wage, overtime and employee expense reimbursement laws by misclassifying him as an independent contractor when he was really an employee. He brought the case on behalf of himself and as a representative action pursuant to the California Private Attorney General Act.

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A local newspaper, The Desert Sun, has reported that downtown Palm Springs is in the midst of an economic revitalization. Locals have noticed an increase in foot traffic with the opening of several new stores (including Starbucks, MAC Cosmetics and H&M), and further development is planned. The city held a “grand opening” for the area in late 2017, and Palm Springs city council member Christy Holstege has even referred to a “Palm Springs renaissance.”

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On February 15, 2018, by a vote of 225 to 192, the House of Representatives passed the ADA Education and Reform Act (HR 620). Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) was enacted to ensure access for persons with disabilities to public accommodations. Too often, however, serial litigants have abused Title III to shake down businesses for quick settlements over minor, technical violations without actually seeking to improve access. By amending the ADA to include a notice and cure provision, proponents of HR 620 say this bill will curb predatory public accommodations lawsuits brought by serial plaintiffs and their lawyers against businesses. 

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Two recent decisions out of California—one in state court and one in federal—provide defendants new ammunition for defeating class certification. The Ninth Circuit’s decision in In re Hyundai & Kia Fuel Economy Litigation and the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s decision in Apple Inc. v. Superior Court have important implications for California retailers opposing class certification. But Hyundai also poses challenges to retailers looking to settle class claims on a nationwide basis.

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On January 3, 2018, in Italian Colors Restaurant v. Becerra, the Ninth Circuit found unconstitutional a California law barring retailers from imposing surcharges on customers using credit cards. The ruling has important implications for retailers operating in California and potentially for retailers operating in several other states with similar bans on credit card surcharges.

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In a recent article published in Law360, Hunton & Williams LLP attorneys Walter Andrews, Malcolm Weiss and Paul Moura discuss two recent decisions in Tree Top Inc. v. Starr Indem. & Liab. Co., No. 1:15-CV-03155-SMJ, 2017 WL 5664718 (E.D. Wash. Nov. 21, 2017). There, the Eastern District of Washington rejected an insurer's attempt to escape insurance coverage for a Proposition 65 lawsuit filed against juice-maker, Tree Top Inc. 

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As reported in The Nickel Report, our Trends and Developments in Energy and Environmental Law blog, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control ("DTSC") continues to make California’s hazardous waste management program more onerous and complex than the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which could raise concerns for some retailers. Public comment on DTSC’s proposed revisions remains open through November 6, 2017.
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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

App Operator Im-Pacted by FTC Settlement

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a $948,788 settlement with app developer Pact, Inc. over claims that it engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices. Pact users enter into “pacts” to exercise and/or eat better. The app charges between $5 and $50 per missed activity for users who fail to meet their weekly goals. Users who meet their weekly goals were supposed to be rewarded with a share of the money collected from those who did not.

The FTC alleged that Pact charged “tens of thousands” of consumers even if they met their goals or cancelled their participation in the service. Customers had a difficult time getting refunds or even determining how to cancel. The FTC’s complaint alleged violations of the FTC Act and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act.

Under the terms of the settlement, Pact must disclose its billing practices, and is prohibited from misrepresenting its billing practices or engaging in unfair billing practices. A judgement of $1.5 million will be partially suspended upon Pact’s payment of $948,788. 

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It is no secret that California has had appliance efficiency standards in place for some time now. And it is no secret that the California Energy Commission (“CEC”) has been responsible for crafting those standards. According to the CEC and the California State Legislature, however, compliance with those standards has been hit-or-miss. In 2011, the Legislature found that “significant quantities of appliances are sold and offered for sale in California that do not meet the state’s energy efficiency standards,” and the CEC itself has stated that nearly half of all regulated appliances are non-compliant, and that certain product categories are entirely non-compliant. The broad range of products covered by the CEC’s efficiency standards may be partly to blame for the lack of compliance, as manufacturers may not even realize their product must comply. For example, the efficiency standards encompass nearly every device with a rechargeable battery and that rechargeable battery system, meaning everything from cell phones to laptops to tablets to golf carts must be tested, certified and listed in the CEC’s database before being offered for sale in California. 

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The Ninth Circuit will decide whether Great Lakes Reinsurance must defend clothing company, In and Out, against a trademark infringement suit by Forever 21. The dispute focuses on exclusionary language in the general liability policy issued by Great Lakes to In and Out, which broadly bars coverage for claims stemming from violations of intellectual property rights, but which also excepts from the exclusion claims for copyright, trade dress and slogan infringement occurring in the company's advertisements. The appeal concerns last year’s ruling by a California federal judge that Great Lakes owed a defense because the underlying complaint raised a potential that In and Out’s advertising infringed Forever 21’s trade dress.

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San Francisco is the latest jurisdiction to pass a law that prohibits employers from inquiring about prior salary history during hiring. New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New Orleans already have similar laws, and in a concerning trend for employers, 26 states are currently considering such legislation.

The San Francisco city ordinance went into effect on July 1, 2017, and restricts employers from (1) considering an applicant’s salary history in determining whether to make an offer of employment or the amount of salary to offer; (2) inquiring about salary history; (3) retaliating against an applicant that declines to provide salary history; and (4) releasing a current or former employee’s salary history to a prospective employer without written authorization. Notably, the restrictions in the San Francisco ordinance, like similar laws in New York City and New Orleans, prohibit an employer from conducting a search of publicly available records to obtain salary history information.

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The Department of Justice’s (“DOJ’s”) often criticized rulemaking delays have resulted in no new website accessibility rules for places of public accommodation to receive notice of and implement. Notwithstanding the obvious due process concerns raised by these delays, more and more website accessibility cases are being threatened and filed every day. Most, not unexpectedly, settle. Winn-Dixie did not, and what happened next is worth a closer look.

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On June 13, 2017, Judge Andrea R. Wood of the Northern District of Illinois dismissed with prejudice a putative consumer class action filed against Barnes & Noble. The case was first filed after Barnes & Noble’s September 2012 announcement that “skimmers” had tampered with PIN pad terminals in 63 of its stores and exposed payment card information. The court had previously dismissed the plaintiffs’ original complaint without prejudice for failure to establish Article III standing. After the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Group, the plaintiffs filed an almost identical amended complaint that alleged the same causes of action and virtually identical facts. Although the court found that the first amended complaint sufficiently alleged Article III standing, the plaintiffs nevertheless failed to plead a viable claim. The court therefore dismissed the first amended complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). 

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On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court announced important constitutional limitations on state courts’ ability to exercise specific jurisdiction over nonresidents’ claims against out-of-state defendants. The Court’s nearly unanimous decision in Bristol-Myers v. Superior Court, 582 U.S. (2017) has potentially far-reaching implications for companies facing claims brought by nonresident and resident plaintiffs in states in which those companies are neither incorporated nor maintain their principal place of business. In holding that mere joinder of nonresident plaintiffs’ claims with those of resident plaintiffs does not permit a state court to exercise specific jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant, the Court’s decision is the latest in a trend of important personal jurisdiction decisions rendered by the high court in recent years which provide companies with significant constitutional protections in terms of where plaintiffs may force companies to litigate.

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This past week, several consumer actions took place that affect the retail industry.

Trader Joe’s Catches a Winner in Tuna Can Underfilling Litigation

A California judge has granted Trader Joe’s motion to dismiss in the case In re: Trader Joe’s Tuna Litigation, 2:16-cv-01371, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, where plaintiffs had alleged fraud, breach of warranty and other claims for the company’s alleged underfilling of its cans of tuna as prescribed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

According to the court’s order, plaintiffs improperly made claims under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which does not allow for a private right of action.

“Consequently, the theory underlying plaintiffs’ state law claims depends entirely on an FDA regulation,” the court wrote. “Plaintiffs’ state law claims are in reality claims violations of an FDA regulation, and therefore, the FDCA prohibits plaintiffs from bringing them.”

This case was a consolidation of a number of similar cases filed in California, Illinois and New York. The court’s order does give plaintiffs a month to amend their lawsuit should they wish to refile.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

NARB Permits Unilever’s Challenge of Colgate Palmolive’s Tom’s of Maine “Natural” Claims

The National Advertising Review Board (“NARB”), the appellate body of the advertising industry’s self-regulation system, upheld Unilever’s challenge regarding the truthfulness of Colgate Palmolive’s claims for Tom’s of Maine antiperspirant, despite the fact that the challenged claims were the subject of a court-ordered settlement in class action litigation. Unilever had challenged claims that Tom’s is “Naturally Dry,” “It really works. Naturally,” and “meets our stewardship model for safe, effective and natural” before the NAD. Colgate argued that the challenge should be dismissed based on NAD procedures for providing closure where the challenged claims are subject to pending litigation. The NARB found that the settlement order did not make any findings with respect to the claims challenged by Unilever, and that NAD’s exercise of jurisdiction posed no danger of conflicting court findings.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

NAD Clears “Clinically Proven” Jelly Belly Sports Beans, Recommends Against Formulation Claims

The National Advertising Division (“NAD”) found that Jelly Belly could support claims that its Sports Bean Energizing Jelly Beans are “clinically proven” to maximize sports performance, but cautioned the company to nix its claims that the beans are “Scientifically Formulated to Maximize Sports Performance.” Although the NAD expressed some hesitations about study methodology, it found that Jelly Belly’s clinically proven claims were supported by a published clinical study. However, after reviewing the Sports Beans’ ingredients, including electrolytes, carbohydrates, Vitamin C and Vitamins B1-B3, and the evidence Jelly Belly provided demonstrating the role of these ingredients in providing energy during intense exercise, the NAD advised the advertiser to abandon its formulation claim. The NAD noted that Jelly Belly failed to offer any studies indicating how the beans would demonstrably maximize sports performance. Jelly Belly responded by stating that it will comply with the NAD’s recommendation.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

The Federal Trade Commission Announced Class Action Settlement of VW 3.0-Liter Claims

The FTC announced a settlement with Volkswagen Group of America (“VW”) requiring VW to fully compensate consumers who purchased its 3.0-liter TDI diesel vehicles. The settlement stems from VW’s installation of emissions defeat devices in its diesel TDI vehicles that deceived consumers and emissions testers. The settlement package requires a combination of repairs, monetary compensation and buyback of certain models. It is estimated that VW will pay at least $1 billion under the settlement but could pay as much as $4 billion if it is unable to provide consumers with an adequate emissions repair. The FTC previously obtained a separate $10 billion judgment against VW to compensate consumer who purchased 2.0-liter TDI diesel vehicles with the defeat device.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

Ohlhausen Named Acting Chairman of FTC

Maureen K. Ohlhausen has been designated Acting Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Acting Chairman Ohlhausen joined the FTC as a Commissioner in 2012, after serving in various capacities at the agency from 1997 – 2008.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

Chairwoman Ramirez Announces Resignation

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced that she will resign effective February 10, 2017. Chairwoman Ramirez joined the FTC on April 5, 2010, and has headed the agency since March 4, 2013. During her tenure as Chairwoman, the FTC brought close to 400 consumer protection action and approximately 100 challenges to mergers and business conduct.

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On January 22, 2017, the City of Los Angeles will ‘ban the box’ when the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring (Ban the Box) (the “Initiative”) goes into effect, prohibiting private employers in Los Angeles “from inquiring into or seeking a job applicant’s criminal history unless and until a conditional offer of employment” is made to the individual. In doing so, Los Angeles will become the fourth California city to ‘ban the box’ with greater protections than the state statute, and the second to do so with respect to private employers. If an employer makes a conditional offer of employment and then receives information about an applicant’s criminal history, the employer cannot take an adverse employment action against the applicant based on that history until (1) a written assessment has taken place and (2) a Fair Chance Process has occurred.

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On January 3, 2017, a Ninth Circuit panel (the “panel”) weighed in on a growing split among circuits over Rule 23’s ascertainability requirement—in particular, the extent to which a plaintiff must prove there is an “administratively feasible” means of identifying class members.

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The American Tort Reform Association recently released the 2016–2017 edition of its “Judicial Hellholes” report. This annual report identifies venues it deems least favorable for civil defendants based on recent decisions and verdicts, as well as state laws and policies.

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In August 2016, the Supreme Court of California issued its decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court, which – as detailed more fully in our earlier post – features an expansive interpretation of specific personal jurisdiction that is difficult to reconcile with the U.S. Supreme Court’s general personal jurisdiction decisions in Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 131 S. Ct. 2846 (2011) and Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014). Those decisions significantly limited the exercise of general personal jurisdiction over defendant corporations to their state of incorporation and principal place of business unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. 

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This past week, several consumer protection actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

FTC Actions

FTC Settles Charges Against Marketer of Blood Pressure App

The FTC settled charges against a marketer of a blood pressure app called “Instant Blood Pressure.” According to the complaint, Aura Labs deceptively claimed that its app could use consumers’ phones to measure blood pressure as accurately as a traditional blood pressure cuff. In addition, the FTC alleges that the company’s founder left “five-star” reviews of the app in the Apple App Store without disclosing his connection with the company.

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On December 8, 2016, four major retailers were accused of unfair competition and false advertising under California law. According to complaints filed by the City of Los Angeles in California state court, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Sears have each misrepresented the regular retail price of thousands of goods in an effort to make consumers believe the items are available at steeper discounts than actually being offered.

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This past week, several consumer and self-regulatory actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

Court Dismisses ‘Made in USA’ Claims against Citizens of Humanity

A California federal judge dismissed claims against Citizens of Humanity alleging that it falsely labeled its products as “Made in the USA.” While plaintiffs alleged that the fabric, thread, buttons and other components were foreign-made, the court found that this was not enough to satisfy California’s standard, allowing the use of “Made in the USA” labels on products containing 5 to 10 percent of foreign materials. Significantly, the court applied the 5 to 10 percent standard found in the California rule despite the fact that the products at issue had been purchased prior to the rule’s enactments. The court also dismissed claims under the Unfair Competition Law and California Legal Remedies Act, finding that the plaintiffs failed to plead with particularity. 

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This past week, several regulatory, self-regulatory and consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

Regulatory Actions: FTC

FTC Drives Home Privacy and Security Point in Comment to NHTSA

On November 21, 2016, the FTC’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection filed a comment with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) in support of including consumer privacy and cybersecurity guidance in NHTSA's Federal Automated Vehicles Policy. The guidance governs the collection, transmission and sharing of personal data, and how to protect that data, as cars become smarter and add Apple CarPlay, Google Android Auto and Windows Embedded Automotive, among other Internet-connected software options. The FTC applauded NHTSA's efforts to embed consumer privacy protections and cybersecurity into the software, expressing wholesale support of NHTSA's efforts while emphasizing the FTC's expertise in this area, including the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, to offer further guidance.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines:

Hyundai and Kia Set State Attorneys General Investigations for $42.1 Million

Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motor Corp. have agreed to pay $42.1 million to settle claims by the Attorneys General of 33 states and the District of Columbia that the companies misrepresented mileage and fuel economy ratings for certain vehicles. Hyundai issued a statement regarding the settlement, noting that it contains no admission of any wrongdoing. The companies previously paid $100 million to settle claims that they had misrepresented emissions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and $225 million to a consumer class for overstating the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.

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The following consumer protection actions made headlines this week:

Epson to Make Advertising Modifications Following NAD Recommendations

Epson America Inc. has agreed to make some modifications to its advertising after a challenge from HP. The NAD recommended Epson discontinue its “loaded and ready” claim as it may confuse consumers into thinking its EcoTank printers are pre-filled with ink and ready to print immediately. The NAD reviewed numerous other Epson claims, including: (1) EcoTank printers offer “an unbeatable combination of convenience and value”; (2) EcoTank printers will “save [consumers] a small fortune on ink”; and (3) implied claims that EcoTank printers provide environmental benefits versus other printers. While the NAD found that the EcoTank printer can save a consumer money in the long run, it recommended that Epson discontinue its “small fortune” claim. The NAD also found that Epson provided support for its implied comparative environmental claims.

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The following consumer protection actions made headlines this week:

Self-Regulatory

Zeltiq’s CoolSculpt Claims Referred to FTC and FDA

On October 5, 2016, the NAD referred advertising claims from Zeltiq Aesthetics, Inc., to the FTC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for Zeltiq’s “CoolSculpting Cryolipolysis Body Contouring System,” a medical device that, according to the advertiser, uses a cooling treatment to target fat cells beneath the skin. The device is FDA approved, and the NAD found that the claims that the product is “FDA-cleared” and would result in a “slimmer you” were supported. However, the NAD recommended that Zeltiq add further disclosures about how the product works. Zeltiq said that it would comply with most, but not all, of NAD’s recommendations; per NAD procedure, the matter will be referred to the FTC and FDA.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines:

Claims Against Advertisers for the Misuse of “Natural” Gain Traction

Claims that Nature’s Bounty's “natural” menopause remedy is ineffective and contains synthetic ingredients and lead survived a motion to dismiss and may proceed as a class action, according to a judge in the Eastern District of New York. The named plaintiff accuses Nature’s Bounty of advertising its black cohosh menopause remedy as “natural” and “nonsynthetic”; she also alleges that the effectiveness of the remedy is not supported by scientific evidence. A key issue before the court was whether a reasonable consumer would assume that the product – labeled as “natural” with a disclaimer that it contains “other ingredients” – contained only natural ingredients. The court found that a reasonable consumer would make this assumption and allowed the plaintiff’s advertising claims to proceed on that basis.

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The first blow to the recent expansive application of the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”) was struck by a federal court in California last month. In Candelario v. Rip Curl, Inc., the Central District of California granted a motion to dismiss a complaint alleging a TCCWNA violation of website terms and conditions because the plaintiff lacked Article III standing. The plaintiff has appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit.

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This past week, several consumer actions made headlines:

General Mills Faces Potential Class Action Over Health Claims of Sugary Foods

General Mills has been sued in the Northern District of California over claims that it has put misleading labels on a number of its products. According to the complaint, labels with phrases such as “whole grains” and “fiber” are deceptive “because they are incompatible with the significant dangers of the excessive added sugar.” General Mills and other large food companies have been facing similar suits over labelling recently, including a lawsuit over the protein content of its “Cheerios Protein” brand.

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This past week, several consumer, self-regulatory and regulatory actions made headlines:

Regulatory Actions

FTC Releases Newly Approved Energy Labeling Rules, Considering Other Changes

The FTC has approved changes to the Energy Labeling Rule, which it says are designed to improve access to energy labels and the labeling for refrigerators, ceiling fans, central air conditioners and water heaters. The labeling is designed to help consumers understand the energy cost of consumer products and make it easier for consumers to compare different product models.

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Zara USA, Inc. (“Zara”), the popular European-based fashion retailer which boasts several celebrity clientele, has been targeted in a class action complaint filed in federal court, accused of allegedly carrying out a systematic “bait-and-switch” overpricing scheme. 

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Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746 (2014), numerous courts across the country have applied its holding to narrow the permissible bounds of the exercise of general jurisdiction over companies in jurisdictions without a connection to the specific claims in the case. On August 29, 2016, in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court, No. S221038 (Calif. 2016), the California Supreme Court left many wondering what Daimler may mean for the exercise of specific jurisdiction in cases involving nationwide courses of business conduct affecting both resident and nonresident plaintiffs. 

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In this post-Spokeo world, a defendant facing the all-too-common “no-injury” putative class action might be tempted to seek dismissal of the lawsuit on Article III grounds. But a panel of Ninth Circuit judges recently gave a compelling reason why defendants should strongly consider otherwise. In Polo v. Innoventions Intern. LLC, a Ninth Circuit panel reversed the dismissal of a putative class action based on a lack of jurisdiction, with instructions to remand the case to state court. We previously reported about this possibility following the issuance of Spokeo, into which a Ninth Circuit panel now has breathed life.

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This past week, several consumer and regulatory actions made headlines:

Federal Guidance

D.C. Federal Judge Vacates Part of FDA Tobacco Guidance

A D.C. federal judge vacated a portion of FDA guidance relating to the labeling of tobacco products. The key issue before the court was whether changing a tobacco product’s label to a distinct new label creates a new tobacco product subject to FDA approval. The court also considered the question of whether changing a product’s quantity resulted in the creation of a new tobacco product subject to the FDA’s “substantial equivalence review process.” The court found that while a change in the existing product’s label did not create a new tobacco product, a change in a product’s quantity did.

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This past week, several consumer protection and regulatory actions made headlines:

Court of Appeals Rules Spokeo Requires Actual Harm

A three-judge appellate panel dismissed the case in Hancock et al. v. Urban Outfitters, a putative class action against two retailers, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, who were alleged to have violated District of Columbia consumer protection laws by seeking consumers’ zip code information.

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This past week, several consumer protection and regulatory actions made headlines:

Class Plaintiffs Just Keep Swimming Against Safeway in Underfilled Tuna Case

On July 13, 2016, Safeway escaped negligent misrepresentation claims in a putative class action consumer suit alleging that Safeway violated federal guidelines when it chronically underfilled two of its private label canned tuna products. Safeway filed a limited motion to dismiss the class plaintiffs’ unjust enrichment and negligent misrepresentation claims. The court found that, though duplicative, unjust enrichment was properly plead, but the negligent misrepresentation claim failed because class plaintiffs could not show that they suffered any loss other than an economic loss. Unfortunately for the grocer, eight other claims in the suit survived, including various breaches of warranty, unjust enrichment and California unfair competition counts. 

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This past week, several consumer protection and regulatory actions made headlines:

Federal Trade Commission

FTC Settlement Casts Shadow Over Online Video Game Reviews

This past week, the FTC settled with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment over online influencer charges. The FTC alleged that Warner Bros. deceived consumers while marketing its video game, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Warner Bros. paid online “influencers,” like the popular gamer “PewDiePie,” to post positive reviews of the game online through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. While Warner Bros. instructed these influencers to disclose the connection, they told them to do so in a description box below the video, not in the video itself, so that the monetary connection was not immediately apparent. The FTC has been particularly focused on cracking down on misleading online reviews in the past few years.

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The tidal wave of New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”) claims just swept up a novel argument: a class complaint against Facebook, Inc. argues that the popular social media site’s terms of use is subject to TCCWNA because Facebook profits from users’ personal information and intellectual property.

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This past week, several consumer protection and regulatory actions made headlines:

Technology

Volkswagen to Pay an Additional $86 Million to California

On July 6, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that Volkswagen (“VW”) will pay the state an additional $86 million in a second partial settlement over VW’s emissions “defeat devices.” This civil penalty sum is the largest amount ever recovered by California from an automaker, and comes on the heels of the recently announced $14.7 billion settlement negotiated by the EPA and the FTC over the German automaker’s emissions-cheating scandal. The $86 million is part of a total $603 million VW has agreed to pay to resolve consumer-protection claims with 46 jurisdictions. As part of the settlement, VW agreed to strict injunctive terms, including prohibitions on false advertising and affirmative disclosure of defeat devices.

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This past week, several consumer protection and regulatory actions made headlines:

FTC Announces Substantial Maximum Civil Penalties Increases Due to “Catch-Up” Cost-of-Living Adjustment

Pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015, the FTC has approved new maximum civil penalties for 16 law provisions governed by the Agency. Many of the maximum penalties had not been adjusted in decades and are increasing substantially under the statutorily mandated “catch up” cost-of-living adjustment.

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Recently, Washington D.C. councilmembers unanimously voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour by the year 2020 for non-tipped hourly workers, many of whom work in the retail industry. The news comes just before Washington D.C. is scheduled to increase its minimum wage rate from $10.50 an hour to $11.50 an hour on July 1, 2016. The move makes D.C. the third jurisdiction behind California and New York to increase minimum wages to $15.00 an hour.

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This past week, several consumer protection and regulatory actions made headlines:

FTC Issues Closing Letter in Bedrock “Made in USA” Labeling Investigation

On June 16, 2016, the FTC issued a closing letter in its investigation of Bedrock Manufacturing Company, the parent of Filson and Shinola. The FTC had raised concerns regarding Bedrock’s unqualified use of the phrases “Made in USA” and “Built in USA.” Despite using these labels, many of Shinola and Filson’s products were made with materials mostly or entirely sourced from outside of the US. The FTC closed its investigation as a result of Bedrock’s self-imposed corrective actions, including replacing hangtags and information cards for various products, updating employee training materials and advertising materials, and changing labelling integrated on the products themselves.

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This past week, several consumer protection and regulatory actions made headlines:

Once You Pop, the Suit Can’t Stop: 7-Eleven Chip Labeling Suit Begins Again

On June 7, 2016, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of a proposed class action alleging that plaintiffs were misled by 7-Eleven’s potato chip bags, claiming they had no trans-fat or cholesterol. The lead plaintiff in the case claimed that he relied on the front-of-package labeling and would not have purchased the chips had the front also included the FDA-mandated, “See nutrition information for fat content,” disclosure. Importantly, the Ninth Circuit’s holding clarified that California’s consumer protection statute makes misleading statements actionable, even if they are not “technically false.” Plaintiffs allege that 7-Eleven’s attempts to gain a market advantage by a half-truth claim misled customers nationwide.

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Seattle may be the next municipality to propose a predictable scheduling ordinance requiring employers to provide advanced notice of work schedules and compensation in the event schedules are changed. The Seattle City Council’s Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee recently initiated regular meetings to discuss the issue of “Secure Scheduling,” and confirmed plans to continue discussions over the next several months to further develop the proposed ordinance. The Mayor’s office is also pursuing its own inquiry into this issue. 

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This week, the following consumer protection actions made headlines:

Federal Trade Commission:

FTC Obtains Multimillion Dollar Judgment Against Repeat Offender

At the FTC’s request, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a $13.4 million judgment against BlueHippo’s CEO, Joseph Rensin, as well as finding Rensin, BlueHippo Funding LLC and BlueHippo Capital LLC, in contempt for violating a 2008 federal court order concerning BlueHippo’s operation of a deceptive computer financing scheme. The FTC charged BlueHippo with contempt in 2009, alleging that the company contracted with thousands of consumers to finance new computers, but failed to provide those computers, in addition to having a deceptive refund policy. In July 2010, the Court issued an order partially granting the FTC’s motion for contempt. The FTC appealed the compensatory sanctions portion of that order, and in August 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the damages portion of the order and remanded the case for a reconsideration of damages. The contempt judgment will go towards consumer redress.

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This post has been updated. 

In the midst of the press and politics currently surrounding the issue of bathroom policies and laws with respect to transgender employees, it is helpful to remember that government organizations have been issuing guidance to employers to assist them in dealing with these issues, especially in places where gender identity and expression constitute protected characteristics under anti-discrimination laws.

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This week, the following consumer protection actions made headlines:

Self-Regulatory Decisions:

Steuart’s Pain Formula Referred to the FTC

The National Advertising Division (“NAD”) referred Steuart Laboratories, Inc., the producer of Steuart’s Pain Formula, to the FTC for the second time after it failed to provide the NAD with substantiation for challenged claims. Steuart was initially referred to the NAD by Steuart’s competitor, EuroPharma, Inc., who challenged several efficacy and testimonial claims.

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We previously reported on the proposed regulations initiated by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and its impact on retailers. Retailers should take steps to ensure that they are protected from Prop 65 claims, particularly with the proposed regulations in the pipeline. As with any regulatory requirements that impact businesses, often the best defense is a good offense -- forethought, assessment and implementation of a compliance program can minimize the costs, headaches, business disruption and negative publicity that may otherwise occur.

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Mars, Inc. and its M&M’s Minis candy are the latest targets in a wave of “slack-fill” litigation.

Slack-fill is empty space in product packaging – i.e., the difference between the maximum capacity of a product’s container and the actual volume of product inside. Slack-fill litigation has increased in recent years as class plaintiffs allege that companies are deliberately including empty space in their packaging to deceive consumers into paying higher prices for lower product quantities.

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We previously reported on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA’s”) request for public comment concerning the use of the term “natural” on food labels, and we noted that businesses should consider seeking a stay of any pending lawsuits challenging their use of the term “natural” on food labels under the primary jurisdiction doctrine. The Ninth Circuit, home of the infamous “Food Court,” has now invoked that doctrine and has ordered the stay of a pending “natural” mislabeling class action in Kane v. Chobani, LLC, No. 14-15670.

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As we previously reported, the Prop 65 statute prohibits businesses from exposing people in California to any of the over 800 listed chemicals without first providing a “clear and reasonable” warning. Currently, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is working to repeal existing Prop 65 warning regulations and adopt new requirements. However, the proposed regulations contain several problematic provisions regarding the content and method of transmission for required warnings. Retailers need to be aware of proposed provisions which clearly apportion responsibility for providing warnings throughout the chain of commerce. Though purportedly aimed at reducing retailers’ Prop 65 warning burden, if implemented as written, the provisions will actually increase retailers’ risks and allow manufacturers to insulate themselves from liability at retailers’ expense.

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For retailers operating in California, the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (“Prop 65”) is a constant and often costly headache. Among other requirements, Prop 65 prohibits businesses with ten or more employees, including those that ship products into California, from exposing people in California to any of the over 800 listed chemicals without first providing a “clear and reasonable” warning. The statute also contains a prohibition against discharging or releasing listed chemicals to “sources of drinking water” in the state, but those provisions are not discussed here. The list of over 800 chemicals is revised and updated annually.

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This past week, the following consumer protection actions made headlines:

Litigation Halted:

Jury finds Pom Wonderful Failed to Prove Coke Misled Customers

A California federal jury found that Pom Wonderful failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence its claims under the Lanham Act that Coca-Cola misled customers into thinking that Minute Maid’s “Enhanced Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored 100% Juice Blend” contained more than 50 percent of pomegranate and blueberry juice combined. Pom Wonderful had sought $77.5 million from Coca-Cola, claiming that the company had stolen its business by tricking consumers into buying its juice.

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