Take Our 5-Minute Survey on Contract Life Cycle Management

Hunton & Williams LLP is conducting a short survey seeking feedback on experience with contract life cycle management tools and practices.

Internal legal and procurement teams are under increasing pressure to perform their contracting functions “better, faster and cheaper.” But even among the Global 2000, many of these teams may lack the people, processes, tools and senior management support to make that happen. Our 5-Minute Survey investigates the state of play at major businesses in contracting processes and contract life cycle management. Continue Reading

Consumer Protection in Retail: Weekly Roundup

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

VitaPulse Modifies Ad Practices after NAD Review

Princeton Nutrients LLC, the maker of the dietary supplement, VitaPulse, has agreed to modify its advertising practices following an investigation by the National Advertising Division (“NAD”). The NAD investigated claims that the product reduces cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and increases energy, as well as the company’s use of online reviews and testimonials. As a result, Princeton Nutrients elected to permanently discontinue its health claims rather than provide NAD with supportive substantiation. Continue Reading

The Robots Are Coming to Automate Business Processes

As the retail industry continues to invest in and leverage new automation technologies to meet organizational efficiency and cost reduction goals, a growing number of retailers are looking to robots, or more specifically, service delivery automation or robotic process automation (“RPA”), as a solution. What is RPA? In the abstract, RPA is the substitution of human workers with automation. In the real world, according to the Institute for Robotic Process Automation, that translates to software robots that capture and interpret data from existing applications to process transactions, manipulate data, trigger responses and communicate with other digital systems. RPA doesn’t mean that robots will soon be sitting in a cubicle in accounting…at least not yet. Continue Reading

Consumer Protection in Retail: Weekly Roundup

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

Eleventh Circuit Stays FTC Order in LabMD Case

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed an FTC Final Order requiring the now-defunct LabMD to implement numerous compliance measures stemming from a 2008 data leak. In July, the FTC ordered LabMD to establish an information security program and notify those affected by the data leak. LabMD closed in January 2014, citing prohibitive costs related to the FTC litigation. An Eleventh Circuit panel found that “[t]he costs of complying with the FTC’s Order would cause LabMD irreparable harm,” noting that the company has under $5,000 cash on hand, a pending $1 million judgment against it and is no longer operational. The court granted LabMD’s motion to stay the Order pending appeal. Continue Reading

FTC Releases Report on “Sharing Economy” Platforms

On November 17, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission released a staff report assessing the issues confronting consumers and regulators stemming from the rise of peer-to-peer platforms such as Uber and Airbnb. The report, The ‘Sharing’ Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators, describes how the Internet has allowed sellers and consumers to connect in order to provide services between individuals. For example, apps such as Uber and Lyft allow passengers to bypass traditional taxi services in favor of matching with an individual drivers. These services have had major disruptive effects on traditional industries. Continue Reading

FTC Signals Warning to Makers of Homeopathic Products

On November 15, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission released a new policy statement announcing how the agency will examine over-the-counter (“OTC”) homeopathic drugs going forward. The policy statement explains that the FTC will hold OTC homeopathic products to the same standards as non-homeopathic drugs making similar wellness claims in terms of efficacy and safety. Continue Reading

NY High Court Decision Impacts Exchange of Information Between Retailers and Third Parties

On November 9, 2016, Hunton & Williams LLP lawyers on the Retail and Consumer Products, Insurance and Corporate Litigation teams, Syed Ahmad, Shawn Regan and Shannon Shaw, published an article in Corporate Counsel discussing a recent decision from New York’s highest court that may impact the exchange of information between retailers and third parties, such as vendors, that are engaged in a variety of transactions where privileged information may need to be shared. The article addresses the impact of Ambac Assurance v. Countrywide Home Loans, in which the New York Court of Appeals held that an attorney-client communication disclosed to a third party during the period between the signing and closing of a merger will remain privileged only if the communication relates to a common legal interest in a pending or anticipated litigation. The ruling represents a restrictive reading of the common interest doctrine despite a recent trend among federal and state courts to broaden the doctrine to remove any litigation requirement.

Top Issues Facing Retailers in the Trump Administration

After a long and unconventional campaign, we finally know the election results: early next year, businessman Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, supported by a Republican Congress. What the election results mean for the nation’s retailers, however, remains an open question. Trump, as a candidate, staked out bold policy positions on issues with potentially significant effects on retailers. Both positive and negative developments on a wide range of issues are possible over the next four years. Once sworn in, Trump will have considerable latitude to implement his policies through executive branch agencies and their enforcement priorities. In other instances, however, he will require support from the 115th Congress, and in some instances his actions could be constrained by the effect of appointments and policy choices made by the Obama administration and the 114th Congress. Continue Reading

Tesco Bank Hack Illustrates Need for Robust Cyber Insurance

As reported on the Insurance Recovery blog, earlier this week, retailer Tesco Plc’s banking branch reported that £2.5 million (approximately $3 million) had been stolen from 9,000 customer bank accounts over the weekend in what cyber experts said was the first mass hacking of accounts at a western bank. The reported loss is still being investigated by UK authorities but is believed to have occurred through the bank’s online banking system. The loss, which is about half of what Tesco initially estimated, is still substantial and serves as a strong reminder that cyber-related losses are a real threat to retailers and other industries. According to reports, Tesco Bank spent £500 million (approximately $618 million) building up its technology platform over the past seven years. Even that very substantial expenditure was not enough, however, to prevent the recent hack, illustrating the need for robust cyber insurance as a component of any comprehensive cyber protection program.