On February 19, 2020, the Seventh Circuit, aligning with previous decisions of the Eleventh and Third Circuits, held in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services, Inc. that a defendant’s dialing system did not constitute an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS) under the meaning of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act where it was not capable of generating random and sequential numbers. The court analyzed the language of the TCPA and determined that, as written, there were four potential ways to interpret the statutory language. However, based on both basic rules of grammar and punctuation, as well as the technology that was available at the time the TCPA was enacted into law in 1991, the Seventh Circuit decided that the Eleventh Circuit’s interpretation in Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations Company was the most persuasive. Therefore, the court concluded that, to be an ATDS, a device must be capable of generating random and sequential numbers. In other words, the Seventh Circuit agrees that a device is not an ATDS merely because it dials from a stored list of numbers.
As previously reported in the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog, last Thursday the California Supreme Court ruled that employees must be paid for time spent undergoing security checks before leaving work. The ruling comes two years after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sought guidance on this issue under California law in the case of Amanda Frlekin v. Apple Inc. The question presented to the California Supreme Court was: Is time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages, bags, or personal technology devices voluntarily brought to work purely for personal convenience by employees compensable as “hours worked”? The Supreme Court answered “yes,” after closely examining the specifics of Apple’s security practices and policies.
The new year ushered in a series of warnings from the CPSC about inclined infant sleepers posing suffocation risks and dressers posing tip-over risks to consumers. Both products have been under scrutiny by the CPSC over the past year.
On February 12, 2020, the FTC announced its intention to review its Endorsement Guides (formally known as the “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”). These guides, first enacted in 1980 and revised in 2009, provide guidance to businesses, influencers and endorsers on how to make sure endorsements or testimonials abide by the requirements of the FTC Act. While advisory in nature, the Commission can take action under the FTC Act if an endorsement or testimonial is inconsistent with the Guides.
Most retailers have yet to fully embrace blockchain technology. Perhaps for good reason. Applying new technology, particularly that aimed at changing legacy systems, comes with certain risks. That being said, cryptocurrencies and blockchain have the potential to transform retail and commercial real estate. As previously shared by this blog, blockchain can be used to streamline inventory management, administer consumer loyalty programs and authenticate high-value assets or the supply chain, generally. Blockchain can also be used more simply to boost consumer sales or process tenant rent payments. Shifting away from the consumer end of retail, below are some novel ways blockchain technology, specifically tokenization, can modernize real estate acquisitions, dispositions and financing.
As reported on the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog last week, although the World Health Organization (“WHO”) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” WHO has not yet declared the outbreak as a pandemic. Nevertheless, the emergence of the latest coronavirus is an opportunity for employers, as it reminds them to consider policies and procedures related to pandemic planning. The following are a few of the key considerations for employers when planning for or responding to an outbreak.
As reported in the Hunton Insurance Recovery Blog, a Maryland federal court awarded summary judgment to policyholder National Ink in National Ink and Stitch, LLC v. State Auto Property And Casualty Insurance Company, finding coverage for a cyber-attack under a non-cyber insurance policy after the insured’s server and networked computer system were damaged as a result of a ransomware attack. This is significant because it demonstrates that insureds can obtain insurance coverage for cyber-attacks even if they do not have a specific cyber insurance policy.
Since previous FCC interpretations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) were invalidated by the DC Circuit in 2018, the definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system” (“ATDS”), has been hotly contested. The Ninth Circuit has held that merely calling numbers from a stored list is sufficient to meet the definition of an ATDS, while the Second and Third Circuits have at least indicated that the ability to generate numbers randomly or sequentially is the defining characteristic. Compare Marks v. Crunch San Diego, LLC, 904 F.3d 1041, 1043 (9th Cir. 2018), with Dominguez v. Yahoo, Inc., 894 F.3d 116, 121 (3d Cir. 2018) and King v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., 894 F. 3d 473, 479 (2d Cir. 2018).
As reported on the February 7, 2019 posting to the Hunton Privacy & Information Security Law Blog, at least one class action lawsuit has been filed that expressly references the CCPA.
On February 5, 2020, the FTC announced two settlements totaling nearly $3.4 million against Quantum Wellness Botanical Institute, LLC and their principals for claims made to older adults that the “ReJuvenation” pill was an “anti-aging wonder drug.” For example, they represented that the pill could boost HGH levels and add stem cells to the body, thereby repairing age, cell, and heart attack damage; reversing deafness or blindness; and reversing damage from any disease, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Crohn’s disease. The FTC’s complaint alleged that, despite claims that the benefits of ReJuvenation were clinically and scientifically proven, the defendants had not conducted any such clinical trials, nor did any competent and reliable trials on the product exist. The federal court orders require the defendants to have human clinical testing to support future claims related to the treatment of any disease or health condition.