House Passes Consumer Review Fairness Act

On September 12, 2016, the House of Representatives passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act (the “Fairness Act”), aimed at preventing companies from penalizing consumers who post negative reviews online. The law is a response to non-disparagement clauses such as the one challenged by the FTC in litigation filed last year against Roca Labs, Inc. Continue Reading

Are You Ready for the DOL New Overtime Rule?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA’s”) white-collar exemptions, an employee must meet both a duties and a salary basis test in order to be exempt from overtime requirements. Currently, the salary basis test requires that the employee receive at least $455 per week in salary. However, under a recent Department of Labor rulemaking, the weekly salary amount is set to more than double to $913 per week effective December 1, 2016. Thus, employers must ensure that any white-collar-exempt employee making less than $913 per week either (1) receives a salary increase to at least $913 per week to continue the overtime exemption or (2) is reclassified to non-exempt and receives overtime when working more than 40 hours in a week.  Continue Reading

Consumer Protection in Retail: Weekly Roundup

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

Clearblue Label Not So Clear

A Second Circuit panel affirmed a district court ruling that SPD Swiss Precision Diagnostics GmbH, maker of the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator, violated the Lanham Act. While medical professionals estimate the length of pregnancy by the date of a woman’s last menstrual period, the Clearblue test estimates it by the length of time since a woman ovulated, but does not disclose this difference in measurement. The appeals court rejected Clearblue’s argument that the Lanham Act claim was precluded because it’s label and marketing materials had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The case was brought by competitor Church & Dwight Co. Inc. Continue Reading

Recall Roundup: August

Hunton & Williams LLP focuses on product issues ranging from compliance, recall issues, investigations and products-related litigation in state and federal courts and in various administrative forums. Our lawyers have managed and consulted on recall or potential recall issues for a number of clients requiring involvement with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the state attorneys general. Our lawyers have conducted broad-based federal and 50-state research to identify applicable regulatory schemes, consulted with clients regarding compliance strategy and litigation risk management issues, and litigated numerous products liability claims (gas controls, valves, water heaters, tires) in state and federal courts. Continue Reading

New Jersey Moves Forward with Shopper Privacy Bill

As reported on the Privacy & Information Security Law blog, on September 15, 2016, the New Jersey Senate unanimously approved a bill that seeks to limit retailers’ ability to collect and use personal data contained on consumers’ driver and non-driver identification cards. The bill, known as the Personal Information and Privacy Protection Act, must now be approved by the New Jersey Assembly. Continue Reading

Consumer Protection in Retail: Weekly Roundup

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. Continue Reading

Consumer Protection in Retail: Weekly Roundup

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

Full Throttle: Ninth Circuit Dismisses FTC Data Suit Against AT&T

On August 29, 2016, the Ninth Circuit dismissed a suit brought by the FTC against AT&T Mobility LLC, ruling that the telecommunications company is exempt as a “common carrier” from enforcement under the FTC Act. The FTC claimed that AT&T had not properly informed customers with grandfathered unlimited data plans that their internet speed would be reduced after using a certain amount of data in a billing cycle. While the district court denied AT&T’s motion to dismiss, the Ninth Circuit reversed that ruling, finding that, based on the language and structure of the FTC Act, the common carrier exception was a status-based, not activity-based, exemption and that AT&T, as a common carrier, was not covered by Section 5. Continue Reading

Tales from Zara: Exchange Rate Allegations

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.  Continue Reading

CA Supreme Court Raises Questions About Post-Daimler Bounds of Specific Jurisdiction

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.  Continue Reading

NFC Chips: The Simplest Form of Smart Packaging

As retailers continue to look for new and innovative ways to maintain communication and “touch points” with their customers, many are looking to technology-infused or “smart” packaging and advertising materials. There are many ways to drive customer interaction and web traffic through smart packaging and advertising materials, including through the use of hyperlinks, quick response (“QR”) codes and near field communication (“NFC”) chips.  Continue Reading

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