Consumer lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) have surged following a 2015 declaratory order from the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), which included an expansive interpretation from the FCC of what constitutes an “automatic telephone dialing system” (“ATDS”). The D.C. Circuit’s much-awaited decision in ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission, 885 F.3d 687 (D.C. Cir. 2018) earlier this year set aside much of the FCC’s prior interpretation of what qualifies as an ATDS. ACA International was widely seen as a win for businesses and advertisers, but the decision has done little thus far to stem the tide of TCPA lawsuits, especially as the scope of the decision continues to play out. Continue Reading Businesses Yet to See Major Relief from TCPA Lawsuits Following ACA International Decision

On May 16, 2016, the United States Supreme Court rendered its decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, Case No. 13-1339, a case that businesses and the plaintiffs’ bar have been following closely, due largely to its potential effect on class actions predicated on alleged statutory violations and seeking solely statutory damages. In an opinion authored by Justice Alito, the Court held that a plaintiff must do more than plead a statutory procedural violation to establish standing; to plead an injury in fact, a plaintiff also must allege a harm that is both “concrete” and “particularized.” However, the Court did not apply its holding to the facts, instead remanding for further analysis by the Ninth Circuit. While both plaintiffs’ attorneys and defense attorneys are claiming a “victory,” Spokeo provides some ammunition for businesses that find themselves facing so-called “no-injury” class action lawsuits predicated on consumer protection statutes.  Continue Reading Supreme Court Issues Decision in Spokeo v. Robins; Must Allege Concrete Injury For Technical Statutory Violations

We previously reported on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 136 S. Ct. 663 (2016), wherein a 6-3 majority held that “an unaccepted settlement offer or offer of judgment does not moot a plaintiff’s case.” As part of its decision, however, the Supreme Court expressly left open one critical question: whether a defendant can moot a case by tendering—as opposed to simply offering—complete relief to the plaintiff. The Ninth Circuit has now weighed in on that issue and has answered that question in the negative. Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Panel Weighs In on Critical Issue Left Open by Campbell-Ewald

For the past several years, the industry and the plaintiffs’ bar have been litigating over what is “natural” and what is not when it comes to food products. This issue hit home with retailers with news of multimillion dollar settlements resolving claims concerning use of the term “natural” on food product labels. The issue certainly became blurred when it came to modern processing methods and advances in biotechnology, particularly with respect to ingredients like high fructose corn syrup or genetically modified fruits and vegetables. Late last year, however, in response to four consumer petitions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) requested public comments concerning the use of the term “natural” on food labels. Whether and how the FDA ultimately defines the term “natural” will surely impact cases in the long-run. But the FDA’s decision to request comment has more immediate effects. It arms defendants with potential means to bring pending litigation to an immediate halt. Continue Reading Update on the FDA’s Request for Public Comments on the Meaning of “Natural” and Impact on Pending Litigation