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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading Recall Roundup: January

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.

Continue Reading With an Eye on Social Media Platforms and Influencer Marketing, the FTC Seeks Public Comment on Endorsement 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.

Continue Reading How Blockchain Can Modernize Real Estate Transactions

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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).

Continue Reading Relief From the TCPA May Be on the Horizon: Eleventh Circuit Rejects Marks and Furthers Circuit Split

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.

On February 3, 2020, the FTC announced a $350,000 settlement with Shop Tutors Inc., d/b/a LendEDU, a website that ranks and rates consumer financial products such as student and personal loans. The FTC’s complaint alleged that LendEDU and its principals violated the FTC Act by misleading consumers into believing that their website offered consumers “objective,” “accurate” and “unbiased” information, despite the fact that the company was alleged to be selling rankings and ratings to the highest bidder. The FTC also alleged that LendEDU touted unbiased positive reviews of its website, when the vast majority of those reviews had been written by persons closely associated with the company or were altogether fabricated.

Continue Reading FTC Stops Online Loan Comparison Service From Pay-to-Play Rankings and Falsifying Reviews