In the US, NIL rights (name, image, and likeness) are grouped under the right of publicity, which generally “prevents the unauthorized commercial use of an individual’s name, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of one’s persona. It gives an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their identity for commercial promotion.” NIL rules allow athletes to profit off their personal brands with promotions for various services and products through social media posts, appearances, sponsorships, autograph sales, endorsement deals and private training classes or camps.  Prior to the introduction of these laws, college athletes could not endorse products or services, under any circumstances.

Continue Reading The Intersection of Retail and NIL Statutes

Environmental justice (“EJ”) is a central focus of the Biden administration’s environmental agenda. On Day One in January, the administration emphasized the importance of EJ in the federal government’s efforts to tackle climate change and to address the disparate impact of decisions affecting natural resources. In addition, many states are implementing their own EJ requirements. In the wake of issuance of new and enhanced EJ policies by both the federal government and states, it behooves lawyers in multiple disciplines to account for EJ issues in their legal practice. Continue Reading Environmental Justice Considerations in Business Transactions

The CPSC (by a 3-1 vote) recently filed an administrative complaint against Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) seeking to force the characterization of Amazon as a “distributor” of products under the Consumer Product Safety Act.  If the CPSC prevails on that characterization, Amazon would become responsible under the CPSA for recalling potentially hazard products sold via its “fulfilled by Amazon” program.   Although Amazon has engaged in recalls on what it has characterized as a voluntary basis, it has not conceded CPSC authority over it as a distributor.  The Amazon complaint that tees this issue up for judicial resolution involves carbon monoxide detectors that fail to alert, children’s pajamas that do not meet flammability requirements, and hair dryers without required water immersion protection devices.  Amazon has stopped selling some of these products, notified consumers who purchased the products about the potential hazards, and offered refunds via Amazon gift cards.  The CPSC views these steps as insufficient and aims to force Amazon to issue recalls and destroy the returned products.  Under the CPSA, a “distributor” is “a person to whom a consumer product is delivered or sold for purposes of distribution in commerce.”  15 U.S.C. § 2052(a)(8).  Under the “fulfilled by Amazon” program, merchants keep title to their products but store them at Amazon fulfillment centers, where Amazon packs and ships the products for a fee.  Although the CPSC views Amazon as a “distributor,” Amazon argues it is merely an intermediary for other retailers because it does not hold title to the products and therefore cannot be held liable for them.

Continue Reading Recall Roundup: July

The COVID-19 pandemic caused supply chain interruptions across industries, from toilet paper and cleaning supplies, to red meat.  Although most states have resumed close to “normal” capacity and operations, the nation still faces an historic and unprecedented lumber shortage.  The shortage is the result of growing demand for bigger homes, new construction, and a surge of new DIY-ers amid the pandemic, coupled with supply chain disruption caused by the virus as production cuts and government shutdown orders stifled production at both domestic and foreign mills.  As a result of this perfect storm, prices for lumber and other building materials have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic, and have only just begun to fall, as the increasing supply struggles to catch up with still very high demand.  According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the average price of a newly constructed single-family home has increased by about $36,000 since April 2020, and the “price per thousand board feet” went from $350 to over $1,400 in May 2021.

Continue Reading Pandemic Demand Causes Unprecedented Building Supply Shortage

These two worlds are colliding. If any of the products you sell contain hidden ‘forever chemicals’ you will be subject to EPA’s new reporting rule.

Continue Reading Do You Import Products for Commercial Sale? Have You Heard About the ‘Forever Chemicals?’

On July 21, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission announced increased scrutiny on purported restrictions of consumers’ “right to repair.” The statement, approved unanimously by the Commissioners, comes on the heels of the FTC’s “Nixing the Fix” report released to Congress earlier this year. That report asserted that some manufacturers use “anticompetitive practices” to limit the ability of consumers and independent repair shops to fix and maintain products. According to the FTC, those limitations “may increase costs, limit choices, and impact consumers’ rights under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.”

Continue Reading FTC Announces Increased Support for “Right to Repair”

On July 21, 2021, during an open Commission meeting, the Federal Trade Commission (Commission) voted to retain its longstanding Care Labeling Rule. This decision came after the Commission previously sought comment (in July 2020) on a proposal to repeal. The Rule, which has been in effect since 1971, requires manufacturers and importers to affix labels to certain garments and other goods providing care instructions, including dry cleaning or washing, bleaching, drying and ironing.

Continue Reading FTC Changes Course and Retains Care Labeling

At the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) July 1 meeting, it finalized a new “Made in USA” Rule that was almost two decades in the making. The FTC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in June 2020 and received 700 comments from stakeholders. During that time, the FTC has aggressively policed Made in USA claims (through an enforcement policy statement), settling a historic, million dollar follow-on Made in USA enforcement action and obtaining a six-figure settlement with an online retailer.

Continue Reading FTC Finalizes “Made in USA” Rule in Partisan Split