On June 18, 2024, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas announced a tentative deal to reform a number of aspects of California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). While legislation is yet to be introduced, the publicly announced key components of PAGA reform include an increase in employees’ share of PAGA penalties, caps on penalties for employers who take steps to comply with the Labor Code or fix potential issues after receiving notice of a PAGA claim, and requiring the representative plaintiff to experience every alleged PAGA violation to have standing. This reform, if enacted, is likely to curb, but not eliminate PAGA litigation for California employers going forward.Continue Reading PAGA Reimagined: A New Chapter for California’s Employers and Employees

An update to a Georgia law regulating high-volume third-party sellers on ecommerce platforms that takes effect July 1, 2024 has proved controversial for wrapping in not only sales “through” the platform but also sales made by “utilizing” it. This update to the law in Georgia comes a year after the federal INFORM Act took effect, 15 U.S.C. § 45f. The federal counterpart, like the Georgia law, regulates how ecommerce platforms must verify, collect, and disclose information on their high-volume third-party sellers. Continue Reading Georgia Online Marketplace Updates Prove Controversial

California’s Legislature has been busy, proposing a number of bills that may affect California food retailers and manufacturers, should they be signed into law. Some could become effective as early as July 2024. Below are the highlights of some of these bills.Continue Reading New Bills Being Served Up That May Soon Impact Food Retailers and Manufacturers

Under California’s Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”), businesses are required to give “clear and reasonable warnings” to consumers regarding potential chemical exposure if their product contains a chemical “known to the state to cause cancer.” In the recent decision Nat’l Association of Wheat Growers, et al. v. Bonta, et al., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal explored businesses’ First Amendment rights and the government’s ability to compel commercial speech. The Ninth Circuit found that the State of California cannot compel businesses to provide a Prop 65 warning for glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide in the world. Continue Reading The Intersection of Prop 65 and Free Speech: A Recent Win for Businesses

Retailers may be getting overwhelmed by the number of states that have enacted “comprehensive” privacy laws, and with good reason. At this point, there are privacy laws in 12 states, with one more (Delaware) likely to be signed by the governor soon. Those laws are in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. (There is also a new law in Delaware currently pending the governor’s signature). We’ll be hosting a webinar on August 1 which you can sign up for here. In the meantime, here are things to keep in mind when reading about the laws, and preparing your compliance approach:Continue Reading State Privacy Law Roundup: What Retailers Need to Know

The Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) Endorsement Guides have evolved over the past forty years from regulating celebrity endorsements and testimonial advertisements to policing social media advertising, including influencer endorsements and native advertising. On February 12, 2020, the FTC announced that it had voted 5‑0 to approve a proposed Federal Register Notice, seeking comment on whether to make changes to its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (“the Endorsement Guides”), which were enacted in 1980[1] and amended in 2009,[2] as part of a systematic review of all current FTC rules and practices. The Endorsement Guides have steadfastly required transparency in advertising and, if there is a connection between an endorser and the company selling the product or services being advertised or promoted which, if disclosed, might affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement, such connection must be disclosed clearly and conspicuously.Continue Reading FTC Finalizes Revisions to the Endorsement Guides, Proposes New Rule for Consumer Reviews and Testimonials and Updates FTC Staff Guidance

Two plaintiffs learned the hard way that not all environmental marketing claims are treated the same. A federal judge in Missouri recently dismissed a proposed class action by the shoppers against H&M over the company’s marketing of its “Conscious Choice” fashion line.Continue Reading Lizama et al. v. H&M: A Lesson in Artful Crafting of Green Claims

On May 18, 2023, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of famed rock photographer Lynn Goldsmith against the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.’s (AWF),[1] in a long-awaited decision impacting fair use under Section 107(1) of the Copyright Act. The opinion written by Justice Sotomayor, in which Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett and Jackson joined, held that the “purpose and character” of AWF’s commercial use of Warhol’s portraits of Prince shared the same commercial purpose of the original photograph taken by Ms. Goldsmith and, as a result, did not constitute fair use.[2] The Court’s decision affirmed the ruling of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the Warhol work was derivative of the original, and noted that “the new expression may be relevant to whether a copying use has a sufficiently distinct purpose or character” but that factor was not dispositive by itself.[3] The Court found that the Warhol Foundation’s licensing of the Orange Prince to Conde Nast did not have a sufficiently different purpose as the Goldsmith photograph because both were “portraits of Prince used in magazines to illustrate stories about Prince.”[4]Continue Reading Supreme Court Finds Warhol’s Commercial Licensing of “Orange Prince” to Vanity Fair Is Not Fair Use and Infringes Goldsmith’s Famed Rock Photo

The Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (the “DOJ”) (together the “Agencies”) continue to carry out the Biden Administration’s stated mission to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement to “Promote Competition in the American Economy.”Continue Reading Restrictive Covenants in Real Estate: Next Antitrust Enforcement Target?

Candy and sports drink aisles in California grocery stores could look very different if AB418 is passed into law. The California Assembly has proposed amending the state’s Health and Safety Code to prevent the manufacture, sale, delivery, distribution, holding, or offering for sale any food that contains any of the following substances:Continue Reading New California Bill Seeks to Eliminate Certain Food Additives

Retailers continue to be targeted by website accessibility lawsuits. Unfortunately, the legal landscape remains unpredictable and it varies greatly based on what jurisdiction a retailer is sued in. There remains no easy fix to prevent litigation. Plaintiff’s lawyers argue that “inaccessible” websites or mobile apps fail to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act or similar state civil rights laws. However, there are no set of detailed website accessibility standards or regulations and instead, the Department of Justice’s position has been that the Americans with Disabilities Act’s general nondiscrimination and effective communication provisions apply to web accessibility. The Department has directed that businesses look to existing technical standards for website accessibility including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Section 508 Standards, which the federal government uses for its own websites. And despite the absence of formal website accessibility standards, the Department has continued to file enforcement actions against businesses who operate websites that it deems inaccessible.Continue Reading Website Accessibility Litigation Continues to be Costly and There is No Easy Fix