Posts from March 2021.
Posted in Legal Bites
Plaintiffs Look To Finalize $13 Million Settlement In Added Sugar Consumer Class Action

Parties in an added-sugar class action pending in the Northern District of California are taking another shot at obtaining preliminary approval of a settlement reached between the parties. The case, Stephen Hadley et al. v. Kellogg Sales Co., Case No. 5:16-cv-04955, originally filed in 2016, alleges that Kellogg violated several California and New York laws by marketing many of their cereals with deceptive health and wellness claims that mask the cereals’ high added sugar content.  Plaintiffs specifically target roughly a dozen of Kellogg’s cereals. The challenged ...

Employer Alert: California Labor Commissioner Issues New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave FAQ and Required Poster

As reported here, on March 19, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 95. This new law requires all California employers (including those with collective bargaining agreements) with 25 or more employees to provide paid supplemental sick leave to employees who are unable to work or telework due to certain COVID-19 related reasons. In-home supportive service providers are also required to provide paid supplemental sick leave to their providers.

The new COVID-19 supplemental sick leave must be provided on the oral or written request of the covered employee ...

SB 95: California Provides Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19

On March 19, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 95 providing a new form of COVID-19 related paid sick leave for many California workers. The law will become effective on March 29, 2021, and applies retroactively to sick leave taken beginning on or after January 1, 2021. All California employers with more than 25 employees and in-home supportive services providers are required to provide the supplemental sick leave benefits to employees. The law will remain in effect through September 30, 2021.

SB 95 provides for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Los Angeles County Eases Up on COVID-19 Citations

On March 16, 2021, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (the “Board”) revised its protocol for issuing fines to businesses violating the County’s COVID-19 protocols, reversing course. These protocols were implemented in August 2020 at the Board’s direction, and have led to fines and temporary closures for a number of restaurants.

In July 2020, the Board passed a motion directing the Department of Public Health (the “Department”) to take stricter enforcement measures to ensure greater levels of compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols.  In August 2020, the ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FDA Releases Food Safety and Nutrition Survey Results

On March 16, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) released the results of its 2019 Food Safety and Nutrition Survey (“FSANS”). FSANS is designed to assess consumers’ awareness, knowledge, understanding and reported behaviors relating to a variety of food safety and nutrition-related topics.

Among the key findings of FSANS, the FDA reported

  • Most consumers are familiar with the Nutrition Facts label – 87% of respondents have looked at the Nutrition Facts label on food packages. The top four items that consumers look for on the label are: Calories, Total ...
Posted in Legal Bites
LA County’s New Reopening Rules for Businesses

On March 15, 2021, Los Angeles County officially entered into the state’s Red Tier, permitting restaurants to offer limited capacity indoor dining, and permitting gyms, museums and galleries to open some indoor operations. The County issued several reopening protocols laying out the rules for businesses with the current reopening.

Dining

The County’s Department of Public Health issued a revised Public Health Order for Dining Protocols (the “Order”) with new protocols for indoor dining, outdoor dining and worker safety in light of the reopening.

Indoor Dining

With ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Judge Approves $15M Settlement in Added Sugar Consumer Class Action

On February 24, 2021, a judge in the United States Court for the Northern District of California preliminarily approved a $15 million class-action settlement for Post Foods, based on the case Debbie Krommenhock et al. v. Post Foods, LLC, Case No. 3:16-cv-04958-WHO, which concerns representations made by Post Foods LLC in the labeling and advertising of several popular cereal brands, including Honey Bunches of Oats and Raisin Bran.

Plaintiffs Debbie Krommenhock and Stephen Hadley filed a class action complaint against Post in August 2016 alleging that Post violated California ...

L.A. County Red Tier Reopening Imminent

On March 11, 2021, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (the “Department”) announced an anticipated reopening of certain activities between March 15 and March 17, as L.A. County moves to the lower risk Red Tier of the state’s reopening plan. The exact date of the reopening will depend on when the County hits the threshold of 2 million vaccine doses being administered to people in the most under-resourced communities across the County.

The following activities will be permitted next week after L.A. County moves to the Red Tier:

  • Museum, zoos and aquariums can open ...
Posted in Legal Bites
Bi-Partisan Group of California Lawmakers Push Bar And Restaurant Recovery Act

On February 4, 2020, California State Senator Scott Weiner, who represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo County, introduced Senate Bill 314, the Bar and Restaurant Recovery Act (the “Act”), to modernize the bar and restaurant industry and provide more flexibility to facilitate the economic recovery of the industry from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Act’s goal is to help the bar and restaurant industry bounce back from the pandemic by reducing the red tape, lengthy turnaround times and permit redundancies of the industry in order to provide more economic ...

Posted in Legal Bites
American Rescue Plan with Restaurant Relief Poised for Passage

The American Rescue Plan Act (“the Act”) was passed by the Senate on March 6, 2021, and is now headed for ratification by the House of Representatives and signature by President Biden. The $1.9 trillion stimulus includes over $25 billion earmarked as direct aid to restaurants.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Section 6003 of the Act establishes a Restaurant Revitalization Fund, to be administered by the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund includes $25 billion earmarked for restaurant Revitalization Grants. The Act ...

Appeals Court Upholds Expired Outdoor Dining Ban

On March 1, 2021, the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District ruled in favor of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (the “Department”) officials who halted outdoor dining in November 2020 during a spike in COVID-19 cases.

After the Department announced a ban on all outdoor dining, the California Restaurant Association (“CRA”) filed a lawsuit. State Court Judge James Chalfant initially ruled in favor of the CRA on December 8, 2020, and held that the Department acted arbitrarily and failed to perform the required risk-benefit analysis before issuing the ...

Are Defendants Entitled To A Jury Trial In A Voidable Transfer Case?

Q: I am a defendant in a fraudulent transfer action brought by a state court receiver. Can I demand a jury trial? I don’t want the judge who appointed the receiver to try my case, because he is clearly biased!

A: Whether you are entitled to a jury on a fraudulent transfer claim (now called a “voidable transfer” under California law— Civil Code § 3439 et. seq.) depends upon the specific relief being sought. If the action just seeks the recovery of money, it is a purely legal action, and you would be entitled to a jury. If, however, the action ...

California Passes Pandemic Relief Measures Aimed at Supporting Business

On February 23, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a legislative package of six bills providing relief to individuals and businesses experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these measures are directly targeted towards the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Small Business Grant Relief

The new measures provide $2.1 billion in small business grants of up to $25,000. This is a significant increase over the $500 million that was initially approved for these grants in November 2020.

Grants are available only for businesses and nonprofits with gross ...

CalSavers Deadline Approaches for Mid-Sized Companies to Register or Certify as Exempt

The CalSavers Retirement Savings Program (CalSavers) was established to assist the estimated 7.5 million California employees without employer retirement savings plans. Mandatory compliance is phased-in over time and depends on the size of the employer. The current phase requires all California employers with 51 to 100 employees to register with CalSavers or certify that they are exempt by June 30, 2021. More specifically, employers without employer-sponsored retirement plans must register to begin offering the state-mandated employer retirement plan to their employees ...

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