Posts from May 2021.
Posted in Legal Bites
Proposed Grubhub False Advertising Settlement Challenged By Plaintiffs In Competing Lawsuit

A proposed class action settlement pending in the District Court of Colorado involving Grubhub, Inc. has been called into question by would-be intervenors from a similar action against Grubhub pending in the Northern District of Illinois. The Colorado case, CO Craft LLC dba Freshcraft v. GrubHub Inc., Case No. 1:20-cv-01327 (D. Colo) was filed by plaintiff Freshcraft on May 11, 2020, alleging a single cause of action against Grubhub for violation of the Lanham Act. Freshcraft alleges that Grubhub falsely advertised on its platform that certain restaurants not partnered with ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FDA Announces Intended Consumer Research on "Healthy" Claims

On May 6, 2021, the FDA issued a procedural notice on the preliminary quantitative consumer research it plans to conduct on symbols that could be used in the future to convey the nutrient content claim “healthy.”

This research is part of the FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy, which seeks to reduce the burden of nutrition-related chronic diseases and to modernize claims. By using a symbol for a nutrient claim, the goal would be for consumers to have a quick signal about what benefits a food or beverage they choose might have.

As part of its efforts to promote public health, FDA ...

Insurance Coverage and Recovery Developments in the Post-COVID World

This article provides a summary of a presentation Peter Selvin gave on April 22, 2021 to the Litigation Counsel of America. 

PART 1: Business Interruption: COVID-19

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of business and insurance is no exception. While infection rates continue to fall, there is a rise in business interruption insurance claims and litigation. This article highlights some of the emerging themes and notable developments in COVID-related insurance litigation claims.

In March 2021, the Los Angeles Lakers filed a COVID-19 business interruption lawsuit against ...

California Expands Business Relief Grants

On May 13, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an expansion of the state’s COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant program from $2.5 billion to $4 billion. The expansion makes California’s business relief grants program the largest in the country.

To date, 198,000 businesses have received grants under the program, for a total of $475,001,244. While the application portal is currently closed, it is expected to reopen after the new grant's funds have been processed. The Governor’s office announced the following initiatives for businesses:

  • Estimated $895 ...
Posted in Legal Bites
McCormick Poised to Settle “Natural” Spices Case for $3 Million

Parties in another false advertising case surrounding the use of the term “natural” have filed for preliminary approval of a class action settlement. On May 7, 2021, the plaintiff in Megan Holve v. McCormick & Company, Inc., Case No. 6:16-cv-06702-FPG asked a Federal Judge in the Western District of New York to preliminarily approve the parties’ proposed class action settlement to resolve the nearly five-year-old litigation.

Originally filed back in October 2016, plaintiff Holve, purporting to act on her behalf as well as on behalf of both a nationwide class and New York ...

California To Wait Until June 15, 2021 To Adopt the CDC’s New Mask Guidelines

On May 17, 2021, California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, announced that California would begin following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”)’s new guidelines regarding the lifting of mask restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals on June 15, 2021. These new guidelines provide that those who are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus no longer need to wear masks outdoors or in most indoor settings.

After serving as one of the major epicenters for the COVID-19 virus in the United States in the beginning of this ...

Posted in Legal Bites
City Inches Towards Making L.A. Al Fresco Program Permanent

On May 12, 2021, the Los Angeles City Council (the “Council”) took the first step towards making the popular L.A. Al Fresco outdoor dining program permanent. The Council voted 14-0 to approve a motion that directs various city agencies to issue reports with recommendations on how to transition the program to permanent status.

The Council instructed the Bureau of Engineering and Los Angeles Department of Transportation to “report in 60 days with recommendations to revise the Sidewalk Dining Program and the People St. Program, as appropriate, to expeditiously transition all ...

CDC Loosens Mask Mandate for Fully Vaccinated People

On May 13, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”) issued new guidance lifting mask restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals. Under the new guidance, people who are fully vaccinated may stop wearing masks or maintaining social distance in most outdoor and indoor settings. 

The CDC’s summary of changes states that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and ...

California Assembly Bill No. 80: Tax Treatment of Forgiven Paycheck Protection Program Loans

Our previous articles have summarized the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) created under the Federal CARES Act: CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program Loans, CARES Act: Loan Applications, CARES Act: Loan Forgiveness Applications and Consolidated Appropriations Act: Additional Paycheck Protection Program Loans.

This post provides information regarding California Assembly Bill No. 80 (the “Bill”), which conforms California tax law to Federal tax law on PPP loans.

The Bill received bi-partisan support, passing the California Assembly with a vote of 75-0 and ...

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Provides COBRA Premium Subsidies

Employers know that the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) provides an opportunity for group health plan continuation coverage to covered employees and their families upon the occurrence of a qualifying event, such as a termination of employment or a reduction in hours. The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) provides COBRA limited premium subsidies and new enrollment rights to certain Assistance Eligible Individuals. An Assistance Eligible Individual would not be required to pay COBRA premiums from April 1, 2021 through September 30 ...

Posted in Legal Bites
California Supreme Court Signals the End for Rounding Meal Break Time

As technology has advanced, employers routinely rely on electronic timekeeping software to ensure accurate record keeping. Such software often includes a setting to round employees’ time (typically to the nearest quarter hour) and is implemented as a result of either deliberate company policy or through inadvertent default. Regardless, employers should review these policies and settings following the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC.

In Donohue, the Court unequivocally held employers may no longer round an employee’s in and ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FTC Announces New Enforcement Actions for COVID-19

In April 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) emphasized its commitment to protecting consumers from unsubstantiated claims of products advertised to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. On April 29, 2021, the FTC announced an additional set of warning letters related to these types of claims. The FTC has now sent nearly 400 warning letters in ten sets to companies and individuals. According to the agency, “In the letters, the FTC states that one or more of the efficacy claims made by the marketers are unsubstantiated because they are not supported by scientific evidence ...

LA County to Move into Yellow Tier

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department (the “Department”) is expected to issue a new Public Health Officer order to officially move into the least restrictive “yellow tier” of California’s color-coded reopening system. The criteria for entering the yellow tier is less than 2% positivity and fewer than 1 daily new case per 100,000 county residents. The Order would be effective on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

On April 30, 2021, the Department made some modifications to the Public Health Order, lifting hours limitations on bars, breweries and ...

Posted in Legal Bites
The Increasing Popularity of Ghost Kitchens Raises Questions Over Restaurant Brands’ IP Protections

Since the inception of the pandemic, “ghost kitchens” – or shared commercial spaces which host multiple restaurant brands only serving food via delivery or takeout – have presented a surprising silver lining for both restaurateurs and commercial real estate owners alike. For commercial real estate owners, ghost kitchens present an invaluable opportunity to market real estate spaces that have otherwise lost value with the decline in brick and mortar retail. For restaurateurs, ghost kitchens provide significant savings on the rent and labor costs associated with a ...

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