Posted in Legal Bites
FTC Seeks $5.5 Million Penalties for Deceptive Environmental Claims

On April 8, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it was using its Penalty Offense Authority to seek a $5.5 million penalty for deceptive environmental claims against Kohl’s, Inc. ($2.5 million) and Walmart, Inc. ($3 million).

The FTC charged both companies with falsely marketing dozens of rayon textile products as bamboo and with claiming that the bamboo textiles were made using eco-friendly processes when the process actually used toxic chemicals and resulted in hazardous pollutants.

The proposed orders settling the FTC’s complaints against ...

Cal/OSHA Standards Board Planning to Adopt New COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards

The Cal/OSHA Standards Board has scheduled a meeting for April 21, 2022, to adopt a third version of the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). The proposed changes will serve to modify several portions of the ETS, including: face-covering standards; testing requirements for individuals returning to work after testing positive and not developing any symptoms; employer testing requirements; cleaning and disinfection requirements; and the guidelines to follow for exclusion from and returning to work criteria. If passed, the third readoption would be the final version ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FDA to Investigate and Issue Guidance on "Healthy" Labeling

On March 25, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) announced a public process to update the “health” nutrient content claim for food labeling. This process will include the agency’s review of a voluntary symbol that could be used to convey that a product meets the criteria for the nutrient content claim “healthy.”

The FDA issued a request for information on “healthy” labeling more than five years ago on September 28, 2016 and held a public meeting on March 9, 2017, but did not issue a new proposed rule. Until FDA issues guidance, food manufacturers can ...

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Arbitrability of California's Private Attorneys’ General Act Under Federal Arbitration Act

Since the California Supreme Court’s ruling in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC in 2014, it has been widely understood that Private Attorneys’ General Act (“PAGA”) actions cannot be subject to employment arbitration agreements. The rationale for this decision has been that PAGA actions are unique in that the employee that brings the claim is not acting in an individual capacity, but rather acts as a representative for the Attorney General on behalf of the State of California.  For that reason, the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), which would otherwise preempt ...

LA Drops Proof-of-Vaccine Requirements

On March 30, 2022, the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 to end the City’s mandate requiring customers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to use indoor facilities at restaurants, bars, gyms, personal care establishments, and entertainment facilities. The ordinance passed with an urgency clause, so it will go into effect as soon as it is signed by the mayor.  Individual businesses are still permitted to voluntarily require proof of vaccination if they choose to do so. The SafePassLA program mandating proof of vaccination has been in effect since November 8, 2021. Los Angeles ...

Posted in Legal Bites
SCOTUS Will Hear Challenge to California’s Farm Confinement Law

On March 28, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States granted a petition for a writ of certiorari in the case of National Pork Producers, et. al. v. Karen Ross, 21-468.  

The order means that the Supreme Court will hear a constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 12 farm animal confinement law. Proposition 12 was passed by California voters in 2018 as a ballot initiative.  The law prohibits confining certain farm animals (egg-laying hens, veal calves, and breeding pigs) in a cruel manner, and prohibits the sale of products from farm animals confined in a cruel manner in ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Ninth Circuit Rejects Insurance Coverage for COVID Losses

On March 16, 2022, the Ninth Circuit joined other appellate courts in finding that restaurants were not entitled to insurance coverage for losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.  A panel of judges issued an unpublished opinion affirming a district court opinion that the pandemic and pandemic-related shutdown orders did not cause direct physical loss or damage within the meaning of the insurance policy at issue.

The case, Steven Baker v. Oregon Mutual Insurance Co., 21-51097, came upon appeal from the San Francisco District Court. Plaintiff was a San Francisco café seeking ...

LA City Council Takes First Step to End Proof-of-Vaccine Requirements

On March 9, 2022, the Los Angeles City Council held a special meeting to discuss amending the City’s proof-of-vaccine requirement. The Council voted to direct the City Attorney to prepare a new ordinance making the verification of vaccine cards voluntary for covered locations and removing the requirement for large outdoor events.  Covered locations include restaurants with indoor dining, gyms, personal care establishments, and entertainment and recreation facilities.  The motion passed 12-0, with 3 absent members.  The Council did not hold a discussion on this matter before ...

Does your Insurance Policy Protect you from Email Spoofing?

Your CFO or accounts payable clerk receives a legitimate-looking email supposedly from the company’s president authorizing a wire transfer to a vendor or business partner. In reliance on that email, the company’s bank is directed to wire funds to that account. It is later revealed that the president was impersonated by an email scammer and the company’s money was wired to the scammer’s offshore bank account.

This practice, known as “spoofing", is widespread and is growing. According to data security firm Proofpoint, it is estimated that 3.1 billion domain spoofing ...

The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 is Now Law

President Biden has signed H.R.4445, known as the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021”, into law. The law amends the Federal Arbitration Act to state that, at the election of the person alleging conduct constituting sexual harassment or sexual assault, or the named representative of a class or in a collective action alleging such conduct, no predispute arbitration agreement or predispute joint-action waiver will be valid or enforceable with respect to such cases as filed under federal, tribal, or state law. The law further provides ...

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