Minding Your Business

Proskauer’s perspective on developments and trends in commercial litigation.

Disgorgement Continues at the SEC

On October 12, 2021, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a disgorgement order issued by the SEC, in—according to the opinion— the first appellate ruling on the topic since the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Liu v. SEC. Commercial litigators involved in securities disputes should take note that parallel actions with the SEC can still result in disgorgement.

Read the full post on Proskauer’s Corporate Defense and Disputes blog.

Ninth Circuit Splits From the Second, Third and Fourth Circuits in “Brain Twister” Arbitration Case

Arbitration provisions are common features of commercial agreements.  Arbitration is often touted as a cost-effective alternative to litigation that provides contract parties the freedom to decide everything from what law the arbitrator should apply, to what issues the arbitrator should resolve.  The parties can even delegate to the arbitrator the issue of what should and should not be arbitrated (also known as arbitrability issues) by incorporating a delegation clause in their arbitration agreement.

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Litigation Update on Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act

Earlier this year, we reported on the potential breeding ground for litigation under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”).  A recent decision from an Illinois state appellate panel on the different limitations periods that apply to BIPA provides guidance for companies faced with a BIPA lawsuit and the arguments they can make on a motion to dismiss.

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English High Court Clarifies Appropriate Causes of Action in Data Claim Where Defendant Was a Victim of Third-Party Cyber-Attack

In the recent and significant Warren v DSG Retail Ltd [2021] EWHC 2168 (QB) decision the High Court in England clarified the limited circumstances in which claims for breach of confidence, misuse of private information and the tort of negligence might be advanced by individuals for compensation for distress relating to a cyber-security breach where the proposed defendant was itself a victim of a third-party cyber-attack. The decision has made it harder to bring free standing/non-statutory cyber-security breach claims in England and Wales where the proposed defendant has not positively caused the breach, and has also brought into question how such claims may be funded going forward (particularly, via “After-the-Event insurance” (“ATE insurance”)).

Read the full post on Proskauer’s Privacy Law blog.

State Infringement of Copyright Cannot Proceed in Federal Court, Fifth Circuit Says

When there is a right, there is a remedy—or so the maxim goes.  But when a state infringes upon your copyright, such a remedy may be more difficult to obtain.  Just a year ago, the Supreme Court held in Allen v. Cooper that the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act did not abrogate a state’s sovereign immunity, and therefore, absent consent, sovereign immunity prevents suits for copyright infringement against a state.  Are there any exceptions to this rule?  Are there alternatives causes of action or remedies available?  That is the question plaintiffs-appellants posed in Canada Hockey, L.L.C. v. Texas A&M Univ. Athletic Dep’t.  And the answer, at least in federal court in the Fifth Circuit, is no, though the Fifth Circuit left open the possibility for recovery in state court.

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Online Marketplaces Could Expose Third-Party Sellers to Price Gouging Liability

On July 2, 2021, a group of consumers filed a putative class action in Washington District Court alleging Amazon engaged in unlawful price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic on a variety of products. The case is noteworthy because Washington does not have a specific price gouging statute. Instead, plaintiffs argue that the alleged price gouging is an “unfair or deceptive act[] or practice[] in the conduct of any trade or commerce” in violation of Washington Consumer Protection Act (“WCPA”). Commentators have speculated that one of the purposes for filing in Washington is to pursue, in a state court, nationwide damages from Amazon.

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Minnesota Files Price Gouging Suit Against Egg Producer

Although many states of emergency have expired, new lawsuits that allege price gouging continue to be filed.  On September 3, 2021, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a complaint in Minnesota state court against Sparboe Farms, Inc. alleging the company engaged in price gouging for the sale of eggs in violation of the Minnesota Governor’s executive order.

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