Minding Your Business

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

The “Truth Hurts”: Judge Rules Lizzo is 100% That [Copyright Owner]

Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California recently awarded singer Lizzo a major victory in a copyright dispute concerning the artist’s hit song “Truth Hurts.” In her ruling, Judge Gee dismissed with prejudice a claim that Lizzo must share copyright ownership of “Truth Hurts” with the plaintiffs in the case, because the co-ownership claim was based only on the plaintiffs’ contributions to a prior independent work. See Melissa Jefferson v. Justin Raisen et al. Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Remands Price Gouging Case, Allows Kentucky AG to Resume Investigations

The Sixth Circuit issued its opinion in the Online Merchants Guild v. Cameron case on April 29, 2021, dissolving a preliminary injunction that had prevented the Kentucky Attorney General from investigating alleged violations of Kentucky’s price gouging laws, and remanding to the district court for further proceedings. Continue Reading

Uber Can’t Compel Arbitration of PAGA Claim According to California Court

On April 21, 2021, the Second Appellate District of the Court of Appeal of the State of California filed an unpublished opinion rejecting Uber’s attempt to enforce an arbitration provision that waived an employee’s right to bring a claim under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). This statute authorizes “aggrieved employees” to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties from employers for violations of the California labor code. Continue Reading

Updates to Price Gouging States of Emergency

Over a year ago, states of emergency were declared across the country. Such emergency declarations are often the trigger for state pricing restrictions.  Tracking the start and end of the emergency declarations is essential for interpreting the pricing restrictions they impose. For instance, in Oklahoma, the pricing restrictions remain in place throughout the duration of the emergency, and extend for 30 days after the state of emergency has terminated. Proskauer’s Price Gouging Coast to Coast Reference Guide has been updated to reflect new states of emergency dates and legislative changes. Continue Reading

Another Court Gets on (Hover) Board with Online Marketplace Liability for Defective Products

In two prior blog posts, we covered how online marketplaces, like Amazon, are being held responsible for defective and counterfeit products sold on their platforms.  In the latest development in this space, California’s Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District) determined that Amazon could be held strictly liable for injuries a consumer suffered from a defective hoverboard she bought from the retailer, even though Amazon neither manufactured nor sold the product.  Loomis v. Amazon.com LLC. Continue Reading

The FTC’s Enforcement Power: How AMG Reshapes the Landscape

In a unanimous opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Section 13(b) of the FTC Act does not authorize the Federal Trade Commission to seek monetary relief in the form of restitution or disgorgement, despite the agency’s redoubled practice of seeking such relief under the Act since 2012. The Court’s opinion significantly reshapes the FTC’s process for obtaining money judgments from defendants. The FTC will now most likely turn to Section 19 of the Act as its enforcement mechanism for obtaining monetary remedies, which requires the FTC to undertake several additional steps prior to commencing an action.

Read the full client alert here.

A Comedy of Errors Sinks a Local Government’s Price Gouging Case

In a case of mistaken identity and a web of conflicting testimony, a Fresno local business successfully appealed a price gouging fine.  The saga between the store and the City of Fresno offers insights in the importance of maintaining proper business records to defend potential price gouging allegations.

On April 8, 2021, an Administrative Hearing Officer for the City of Fresno, California dismissed an Administrative Citation issued by the City Attorney’s Office against a local business for allegedly price gouging.  City Inspectors issued the $10,000 citation in March 2020 while Fresno was under a State of Emergency.  The store owner appealed the fine, and after a virtual hearing, the Hearing Officer determined that the City had not met its burden of proving each element of the case against the business. Continue Reading

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