Kelly Landers Hawthorne
Kelly Landers Hawthorne is an associate in the Litigation Department and a member of the Antitrust and Product Liability groups. She represents clients in litigations and due diligence across a range of industries, including consumer products, life sciences, healthcare, education, hospitality, sports and entertainment.
Kelly also maintains a diverse pro bono practice. She received Proskauer’s Golden Gavel Award for excellence in pro bono work in 2019.
She is a frequent contributor to Proskauer’s Minding Your Business blog, where she authors articles related to price gouging issues.
Kelly is also a member of the Proskauer Women’s Alliance Steering Committee, where she serves on subcommittees focused on highlighting and providing professional development opportunities for women at the firm.
Prior to her legal career, Kelly was a Teach For America corps member and taught middle school in Washington, DC.
While at Columbia Law School, Kelly served as an articles editor of the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts and interned for the Honorable Sandra Townes of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
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In an unsigned per curiam opinion yesterday in Gonzalez v. Google, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s judgment— which had held that plaintiffs’ complaint was barred by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – and remanded it. But the Court’s opinion entirely skirted a highly-anticipated issue: whether Section 230 does, in fact, … Continue Reading
The Supreme Court heard oral argument last week in cases that will have extensive implications for online platforms, and, more broadly, for internet speech across the board. Gonzalez v. Google, in particular, may result in a first-of-its-kind clarification of the scope of 47 U.S.C. § 230. … Continue Reading
Antitrust claims in a class action case filed against Amazon in U.S. Federal District Court will largely proceed, after the Court allowed most of the consumers’ pricing claims to survive a motion for summary judgment. The Court dismissed a Sherman Act claim, but allowed most other claims to proceed. Of particular note, Amazon’s “most favored … Continue Reading
One of the bellwether price gouging cases from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic was recently reversed and remanded by New York’s First Judicial Department of the Appellate Division. New York Attorney General Letitia James announced in May 2020 that her office had filed a lawsuit against a wholesale grocery distributor – Quality King … Continue Reading
Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and California have taken recent steps to further protect the infant formula market from price gouging. On June 7, 2022, the D.C. Council passed the “Infant Formula Consumer Protection Emergency Act.” The Act, which will remain in effect for 90 days, targets companies selling baby formula at extremely high prices. The … Continue Reading
On May 24, 2022, the FTC announced a widespread inquiry into the ongoing infant formula shortage. The agency had been tasked by the White House with investigating any price gouging or unfair market practices in the industry. The agency is seeking public comments on “various factors that may have contributed to the infant formula shortage…as … Continue Reading
Many companies have increased prices in recent months. Reportedly, across the economy, prices “rose by 5 percent in May compared with a year ago.” Restaurants are raising prices to cover the cost of increases in wages in a tight labor market. The prices of used and rental cars are quickly rising, due to low inventory … Continue Reading
Last week, gas stations across much of the Southeast saw shortages, demand spikes, and price increases after a cyberattack on a major gasoline pipeline. Proskauer’s price gouging team authored a Law360 article addressing the lessons learned from the past year’s emergencies — whether related to COVID-19 or natural disasters — to analyze the grounds for … Continue Reading
Class actions plaintiffs and state enforcers have tried to use state price gouging laws to hold online retailers accountable for prices set by third parties. It remains unclear, however, whether platforms will—or can, under the current legal frameworks—be held liable for price increases made by third party vendors. One of the key cases that could … Continue Reading
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
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 … Continue Reading
On March 18, 2021, retailer Union Square Supply, Inc. filed a civil rights class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York challenging New York City’s price gouging enforcement practices. The complaint alleges that defendants are responsible for “the creation and maintenance of an illegal and unconstitutional penalty enforcement scheme, abuse of emergency powers, … Continue Reading
Almost a year into the business disruptions caused by the pandemic, businesses continue to find ways to adapt and to comply with new pricing restrictions. Some of these changes relate to additional costs that businesses may need to pass along to consumers — at least in part. Given what we have seen in recent months, … Continue Reading
As companies continue to examine their pricing in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, state attorneys general and private plaintiffs continue to bring suits under state price gouging laws. The complaints include requests for a range of remedies, including injunctions, disgorgement, restitution, fines, or other financial penalties. With the majority of price gouging laws having … Continue Reading
The gravity of the pandemic is palpable, and seemingly constant news about it is hard to escape, with recent reports including updates on the availability of vaccines, the changing scope of various stay-at-home orders, and the perceived risks of new COVID-19 variants. But there will come a time—perhaps sooner than the pessimists predict—when this will … Continue Reading
Businesses regularly engage in promotional pricing and discounts as a sales strategy to attract customers. However, what happens if a business enacted a promotional price right before the pandemic struck and price gouging laws were triggered? Are those businesses stuck with those promotional prices until states of emergency come to an end and price gouging … Continue Reading
In some ways, it feels like the country is moving into another phase of how we experience the COVID-19 pandemic. With two vaccines in distribution, and more vaccine approvals possible, the pandemic could very well be effectively managed much sooner than experts initially feared. Given the light the end of the tunnel, it is worth … Continue Reading
On November 18, 2020 the Idaho Attorney General entered into a settlement agreement with three gasoline retailers following an investigation into alleged price gouging. The settlement agreement, which focuses largely on the unique restitution system it creates, discloses that the allegations in the case stemmed from the companies’ motor fuel prices following Idaho’s declaration of … Continue Reading
The roll-out of vaccine approvals has led to some confusion over what charges consumers might be asked to cover. This echoes the confusion previously discussed with respect to COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody test pricing. But consumers, providers, and others that will have any involvement with vaccine production, distribution, or administration should be aware that the Coronavirus … Continue Reading
Reports of restaurants adding a “COVID surcharge” have become widespread during the pandemic. In recent months, cities and states across the nation have implemented a number of measures designed to help struggling restaurants adapt to the new normal. These include allowing restaurants to implement a “surcharge,” as well as capping fees that third-party delivery services … Continue Reading
On November 24, 2020, a class action price gouging claim was filed against a California based operator of casual fine dining restaurants. The class action lawsuit against Hillstone Restaurant Group alleges price gouging in violation of California Penal Code §396. According to the lawsuit, “Hillstone engaged in unfair and unlawful business practices by increasing its … Continue Reading
Companies that sell consumer products worldwide should note the growing convergence between Brazil and the United States for the use of anticompetitive practices laws to prosecute price gouging. The Brazilian Competition Law (Law No. 12,529/2011) prohibits a non-exhaustive list of anticompetitive practices, including engaging in acts that “arbitrarily increase profits.” Brazil’s antitrust authority, Conselho Administrativo … Continue Reading
Many are asking how long states of emergency can continue to be renewed, and whether such extended renewals are permissible or valid. Given the lack of comparable precedent, there is some uncertainty around the issue. Expectations are that while some courts are likely to defer to the use of extraordinary executive power, not all will … Continue Reading
On November 12, 2020, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against Capitol Petroleum Group, LLC (“CPG”), a retailer and distributor of gasoline in the District. According to Attorney General Racine, CPG overcharged its customers for gasoline in violation of the Natural Disaster Consumer Protection Act (“NDCPA”). This is the latest example of aggressive … Continue Reading