The role of juries in adjudicating cases has long been the subject of consternation and debate by those in the legal system. In civil jury trials, the jury acts as the fact-finder and must determine the proper level of liability (and where applicable, damages) to assign the defendant. Much psychological research has focused on how to craft trial procedures to assist juries with this complex task. For example, providing juries with both preliminary and final jury instructions has been found to improve decision-making processes and trial outcomes by giving jurors a cognitive framework to assess the evidence presented at trial. Other studies have observed that simplifying jury instructions, as well as allowing jurors to take notes and ask questions, can improve both juror comprehension and satisfaction. But how do jurors come to a verdict once they are sent to deliberate?

Making do on its promise to “use every tool” in its arsenal to regulate artificial intelligence (‘AI”), the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) unanimously approved a resolution on November 21, 2023 authorizing the use of compulsory process in non-public investigations involving AI-related products and services. 

Posting on social media about businesses located in another state could give rise to personal jurisdiction in that state, according to a recent landmark opinion by a sharply divided Montana Supreme Court. In Groo v. Montana Eleventh Judicial District Court, the Court considered whether several Facebook posts made by Melissa Groo, a New York-based wildlife-photography ethicist, concerning Triple D Game Farm, a wildlife-photography farm in Montana, supported personal jurisdiction in an action by Triple D against Groo in Montana state court for tortious interference with contractual relations and prospective economic advantage. In the posts, Groo had tagged individuals and companies doing business with Triple D, three of whom resided in Montana, and encouraged them to cancel their business with the company because of its alleged mistreatment of animals. Four Justices found the posts sufficient to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over Groo; three dissented.

On October 18, 2023, Amazon filed a motion to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit alleging that the company deceived millions of consumers into nonconsensual Prime membership enrollment and thwarted members’ attempts to cancel their Prime subscriptions. In a heavily redacted complaint filed on June 21, 2023 in the Western District of Washington, the FTC charges Amazon with using “manipulative, coercive, or deceptive user-interface designs known as ‘dark patterns’ to trick consumers into enrolling in automatically-renewing Prime subscriptions,” in violation of the FTC Act and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (“ROSCA”). The FTC describes the Amazon platform as bombarding customers with options to sign up for Prime and obscuring options to shop without Prime, making non-Prime alternatives difficult for consumers to locate. In some cases, the FTC alleges, the button to complete a transaction did not clearly state the shopper was also agreeing to enroll in a recurring Prime subscription.

There is a time and place for everything, or so they say. Eminem and Too $hort are both somewhat polarizing artists. From songs such as Eminem’s “Cleaning Out My Closet” to Too $hort’s infamous “Blow The Whistle”, some of their more provocative music has been put in the spotlight in the workplace of an apparel manufacturer. Stephanie Sharp and six other employees, including one man, filed a hostile work environment claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act against their employer. The plaintiffs alleged that many employees, “mostly women”, complained to the employer about the “obscene and sexually offensive and misogynistic character” of the music being played in the workplace, even as far as various employees placing speakers on a forklift and driving around the facility blasting the music. However, notably, “a number of men” were also “offended by the manner in which the music portrayed men, and their relationships with women.” The employer argued that the conduct was not discriminatory on the basis of sex, emphasizing that “both men and women were offended by the work environment allegedly created by the music played in the warehouse.”

We have previously reported on changes the Law Commission was considering to the Arbitration Act 1996 (the Act). The Law Commission has now published its final report (the Final Report, available here).

The report draws to a close a review of English arbitration legislation that began in January 2022. A draft bill to implement the Commission’s conclusions and recommendations into law is provided with the report so it is now for the UK government to decide whether to introduce those changes to parliament.