On June 15, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition issued a statement on the relationship between voluntary interviews with the agency and contractual provisions that require or limit the disclosure of information. The Bureau explains that voluntary interviews are a key aspect of investigations because they “are essential to help [them] understand real-world dynamics and effects,” and “reduce unnecessary burdens on marketplace stakeholders and Bureau staff.” In the statement, the Bureau asserts that certain contractual restrictions impede investigations, and should be considered void.
The Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), was enacted to make federal courts the primary venue for class action litigation. It did so by modifying the usual jurisdictional requirements of the diversity jurisdiction statute. Under CAFA, federal courts may exercise removal jurisdiction over state law class actions originally filed in state court so long as there is “minimal” rather than “complete” diversity, and the amount in controversy is greater than $5 million.
ChatGPT may be smart enough to pass the bar exam, but lawyers should take caution before relying on the Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) platform to conduct any legal business.
On June 22, 2023, Judge P. Kevin Castel of the Southern District of New York released a lengthy order sanctioning two attorneys for submitting a brief drafted by ChatGPT. Judge Castel reprimanded the attorneys, explaining that while “there is nothing inherently improper about using a reliable artificial intelligence tool for assistance,” the attorneys “abandoned their responsibilities” by submitting a brief littered with fake judicial opinions, quotes and citations.
Last month saw the end of the second round of the UK Law Commission’s consultation on reform of the Arbitration Act 1996, the legislation which provides the framework for arbitration in England and Wales. We have reported on the current status of the consultation and are watching for the final recommendations.
England is one of the most popular jurisdictions for commercial parties to resolve disputes through arbitration: London and Paris were ranked as the top two preferred cities in the world in 2022. To ensure England’s arbitration regime remains modern and competitive, the Law Commission – a body responsible for considering and recommending legislative change to the UK government – is currently considering updates to the legal framework of arbitration in England & Wales, the Arbitration Act 1996 (the Act).
A welcome change may be afoot for New York lawmakers, as New York Senate Bill S5162 recently passed the Senate and Assembly judiciary committees. The bill, which may soon be delivered to the Governor for signature, would amend CPLR 2106 to streamline the civil action process, ending the current notarization requirement to allow anyone to sign an affirmation sworn under penalty of perjury in place of an affidavit in a civil action within the state. Specifically, S5162 would amend CPLR 2106 to read as follows:
On June 8, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products, LLC and provided some clarity as to the applicability of the “Rogers test,” a doctrine that grapples with the interplay of trademark law and the First Amendment. The case involved a trademark dispute between Jack Daniel’s Properties, the maker of the famous whiskey, and VIP, a dog toy company that makes and sells a product called “Bad Spaniels.” The Bad Spaniels squeaky toy is in the shape of a whiskey bottle and has a black label with white font similar to Jack Daniel’s; in place of “Old No. 7 Brand Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey,” the toy reads, “The Old No. 2 On Your Tennessee Carpet.” After VIP initially filed suit against Jack Daniel’s seeking declaratory judgment that the product did not infringe on Jack Daniel’s trademarks, Jack Daniel’s brought counterclaims under the Lanham Act for trademark infringement and trademark dilution.