Minding Your Business

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

Tag Archives: State of Emergency

FTC Announces Inquiry into the Infant Formula Shortage

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

Revisiting Price Gouging Compliance

With the Biden administration ramping up scrutiny on supply chains and pricing practices, businesses should take a moment to revisit their COVID-19 price gouging compliance.  As we’ve previously highlighted, risk management with ever-shifting price gouging restrictions requires careful consideration of documentation and oversight of pricing practices and decisions. For reputable companies up and down the … Continue Reading

Price Gouging Updates: Warren Accuses Large Corporations of Price Gouging; Plaintiffs Respond in Amazon Price Gouging Case

In an interview on All In with Chris Hayes in January, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., claimed that a factor causing the high prices facing U.S. consumers is “giant corporations who say, wow, a lot of talk about high prices and inflation. This is a chance to get in there and not only pass along costs, … Continue Reading

What the Omicron Variant Could Mean For Price Gouging Enforcement in New York

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has declared a disaster emergency for the state through January 15, 2022 in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in the state and the newly identified Omicron variant. According to The Wall Street Journal, New York is the first state to declare a state of emergency in response to Omicron, … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

E-Commerce Platform Facing Price Gouging Scrutiny

In the early days of the pandemic, COVID-19 was synonymous with a mad dash for anti-virus home items like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and anti-bacterial wipes. Amazon emerged from the shopping frenzy as key source of these products and hosts of others. Even as many states are lifting states of emergency, businesses active during the … Continue Reading

New York’s Overlapping Price Gouging Laws

On June 24, 2021, New York celebrated the lifting on most COVID-19 restrictions. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the COVID-19 state of emergency would officially expire. With the expiration of the emergency declaration, the state of New York’s price gouging restrictions were also lifted. The New York price gouging statute provides for certain pricing restrictions “during … Continue Reading

Hard to Say Goodbye: States Are Slowly Lifting States of Emergency

In recent weeks many states have either started lifting pricing restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic or announced their plans to do so. Still, some state governments have indicated that they will continue to hold pricing restrictions in place as a means of protecting consumer welfare as people return to normal spending habits … Continue Reading

A Note of Caution: Inflation, Price Increases, and the Lingering States of Emergencies

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

COVID Winds Down, but States Ramp Up Price Gouging Legislation

Even as Governors lift mask mandates and sporting events welcome fans to stadiums, some states are revisiting their price gouging laws.  Recently, several states have advanced legislation to amend or create price gouging statutes.  State governments are learning from experiences during COVID-19 emergencies and some are proposing legislation to adjust the scope, definitions, and penalties … Continue Reading

Is the Pipeline Interruption a Price Gouging Issue?

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

Amazon to Arbitrate Price Gouging Class Action, Leaving Open Questions of Platform Liability

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

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

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading
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