As we have reported in our previous blog posts (“Beware the “Influencer”” and “The Price of Natural Cosmetics”), courts continue to wrestle with challenges to manufacturers’ claims that their products are “all natural.” Recently, California’s Central District Court added to the growing volume of decisions in this space. In Robinson v. Unilever United States, Inc., 2019 WL 2067941 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 25, 2019), the Court was tasked with resolving “100% natural” claims and “made with 100% natural” ingredients claims. The Robinson decision provides some insight into what types of “natural” claims may be permitted by trial courts and how they are reigning in consumer class actions.
The Ninth Circuit’s recent en banc decision in In re Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation, — F.3d —, 2019 WL 2376831 (9th Cir. Jun. 6, 2019), restored some much-needed balance to the class action universe. The court reversed the controversial 2018 panel decision that overturned a nationwide class settlement in a multidistrict litigation over car manufacturers’ fuel economy misrepresentations. The panel decision addressed the impact of potential variations in state law, holding the district court abused its discretion in approving the settlement and certifying a settlement class without conducting a rigorous choice-of-law analysis to determine whether the variations defeated predominance under FRCP 23(b)(3).
Our federal system and the often dysfunctional nature of Congress can be vexing for cutting-edge manufacturers. Emerging technologies are rarely addressed at the federal level, leaving states to pass piecemeal regulations that can frustrate even the most attentive compliance officers. If you’re bringing a product to market nationwide, you need to be aware of which states have the most stringent regulations. When it comes to biometrics, Illinois tops that list.
The Illinois Biometric Information Protection Act (BIPA) generally is considered the most stringent in the United States, and lawmakers in Florida and New York City are currently working on passing similar measures. So just what is the current state of biometric data privacy in Illinois? The answer lies in three rather unexpected topics: roller coasters, robot dogs, and pizza.
The proliferation of social media has transformed the world in many ways including how people communicate, becoming a preferred vehicle for political discourse and an important source of information in litigation. It has also changed the way companies market their products. Gifting “influencers” with products to promote in their posts has proven to be a successful marketing strategy for increasing brand awareness. However, companies may be held accountable for claims made by influencers about their products.
Third-party payor (TPP) claims against pharmaceutical companies are nothing new. The arguments are common – TPP insurers claim financial injury arising out of payments made for alleged medically unnecessary prescriptions written for numerous insureds/ beneficiaries. In some instances, the TPP plaintiffs point to evidence or allegations of off-label promotional activity to support the claims of lack of medical necessity; and sometimes the TPP plaintiffs attempt to bolster their allegations of “medically unnecessary” prescriptions by advancing a variation of the garden variety failure-to-warn narrative:
Alternatives to traditional food products have increased in availability, number, variety and popularity over the last decade. So where does this leave consumers and the regulators who are tasked with ensuring food safety? The Ninth Circuit has held that the reasonable consumer can digest the differences between almonds and cows.
In a world where consumers are more health-conscious and eco-friendly than ever, products containing artificial ingredients have become less attractive. Consumers are looking for natural alternatives, and the cosmetics industry is no exception. The recent boom of all-natural products has coincided with a rise in litigation. Like the food industry, cosmetic companies are learning that marketing products as “natural” comes with a price.
The Central District of California recently issued an opinion that breathes new life into the argument that the § 510(k) substantial equivalence process for Class II medical devices involves an FDA finding of safety and effectiveness. It is part of a trend of recent federal cases giving credence to the § 510(k) process, which could have significant implications for punitive damages claims brought against manufacturers of Class II devices.