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United States of America

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In brief In Esparza v. Kohl’s, Inc., Plaintiff brought a putative class action accusing Kohl’s of allowing a third party to unlawfully eavesdrop on him while he had a brief conversation with an agent on a chat feature on Kohl’s website. Kohl’s moved to dismiss all claims, but the United States District Court for the Southern District of California granted the motion only as to the claims for violation of the California Constitution and intrusion upon…

On March 18, 2024, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced that it settled charges against two investment advisers for making false and misleading statements about their purported use of artificial intelligence (AI). This SEC enforcement action marks the latest efforts by securities regulators to combat the adverse effects of “AI washing” and confirms that AI, and particularly “AI washing”, is at the forefront of securities regulators’ minds. What is “AI washing”?…

In brief In 2018, following an investigation, the FTC filed a complaint in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Simple Health Plans LLC and several related companies (collectively, “Simple Health”), as well as the companies’ then-CEO and founder. Then, in 2022, the DOJ indicted three former Simple Health executives — again the then-CEO, its VP of Sales, and its Chief Compliance Officer — in the Southern District of Illinois. The…

For nearly a decade, plaintiffs have been filing lawsuits over the alleged environmental and health consequences associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — sometimes called forever chemicals. Initially, these lawsuits were largely against early manufacturers of Teflon and other common household products. But this landscape is rapidly changing. Recently, the range of lawsuits and companies targeted has expanded to include not only manufacturers but also other companies in the chain of commerce — including those…

In brief Baker McKenzie’s recent victory in the United States Supreme Court in Yegiazarian v. Smagin, 143 S. Ct., 1900 (22 June 2023), opens the door for non-US plaintiffs to pursue RICO claims when seeking to enforce a judgment or assert claims against U.S. parties or assets. Although the plaintiff in this case was the holder of a foreign arbitration award, the Court’s holding suggests that any foreign plaintiff asserting a claim against or seeking to…

In brief On July 13, 2023, Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York issued an Order on competing motions for summary judgment in the closely followed SEC v. Ripple Labs, Inc. litigation. As the first court decision to broadly address the question of whether a cryptocurrency itself is a security, as the SEC has maintained in most circumstances, the Order may have broad implications to the state of crypto industry regulation in the US.…

In brief In Ashley Popa v. Harriet Carter Gifts, Inc., the Third Circuit reversed a Pennsylvania district court’s grant of summary judgment for defendants on claims that a shopping website and a marketing service violated Pennsylvania anti-wiretapping law by collecting and sharing records of the plaintiff’s digital activities without her consent. This decision is significant because it increases the risk that sharing of electronic data with third-party entities without the consent of the website visitor could…

In brief On 11 May 2023, GCI Communications Corp. (GCI) agreed to pay more than USD 40 million to the US government to settle allegations that it submitted false claims to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by knowingly inflating its prices in a competitive bidding program regulated by the FCC. The investigation began when a former GCI employee, Robert Taylor, filed a qui tam action against the company under the False Claims Act (FCA) after…

In brief The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it reached a settlement in its litigation challenge against ASSA ABLOY AB’s (“Assa Abloy”) proposed USD 4.3 billion acquisition of Spectrum Brand Holding Inc.’s Hardware and Home Improvement division (“Spectrum”). [1] The settlement, which came in the middle of trial and is now subject to court approval, is the first negotiated settlement under DOJ Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter. Notably, comments from the…

In brief On 13 April 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a letter containing a Notice of Penalty Offenses Concerning Substantiation of Product Claims to approximately 670 advertisers, putting each company on notice that deceiving consumers with advertisements that make unsubstantiated product claims could subject the company to civil penalties of up to USD 50,120 per violation under 15 U.S.C. § 45(m)(1)(B). The FTC noted that, while the initial distribution of the Notice was specific to those making…