Retail & Consumer Products Law Observer

Retail & Consumer Products Law Observer

Legal Insight for the Retail and Consumer Products Industry

Crowell & Moring

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California Lawsuits Over Seating for Employees Not Limited to Cashiers

Posted in Labor & Employment
Recent months have shown a dramatic increase in suits against retailers by cashiers seeking seats at work. The influx results from two California Court of Appeal decisions in late 2010 that permitted the plaintiff cashiers to pursue suits against their employers for not providing seating. Several suits filed since then come from cashiers seeking to… Continue Reading

Crowell & Moring to Partner with Association of Corporate Counsel to Host Webcast Series on Retail Law

Posted in Antitrust & Claims Recovery
On Thursday, May 5th at 11am PST / 2pm EST, Crowell & Moring’s Retail Law practice will partner with the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) to host the first webcast of a 3-part retail law series. The topic of the first webcast is “Recovery Opportunities for Retailers:  Turning A Retail Law Department Into A Profit Center… Continue Reading

Crowell & Moring to Host Reception During ICANN 40 Conference in San Francisco (Thursday, March 17)

Posted in IP/Brand Protection
On the occasion of ICANN 40, Crowell & Moring will be hosting a reception at the Press Club in San Francisco. ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is holding its conference in San Francisco from March 13-18. ICANN is currently in the process of expanding the suffixes used for internet domain names.… Continue Reading

Food Safety Legislation Highlights Importance of Supply Chain Management for Food Retailers

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Consumer Class Action
On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”) (Pub. L. No. 111-353, 124 Stat. 3885 (2011)), representing the most substantial overhaul of food safety law in decades. FSMA increases oversight at various points along the supply chain, including production, storage, distribution, and importation. Because the supply chain is… Continue Reading

California Delays Implementation of Green Chemistry Initiative

Posted in Environment & Natural Resources
California has delayed the effective date of new regulations drafted to implement the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative. As discussed in our blog post of November 22, 2010, California planned to implement the regulations on January 1, 2011. If the regulations had been implemented on that date, how companies designed and manufactured consumer products sold, offered… Continue Reading

Proposed Fashion Design Copyright Legislation In Congress

Posted in IP/Brand Protection
Current United States Copyright Law does not protect the overall appearance of fashion design.  However, if the sponsors of a pending Senate bill have their way, that might change in the near future. Copyright law protects original works of authorship but expressly does not protect what are known as “useful articles.”   Unfortunately for fashion designers,… Continue Reading

California’s Broad Predatory Pricing Law May Make It Easier to Bring Suits Against California Retailers and Manufacturers

Posted in Antitrust & Claims Recovery
The California Supreme Court has let stand an appellate court ruling that allows for broad interpretation of California state predatory pricing law. Significantly, the case holds that proof of recoupment is not required to prevail in predatory pricing cases. This broad interpretation means that it will be easier to bring predatory pricing cases against California… Continue Reading

U.S. Retailers File Price-Fixing Lawsuit Against LCD Makers

Posted in Antitrust & Claims Recovery
On November 1, a number of large U.S. retailers, including Target, Sears, Kmart, RadioShack, Newegg, and the former CompUSA, filed an antitrust lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of California, alleging that they were injured as a result of a global price-fixing conspiracy by the major manufacturers of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) panels. The… Continue Reading

EU Retailers Fail to Reply to “Right to Know” Requests from Consumers Under REACH

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, EU Regulation, International Trade
The new EU REACH Regulation establishes an integrated system for the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemical substances. It also provides “right to know” provisions allowing consumers to ask suppliers if their products contain Substances of Very High Concern (“SVHCs”) listed on an official Candidate List. Suppliers are obliged to reply within 45 days and free… Continue Reading

Changes Coming to Domain Name Practices

Posted in IP/Brand Protection
The Internet naming system will soon undergo profound change. Early in 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) intends to liberalize the Internet’s current naming hierarchy by enabling a large number of generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) to be added to the existing system. That means that you – and your competitors –… Continue Reading


Posted in Uncategorized
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and… Continue Reading


Posted in Uncategorized
While we are happy to have you contact us, merely communicating with Crowell & Moring LLP or a Crowell & Moring lawyer does not create a lawyer-client relationship unless and until an agreement has been reached between you and the firm to handle a particular matter. Please do not convey to us any information you… Continue Reading

Retailers Face Limits on Sale of Thermostats in California Starting July 1, 2009

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources
Extended Product Responsibility (EPR) Programs Take Effect and Are Subject of Pending Legislation in California The Summary: Retailers selling any thermostats to customers in California are expected to check the website of a state agency to see whether particular manufacturers have been listed as failing to comply with a 2008 state law mandating collection programs… Continue Reading

Landlord Entitled To Liquidated Damages Based On Loss Of Synergy, Goodwill And Patronage Resulting From Closure Of “National Tenant’s” Store

Posted in Real Estate
Case: El Centro Mall, LLC v. Payless Shoesource, Inc., Cal. Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three, No. G040038 (May 21, 2009) The One Sentence Summary: In an action by landlord El Centro Mall seeking liquidated damages of $98,000 based on defendant Payless Shoesource’s closure of its store before expiration of the lease term, Payless… Continue Reading

Costco Allowed to Protect Its Suppliers’ Identities as Trade Secrets In a Manufacturer’s “Unauthorized Retailer” Action

Posted in IP/Brand Protection
Case: Citizens of Humanity, LLC v. Costco Wholesale Corp., Cal. Court of Appeal, Second District No. B204117 (2/11/09) The One Sentence Summary: In a manufacturer’s suit challenging Costco’s sale of high end jeans intended for sale only at authorized retailers, Costco was allowed to keep secret the names of its suppliers as a trade secret.… Continue Reading

Court Upholds New York Law Requiring Out-of-State Retailers to Collect New York Sales Tax

Posted in Taxes
Case: LLC and Amazon Services LLC v. New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Index No. 601247/08 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. 2009) The One Sentence Summary: A New York court dismissed’s suit challenging the constitutionality of a recently enacted New York State law requiring out-of-state companies, including those engaging exclusively in e-commerce, to… Continue Reading

State Appellate Court Vacates Class Action Settlement Due to Court’s Failure to Independently Analyze Fairness of Settlement.

Posted in Labor & Employment
Case: Kullar v. Foot Locker Retail Inc., Case No. A119697 (Cal. Ct. App. 11/7/08) The One Sentence Summary: Approval of a $2 million settlement in a wage-and-hour class action against a retailer was vacated because the trial court failed to independently analyze the evidence and circumstances surrounding the settlement. What They Were Fighting About: Defendant… Continue Reading

Class Action for Deceptive Advertising Was Improper Where Individual Buying Decisions Would Need Proof

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Consumer Class Action
Case: Thorogood v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., Seventh Cir. No. 08-1590 (10/28/08) The One Sentence Summary: Class action certification was reversed because allegations of deceptive advertising in the sale of Sears Kenmore washing machines with stainless steel drums would require individual determinations of whether buyers were deceived, and deception was unlikely where advertisements did not… Continue Reading