Federal & State Regulatory

At a hearing of the Antitrust Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) emphasized the need for broad antitrust reform. While she rallied bipartisan support to supplement antitrust budgets and encountered little opposition for helping news outlets bargain with social media, prospects for her sweeping S. 225, the Competition and Antitrust

In a significant but unsurprising move, the CFPB announced today that it was rescinding a policy statement issued in January 2020 that sought to tether the Bureau’s “abusive” authority to certain limiting principles.  The move signals that the Bureau is likely to interpret its authority to prevent “abusive acts and practices” under the Dodd-Frank Act

Following weeks of speculation about a potential role for Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu in the Biden Administration, the White House announced on March 5 that Wu has been named Special Assistant to the President for Technology and Competition Policy. As an official housed in the National Economic Council (“NEC”), Wu will not directly command staff within federal agencies or set the agencies’ enforcement or regulatory agendas. Instead, Wu will most likely focus on coordinating federal agencies’ efforts to identify and address competition issues. Given his history, Wu could seek to have particular influence on the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) as they shape their Biden Administration agendas.

Continue Reading Competition Policy Gets a Top Spot in the White House

It has been more than two years since the D.C. Circuit found the Federal Communications Commission’s (the “FCC”) discussion of predictive dialers and other equipment alleged to be an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS,” or “autodialer”) to “offer no meaningful guidance” on the question. In the absence of an FCC ruling on the remand, multiple

Find the replay of our webinar Cleaning Up From 2020: Guidance for Disinfectant, Germ and Virus Killing Claims here.

COVID-19 has brought a proliferation of products claiming to kill or otherwise inhibit viruses, bacteria and other germs. These products, before they can be legally sold, are heavily regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Advertising Law Summer SeriesThe replay of our recent webinar Selling Online: How to Avoid Flattening the Curve of an Uptick in Website Traffic is available here.

COVID-19 has increased the already dizzying amount of online sales, making the applicable marketing requirements increasingly important. These rules affect not just how companies advertise and promote products and services online,

Further to ongoing efforts to evaluate and regulate how companies advertise and label that their products are “Made in the USA,” last week the FTC issued a staff report and a proposed rule that would include the possibility of civil penalties up to $43,280 per violation.

FTC Chairman Joseph Simons joined Commissioners Rohit

TCPA In Jeopardy? US Supreme Court Reviews ConstitutionalityOn Wednesday, May 6th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case concerning the scope of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) that is of great interest to businesses and communications industry practitioners. In William P. Barr et al. v. American Association of Political Consultants et al., Case No. 19-631 (2020) (“Barr”) the Supreme Court agreed to review a ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which declared a 2015 government debt collection exemption unconstitutional and severed the provision from the remainder of the 1991 TCPA. The 2015 amendment exempts calls from the TCPA’s autodialer restriction, if the call relates to the collection of debts guaranteed by the U.S. government. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will consider if: 1) the government-debt exception to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991’s automated-call restriction violates the First Amendment; and 2) whether the proper remedy for any constitutional violation is to sever the exception from the remainder of the statute.

TCPA litigation has largely focused on the autodialer restriction over the past decade.  In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted an expansive interpretation of the restriction, which the U.S. Court of Appeals vacated and remanded in 2018. While the industry has waited for the FCC to offer further guidance, entities making calls and sending texts have navigated an environment plagued by uncertainty. Several courts of appeals have adopted conflicting interpretations of the autodialer provision. Meanwhile, the FCC could offer its interpretation at any time, throwing the issue into further litigation in all probability.  In this environment, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the constitutionality of one TCPA exemption in the Barr case. Many are hoping for a decision that goes beyond the 2015 amendment and offers definitive guidance on the autodialer provision’s scope. This post discusses what to expect – and what to watch for – in the Supreme Court’s oral argument this week.


Continue Reading TCPA In Jeopardy? US Supreme Court Reviews Constitutionality

Bill MacLeod and other panelists representing antitrust and consumer protection bureaus from across the country discussed recent enforcement activities and the ongoing missions of state enforcement agencies during the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section Virtual Spring Meeting.

Watch the replay here.

Ad Law Access Podcast

As a follow-up to our recent posts on price gouging (see here, here, and here), we noted recent signs that federal and state authorities have escalated their enforcement efforts.

  • On Monday, the President signed an executive order to prevent hoarding and price gouging of crucial medical supplies.  It authorizes criminal prosecution of