Judge’s Deference to FDA’s Interpretation of “Added Sugar” Regulation Secures Win for Food-Labeling Suit Defendant

GLFoodCourtWhen judges defer to an administrative agency’s interpretation of its own rule, targets of government regulation normally lose out. Private enterprises and organizations like Washington Legal Foundation have been urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Auer v. Robbins, the precedent that unleashed this doctrine that allows the proverbial fox to guard the hen house. We also routinely criticize class action lawsuits alleging that true statements on food labels are unlawfully false, misleading, unfair, or illegal.

It is not without a sense of irony, then, that we applaud a July 30, 2018 Central District of California opinion in Wilson v. Odwalla, which relied on “Auer deference” in granting the defenant’s motion for summary judgment in a consumer class action suit. The district court faithfully applied Auer to reach the correct decision. The Food and Drug Administration rule at issue in Wilson is clearly ambiguous—a key factor in the Auer analysis. Continue reading “Judge’s Deference to FDA’s Interpretation of “Added Sugar” Regulation Secures Win for Food-Labeling Suit Defendant”

Supreme Court to Once Again Examine Limits of Rule 10b-5 Liability in October Term 2018 Case “Lorenzo v. SEC”

bainbridgeFeatured Expert Contributor, Corporate Governance/Securities Law

Stephen M. Bainbridge, William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law.

Rule 10b-5 long has been the centerpiece of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s antifraud enforcement efforts. At times, in fact, the SEC’s interpretation of the Rule has been so broad that the rule threatened to “become a universal solvent, encompassing not only virtually the entire universe of securities fraud, but also much of state corporate law.”[1] In a long series of cases, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has gradually imposed a series of important limits on the SEC’s scope.[2] By taking cert in Lorenzo v. SEC, the Court has given itself an opportunity to impose another such limit. Continue reading “Supreme Court to Once Again Examine Limits of Rule 10b-5 Liability in October Term 2018 Case “Lorenzo v. SEC””

Missouri’s Unjustifiable Alcohol Ad Limits Can’t Survive First Amendment Challenge

FirstAmendmentBy Courtney Dean, a 2018 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at Washington Legal Foundation who will be entering her third year at Texas Tech University School of Law in the fall.

Restrictions on the speech of “disfavored” products merit all the more judicial scrutiny because they are easy targets for creating precedents. Earlier this summer, a federal court in the Western District of Missouri rightfully struck down three state restrictions on alcoholic beverage advertising. The court in Missouri Broadcasters Association v. Taylor reinforced the principle that states cannot arbitrarily stifle truthful, non-misleading commercial speech. Continue reading “Missouri’s Unjustifiable Alcohol Ad Limits Can’t Survive First Amendment Challenge”