- FCC privacy rule frowns upon arbitration, announces forthcoming rule to ban its use in Internet service provider-customer privacy disputes (Truth on the Market)
- Five takeaways from influential Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies conference on settlement of class actions (Class Action Countermeasures)
- DOJ’s settlement of two False Claims Act suits indicate impacts of Yates Memo and its call for individual accountability on federal civil enforcement (D&O Diary)
- Why are certain counties in Pennsylvania (such as Lackawanna) strong magnets for tort litigation? (Scranton Times-Tribune; HT to Overlawyered, article quotes editor Walter Olson)
- Empty claim on empty packaging space: Federal judge says “it defies logic” that slack fill in ibuprofen bottle (that lists pill count on label) would deceive plaintiff into a purchase (Drug and Device Law)
- Speaking of slack fill, a plaintiff named Wurtzburger is suing KFC for $20 million because her $20 bucket of chicken wasn’t overflowing (Abnormal Use)
- Ninth Circuit denied rehearing in case discussed in WLF Legal Pulse guest commentary that equated falling air emissions with deposits of hazardous waste under CERCLA (Corporate Environmental Lawyer)
- Ruling on a case noted in Sept. 30 WLF Legal Backgrounder, Seventh Circuit follows Supreme Court’s restrictive view of implied-certification theory under False Claims Act (Fried Frank FraudMail)
- Two overlooked, but critical, aspects of DC Circuit’s decision finding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure unconstitutional (Asset Securitization Report)
- Expect more activist group petitions seeking threatened or endangered status for species based on future risk of climate change after recent adventurous Ninth Circuit ruling (Law and the Environment)
A September 7 WLF Legal Pulse commentary, Court Pours Cold Water on Unreasonable Serving-Size Class Action vs. Starbucks, discussed the US District Court for the Central District of California’s dismissal of a fraud suit alleging that Starbucks duped iced-drink consumers into purchasing a 12-ounce iced coffee/tea which, because it included ice, contained somewhat less than 12 ounces of liquid. The post noted that copycat suits were pending in federal courts in Illinois and New York. On October 14, Judge Thomas M. Durkin of the Northern District of Illinois granted Starbucks’s motion to dismiss the seven-count suit of disenchanted customer Steven Galanis. (Galanis v. Starbucks Corp.)
What Mr. Galanis, and Mr. Forouzesh before him in Forouzesh v. Starbucks Corp., in essence argue is that when purchasing a “tall” iced coffee, for which there is a 12-ounce cup, they expect to get 12 ounces of coffee plus ice. Upon receiving their drink, they, and the thousands of consumers whom they claim to represent, realize they were deceived, and that the deception made them pay more than what the product was worth. The Illinois consumer fraud law under which Galanis sued requires that the defendant’s action would mislead a reasonable consumer. Just as in Forouzesh, that requirement proved to be Mr. Galanis’s downfall.
“Galanis’s claims ask the Court to interpret Starbucks’s menus in an unreasonable fashion,” Judge Durkin explained. Referencing a screen capture of iced coffee on Starbucks’s online menu reproduced in the opinion, Judge Durkin noted that the company lists the serving size separately from the product’s contents, which specifically include “Ice” and “Brewed Coffee.” The description of the drink also references that it is coffee served “over ice.” The court added that as a matter of law, a reasonable consumer understands that “‘fluid ounces’ is a measurement of a drink’s volume, not a description of a drink’s contents.”
Featured Expert Column: Judicial Gatekeeping of Expert Evidence
Plaintiffs in asbestos cases often maintain that every asbestos exposure above background level is a substantial contributing factor to mesothelioma. That theory has been roundly rejected by courts. In a recent opinion, an intermediate appellate court in Florida joined the chorus of decisions refusing to credit the “every exposure above background level” theory.
In Crane Co. v. DeLisle, 2016 WL 4771438 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Sept. 14, 2016), the plaintiff developed mesothelioma after allegedly working around “Cranite” sheet gaskets containing chrysotile asbestos fibers and smoking asbestos-containing cigarettes in the 1950s. Following a trial involving multiple defendants, a jury awarded the plaintiff $8 million in damages. The Florida District Court of Appeal, however, reversed and remanded for entry of a directed verdict in favor of Crane Co., the manufacturer of the sheet gaskets, and a new trial for R.J. Reynolds, the cigarette manufacturer. Continue reading
- Commissioner Ajit Pai, Federal Communications Commission
- Harold Furchtgott-Roth, The Hudson Institute and FCC Commissioner, 1997-2001
- Brett A. Shumate, Wiley Rein LLP
Related WLF Materials:
- Conversations With: Federal Preemption vs. State Authority over Municipal Broadband
- CBS Corp. v. FCC: Business Confidentiality Trumps Broader Agency Disclosure at D.C. Circuit
- Sixth Circuit Protects Federalism from an Overreaching Federal Communications Commission
- FCC Displays Troubling Proclivity for Enforcement over Rulemaking with Wi-Fi-Blocking Actions
- Proposed FCC Privacy Rule Takes Unauthorized Aim at ISPs and the First Amendment
- In Victory for WLF, Sixth Circuit Stops FCC from Commandeering State Governments
Featured Expert Contributor — Corporate Governance/Securities Law
Stephen M. Bainbridge, William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
Over a three-year period from 2004 to 2007, Citigroup investment banker Maher Kara disclosed confidential nonpublic information about upcoming mergers and acquisitions to his brother Michael Kara. In turn, Michael disclosed the information to his close friend Bassam Salman, who then indirectly traded in the affected stocks. When Salman was tried on charges of illegal insider trading, the government offered evidence that he knew the information originated with Maher.
The case presented two issues: First, what is the basis of liability when an insider tips information to an outsider? Second, what must the government prove in order to hold a remote tippee liable when the information is passed down a chain from tipper to tippee to a tippee of that tippee and so on? Continue reading
Our annual briefing was moderated by WLF Legal Policy Advisory Board Chairman Jay Stephens and featured commentary on free-enterprise-oriented cases the Court will hear this Term by Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells and Daryl Joseffer of King & Spalding LLP.
The following materials were provided to attendees:
- The Supreme Court’s NOT Top 10: October Term 2015 Petitions the Justices Should Have Granted
- With Three Cases on October 2016 Docket, US Supreme Court Poised to Expand Its Impact on Patent Rights
- WLF press release announcing amicus brief filing in NLRB v. SW General, Inc.
- WLF press release announcing amicus brief filing in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC
- WLF press release announcing amicus brief filing in State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby
- WLF press release announcing amicus brief filing in Microsoft v. Baker