Looping the Campbell-Ewald loophole, a peek at the FTC's Sentinel database, and more in this issue of Advertising Law News & Analysis

6 min


Defendants Attempting to Loop the Campbell-Ewald Loophole?

Like many commentators, Venable attorneys Daniel S. Blynn and Samuel D. Boro noted a potential loophole in the Supreme Court's recent decision in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez. The Court ruled that an unaccepted offer to make the plaintiff whole does not moot the plaintiff's individual claims. However, the Court did not decide whether the actual deposit with the court or sending of a check in the full amount of the plaintiff's individual damages claim would moot the plaintiff's case.

Many commentators expected that defendants would try this strategy in the future to moot a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claim or other potential class action plaintiff claim. Less than six weeks after the Supreme Court's decision, it appears that day has come. Defendants in at least two cases in New York federal court are testing the potential loophole.

Read the full blog post to learn how the Campbell-Ewald decision left a glimmer of hope for TCPA defendants and how that glimmer is being put to the test.

Read the latest edition of Venable's compilation of recent TCPA cases here.

Concerned About Human Trafficking in Your Supply Chain? California Is

Human trafficking is a global scourge that has the full attention of officials at all levels of law enforcement. It was a hot topic at the recent winter meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General, write Venable attorneys Jeffrey D. Knowles and Doreen L. Manchester in the March edition of the DRMA Voice.

Of all the states, California is at the forefront of efforts to combat human trafficking, and companies doing business in the state should take the time to understand their reporting obligations under the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (CTSCA).

Read the full article to learn more about CTSCA and companies' compliance obligations.

Click here to access the CTSCA Resource Guide published by the California AG's office.

Curious about What's in FTC's Sentinel Database? Here's a Peek

The FTC recently released its 2015 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, write Venable attorneys Amy Ralph Mudge and Christopher L. Boone and law clerk Michael S. Isselin in a post to Venable's advertising law blog. The FTC's database collected more than three million complaints in 2015, roughly half a million more than the previous year.

Although there was only one new entry in the top 10 areas of complaints, there were internal changes worth noting. Debt collection took the top spot, moving ahead of identity theft, and complaints about prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries moved into fifth place, overtaking complaints about banks and lenders.

Wonder where all these complaints come from? Turns out Florida and Georgia are the top Sentinel complaint-generating states in the nation.

Read the full blog post to learn more about the FTC's report, trends in consumer complaints, and how those complaints are affecting enforcement priorities.

Click here to access a copy of the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.

NY AG's Trump University Suit: A "Really Big Deal" or a "Loser?"

Thanks to a decision by a panel of judges in the First Department of the New York Appellate Division, the New York Attorney General has the green light to pursue a lawsuit against Donald J. Trump and his now-defunct for-profit educational program, the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (TEI). The lawsuit could have significant implications for for-profit schools and coaching and mentoring programs operating in New York, write Venable attorney Leonard L. Gordon and law clerk Michael S. Isselin in a recent post to the firm's advertising law blog.

In the suit, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleges that TEI, which was formerly known as "Trump University," violated the state's education law by using the term "university" without a proper charter. It also alleges that TEI engaged in fraudulent business practices that resulted in thousands of New Yorkers losing a total of roughly $40 million. The question before the Appellate Division panel was whether the case should be dismissed because of New York's three-year statute of limitations for statutory claims, or whether the AG's office could pursue the case using the state's six-year statute of limitations for common-law fraud.

For his part, Trump has called the AG's suit "a minor case" he has "not settled out of principle."

Read the full blog post to learn more about the decision.

Read the New York Times coverage of the decision.

Upcoming Events:

Natural Products Expo West/Engredea 2016

March 9-13 | Anaheim, CA

Natural Products Expo West/Engredea 2016 is where new products turn into record profits, relationship building and ROI are always high, and brand awareness builds momentum with each better business practice. Over 3,000 exhibits from over 1,800 different companies showcase their newest products in natural and specialty foods, organic, health and beauty, natural living, supplements, and pet products. Venable attorneys Todd Harrison, Claudia Lewis, and Erik Jones will lead a panel discussion on "State Enforcement and the Dietary Supplement Industry: What You Need to Know" on Friday, March 11, 2016, 1:30 - 2:30 pm PT, at the Marriott, Platinum Ballroom 1. Visit Venable at Booth #405.

Webinar: "The $20 Million Trade Secret: What Employers Must Know about Protecting Critical Company Information" for the Clear Law Institute

March 15 | 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm EST

Join Venable's Douglas B. Mishkin and Douglas C. Proxmire to learn how to protect your company's trade secrets and avoid misappropriating others' secrets. You will get the inside scoop on the 42-day trial that secured a judgment of $20 million plus sanctions on behalf of a client.

Click here to learn more and to register for the webinar.

LeadsCon Las Vegas

March 15-17| Las Vegas, NV

As digital marketing continues to evolve, the lead gen landscape has become tougher to navigate as buyers and sellers operate in the space. With the CFPB, FTC, and states attorneys general evaluating the actions of a few market actors and privacy advocates pushing for tighter controls, how do you safely navigate these waters to ensure transparency, align yourself with trusted partners, and steer clear of regulatory enforcement? Hear from Venable's Alexandra Megaris, who will discuss "Navigating Consumer Protection, Complaints and Regulatory Oversight" on March 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. at LeadsCon Las Vegas.

Click here to learn more about LeadsCon and to register to attend.

ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting Reception

April 7 | Washington, DC

You're invited to join Venable for a cocktail reception during the ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting at the JW Marriot Hotel on Thursday, April 7 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more information and to register, click here. We look forward to seeing you there!

Venable's 3rd Annual Advertising Law Symposium

April 12 | New York, NY

Join Venable for a complimentary full-day client program dedicated to Advertising Law at the Sofitel New York on Tuesday, April 12 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Hear from seasoned litigators and leading attorneys who focus on advertising and telemarketing-related issues, and top representatives from key regulatory enforcement bodies on hot topics such as native advertising, social and digital media, telemarketing, and more. This MCLE-accredited program promises to be a stimulating educational forum for exchanging ideas and engaging in strategic thinking. Network with advertising and marketing executives from some of the most renowned global brands at our cocktail reception immediately following the program.

Find the full agenda here.

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