Attorneys general (AGs) are not only lawyers for their states; they are enforcers, regulators, and even public policy advocates. With a broad consumer protection mandate, a state AG is able to reach a wide range of industries that have a consumer touch. When joining in multi-state actions, and even more so those with public policy implications, AGs have a significant voice nationally to affect interests of business. We attended a series of multi-state AG meetings in June that highlighted three areas emblematic of these issues and powers.
Senators, governors and state attorneys general are racing their campaigns toward election. While appealing to voters, attorney general candidates will inevitably target industries with positions and promises of using their state enforcement powers. How AGs will fare is partly a question of public policy, as seen, for example, with issues of data privacy, opioids and consumer finance. And businesses should consider the proactive engagement of state AGs on both legal and political levels.
This week, in the closely watched case of China Agritech v. Resh, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important class action ruling, holding that the tolling principles announced in its earlier American Pipe decision do not allow absent class members to file follow-on class action lawsuits where the statute of limitations has otherwise expired on their claims.
As we have previously noted, the question of whether American Pipe tolling applies to subsequent class action filings, not just subsequent individual actions, is important because the answer dictates whether American Pipe tolling principles enable the filing of successive (stacked) class actions in a seemingly endless effort to finally achieve certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.
Recent decisions by and within the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals elucidate the contours of Article III standing when plaintiffs seek injunctive relief in false advertising cases despite already having awareness of the claimed false advertising of the product. Although these decisions present a threat of coaching plaintiffs to navigate through potential standing pitfalls in federal courts within the Ninth Circuit, they also offer insights for companies defending against false advertisement or labeling class action claims.
The Supreme Court yesterday extended its arbitration-friendly precedent holding in Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not prohibit employers and employees from agreeing to class action waivers in employment contracts.