Antitrust

Price gouging enforcement and litigation is front and center for company counsel and business managers nationwide. Our weekly round up highlights some of the most relevant news and information to our clients and friends. Department of Justice Settles Price Gouging Allegations with Two New Jersey Companies On August 14, 2020, the Department of Justice announced that two New Jersey companies had entered into agreements to resolve allegations that the companies violated the Defense Production Act of 1950 for price gouging personal protective equipment. The agreements arise out of the April 2020 seizure of over 11 million items of PPE. The…
Much of the discussion to date regarding price gouging laws has rightly focused on the two core elements of a price gouging lawsuit: what constitutes a violation and what are the defenses? And while these defenses are valid, most would prefer to never have to spend the time and expense getting a case dismissed in the first place – raising the question of whether a declaratory judgment may be the right solution.…
Price gouging enforcement and litigation is front and center for company counsel and business managers nationwide. Our weekly round up highlights some of the most relevant news and information to our clients and friends. Bipartisan Effort in the Senate to Target Price Gouging A recent bipartisan Senate bill—the Make Medications Affordable by Preventing Pandemic Price-gouging (MMAPPP) Act—was introduced by Oregon’s Jeff Merkley and Minnesota’s Tina Smith, and is also co-sponsored by California’s Kamala Harris, New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, and Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin. Similar to the house bill introduced in June, the Senate bill focuses on ensuring that taxpayer-funded vaccines…
Businesses may be wondering whether there is increased risk of price gouging liability when they impose higher penalty terms, ask for higher up-front payments, raise rates, or otherwise seek terms that may be more burdensome. Sellers and service provides should consider the risk of being held liable for non-price terms that result in higher customer costs.…
Private plaintiffs and state enforcers have been targeting businesses up and down the supply chain for price gouging violations. Some of these actions have been over the price of goods long associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as toilet paper and medical supplies. Yet others, such as a dispute in which a California winery has accused the company managing its storage facility of illegally increasing its rates, show the wide range of businesses potentially affected by price gouging laws. And with many state price gouging laws likely to remain in effect until at least early 2021, these lawsuits provide insight…
Price gouging enforcement and litigation is front and center for company counsel and business managers nationwide. Our weekly round up highlights some of the most relevant news and information to our clients and friends. Defense Production Act Price Gouging Enforcement Federal prosecutors announced on August 6, 2020 that a Georgia businessman has been charged with hoarding and price gouging in violation of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA). The businessman “allegedly saw the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic as an opportunity to make a profit,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak. “Desperate to find personal protective equipment during the pandemic,…
Most price gouging laws have been in effect throughout the country since early March due to the pandemic. As hurricane season gets underway, businesses should be aware that new states of emergency may be declared, overlapping with current pandemic states of emergency. New states of emergency may trigger price gouging laws that cover a variety of goods not currently covered under those related to COVID-19.…
Most price gouging laws have been in effect for upwards of five months. These laws were not designed for the length and national scope of the current pandemic, which has led to them unintentionally harming businesses and the economy, and ultimately consumers along the way. In a recent Fortune article, Proskauer’s antitrust lawyers Chris Ondeck and Jennifer Tarr discuss several options to remedy these issues while still achieving the goals of these laws. Read the full article: Pandemic price gouging is a huge issue—but state laws to stop it are creating more problems than they solve *      *      * Visit …
Price gouging statutes typically operate by setting a baseline over which any price increase is presumptively illegal, subject to various exemptions. But different states use different formulas for their baselines. Businesses who provide covered goods or services therefore need to determine the relevant baselines in order to calculate whether, and how much of, a price increase is permissible.…
Price gouging enforcement and litigation is front and center for company counsel and business managers nationwide. Our weekly round up highlights some of the most relevant news and information to our clients and friends. Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Warns About Price Gouging Pennsylvania’s top insurance regulator, Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, recently announced that the state insurance department has submitted a notice to the Pennsylvania Bulletin addressing billing practices during the pandemic. This follows a March 21, 2020 notice, in which the department recommended health insurers make all necessary and useful information available so their customers would have access to important…
In response to the public health crisis caused by COVID-19, states of emergencies were declared across the nation in order to implement emergency response plans and halt the spread of the virus. Generally, state governors have the power to declare states of emergency, by issuing executive orders which outline the duration of the declaration and the conditions that brought about the order.…
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the triggering states of emergencies are largely extended, companies are increasingly focused on compliance with state price gouging statutes. State attorneys generals have launched investigations and brought lawsuits, and several class actions have been filed by consumers against companies for alleged price gouging, up and down the supply chain. The relief sought in these actions highlights the risk that violators of price gouging statutes could find themselves facing hefty damages claims—perhaps to a greater extent than immediately obvious.…
Price gouging enforcement and litigation is front and center for company counsel and business managers nationwide. Our weekly round up highlights some of the most relevant news and information to our clients and friends. Nevada Attorney General’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office Form Joint Task Force The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office teamed up to form a joint task force to protect Nevada citizens from COVID-19 related scams. According to Attorney General Aaron Ford, there has been a total of 858 complaints made to the Bureau of Protection team related to consumer fraud during the COVID-19…
State price gouging laws do not typically address product improvements or reformulations. Still, businesses should consider price gouging restrictions when releasing “new and improved” products, as the same pricing considerations that may apply to new products may also apply to improved, updated or reformulated products.…
While price gouging is often discussed in the context of existing products, new products and services may be covered as well. As a result, businesses looking to introduce new products during a price gouging emergency can seek guidance from the relevant price gouging laws before setting a price for their new good or service.…
Price gouging enforcement and litigation is front and center for company counsel and business managers nationwide. Our weekly round up highlights some of the most relevant news and information to our clients and friends. North Carolina AG Advises Public on Price Gouging During Hurricane Emergencies North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein recently advised the public to adjust their hurricane emergency plans as necessary to account for disruptions caused by the pandemic. While the state price gouging law applies to emergencies like hurricanes, Attorney General Stein reminded residents that the state’s price gouging law is already in effect due to the…