Category: Compliance

The Ascendency of Accessibility: Surge in Website Lawsuits Continues

The proliferation of accessibility lawsuits under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has not abated. It is well-documented that ADA-related litigation increased by 37% from 2015 to 2016, which is symptomatic of long-term trends. Growth is fueled in part by litigants’ increased focus on internet-based technologies,...
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May your Days be Merry and Blue Laws Compliant

‘Tis the season to eat turkey, drink pumpkin-flavored lattes, and, of course, shop.  With Black Friday and the holiday season just around the corner, it is important for retailers to remember that Massachusetts has specific laws that restrict when and if businesses can operate on Sundays and holidays and...
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FACTA Check: Credit and Debit Receipts Can Show Injury-in-Fact

In a series of recent decisions that have important implications for retailers, large and small, federal courts have allowed consumer class actions to proceed against businesses for violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”), even where the consumers did not allege actual damages resulting from the...
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Does Your Website or Mobile App Discriminate?

Are you confident that your business complies with federal anti-discrimination laws?  If you offer goods or services to the public through the Internet, the answer may not be as simple as you think.  Increasingly, lawsuits are targeting retailers and other service providers that have an online presence, claiming that...
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Claims about Biodegradable Plastics Breakdown Under FTC Scrutiny: Marketers Beware!

In the recent administrative proceeding before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against ECM Biofilms, Inc. (ECM), the FTC’s presiding chief administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled that the plastics additive manufacturer ECM violated the FTC Act by deceptively claiming, and providing others with the means to claim, that plastics treated...
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Are Plastic Shopping Bags Being Sacked?

In earlier blog posts , we reported on the growing trend in U.S. cities to pass bans on single-use plastic shopping bags and impose fees for traditionally free bags provided in store checkouts, including the status of legislation proposed by Los Angeles, Chicago and New York to ban free...
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Customer Loyalty Programs May Face Increased FTC Scrutiny

Customer loyalty programs are discounts and coupons provided by a retailer to its shoppers as an incentive and reward for repeat purchases. Every industry seems to have its own version, whether it be airline frequent flyer miles, entertainment park privileges, or hotel points. Retail stores are among the fastest...
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Don’t Be Pinocchio: Avoid Liability for False Advertising

Are you at risk of being sued for false advertising? In our media-saturated and highly competitive commercial environment, companies use a wide range of creative strategies to capture and retain consumer interest. These strategies often include making statements about other companies’ products or services. But when does such advertising...
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Medical Marijuana: The Latest Snapshot

While the Super Bowl XLVIII matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks may have been a major letdown for football fans hoping to witness an epic battle between the NFL’s top offense and its top defense, fans certainly had fun nicknaming the big matchup featuring teams from two...
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Rapidly Changing Tobacco Regulations Across Massachusetts

A significant number of Massachusetts cities and towns modified their tobacco regulations or bylaws during 2013 in an effort to minimize sales to minors and otherwise curb the use of tobacco products. In some towns, such as Canton, Ashland and Arlington, the legal age to purchase tobacco products was...
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Licensing Killed the Radio Star: When Retailers Need Music Licenses

Your business may play the radio to enhance the customer experience. Or it may hire a band to play live music. If you were to receive a legal notice demanding payment for a license to play recorded or live music in your establishment, would you be obligated to pay?...
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Plastic Shopping Bags Going the Way of Lead Paint? Many Say YES

Last November, we reported on the growing trend in U.S. cities to pass bans on single-use plastic shopping bags and impose fees on the sale of other traditionally free bags provided in store checkouts. In 2013, it appears that the public desire to ban plastic shopping bags is gaining...
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Trouble at the Mall: Retailers Face New Challenges with ADA Compliance

Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado found 248 Hollister brand stores around the country in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). These stores used a raised front porch at the store entrance that is inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. The case (Colorado...
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Changes to Facebook Promotion Guidelines: “LIKE” It or Not?

Facebook Post: “Win a $100 shopping spree to our new store! To enter, simply ‘Like’ (fan) our Page and leave a comment about our fall fashion line. We’ll pick a winner at 1pm EST tomorrow.” Until recently, a simple Facebook posting like this would have violated Facebook’s promotion guidelines...
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Doing Business with Children: Compliance with the Amended COPPA Rule

As of July 1, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission’s regulations implementing the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (“COPPA”) were amended to address changes in the way children use and access the Internet, including through mobile devices and social networking. Originally enacted in 1998, COPPA applies to operators of...
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Zoning for the All-In-One Commercial Space

Many zoning regulations were drafted decades ago in an era before all-in-one superstores. Accordingly, the form and structure of these regulations often reflects a single use-based regulatory scheme, with lists of dozens of commercial uses that are permitted in each progressive zone category. Today’s all-in-one commercial establishment typically provides...
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New Energy Efficiency Requirements in Store for Commercial Buildings in Massachusetts

Owners, managers, and developers of commercial buildings in Massachusetts need to be alert for impending updates to the Commonwealth’s energy efficiency standards. In addition to adopting mandatory changes to the State Building Code, regulators may also update the Stretch Energy Code. Although some transition period will likely be provided,...
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Void Where Prohibited: Social Media Rules for Contests and Sweepstakes

Contests and sweepstakes are popular strategies for retailers to gain publicity and increase sales. To reach their audience, savvy marketing personnel may seek to conduct or promote such events through third-party web sites and social media. They may invite contestants to upload creative photos of themselves using the retailer’s...
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