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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
310.299.5500

Showing 4 posts from November 2018.

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Your Company Needs a Social Media Policy

The use of social media in the corporate setting carries serious potential risk. The most extreme example of this, of late, is Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission after tweeting that he was considering taking Tesla private and that he had “funding secured” in order to do so. Market chaos and the SEC litigation ensued, and since then Musk has been forced to step down as chairman of the electric car company and pay a $20 million fine to settle with the SEC.

While not grabbing as many headlines as Musk, employees of all rank and profile are prone to commit social media blunders, and they too can pay the consequences. Take, for example, the Dunkin’ Donuts employees who posted a video they created showing one of them humiliating a homeless man at a Syracuse, New York location; the workers at a Little Caesars franchise in Riverdale, Georgia who uploaded onto Instagram a picture of a customer along with a tasteless message about her; or the Texas Children’s Hospital nurse in Houston who went on an anti-vaccine rant online relating to a young patient’s bout with measles. In all these cases, the employees were fired, but that certainly did not shield their employers from a slew of negative press. (Read More)

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Pfizer Settles With New York Attorney General Over "Pay No More Than" Claims

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer probably wishes it had to “pay no more than” $15 to settle allegations brought by the New York Attorney General, but actual penalties recently levied against the company by the AG are quite a bit steeper.

The settlement in question stems from Pfizer deceptively marketing a copayment coupon program. The problematic copayment coupons stated in large, clear text that eligible consumers would “PAY NO MORE THAN” $15 or $20 out-of-pocket for certain drugs. This was untrue. In fact, consumers frequently paid significantly more than the amounts advertised on the coupons because prearranged limits on total savings were not prominently disclosed. Indeed, Pfizer allowed the coupons to be distributed to consumers without clearly and conspicuously setting forth the promotions’ material terms and conditions. As a consequence, at least one person who believed a prescription would cost “no more than” $15 ended up paying nearly $145 at a pharmacy cash register. (Read More)

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Vadim Ginzburg © 123RF.com

A Formula for Trouble: New York AG Settles With Abbott Labs Over Misleading Surveys

Abbott Labs, the maker of Similac infant formula, found itself in some hot water after sending misleading marketing surveys to new parents. The surveys, ostensibly sent by the “National Institute of Infant Nutrition,” sought information about the recipients’ demographics and their infants’ feeding habits. In terms of the latter, the survey asked, whether or not babies had been breast-fed and, if formula-fed, the brand of formula parents used. The problem is that when the surveys were sent, there was no known entity named the “National Institute of Infant Nutrition (NIIN),” and Abbott used the survey information for its own marketing purposes. (Read More)

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Aleksey Boldin © 123RF.com

Misclassification Class Actions Take a Back Seat

The corporate folks at Uber Technologies Inc. have cause to be uber-happy given the outcome of a recent appeal before the Ninth Circuit – a decision that sends a clear message to employers throughout the West.

The peer-to-peer ridesharing company had been facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of drivers claiming to be Uber employees, as opposed to independent contractors as classified when hired and as reflected in agreements they signed with the company. The stakes in the case were high and potentially quite costly for Uber: among other things, reclassification would potentially require reimbursement for gasoline and vehicle maintenance and trigger minimum wage and overtime laws. (Read More)