Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cohen Kuvin News

Consumer News
New Sunscreen Labels Promote Sun Safety
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced several long-awaited changes to sunscreen labels designed to better educate consumers on appropriate sun protection. According to Consumer Reports, the major changes are as follows: Broad spectrum - Products that protect against both UVB rays (the kind that cause sunburn) and UVA rays (the kind that cause wrinkles and premature aging of the skin) will be labeled "broad spectrum." Cancer and wrinkles claims - Sunscreens that are "broad spectrum" and have a SPF 15 or higher will be able to say on their label that they reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, when used as directed. Products with SPF values between 2 and 14 can be labeled "broad spectrum," but can't say they reduce the risk of cancer and wrinkles; Water-resistance times - Labels will have to say how long you can expect the declared SPF to last while swimming or sweating, either 40 minutes or 80 minutes. And they can't say that the products are "waterproof" or "sweatproof." Consumers can expect to start seeing these label changes next summer.

With the hot summer months ahead, Cohen & Kuvin, LLC. reminds all consumers that they should regularly apply sunscreens with Broad Spectrum and SPF of 15 or higher as most skin cancers are linked to too much time in the sun. 

Table Side Child Booster Seats Recalled for Fall Hazard
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued a recall of approximately 375,000 Circo Child Booster Seats imported and distributed by Target.  The recall was issued due to a fall hazard caused a faulty restraint buckle which can open unexpectedly.  There have been several reports of children falling forward out of booster the seat.

The recall involves all Circo Booster Seats, including those sold as early as 2005. The plastic booster seats are blue with green trim and a white plastic restraint buckle. They attach to an adult chair to boost a child to a table. "Circo" and "Booster Seat" can be found on a green label located in the front of the booster seat.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled booster seats and return them to any Target store for a full refund. For additional information, contact Target at (800) 440-0680 or visit the firm's website at http://www.target.com/

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. Consumers are encouraged to obtain more details on recalls and general safety information by logging on to CPSC's Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov/.

Legal News
Questionable Future for Consumer Class Actions
On April 27, the United States Supreme Court provided big business with a shield from accountability for corporate misconduct in the form of arbitration clauses containing language barring class actions.  Businesses typically include arbitration clauses in their contracts with consumers, such as cell phone service contracts.  These arbitration clauses often contain provisions that bar consumers from going to arbitration as a class.  Until the Supreme Court's ruling in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, state courts could refuse to enforce these class waiver provisions on unconscionability grounds after recognizing that class actions are the only means of redress when companies cheat large numbers of consumers out of individually small sums of money.  The Supreme Court decided, however, that the Federal Arbitration Act, which espouses a national policy in favor of arbitration, preempts state laws that would otherwise invalidate these arbitration provisions.  The Concepcion opinion has been interpreted as providing big business with immunity for corporate misconduct, as long as the misconduct is preceded by the signing of a contract containing an arbitration provision with a class ban. 

A class of consumers sued that were charged usurious amounts of interest on "payday loans."  The loan agreements contain arbitration provisions that bar class actions.  After several years litigating the enforceability of this class ban under Florida law, the trial court to struke the ban for violating Florida's public policy.  This decision was upheld by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in McKenzie Check Advance of Florida v. Betts, which held that the evidence in the case demonstrated that consumers would not be able to vindicate the rights provided to them by Florida's consumer protection statutes if they were unable to proceed on a class basis.  The Florida Supreme Court has accepted review of the Fourth District's decision.  The Concepcion opinion will undoubtedly play a central role in the upcoming proceedings before Florida's highest court.    



Spencer Kuvin, a shareholder with Cohen & Kuvin,  was a featured speaker during the Florida Justice Association Annual Convention on June 15, 2011. Mr. Kuvin gave a lecture on Motions in Limine during the Evidence Program.

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