Photo of Jordan Grotzinger

Jordan Grotzinger, Co-Chair of the Los Angeles Litigation practice, is a business trial lawyer focusing on trade secret law, FinTech and financial services litigation, entertainment litigation and consumer class action defense.

As creator and host of Greenberg Traurig’s Trade Secret Law Evolution Podcast, Jordan offers comprehensive summaries of and concrete takeaways on the latest developments and trends in trade secret law, including distinctions between the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) and the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), what constitutes a trade secret, what’s required to maintain trade secret status, how to sufficiently identify trade secrets for purposes of pleadings and discovery, remedies for misappropriation and how to get them, and practical tips to protect these critical assets and litigate these cases. Working with his Knowledge Solutions group and other key team members, Jordan created this podcast to systematize his constant learning of this ever-important subject as it develops in real time and give listeners who need to stay current in this area an easy, digestible analysis of its latest and material developments in episodes short enough for a commute.

Jordan has tried jury and non-jury cases throughout California and has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Court of Appeal.

Consumer products companies increasingly do business online, which means they frequently collect, and sometimes share, customers’ personal information.  That practice makes Company Privacy Commitmentcompanies potential class action targets under various privacy laws.  Recently, the Ninth Circuit rejected three similar putative class actions under California’s “Shine the Light” law (STL), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1798.83-1798.84, and Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq.  In three unpublished opinions, Baxter v. Rodale, No. 12-56925, 2014 WL 667474 (9th Cir. Feb. 21, 2014), King v. Conde Naste Publications, No. 12-57209, 2014 WL 607385 (9th Cir. Feb. 18, 2014) and a companion case, the same three-judge panel affirmed dismissal of class actions under these statutes because the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue, since they failed to plead that they asked the defendants whether their information had been shared with third parties.  Therefore, the plaintiffs did not sufficiently plead injury.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rejects ‘Gotcha’ Class Actions Under California Privacy Law

FRSOn February 25, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a putative class action against supplement maker The FRS Company and its former endorser, cyclist Lance Armstrong, in the case of Martin v. FRS Company, et al., Case No. CV-13-01456-BRO (MANx).  The Plaintiffs, alleged purchasers of FRS products, claimed that Armstrong’s endorsement of FRS and certain FRS slogans like “Secret Weapon” misled consumers into believing that FRS products were “closely associated” with Armstrong’s “legendary” athletic achievements.  Plaintiffs sued on behalf of a putative nationwide class and attempted to state claims for false advertising, unfair competition, violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and breach of warranty.  In a 22-page ruling, the Court rejected each of Plaintiffs’ theories and dismissed the case.

As to the false advertising, unfair competition and CLRA claims, the Court ruled that FRS’s slogans amounted to nothing more than non-actionable “puffery,” and that the claims did not meet the heightened pleading standards of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b), which applied because each claim sounded in alleged fraud.
Continue Reading Former Lance Armstrong Endorsement of Supplement Company FRS Doesn’t Support False Advertising Class Action, Court Rules

Cash RegisterMany lawsuits over consumer products involve allegations that a product didn’t work as advertised, or that the manufacturer failed to adequately disclose how to use the product.  These cases often are filed by plaintiffs who have spent just a few dollars on the product and suffered no real damages, other than possibly the price of the product, assuming their allegations can be proven.  Thus, these cases frequently are seen in the form of class actions.  The Supreme Court’s decision in Symczyk v. Genesis Healthcare Corp., 133 S.Ct. 1523 (2013)and cases since have raised the issue of whether a defendant’s unaccepted offer of judgment for complete relief can moot individual claims or even class actions before a class is certified, which in turn raises the issue of whether such cases can be mooted by a simple offer of a full refund.

In Symczyk, the plaintiff brought a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  No other employees “opted into” the lawsuit, the plaintiff failed to accept the defendant’s offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68 for the full amount of the plaintiff’s alleged damages, and the Supreme Court held that the District Court lost subject matter jurisdiction.  However, based on procedural issues with the plaintiff’s appeal, the Supreme Court assumed, without deciding, that the unaccepted Rule 68 offer mooted the plaintiff’s individual claim.
Continue Reading Can a Consumer Products Company Moot Class Actions by Offering a Refund?

As addressed in a separate post on this blog, the Supreme Court’s decision in Symczyk v. Genesis Healthcare Corp., 133 S.Ct. 1523 (2013) and cases since raised the issue of whether a defendant’s unaccepted offer of judgment for complete relief can moot class actions before a class is certified, which in turn raises the issue of whether such cases can be mooted by a full refund.  A recent decision from the Eastern District of California says “yes.”Cash Register

On February 04, 2014, in the case of Luman v. Theismann, 2014 WL 443960 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 4, 2014), the Court granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging false advertising and related claims against NAC Marketing Co. and its endorser, former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, because the plaintiffs who had purchased NAC’s product — an allegedly ineffective prostate medication — had received full refunds.  U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller dismissed the entire action, ruling that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction since the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries had been redressed.
Continue Reading Strategy of Offering Refunds to Moot Class Actions Gains Traction

AlmondsLast year saw a trend in consumer class actions attacking advertising for products labeled as “all natural.”  The cases produced mixed results, and the extent to which this theory will succeed remains unclear.  Some cases settled.  See, e.g., Trammell v. Barbara’s Bakery, 12-cv-02664 (N.D. Cal. June 21, 2013).  Others were dismissed.  See, e.g., Rapcinsky v. Skinny Girl Cocktails LLC, 11-cv-6546 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 1, 2013).  Some were allowed to proceed.  As this litigation unfolds, plaintiffs are trying a new, similar theory — that advertising products as “raw” is misleading.

The dismissals in the “all natural” cases often focused on the plaintiffs’ inability to define “all natural.”  Without a plausible definition, a plaintiff cannot state a cognizable claim that he or she was deceived by the phrase.  See, e.g., Pelayo v. Nestle USA Inc., 13-cv-5213 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 25, 2013).  Dismissals based on this issue appeared to have more success where the product at issue contained synthetic or processed ingredients.  However, cases involving products containing genetically modified organisms, or “GMOs,” seemed more immune to this theory.  See, e.g., Parker v. J.M. Smucker Co., 13-cv-00690 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 23, 2013) (motion to dismiss denied based on the “simple[] argument” that consumers would assume products labeled as “all natural” would not contain bioengineered ingredients).
Continue Reading Consumer Class Actions Trending From Attacking ‘All Natural’ to ‘Raw’