A Guide to Navigating COVID-19 Price-Gouging Litigation Against Manufacturers, Suppliers, and Retailers of Food and Consumer Goods in the U.S.
May 27, 2020
Authored by: Sarah Burwick, Robert Boone and Jeffrey Russell
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to sharp spikes in demand for basic necessities, alcohol-based disinfecting products, and essential food staples. Consumers have been willing to pay a premium to stock up on these items from both brick-and-mortar and online marketplaces. While there is no federal law establishing clear guidelines regarding price gouging, many states have laws that limit or prohibit sellers from charging excessive prices for certain consumer products, which are triggered by the declaration of an emergency by federal, state, and/or local officials. Plaintiffs’ lawyers and states’ attorneys general have begun bringing state and nationwide class actions for price gouging against suppliers, distributors, and retailers of essential products, and we expect this litigation to increase in coming months.
In this three part series, we provide the statutory landscape and analyze the newly filed litigation, outline some key litigation strategies, and advise on best practices for manufacturers and retailers to