Merrit Jones is an experienced commercial litigator whose practice focuses on advising and defending retailers in a broad range of legal matters, including consumer class actions, intellectual property, consumer product regulatory compliance and liability, false and deceptive advertising, the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California Proposition 65, the Americans With Disabilities Act and website accessibility, unfair business practices, privacy statutes, advertising and marketing laws and guidelines, e-commerce and website compliance, contract matters, and employment disputes. Ms. Jones is the editor of the Retail Law blog.

Consumer Products: Ms. Jones has experience advising and defending clients in a variety of product liability and regulatory compliance matters, including compliance with federal laws and regulations by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, Customs and Border Protection, the Environmental Protection Agency, and state laws and regulations.  She has advised clients on packaging and labeling requirements, including compliance with the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, and state laws concerning toxics in packaging and products.

Food Products: Ms. Jones has assisted food manufacturers and retailers in complying with food product safety standards, including the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act, the Food Safety Modernization Act, and in particular the Food Safety Verification Program.  She has advised manufacturers and retailers on product packaging and labeling requirements, including compliance with the Nutrition and Education Labeling Act of 1990 and other FDA labeling requirements, including labeling of artificial colors and additives; and USDA National Organic Program and non-GMO labeling requirements.

California Proposition 65: Ms. Jones has represented retailers, distributors and manufacturers in Proposition 65 matters involving a broad range of chemicals and consumer products, from food products, to furniture and housewares, to fashion apparel and accessories.  She regularly advises clients concerning newly listed chemicals, and changes in chemical exposure limits, test protocols, warning requirements, and enforcement trends. From the time that a business receives a 60-day notice of violation, she works through the process of evaluating the risk, determining whether a product recall, reformulation or warning is necessary, negotiating either a dismissal or reasonable settlement with the enforcement group, or litigating the applicable safe harbor level and exposure levels.  Finally, she advises businesses entering into either upstream or downstream supply contracts to negotiate the allocation of Proposition 65 risk, and ensures that their contracts contain appropriate indemnity and warranty provisions.

Advertising and Marketing: Ms. Jones has experience litigating and providing compliance advice concerning FTC regulations, state statutes and industry guidelines regarding false and deceptive advertising and marketing, including sale price advertising, product comparison advertising, children’s advertising, use of native advertising, social media, endorsements and testimonials, product placement, and style bloggers, and using a variety of mediums, including print and broadcast ads, telemarketing, direct advertising, email, and SMS text message marketing.  Ms. Jones has also advised clients concerning collection of consumer information in connection with loyalty programs, offering of gift cards, and promotional offers, sweepstakes and lotteries.

Ecommerce: Ms. Jones has advised clients concerning a variety of e-commerce matters, from website accessibility under the ADA to drafting website privacy policies and statements concerning compliance with California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act.

Privacy: Ms. Jones has litigated and provide compliance advice concerning a broad range of consumer privacy issues, including compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA), the California Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), state privacy and data breach laws, and FTC and state law enforcement precedent.

Intellectual Property: Ms. Jones has defended retailers and manufacturers in numerous copyright, trademark and design patent infringement claims. She advises retailer clients concerning protection of their trademark rights by monitoring potentially infringing trademark registration applications, and providing advice and litigation of enforcement actions. At the product development stage, she reduces the risk of future litigation by advising merchants concerning potentially infringing use of copyrightable works, trademarks and design patents.

ADA: Ms. Jones has defended numerous cases under Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) involving premises, service animals, and websites.  She has advised clients on compliance with ADA Accessibility Guidelines, including establishing a program for a national retailer to obtain California Certified Access Specialist (CASp) certification of ADA compliance for its stores.  Ms. Jones has also handled numerous website accessibility claims, and has substantial experience both in defending legal actions and in advising clients concerning compliance with the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, level AA.

Prior to law school, Ms. Jones was a newspaper reporter and editor for Gannett Newspapers.

Professional Affiliations

    • American Bar Association
    • California Bar Association
    • California Retailers Association
    • California Bar Association
    • California Retailers Association
    • California Retailers Association
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Representative Experience

  • Represented national manufacturers and retailers in separate putative class actions alleging false and deceptive advertising, violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law based on labeling and marketing of nutraceutical products as providing health benefits; food products as being “Natural,” “All Natural,” or “Made With Natural Ingredients”; and consumer products as being “Made in USA.”
  • Represented retailers in class action litigation in alleging violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) and successfully defeated plaintiffs’ class certification motion.
  • Represented retailers in California class actions alleging violations of consumer protection statutes including California Civil Code § 1747.08 relating to collection of personal identification information in connection with credit card transactions
  • Represented numerous businesses in Title III ADA premises, service animal, and website cases, and provided compliance counseling.
  • Represented retailers and manufacturers in numerous cases alleging violation of California Proposition 65, and advised businesses concerning compliance with Proposition 65’s warning requirements, chemical exposure limits, and product reformulation.
  • Litigated false advertising and unfair competition complaint against a national retailer of wine and beverages.
  • Represented retailers in numerous copyright, trademark and patent infringement matters.

Publications

Speaking Engagements

  • “Prop. 65 Food Litigation: Enforcement Trends, Defense Strategies, and How to Reduce the Risk of Being Sued,” webinar presented through Momentum, on February 1, 2018
  • “Toxic Torts Food Litigation,” presented at Bryan Cave LLP in Chicago on May 4, 2017.
  • “ADA Website Compliance: How to Improve Accessibility and Reduce Risk,” presented at the Washington Bankers Association Marketing Conference, March 21, 2017, and as webinars for the Georgia Bankers Association on January 5, 2017 and the California Bankers Association on January 25, 2017.
  • “Prop. 65 Trends, Defenses and the Proposed New Warning Regulations," presented at the Retailer Proposition 65 and Green Chemistry Initiative Legal Roundtable, January 15, 2015.
  • “How to Avoid Copyright, Trademark and Patent Infringement Claims,” training presented to merchant teams of retailer clients.
  • “How to Avoid False Advertising Claims,” training presented to merchant teams of retailer clients.
  • “What You Need to Know About California Prop. 65,” training presented to food merchant teams of retailer clients.
  • “Improve Accessibility and Avoid Liability Under the ADA,” training presented to district managers of retailer clients.