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BakerHostetler is recognized by Chambers USA as having one of the leading retail practices in the country. Our team consists of experienced attorneys across all of our practice groups who regularly advise and partner with our retail clients on all aspects of their businesses: employees; customers; data and technology; advertising; intellectual property; suppliers and service providers; real property; landlords and co-tenants; competitors; and dealings with federal, state and local regulators.

Labor and Employment Counseling and Litigation

  • Represent the world’s largest furniture retailer in labor relations matters throughout the United States, including union representation petitions, grievance arbitrations, collective bargaining agreement negotiations, training and general labor strategy.
  • Defended one of the largest retailers of clothing and housewares in the United States in a putative Fair Labor Standards Act collective action, as well as putative Rule 23 class actions in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, brought by former assistant store managers alleging that they were misclassified as exempt employees and were owed overtime wages, as well as other nonexempt benefits.
  • Represent a luxury retailer as designated employment law counsel in all matters arising from the employer-employee relationship.
  • Represented a leading paint and coatings retailer in the development of a nationwide independent contractor compliance program for contracts with independent installation professionals, including the drafting of individual agreements and a dispute resolution program, advising the retailer on HUD Section 3 compliance, and providing regular advice on emerging issues.

Commercial Litigation and Class Action Defense

  • Represented a Fortune 50 retail company in a multibillion-dollar international arbitration/valuation proceeding arising out of the termination of its Australian joint venture.
  • Defended an American retailer of hard-surface flooring as lead counsel in multidistrict litigation involving more than 140 class actions alleging excessive levels of formaldehyde in Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring.
  • Defended a national supermarket chain in a California class action alleging the client and other leading retail pharmacies unlawfully assessed sales tax reimbursement on nontaxable items. Established that consumers could not state claims under California’s consumer protection laws based on the alleged overcharging of sales tax. Judgment was ultimately affirmed by the California Supreme Court.
  • Defended a leading home improvement retailer in a nationwide class action alleging that standard-size bags of mulch were “underfilled” and contained less product than was represented on the bag. Reached an individual settlement after defeating class certification.

Advertising, Marketing and Digital Media

  • Assisted numerous retail companies in ensuring compliance with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for both brands and platforms regarding solicitation, moderation and posting of consumer reviews, including training, updating of policies and review of moderation guidelines used by third-party partners.
  • Represent retailers in a wide range of FTC and state attorneys general matters, including pricing investigations, negative option marketing, recurring membership plans, “green” claims and product warranties.
  • Advise retailers on authentication measures, payment acceptance and loyalty programs for their web and mobile apps.
  • Advised a national online retailer in connection with the development of its entire pricing structure and its pricing programs.

Real Estate

  • Represent various national retailers on the expansion of corporate headquarters, multiple distribution centers, and negotiation of state and local government incentives.
  • Represent a national retail grocer in all aspects of its real estate acquisitions, leasing and dispositions.

Digital Risk Advisory and Cybersecurity

  • As incident response counsel to numerous retailers, advise clients on cybersecurity issues, including preparing incident response plans and conducting incident response training for clients’ response teams, executives and board members.

Intellectual Property

  • Represent various retail brands in prosecuting claims against third-party infringers who market counterfeit goods.

Employee Benefits

  • Advise public and private retail companies on the establishment, documentation and administration of all forms of tax-qualified retirement plans, including 401(k), traditional defined benefit, money purchase, employee stock ownership and cash balance plans.

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