Anxiety Drugs

Unapproved Anxiety Drugs Harm Consumers

Many Americans have reported experiencing increased levels of anxiety since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Left untreated, anxiety can lead to a decline in one’s quality of life and result in various physical health problems. For this reason, it is imperative that anyone suffering from anxiety or other mental health disorders speak with their doctor or pharmacist and receive proper medical treatment. Unfortunately, many people opt to use unapproved anxiety medications and later suffer from physical, mental, and other injuries that leave them with permanent damage.

If you believe that your use of an anxiety drug may have exposed you to health risks, you should speak with a California dietary supplement lawyer and explore your legal options.

FDA Issues Warning About Use of Unapproved Drugs to Treat Anxiety

On February 19, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release warning that under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, “products intended to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease are drugs and are subject to the requirements that apply to drugs, even if they are labeled as dietary supplements.” When it comes to products that have not been approved by the FDA, there are no evaluations with regard to certain factors like:

  • Whether the drugs are effective for their intended use.
  • The proper dosage.
  • How the drugs might interact with FDA-approved drugs.
  • Whether there may be side effects or health concerns.

Anxiety Disorders Affect Millions of Americans

While some anxiety might be considered normal, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) maintains that there is a significant difference between anxiety disorders and more normal feelings of nervousness and anxiousness because an anxiety disorder is likely to involve an extreme or excessive degree of fear or anxiety. Moreover, the APA says that “anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives.” Treatment of anxiety disorders may include medication, therapy, or some combination of both, which have all proven to be effective.

According to the APA, anxiety disorders are more commonly diagnosed in women than in men. Such a diagnosis has two main requirements:

  1. The anxiety must be out of proportion to the situation or age inappropriate.
  2. The anxiety must hinder one’s ability to function normally.

False Advertising by Dietary Supplement Manufacturers Exposes Consumers to Health Risks

Numerous dietary supplement manufacturers that market their products online make unfounded claims about their products’ ability to cure, treat, or mitigate anxiety and other mental health issues. This can have serious consequences for anyone who uses these drugs.

According to Steven Tave, Director of the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, “Dietary supplements that claim to cure, mitigate or prevent …mental health disorders are unapproved new drugs that could potentially harm consumers who use these products instead of seeking proven treatments from qualified health care providers.” Tave added that use of unapproved drugs is particularly troubling when it occurs during the COVID-19 pandemic because many consumers are already suffering from depression and other mental health issues.

Contact the California False Advertising Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC

If you or someone you know is suffering from an anxiety disorder and has taken dietary supplements to treat, cure, or mitigate anxiety, you could be entitled to monetary compensation. The Los Angeles dietary supplement attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP can investigate your case, hold the drug manufacturer accountable, and get you compensated for your injuries. Call us anytime or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation.

Do you have an anxiety supplements case?

Contact us for a free evaluation.


Automatic Subscription Renewal Law

The Legality of Automatically Renewing Subscriptions

Automatic Subscription Renewal Law

You know the feeling. You sign up for a one-year subscription—whether it’s for TV and internet services, food delivery, clothing, a dating app, or countless other products and services—intending to pay only for that year. Or you sign up for a “free trial,” thinking you will only be charged if you actually buy the service. But then, without your knowledge and consent, you are charged for an additional subscription period, or for a product or service you never intended to buy. Unfortunately, this happens to consumers every day, and companies often rely on these deceptive practices to get your business and your money.

The good news is that many states, including California, have laws like the ARL to ensure that consumers enter subscription programs with full knowledge and affirmative consent. To learn more, keep reading this blog.

What Is the Automatic Renewal Law?

In 2009, the California Legislature passed the Automatic Renewal Law, Business and Profession Code Section 17600 (the “ARL”), to “end the practice of ongoing charging of consumer credit or debit cards . . . without the consumers’ explicit consent for ongoing shipments of a product or ongoing deliveries of service.”

You may be entitled to relief under the ARL if any of the following apply:

  1. You were charged for a subscription that automatically renewed without your knowledge and consent.
  2. You signed up for a “free trial,” and without being able to cancel the service, were charged anyway.
  3. You signed up for a “free trial,” and there was no “clear and conspicuous explanation” of the offer’s pricing or change in pricing upon the trial’s end.
  4. You signed up for the subscription online, but there is no online cancellation option.
  5. For non-online subscriptions, there are none of the following cancellation methods: (a) a toll-free telephone number; (b) an email address; (c) a postal address, if the seller directly bills the consumer; or (d) another “cost-effective, timely, and easy-to-use mechanism.”

What Are the Disclosure Requirements Under the ARL?

Under the ARL, any business initiating an automatic renewal or continuous service offer to a California consumer must:

  • Disclose the terms of the offer.
  • Obtain the consumer’s affirmative consent.
  • Provide the consumer an acknowledgement of the order.
  • Provide simple cancellation procedures, along with other miscellaneous requirements.

Whether they are offered orally or in writing, the offer terms must be disclosed in temporal or visual proximity to “the request for consent to the offer.” Id. § 17602(a)(1).

The disclosures must also be “clear and conspicuous.” Id. A visual disclosure is clear and conspicuous if it is “in larger type than the surrounding text, or in contrasting type, font, or color to the surrounding text of the same size . . . in a manner that clearly calls attention to the language.” Id. § 17601(c). An audio disclosure is clear and conspicuous if it is “in a volume and cadence sufficient to be readily audible and understandable.” Id. Three other important aspects of the ARL are: A company must allow a consumer to cancel an automatic renewal or continuous service offer exclusively online if the consumer accepted the offer online ( § 17602(c)); and An automatic renewal or continuous service offer that includes a free gift or trial must have a “clear and conspicuous explanation” of the offer’s pricing or change in pricing upon the trial’s end ( § 17602(a)(1)); and A “free gift or trial” triggers a disclosure in the acknowledgement about how to cancel–and an allowance for cancellation–before the consumer pays for the good or service ( § 17602(a)(3)).

Can You Sue If Your Subscription Was Automatically Renewed Without Your Consent?

Although there is no private right of action under the ARL, a private plaintiff may bring an action under California’s Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq. (“UCL”), for restitution and injunctive relief, as long as the plaintiff has suffered injury in fact and lost money or property. See Lopez v. Stages of Beauty, LLC, 307 F. Supp. 3d 1058, 1070 (S.D. Cal. 2018).

Contact the California ARL Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC Today

Victims of false advertising should report illegal subscriptions to the California ARL lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC. Our experienced attorneys can investigate the subscriptions and help you obtain compensation. Call 310-590-5927 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation.

 

Was your subscription automatically renewed?

You may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for a free evaluation.


Bitcoin

BitClout Raises Intellectual Property Concerns

Bitcoin

With the Bitcoin and NFT bubbles continuing to grow, a new crypto-based company has hit the market looking to capitalize on the investment wave. Instead of investing in a business or product, BitClout offers users a new investment option that is described by its owner as a “new type of social network that lets [users] speculate on people and posts with real money.” Backed by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest investors, like Sequoia Capital and Winklevoss Capital, BitClout’s creators hope that it is poised to have a bright future.

However, BitClout is not without controversy over some of its current business practices, some of which may raise intellectual property concerns. To learn more about the possible legal issues posed by BitClout, keep reading this blog.

What Is BitClout?

BitClout users deposit Bitcoin into the platform in exchange for BitClout currency, or creator coins. The value of these coins is based on the reputation or popularity of the celebrity profile the user chooses to invest in. The more popular the profile, the more valuable the creator coin. In theory, if there is a new indie band that a user believes will break into the mainstream, the user can purchase the band’s creator coin now while the cost is low; as the band’s popularity increases, so will the value of the coins the user has purchased.

While users can deposit BitCoin in exchange for BitClout currency, there is currently no way for a user to cash out should they want to do so. The founder of BitClout hopes to have a currency exchange in the future but has no specifics on how or when they will be able to offer a cash-out option. BitClout appears to be a volatile investment, offering the potential for a quick rise and equally quick fall in investment value, with no way for users to cut losses and cash out.

Legal Issues Posed by BitClout

Another point of controversy surrounding BitClout is their aggressive growth strategy, in which their network was pre-populated with profiles from the top 15,000 public Twitter profiles. Influencers like Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk had profiles created without signing up for or agreeing to the platform. While the founder of BitClout says this was done to prevent user impersonation or handle squatting, the company is currently using the private information of celebrities and influencers without their expressed consent.

One influencer, Brandon Curtis, has already served BitClout founder Nader Al-Naji with a cease-and-desist letter for using his personal information without consent. Curtis is arguing that it is the individual’s right to profit from his or her own identity, and to choose what organizations they collaborate with. Depending on the outcome of Curtis’ intellectual property case, it is possible that many of the other pre-populated profiles on BitClout will also seek to be removed from the platform.

Contact the California Intellectual Property Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC

Tauler Smith LLC is a Los Angeles law firm that represents clients in intellectual property disputes, including cases involving copyright infringement. If you believe that you are a victim of a copyright violation, or if you have been accused of a copyright violation, our experienced IP attorneys can help you. Call or email us today to discuss your legal options.

DMCA Takedown Notices

Using Section 512(f) to Fight DMCA Takedown Notices

DMCA Takedown NoticesCopyright trolls have become a serious problem in recent years, with more and more people using outdated laws to take advantage of an internet and social media landscape that is constantly changing. Using a decades-old law that pre-dated YouTube (let alone hundreds of thousands of fan sites on Instagram), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows anyone to send automated notices to social media sites claiming that they own copyrights on content used by certain accounts on the sites. The objective of malicious DMCA trolling is typically to shut down the victim’s social media account. This is most commonly done because of personal jealousy, animosity, and/or retribution. Unfortunately, social media sites and their users are often powerless to do anything about it.

Could there be a new tool in the arsenal of copyright lawyers who look to aggressively defend individuals against fraudulent DMCA takedown notices? Keep reading this blog to find out.

What Is Section 512(f) of the DMCA?

The drafters of the DMCA statute wanted to prevent abuse of the system, which is meant to protect legitimate copyrights. So, they included a subsection called “Section 512(f),” which allows victims to sue if they are served with a DMCA takedown notice that is fraudulent.

Until recently, however, this provision in the law has not been put to good use by copyright defense lawyers. Since the DMCA was enacted in 1998, Section 512(f) has been only a “weak counterpressure on sending DMCA notices,” according to many commentators. In fact, one leading writer stated bluntly, “Section 512(f) of the DMCA is effectively dead.”

Hope for the Future of Section 512(f) as a Tool to Fight Copyright Trolls

Despite the long history of Section 512(f) being largely ineffective at stopping fraudulent DMCA takedown notices from copyright trolls, a recent order from the Central District Court of California has breathed new life into Section 512(f) and provided some measure of hope that victims of DMCA fraud can make dishonest people pay for their misdeeds.

Contact the California Copyright Defense Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC Today

Have you been served with a DMCA takedown notice? The Los Angeles copyright defense lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC can help you. Contact us anytime by calling 310-590-3927, or by filling out the contact form below.

Los Angeles Real Estate Lawyer

Tauler Smith LLP Wins Real Estate Dispute

Tauler Smith LLP, a Los Angeles-based law firm, recently represented a client in a real estate law matter with yet another successful outcome. The case involved a family, the Schallerts, who had been sued by a land developer that wanted a right-of-way over the family’s land for a development.

Los Angeles Real Estate Lawyer

Robert Tauler Helps Los Angeles Family Fight Developer in Court

Attorney Robert Tauler, one of the firm’s co-founders, represented the Schallert family and secured the victory for them at trial. Tauler successfully argued in Los Angeles Superior Court that the developer’s request for an “easement by necessity” should not be granted because there are other ways to access the developer’s property without crossing over the family’s land. The judge in the case, the Honorable Stephen P. Pfahler, agreed with Mr. Tauler and issued a ruling in favor of the family.

The case has received media coverage. To read more, including comments from the judge and attorneys, click here.