The Retail Litigation Center (RLC) released its 2013 Annual Report, a summary of RLC advocacy efforts in the judicial branch on behalf of the retail industry. Serving as the litigation arm of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the RLC participates in cases whose decisions could have significant impact on the retail industry and positions itself to be an asset to the courts, offering the expertise and insight of the retail industry.
In 2013, the RLC submitted 20 amicus briefs to various courts and agencies, an increase of more than 60 percent from the previous year. Often partnering with like-minded retail associations or business groups, RLC briefs focused mainly on labor and employment issues, but were also submitted in cases regarding patent trolls, class action certification standards and interchange regulations. The briefs were filed in a broad collection of venues, including six to the U.S. Supreme Court, eight to State Supreme Courts and one to the National Labor Relations Board.
Of the six briefs submitted by the RLC to the U.S. Supreme Court, the annual report highlights one brief that had a significant impact on the Court’s majority decision. In Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, the court cited the amicus brief submitted by the RLC in support of its decision to clearly extend the “first sale doctrine” to goods manufactured abroad, a major decision for retailers.
The RLC filed several briefs in 2013 seeking clarification of wage standards in cases poised to significantly affect the retail industry. Integrity Staffing v. Busk, which is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, addresses whether the Fair Labor Standards Act affords employees compensation for time spent undergoing security screenings and the amicus submitted by the RLC highlights the difficulties changes in precedents would present to the retail industry. Earlier in 2013, the RLC filed with a brief with the Supreme Court of California in Gonzalez v. Downtown LA Motors, urging the Court to reaffirm longstanding interpretations of minimum wage laws in California.
In Macy’s Inc. v. Local 1445, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the RLC submitted a brief urging the National Labor Relations Board to reconsider the application of the Specialty Healthcare decision as the standard to determine bargaining units in the retail context. The brief asks the NLRB to review its certification of a microunion comprised of the cosmetics and fragrances departments in the store.
The RLC filed amicus with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in an important case for the retail industry. NACS v. The Federal Reserve System deals with the Federal Reserve’s failure to produce an adequate rule to regulate skyrocketing debit swipe fees as called for by the Durbin Amendment. The RLC brief explains the importance of the Durbin Amendment’s “non-exclusivity” provision for ensuring that retailers have competing choices for routing debit card transactions.
“As Congress becomes further paralyzed by inaction and the Administration takes an increasingly expansive view of its authority, it is all the more important for the retail industry to engage the judicial branch,” said Deborah White, president of the RLC. “Toward that end, the RLC will look for key cases in which to explain the retail industry’s perspective. Failure to engage the federal and state appellate courts will jeopardize the success of the retail industry.”
To view the Retail Litigation Center 2013 Annual Report, please visit the RLC website: www.retaillitcenter.org. The report can also be downloaded here.
The Retail Litigation Center is a public policy organization that identifies and engages in legal proceedings which affect the retail industry. The RLC, whose members include some of the country’s largest retailers, was formed to provide courts with retail industry perspectives on significant legal issues, and highlight the potential industry-wide consequences of legal principles that may be determined in pending cases.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.