Ansell Grimm & Aaron Round Up: June 2021

Posted on June 3rd, 2021

AGA Secures Dismissal Of Nationwide Class Action 

Ansell Grimm & Aaron attorneys Joshua S. Bauchner and Anthony J. D’Artiglio obtained dismissal of a putative, nationwide class action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction in New Jersey federal district court.  The case, Cindy Adam v. Frank V. Barone, et al., Civ. A. No.: 3:20-cv-10321-MAS-LHG, concerned claims alleging that Defendants violated various California and Federal consumer protection statutes through their online sale of natural beauty products, including seeking to certify a nationwide class alleging violations of over 40 different States’ consumer protection statutes.  Following Ansell Grimm & Aaron successfully securing a transfer of the case from the Northern District of California to the District of New Jersey, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss arguing, among other things, that a pre-litigation offer of a full refund for the purchased products made in the ordinary course of business mooted plaintiff’s claims and divested the Court of subject matter jurisdiction.

The Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, did not moot the claims because, in that case, the Supreme Court held that an unaccepted offer of judgment or an unaccepted settlement offer could not defeat subject matter jurisdiction.  Ansell Grimm & Aaron explained that Campbell-Ewald does not apply because a pre-litigation, ordinary course offer of a refund is not a “settlement offer” – a bright-line distinction between pre-litigation refunds and post-litigation settlements.   The Court agreed explaining that it was declining “to extend Campbell-Ewald as Plaintiff suggests, where a refund was offered in the ordinary course of business by a representative of the company during a phone call with a customer.”  As a result, the offer of a refund mooted Plaintiff’s claims such that there was no “case or controversy” permitting Article III subject matter jurisdiction for the Court.  By securing dismissal at the pleading stage, Ansell Grimm & Aaron saved its clients substantial time and expense which otherwise would have been wasted defending a meritless, nationwide class action.

Ansell, Grimm & Aaron attorneys regularly engage in class action defense arising from frivolous claims and seek to obtain a similarly quick and cost-effective result for our clients. Of course, some matters do have merit, in which case our attorneys work to narrow the claims or class towards minimizing damages and obtaining a favorable settlement.

For additional information on Ansell Grimm & Aaron’s class action practice, please contact Joshua S. Bauchner, Esq. (jb@ansellgrimm.com) or Anthony D’Artiglio, Esq. (ajd@ansellgrimm.com) at (973) 247-9000.

AGA Attorney Testifies Before State Cannabis Regulatory Commission

Ansell Grimm & Aaron attorney Zachary L. Windham testified before the Cannabis Regulatory Commission on June 1, 2021.  His testimony concerned whether limitations should be imposed on the potency of concentrates and edibles that will be sold in New Jersey marijuana dispensaries.  Zachary explained:  “The path of least resistance from a consumer standpoint would be to purchase all of their cannabis products from the unregulated supplier, who could provide them with a wider variety of product types.”  Accordingly, Zachary recommended against restrictions favoring effective labeling and consumer education.  Media coverage concerning his testimony is available here.

Our dedicated Cannabis Law Practice Group stands ready to assist applicants with ensuring they are prepared when the Request for Applications is issued for adult use cannabis, as well as for additional medical licenses.  Please contact Joshua S. Bauchner, Esq. (jb@ansellgrimm.com) or Zachary L. Windham, Esq. (zlw@ansellgrimm.com) at (973) 247-9000 to get started today.

George A. McGowan III Joins AGA As Corporate Attorney

George A. McGowan, III, joined as counsel with the firm. His practice is concentrated in areas of corporate and commercial law (both public and private companies), technology, and transactional matters including Mergers and Acquisitions, Trusts and Estates, Financing and Real Estate. His client roster includes a major data center, a streaming media company, several international manufacturing companies, professional practices, and closely held businesses. Mr. McGowan brings our clients both his private practice expertise with Fortune 500 Company knowledge and experience.

He is a graduate of Manhattan College with a Bachelor’s of Science in two majors, Finance and Marketing. He graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law with a J.D.  He clerked for the Honorable Patrick McGann, in the Chancery-General Equity Court in Monmouth County. He is admitted to practice in the State of New Jersey and its Federal Courts.

Nicholas J. Falcone Joins AGA As Counsel In The Land Use Department

Nicholas J. Falcone is counsel to the firm with the concentration of his practice relating to zoning and land use, and the representation of clients in all phases of governmental approvals for site plans, subdivisions and variances before municipal planning and zoning boards, as well as appeals therefrom. Before joining the firm Mr. Falcone represented planning boards and school districts in Monmouth County, as well as business statewide. Earlier, Mr. Falcone worked at the national law firms Fox Rothschild and the labor and employment boutique Grotta, Glassman and Hoffman, where his practice focused on labor and employment law, representing employers in state and federal courts in all aspects of civil litigation, administrative hearings, and provided HR counseling.

After law school graduation, Mr. Falcone was law clerk to the Honorable Martin L. Greenberg, Superior Court, Chancery Division: General Equity and Probate, and to Honorable Seymour Margulies and Honorable Fred J. Theemling, Jr., Superior Court, Civil Division, Hudson County, New Jersey. While in law school, Mr. Falcone worked as a law clerk at the firm of former U.S. District Court Judge Herbert J. Stern.

Mr. Falcone has had life long association with the arts. Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Falcone worked in the Broadway theater, including for the legendary director/producer Harold Prince, film and opera communities. Mr. Falcone served on Board of Directors of the Garden State Film Festival, 2009-2019, including as Chairman of the Board and Chairman and of the Programming Committee for the last six of those years.