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Volume X, Number 262

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Price Gouging Laws Expected to Remain in Effect Through the End of the Year

In response to the public health crisis caused by COVID-19, states of emergencies were declared across the nation in order to implement emergency response plans and halt the spread of the virus. Generally, state governors have the power to declare states of emergency, by issuing executive orders which outline the duration of the declaration and the conditions that brought about the order.

Since March 2020, all fifty states have declared states of emergencies. As a result of the declarations, price gouging laws have been triggered nationwide. As previously discussed, although the emergency declarations began at roughly the same time, states are likely to allow them to expire at very different times.

To date, no state appears to have let their emergency declarations expire, or even lapse (though the manner in which some of the renewals were implemented may leave open the possibility of a different interpretation). Practically speaking, that means that for the purposes of calculating baseline prices, the pricing considerations that were implicated when these declarations were first implemented in early March, are very likely the same considerations that will be used today.

While many states have repeatedly extended their declarations as the pandemic continues, more than a dozen states, issued a state of emergency for an indefinite period of time.

Two states, Missouri and South Dakota, have provisionally set December 30, 2020 as their end dates. South Dakota set that date in late May, and Missouri made a similar decision in early June.

Shorter term, some states of emergencies are currently expected to expire in October (District of Columbia) and early September (Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania), and many other states are due to expire at various points in August.

The continued pattern of renewals over the past several months, however, gives reason to doubt whether the current expiration dates will be maintained. We have seen that, in states that set shorter time frames for the effectiveness of their declarations, the relevant states of emergencies have been repeatedly renewed and extended. In Oklahoma, for example, the emergency declaration has been renewed more than in any other state—now nearly twenty times. While their current end date is August 9, 2020, given the pattern of renewals in Oklahoma, it seems unlikely that deadline will hold.

As the pandemic continues to pose a threat to communities in various states, governors likely will continue to renew states of emergencies with no clear end in sight. Businesses should remain aware of the span of these states of emergency, as violating price gouging laws can bring about serious penalties.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 216

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Christopher Ondeck, Antitrust Litigator, Proskauer Rose, law firm
Partner

Chris Ondeck is a partner in the Litigation Department and vice-chair of the Antitrust Group. He focuses his practice on representing clients in civil and criminal antitrust litigation, defending mergers and acquisitions before the U.S. antitrust agencies, defending companies involved in government investigations, and providing antitrust counseling.

Chris has handled antitrust matters for clients in a number of industries, including advertising, aerospace, alcoholic beverages, appliances, building materials, defense, medical devices, metals,...

202-416-5865
John Ingrassia, Antitrust Attorney, Telecommunications, Proskauer Law firm
Special Counsel

John Ingrassia is a special counsel and advises clients on a wide range of antitrust matters in various industries, including chemicals, pharmaceutical, medical devices, telecommunications, financial services, health care, and others. His practice includes a significant focus on the analysis of Hart-Scott-Rodino pre-merger notification requirements, the coordination and submission of Hart-Scott-Rodino filings, and the analysis and resolution of antitrust issues related to mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures. John has extensive experience with the legal, practical, and technical requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, and is regularly invited to participate in Federal Trade Commission and bar association discussions regarding Hart-Scott-Rodino practice issues. 

John also advises clients regarding international antitrust issues arising in proposed acquisitions and joint ventures, including reportability under the EC Merger Regulation and numerous other foreign competition filing regimes, and liaising with local counsel to coordinate foreign pre-merger notifications and ensure the efficacy and consistency of the competition law theories advanced.

202.416.6869
Kelly Landers Hawthorne, Proskauer Law Firm, New York, Litigation Attorney
Associate

Kelly Landers Hawthorne is an attorney in the Litigation Department.

Education

  • Columbia Law School, J.D., 2017

  • George Mason University, M.Ed., 2013

  • University of Richmond, B.A., 2011

212-969-3537
Nicollette R. Moser Litigation & Antitrust Proskauer Rose Washington, DC
Associate

Nicollette Moser is an associate in the Litigation Department and a member of the Antitrust Group.

Related Practices

  • Litigation
  • Antitrust

Admissions & Qualifications

  • District of Columbia
202.416.5862
Jennifer E. Tarr Litigation Attorney Proskauer Rose Washington, DC
Associate

Jennifer E. Tarr is an associate in the Litigation Department.

Related Practices

  • Litigation
  • Antitrust

Related Industries

  • Sports
202.416.6846