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Update: Price Gouging in Massachusetts

Following our March 18, 2020, GT Alert, Price Gouging in Massachusetts, on March 20, the attorney general of Massachusetts announced that her office has filed an emergency regulation to prohibit price gouging of essential products and services during the COVID-19 emergency. The emergency regulation amends 940 C.M.R. 3.18, which previously only addressed petroleum products, by adding two paragraphs that prohibit price gouging with regard to goods or services necessary for the health, safety or welfare of the public during a declared statewide or national emergency. The new paragraphs are:

(3) It shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice, during any declared statewide or national emergency, for any business at any point in the chain of distribution or manufacture to sell or offer to sell to any consumer or to any other business any goods or services necessary for the health, safety or welfare of the public for an amount that represents an unconscionably high price.

(4) A price is unconscionably high for the purposes of Paragraph 3 of this Section if:

(a) there is gross disparity between the price charged or offered and

1. the price at which the same good or service was sold or offered for sale by the business in the usual course of business immediately prior to the onset of the declared statewide or national emergency, or

2. the price at which the same or similar product is readily obtainable from other businesses; and

(b) the disparity is not substantially attributable to increased prices charged by the business’s suppliers or increased costs due to an abnormal market disruption.

ATTACHMENTS

©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 82

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About this Author

David Thomas, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Boston, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Shareholder

David Thomas is a litigation, trial, and appellate attorney focusing on defending companies against unfair or deceptive business practices claims in individual and putative class action settings. Among other things, David represents (1) manufacturers and retailers facing false advertising claims arising out of alleged violations of federal and state consumer protection statutes, including the Federal Trade Commission Act and "little FTC Acts" like Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A – the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, and (2) lenders, mortgage brokers and...

617-310-6040
 Robert A. Sherman Senior Counsel Litigation Finance Banking & Financial Services
Senior Counsel

Robert A. Sherman, a founding member and former co-managing shareholder of the firm's Boston office, has wide-ranging trial and regulatory experience. He focuses his practice on government and regulatory investigations and litigation, internal corporate investigations - with an emphasis on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance - as well as consumer protection and class action defense. Bob has broad experience representing clients in complex, high profile cases including those that have generated significant media attention. He served as co-lead counsel for hundreds of victims in the Boston Archdiocese clergy abuse scandal. With 30 years of legal and public service experience, Bob also brings a unique perspective and understanding of the global landscape to provide strategic counsel to clients on international issues, particularly in EU countries.

617-310-6015
Mian R. Wang Attorney Greenberg Traurig
Associate

Mian R. Wang focuses her practice on commercial litigation matters. She represents public and private corporations, financial institutions, and individuals before state and federal courts. She has deep experience litigating adversary proceedings and contested matters in bankruptcy courts, as well as defending claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and unfair or deceptive business practices.

Prior to joining the firm, Mian served as a law clerk for the Honorable Alvin W. Thompson in the U.S. District Court for the District of...

617.310.6273