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What is the impact of the FDA’s New Food-Labeling Regulations? The new rules cover any restaurant or “retail food establishment” selling “restaurant-type food.” Does that include the wide array of retail and hospitality businesses, including bakeries, cafeterias, coffee shops, convenience stores?  This post sheds insights on how these new regulations might affect hoteliers and restaurateurs. - Greg

Several clients have lately been asking about notices they've received that look like this. If they come from the Eastern District court in New York, they’re legitimate, and if you are a merchant who accepted Visa or MasterCard or both between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012, you are a probably a member of the class and should have received one too. If you didn't, the lawsuit and proposed settlement are discussed in detail here. Take a look; the settlement could affect your legal rights. You have until May 28, 2013 to exclude yourself from the settlement (opt-out) or object to its terms; the final hearing on the proposed settlement will be September 12, 2013. Assuming the court approves the settlement, with or without changes that may occur as the result of objections, claim forms will be issued after that date to class members and a claim deadline will be set.

The United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a Statement of Objections this Tuesday alleging that industry giants, Expedia, Inc. and InterContinental Hotels Group violated the UK’s Competition Act of 1998. The Statement of Objections will not be made public, but from OFT’s comments, its rate parity and best rate guarantees that are causing the trouble.

The Securities Division of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has just released a draft bill it is sending to the Legislature next January. The bill would make state franchise law more consistent with the modernized Federal Trade Commission (FTC)Rule governing the offer and sale of franchises.

For those of you that didn't know, Sunday marked the end of a 10-week sabbatical that took my wife and me and our three small boys (ages 5, 7 and 9) first to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons for nearly 3 weeks and then to Western Europe for the month of August. What a summer break - our boys had great stories to share with their classmates when it was time to describe how they has spent their summer vacation.

Time away from the office and practice taught me many things - among them, it takes a great deal of patience and perseverance to traveling with three little boys. The time away also reminded me of the value of travel and seeing and experiencing things (even your own local practices) through others' eyes. Our experience underscored the need to include foreign travel as the part of any education - whether formal, professional or otherwise. Travel opens our minds to other viewpoints and ideas that we might not otherwise experience.  

I am thrilled to be back to my practice and to re-connect with clients and friends. I'm also anxious to apply some of the new ideas and perspectives gained over the past few weeks. 

A huge thanks to my partners and colleagues at our office - especially those in our hospitality practice - Ruth Walters and Diana Shukis - who have once again reminded me that this practice has grown well beyond me. I look forward to touching base with all of you over the next few weeks and to sharing some of these my new ideas in future posts.     

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About the Editor

Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.

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