Speaker Profile

Ronie Schmelz
Counsel / Tucker Ellis LLP

RONIE M. SCHMELZ represents clients in broad-based commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on consumer class action defense.  She also regularly counsels clients on litigation-avoidance strategies and ensuring compliance with state and federal laws, including regulations enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other regulatory agencies; California Proposition 65; and advertising, labeling, and claim substantiation.  Ronie has deep industry knowledge of and particular expertise in representing domestic and international companies in the cosmetics, personal care, and consumer product industries. 

Ronie regularly defends consumer product companies in litigation asserting false advertising, unfair competition, and consumer protection claims, including claims asserted under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws. She also represents companies in inquiries and investigations brought by local, state, and federal governmental agencies.

In addition to her general commercial litigation practice, Ronie has extensive experience representing clients in insurance coverage matters, as well as reinsurers and cedents in reinsurance disputes. 

Ronie is active in several trade and professional organizations serving the personal care product and insurance industries, and is regularly sought out to speak at industry conferences.  She spent the first 25 years of her career practicing in the Los Angeles office of Sidley Austin LLP, where she represented clients in complex commercial litigation, consumer class actions, real estate, health care, re/insurance disputes, and governmental investigations. 

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

  • Assisting start-up cosmetic device company with obtaining provisional patent and capital raise
  • Advising foreign personal care companies on requirements for entering U.S. market, including advertising and regulatory review
  • Defending consumer product company in consumer class action and follow-on personal injury actions
  • Counsels companies on compliance with the federal Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act and its implementing regulations
  • Advises companies on advertising, claim substantiation, and compliance with FTC, OTC Monographs, Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, Slack-fill, and Automatic Renewal Program regulations
  • Reviews labeling, advertising, and marketing materials to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal statutes and regulations, and to reduce exposure to claims by private litigants
  • Counsels companies in responding to Prop 65 notices and follow-on actions and compliance with Prop 65 Consent Judgments
  • Represents clients in monitoring and responding to OEHHA intent to list Prop 65 chemicals and related regulatory modifications
  • Advises clients on appropriate consumer-facing internet disclosures, including terms and conditions, arbitration and class action waivers, privacy policies, and automatic renewal programs
  • Representing insurance carrier in coverage and bad faith litigation

Representative Matters (Continued)

  • Representing insured in pursing coverage under professional liability policy
  • Assisted client in successfully resolving Notice of FDA Action alleging misbranding of imported cosmetic device
  • Successfully resolved threatened and pending nationwide consumer class actions asserting claims arising from alleged misbranding of consumer products
  • Successfully defended international retailer against a trademark, trade dress, and trade secrets claim that sought to prevent it from selling a popular toy during the 2012 holiday season; plaintiff’s application for a TRO was denied and plaintiff ultimately dropped its claims
  • Helped investment firm recover damages suffered as a result of partners’ breach of international apparel licensing agreement
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a reinsurer in a case in which the ceding company refused to acknowledge and honor an asbestos exclusion 
  • Obtained a directed verdict on behalf of a reinsurer in an arbitration involving attempts to collect reinsurance on a surety bond claim 
  • Coordinated successful defense and resolution of nationwide consumer class actions and governmental inquiries against international hospitality companies challenging consumer disclosure practices
  • Led a team of attorneys that achieved a favorable class settlement of a putative nationwide class action in which plaintiffs alleged violations of consumer protection statutes of all 50 states in connection with Energy Star designations and energy efficiency representations
  • Successfully moved to dismiss class allegations asserted against financial services company in consumer fraud litigation 
  • Counseled client on consumer disclosures and revamping of website to comply with Consent Decree and avert exposure to private plaintiffs

CIVIC & PROFESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT

  • ARIAS-U.S., Member, Education Committee
  • Association of Professional Insurance Women
  • Beauty Industry West (BIW), Legal Advisor to the Board
  • Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Past Board Member
  • Business Forum International
  • Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW)
  • Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD), Co-Chair, West Coast Development Committee
  • Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Southern California Chapter
  • Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Alliance (WLMA), Los Angeles Steering Committee

Speaking Engagements

  • “Proposition 65 Recent Developments,” Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA), Encino, California (September 2015)
  • “IP Risks: How to Protect What’s Yours,” Tucker Ellis Privacy and Data Security Risks: Are You Prepared?, Cleveland, Ohio (July 2015)
  • “ICMAD:  Knowledge is Power:  What you Need to Know to Protect Your Business,” Cosmoprof North America, Panel Participant (July 2015)
  • “Proposition 65 and Its Impact on the Cosmetics Industry,” ICMAD Cosmetic Technical/Regulatory Forum, Newport Beach, California (February 2015)
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Speaking Engagements (Continued)

  • “California Privacy & Advertising Laws ~ How Are They Different…,” Brand Activation Association/PMA Marketing Law Conference, Chicago, Illinois (November 2014)
  • “Prop 65 – Updates, Wins and What You Must Know,” ICMAD West Coast Business Meeting, Los Angeles, California (October 2014)
  •  “Are You Ready to Import into the USA?”, ICMAD Cosmoprof North American Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada (July 2014)
  •  “Using Mobile Technology in Electronic Data Discovery,” ALM’s LegalTech West Coast, Los Angeles, California (June 2014)
  • “California Prop 65 & Consumer Class Actions in the Cosmetics Industry,” ICMAD FDA Cosmetic Regulations Workshop, New York, New York (April 2014)
  • “Employee and Privacy Considerations Relating to BYOD – Bring Your Own Device” (July 2013)
  • “Around the Beauty World in 60 Minutes: A Prop 65 Alert” (July 2013)
  • “ABA May 2013 Consumer Protection Update,” ABA Section of Antitrust Program (June 2013)

Publications

  • “Federal Jury Clears Producer, Marketer, and Seller of Homeopathic Products in $255M Class Action Trial,” Tucker Ellis Client Alert (September 2015)
  • “OEHHA to Consider Modifying Prop 65 Safe Harbor Levels for Lead,” Tucker Ellis Client Alert; reprinted in American Brush Manufacturers Association (ABMA) (August 2015)
  • “Seller Beware!! What You Need to Know About Prop 65 Before Selling Products to California Consumers,” Cosmoprof North America eNewsletter (April 2015)
  • “Subscription Services Beware! Failure to Follow Automatic Renewal Laws May Convert Your Sales into Unconditional Gifts to Your Customers!”, Tucker Ellis Client Alert (February 2015)
  • “FDA Issues Proposed Rule on Topical Anti-Microbial OTC Drug Products,” ICMAD Digest (February 2014)
  • “Recent FTC Settlements Alert,” ICMAD Digest (February 2014)

Media Quotes

  • “OEHHA Starts Prop 65 Rulemaking to Update Max Allowable Lead Level,” The Rose Sheet (August 2015)
  • “Cosmetics E-tailers at Risk Amid Trending Auto-Renewal Class Actions,” The Rose Sheet (April 2015)
  • “PAGA Case Not Removable Under CAFA; Statute, Rule 23 ‘More Dissimilar Than Alike,’” Bloomberg BNA Class Action Litigation Report (March 2014)
  • “Zhang Ruling Yanks Insurer Shield Against UCL Claims,” Law360 (August 2013)
  • “California High Court OKs Private Action for Insurer’s Alleged False Advertising,” The Knowledge Effect (August 2013)
  • “Cosmetic Firms Held ‘Hostage’ By Prop 65 Litigators; Law Changes Possible,” The Rose Sheet (September 2013)