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Searle Center on state consumer protection acts

Last month the Searle Center at Northwestern released "State Consumer Protection Acts: An Empirical Investigation of Private Litigation." Russell Jackson notes the report's key findings:

* Litigation under state consumer protection acts has increased by 119% between 2000 and 2007.

* Vague statutory definitions of prohibited conduct are a major driver of state consumer protection act litigation.

* Between 1995 and 2007, the expected value of recovery for state consumer protection act plaintiffs increased dramatically as measured by the statutory requirements to bring a cause of action and available remedies.

* Those states with more generous remedies and less strict requirements for bringing an action see more consumer protection act litigation.

* Employing a "Shadow FTC" of five Shadow Commissioners who reviewed representative sample case scenarios, most state consumer protection act claims would not constitute illegal conduct under the Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection standards.

* Almost 40% of consumer protection act claims where the consumer plaintiff prevailed at trial would not constitute illegal conduct under the FTC's consumer protection standards.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.