(INDIANAPOLIS) – Attorney General Curtis Hill on Friday announced an amicus brief supporting the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to seek restitution for consumers when enforcing provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
The U.S. Supreme Court should consider and reverse a decision by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals holding that the FTC lacks authority to obtain restitution when providing redress to victims of fraud or deceptive business practices, Attorney General Hill said.
“Without the ability to seek restitution, the FTC would be seriously hampered in its ability to protect consumers,” Attorney General Hill said. “Further, this kind of restriction on the FTC’s enforcement powers would weaken Indiana’s efforts to fight unfair and deceptive business practices through collaboration with our federal partners.”
States rely on partnerships with federal regulators such as the FTC to protect millions of Americans. In order to make victims of fraud whole and to adequately deter further wrongdoing, regulators typically seek injunctive relief that requires defendants to cease illegal conduct and return illegal profits to consumers. While Attorney General Hill and attorneys general around the country obtain consumer restitution through their own enforcement actions, states also benefit from the FTC’s independent authority to investigate and address violations of federal law.
The amicus brief filed Friday is signed by a bipartisan group of 24 attorneys general. The coalition points out that the 7th Circuit’s decision upends decades of precedent and will result in defendants attempting to “forum shop.” In fact, the attorney’s general state in the brief, defendants have already begun to attempt to transfer cases to the 7th Circuit in order to take advantage of the decision. As a result, the coalition claims the decision has created confusion where none previously existed.
In 2018 alone, the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection issued more than $122 million in refunds to consumers throughout the country.
The amicus brief is attached – FTC v. CBC Illinois Amicus Brief TO FILE.pdf