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Consumer Justice

Public Citizen works to establish important legal precedents for consumer rights by handling appeals, collaborating on class action lawsuits, and filing amicus briefs. Through our Litigation Group, we defend consumers' right to access the civil justice system and advocate rules that allow people to effectively challenge unfair and deceptive practices. We also litigate constitutional issues that arise in consumer law. To read about our cases on this topic, click here.

Read the Consumer Law & Policy Blog

Launched in September 2006, the blog is a great way to keep abreast of the latest developments in consumer law and policy and engage in discussions on consumer issues. The contributors are a diverse group of law professors, public interest litigators, and private lawyers, who teach or practice consumer law. To subscribe to the blog, click here.

How Can we help you?

Why work with us?

What do we charge?

Tell us about your case

How can we help you?

To advance and preserve the consumers' access to the civil justice system, Public Citizen Litigation Group collaborates with both private and non-profit lawyers to establish precedents and achieve favorable results for consumers. By joining forces, we are able to pool the knowledge, skills, and experience of lawyers around the country with our expertise in litigating unsettled and difficult questions of law in a variety of areas.

  • Co-Counseling from the inception of the case. In selected cases, we act as co-counsel, from the pre-complaint research stage to the presentation of arguments to the court.
  • Briefing on important motions. We have assisted counsel in responding to motions based on preemption, motions compel arbitration, motions for class certification, and other motions raising significant legal issue.
  • Representation on appeal. Whether you're seeking to preserve a groundbreaking consumer rights victory as the appellee, or appealing an unfavorable decision on an important point of law, we are uniquely suited to provide you with representation or co-counseling on appeal.
  • Amicus support. In consumer rights cases that present novel or significant legal questions—particularly in cases involving federal preemption, class action doctrines, the interpretation of federal consumer protection statutes, and arbitration—we may file briefs as amicus curiae in support of the consumer.

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Why work with us?

Collaborating with a national public interest law firm has many advantages, including quick access to research and analysis of difficult or unsettled areas of the law, public relations abilities, and instant credibility with the court. Beyond these advantages, Public Citizen Litigation Group offers a wealth of expertise in appellate litigaion generally and in the following areas:

Federal Preemption

Public Citizen Litigation Group has been at the forefront of efforts to limit the reach of the federal preemption doctrine over state-law consumer protections. We have been involved in every preemption case in the Supreme Court in the past twenty years and in numerous cases involving the preemption doctrine in state and federal courts around the country.

For a detailed description of our past work on preemption issues, click here.

Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation

Our attorneys also regularly argue appeals on behalf of consumers in the state and federal appellate courts across the country. Our experience in the Supreme Court alone surpasses all but a few major law firms or public interest organizations. View a list of the Supreme Court cases we have argued.

Federal Consumer Protection Statutes

From Supreme Court cases concerning the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, to federal appeals concerning the settlement of predatory lending class actions, we have experience litigating issues that arise under federal consumer protection statutes. We are interested in co‑counseling or providing assistance in cases arising under these statutes.

Class Actions

We have extensive experience in class action litigation issues, having represented both plaintiff classes and objectors in numerous class actions, including more than 30 major nationwide class action settlements.

For more information on our involvement in class action litigation, click here.

Click here for our analysis of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (pdf).

Mandatory Arbitration

We believe that the escalating use of mandatory, pre‑dispute arbitration clauses in consumer contracts is undermining the ability of consumers and employees to vindicate basic rights through the civil justice system. We have participated in several seminal arbitration cases, both in the Supreme Court and in federal courts of appeals.

For a detailed description of our past work on arbitration issues, click here.

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What do we charge?

As a non-profit organization, we do not accept payment from clients and do not charge fees. In deciding whether to get involved in a case, our primary consideration is whether the case presents an opportunity to establish important precedents on behalf of consumers. If there are any court-awarded or common fund fees, or class action settlements including fees, we expect to receive a share commensurate with our involvement. On most occasions, we ask that our out-of-pocket expenses be reimbursed.

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Tell Us About Your Cases:

If you are a private attorney or public interest group interested in working with us on a case or would like us to consider handling your appeal or filing an amicus brief, please send us an email. You can also mail information about your case to:  Public Citizen Litigation Group, 1600 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009.


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Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

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