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SUPREME COURT
ASSISTANCE PROJECT

Read about our work helping lawyers
with cases in the Supreme Court.

 

About Public Citizen's Consumer Justice Work


 

Who are we?

     Founded in 1972 as the litigating arm of the non-profit consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen, Public Citizen Litigation Group is a national public interest law firm specializing in consumer rights, health and safety regulation, open government, separation of powers, and the First Amendment. We have litigated cases involving consumer rights in every federal circuit and state courts across the country and have argued over 50 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. For more information about Public Citizen Litigation Group, view its attorney biographies.

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 How can we help you?

    Through the Consumer Justice Project, PCLG 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 unique 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 will act as co-counsel for the whole case, from the pre-complaint research stage to the presentation of arguments to the court.
  • Briefing on Important Motions, such as responses to motions based on preemption or those to compel arbitration, motions for class certification, and other motions raising significant legal issues.
  • 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 a small number 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 occasionally file briefs as amicus curiae in support of the consumer.

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Why work with us?

    There are many inherent advantages to collaborating with a national public interest law firm, 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:

        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've argued.

        Federal Consumer Protection Statutes

          From the most recent Supreme Court case concerning the Truth in Lending Act to two recent federal appeals concerning the settlement of predatory lending class actions, we have experience litigating issues that arise under federal consumer protection statutes. We are prepared to co‑counsel or provide assistance in cases arising under the Truth in Lending Act, the Home Ownership Equity Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Moss‑Magnusson Warranty Act, and the Odometer Act, among others.

        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, and have increased our involvement in this area in recent years.

          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 do ask that our out-of-pocket expenses be reimbursed.

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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.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
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