Private Actions, Public Benefits
Aids Public Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws
September 20, 2013 —
effectively, private and public action form an effective, complementary
enforcement system that provides multiple levels of remedies for consumers.
Private lawsuits often provide relief to consumers who have been defrauded or
mistreated, while public actions provide both relief to consumers and result in
systemic changes that prevent future abuses. State officials have acknowledged
that private litigation—particularly class action litigation—is an essential
tool that complements their enforcement work.
practices limiting the rights of consumers, coupled with recent Supreme Court
decisions that have given businesses significant latitude to use such
practices, threaten the ability of private actions to deliver compensation to
consumers. This report reviews four examples in which private actions seeking
damages for harms caused by violations of consumer protection laws were
mirrored by successful litigation by state attorneys general or other public
entities. Read the report.