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AARP Foundation Legal Advocacy

Docket: Consumer and Utilities


Case Name: Popowsky v. Pa. Pub. Util. Comm'n

Court: Commonwealth Ct. of Pa.    Docket: 1179 CO 2012

Read Summary AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The Commission's interpretation of the statute as permitting a utility to rely solely on spot market pricing for default utility rates, where the statute requires that the prices be based on a "prudent mix" of sources, will not be disturbed because the statute is ambiguous and the Commission has the technical expertise to interpret it.

Case Name: Quinn v. Walgreen Co.

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. SDNY    Docket: 57:12-cv-8187(VB)

Read Summary

Case Result: To resolve the opposition AFL filed on behalf of an objector, the parties revised the settlement of class action claims that the marketing of products containing glucosamine and chondroitin was deceptive. The amended settlement significantly improved the scope of injunctive relief and made it permanent, and narrows the scope of the class member release. The objector was awarded monetary relief.

Case Name: Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) v. Arizona Corp. Comm'n

Court: Arizona Supreme Court   Docket: CV-15-0281-PR

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue: Did the Arizona Corporation Commission violate Arizona's constitutional requirement to set "just and reasonable" rates when it approved a surcharge on ratepayer bills to cover the costs of replacing water infrastructure and provide the utility's investors with a return on equity of 10.55 percent?

Case Name: Reyes v. Zions First National Bank

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 3d Cir.   Docket: 13-8086

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The district court erred by denying class certification because it should have used a preponderance of the evidence standard rather than absolute certainty for the predominance and commonality elements of class certification. The district court also failed to consider expert testimony.

Case Name: Sheriff v. Gillie

Court: U.S. Supreme Court   Docket: 15-338

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue: Does the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) apply to third party debt collectors who are hired by a state Attorney General to collect consumer debts owed to the state, or are they "state officers collecting debt in accordance with their official duties" who are excluded from the FDCPA's definition of covered parties? Was sending the letters deceptive under the FDCPA?

Case Name: S. Alliance for Clean Energy v. Fla. Pub. Serv. Comm'n

Court: Fla. Supreme Court   Docket: SC-2465

Read Summary AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Result: Court rejected the challenge, finding that recovery of preconstruction costs through customer rates in order to promote utility company investment in new nuclear power plants, even though plants might never be built, is a policy decision for the legislature.

Case Name: Sykes v. Mel Harris

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 2d Cir.   Docket: 13-2742, 13-2747, 13-2748 (con)

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: Class certification was affirmed in lawsuit challenging abusive debt collection practices by a debt buyer, a law firm, and the process servicers used by the law firm that often failed to serve the debtors but falsified court records to make it appear that debtors received notice.

Case Name: Torres v. SGE Management  

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.  Docket: 14-20128

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue:  Should the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rehear en banc an appeal of the trial court's certification of a class of people who were duped into participating in a pyramid scheme disguised as a business opportunity?

Case Name: Torres v. SGE Management

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.   Docket: 14-20128

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Can an alleged pyramid scheme be challenged as class action under RICO if the court can infer that all class members relied on representations that it was a legitimate business opportunity?

Case Name: Townsend v. Midland Funding

Court: Md. Ct. of Appeals   Docket: 24-C-13-001033

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Result: In small claims court, no rules of evidence or even a competent witness is necessary for a debt buyer to obtain a judgment in a contested trial.

Case Name: Unifund CCR Partners v. Shah

Court: Ill. App. Ct. of Ill., 1st Dist.   Docket: 11-3658

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: After clarifying the obligation of the collector to provide sufficient evidence of an assignment of the debt as required by statute, the court determined the record on appeal was insufficient to permit review, and therefore affirmed the trial court judgment dismissing the case.

Case Name: Vassalle v. Midland Funding

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 6th Cir.    Docket: 14-4156

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Did court err in approving nationwide settlement against debt buyer which released the claims of all class members for de minimus monetary compensation?

Case Name: Vassalle v. Midland Funding

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 6th Cir.    Docket: 11-4021

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: Nationwide class action settlement could not be approved as class representatives and settlement did not adequately protect the absent class members.

Case Name: Wert v. Manorcare of Carlisle Pa.

Court: Pa. Supreme Court   Docket: 62 MAP 2014

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed that an arbitration agreement is invalid when an integral provision - here, the use of the National Arbitration Forum as the arbitral forum - cannot be executed.

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Legal Cases

Find cases in which AFL has advocated in courts nationwide for the rights of older persons, and filed AARP’s amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs that help courts decide precedent-setting cases. The cases within the drop-down categories below are in alphabetical order for ease of searching.

Strengthening Law and Policy through
Legal Advocacy

Our legal advocacy initiatives  - conducted by AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL) - reflect more than 15 years of work in federal and state courts across the country. Through our efforts, we support the Foundation’s four impact areas: Tackling Senior Hunger, Paving the Way to Stable Income, assuring the adequacy and availability of Safe and Afffordable Housing and Reconnecting People to Families and Communities, and ensure that those 50 and older have a voice in the laws and policies that affect their daily lives.