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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 Result: The Court reversed the appeals court decision, finding that a law firm's debt collection letter on attorney general letterhead was not deceptive when issued on behalf of, and with permission from, the attorney general. The court agreed with the plaintiffs that the FDCPA does apply to third party debt collectors, that they are not exempt from the Act's coverage as "state officials."

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  (en banc)

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

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue:  Is it appropriate to provide class-wide adjudication of a claim where a multilevel marketing opportunity was actually an illegal pyramid scheme in which the vast majority of participants were doomed to lose money, in violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act?

Case Name: Torres v. SGE Management  

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

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result:  Petition for en banc review granted.

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 Result: Class certification was reversed where divided panel found that the class members were required to prove reliance, and they could not show that the class members relied on the legality of the scheme because there are many reason why a person becomes involved in a pyramid scheme.

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: Pelzer (formerlyVassalle) v. Midland Funding

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

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The sixth circuit affirmed the district court's approval of a revised nationawide class-action settlement. The revised settlement resolved the issues regarding superiority and adequacy that prevented approval of an earlier settlement.

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: Wayside Church v. Van Buren County

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 6th Cir.  Docket: 15-2463, 15-2525

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Is Michigan state law that permits counties to foreclose on homes for nonpayment of taxes keeping any proceeds of the sale of such homes for public use, rather than returning the excess to the former homeowner if a taking is without just compensation, in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  

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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Find
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.