Docket: Consumer and Utilities

Case Name: Impression Products v. Lexmark International

Court: U.S. Supreme Ct.  Docket: 15-1189

Decided: 5/30/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) Article, and Decision

Case Result: In a landmark decision, the Court held that while patent owners are free to set the price and negotiate contracts with purchasers, once an item is sold, a patent owner may not, by virtue of its patent, control the use or disposition of the product after ownership passes to the purchaser.


Case Name: Hall v. Minnesota

Court: Minn. Supreme Court    Docket: A16-0874

Filed: 5/25/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Does Minnesota's Unclaimed Property Act (MUPA) violate constitutional guarantees of due process and just compensation for takings because it allows the State to deem private personal property abandoned after three years and to take such property for its own use: (a) without adequate notice to the original owner and (b) without payment of compensation, including interest, to the property holder if subsequently claimed by the original owner.


Case Name: McGill v. Citibank

Court: Cal. Supreme Court Docket: S224086

Decided: 4/6/2017

Read Summary, AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Court Decision (PDF)

Case Result: The court held that an arbitration agreement that waives the public's right to injunctive relief is invalid and contrary to public policy.


Case Name: Board's Investigation Regarding the Reclassification (N.J. Verizon Deregulation)

Court: N.J. Superior Ct. Docket: A-004769-14T2

Decided: 4/3/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court deferred to and affirmed the decision of the Board of Public Utilities to deregulate and reclassify four telephone services provided by Verizon as competitive.


Case Name: PHH v. CFPB

Court: U.S. Ct. App. D.C. Cir. Docket: 15-1177 (en banc)

Filed: 3/31/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue: Is an administrative order of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) invalid because: 1) the CFPB's interpretation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is a drastic departure from the longstanding interpretation of the regulations upon which industry relied; 2) the CFPB does not have authority to issue an injunction against PHH using an administrative procedure; 3) the Order was issued by an agency that has an unconstitutional structure, and; 4) the claims are barred to the extent that the CFPB exceeded the applicable 3-year statute of limitations. The order required PHH to return $109 million that it collected from residential mortgage borrowers for Private Mortgage Insurance in violation of RESPA.


Case Name: Wayside Church v. Van Buren County

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

Decided: 3/23/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The circuit court affirmed the trial court's decision dismissing the taxpayers' claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that they must first seek relief in the state courts to recover the excess proceeds of sales of their foreclosed properties. 


Case Name: PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Court: U.S. Ct. App. D.C. Cir.  Docket: 15-1177

Decided: 10/11/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The CFPB structure is unconstitutional because a single head of the agency is not removable by the President except "for cause." The "for cause" requirement is therefore struck, such that the President may remove the Director for any reason. All the rules and regulations and decisions of the CFPB are otherwise valid. The interpretation given to RESPA by the Director cannot be applied to PHH until it is notified in advance of the change in interpretation. The statute of limitations for agency enforcement of violations of RESPA is three years.


Case Name: Torres v. SGE Management  (en banc)

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

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Decided: 9/30/2016

Case Result: In an en banc decision, the court affirmed the district court class certification decision, holding that it is not necessary to prove first-party reliance to show that an alleged pyramid scheme violates the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act thus individual issues cannot predominate to defeat class certification.


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

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

Decided: 8/8/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Result: The system's improvement benefits mechanism that adds a surcharge to the bills of residential water customers complies with the Arizona Constitution's mandate that the Commission determine the fair value of a utility's property when setting rates to improve the water infrastructure.


Case NameCottrell v. Alcon Labs

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 3d Cir.     Docket:  16-2015

Filed: 8/1/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue:  Do glaucoma patients who use prescription eye drops have standing to sue pharmaceutical manufacturers for allegedly causing them economic injury by using packaging that dispenses eye drops that are too large, such that it overflows their eyes and is unavoidably wasted, in violation of state law that prohibits unfair practices. More specifically, can plaintiffs allege economic injury of paying for medication that is unavoidably wasted because the droppers deliver drops that are too large, such that they overflow the eye, where the manufacturer has discretion to set the price of the medication, state an injury in fact for purpose of Artilce III standing.


Case Name: Sergeants Benevolent Ass'n Health and Welfare Fund v. Sanofi-Aventis

Court: U.S. Supreme Court   Docket: 15-1525

Filed: 7/21/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue: Where purchasers allege that a manufacturer misrepresented a drug's safety to prescribing doctors to increase sales, does the presence of the doctor break the causal chain - for the purposes of RICO causation - between the manufacturer's misrepresentation and purchasers' economic injuries?


Case Name: Pelzer (formerlyVassalle) v. Midland Funding

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

Decided: 7/7/2016

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: Glover v. Udren Law Offices

Court: Pa. Supreme Court    Docket: 3 WAP 2015

Decided: 6/20/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: A homeowner charged unearned attorneys' fees in violation of Pennsylvania's Loan Interest and Protection law may seek a remedy against an attorney acting on behalf of a mortgage company.


Case Name: Taylor v. First Resolution Invest. Corp. (formerly Jarvis v. First Resolution Invest. Corp.)

Court: Ohio Supreme Court    Docket: 13-0118

Decided: 6/16/2016

Read Summary AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court held that claims made in legal pleadings for amounts which cannot legally be collected can give rise to a violation of both the FDCPA and the state statute, and that both debt buyers and their lawyers are subject to the prohibitions in the state statute.


Case Name: Coleman v. District of Columbia

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. D.C.  Docket: 13-01456-EGS

Decided: 6/11/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result:  The district court denied the motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that the plaintiffs stated claim of taking without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, where the plaintiffs cited sources of law establishing a recognized property interest in home equity


Case Name: Citizens, State of Florida v. Graham

Court: Fla. Supreme Court    Docket: SC 15-95

Decided: 5/19/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court reversed an order of the Florida Public Services Commission (PSC) that allowed Florida Power and Light to pass on to ratepayers the costs of its exploration and hydraulic fracturing operations in Oklahoma because the state legislature had not granted the PSC suthority to regulate out-of-state operations.


Case Name: Sheriff v. Gillie

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

Decided: 5/16/2016

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. 


Case Name: Henson v. Santander Consumer U.S.A.

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 4th Cir.    Docket: 15-1187

Decided: 3/23/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: Dismissal of class action lawsuit affirmed where the debts being collected were included in a large portfolio of debts purchased by Santander for servicing, including debts that were not delinquent when they were purchased. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to creditors who own loans purchased for servicing because their primary business is not debt collection.


Case Name: Torres v. SGE Management

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

Decided: 3/12/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result:  Petition for en banc review granted


Case Name: ACA Int'l v. FCC

Court: U.S. Ct. App. D.C. Cir. Docket: 15-1211

Filed: 01/22/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Did the FCC impermissibly expand its authority to implement the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TPCA). The TCPA applies to any prerecorded message delivered by an autodialer that has the capacity to store and make calls to consumers without human intervention; the TCPA does not allow calls to cell phone numbers that have been reassigned to a new user (after the first call), and; consumers have the right to revoke, by any reasonable means, consent to receive prerecorded messages delivered by autodialers?


Case Name: Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez

Court: U.S. Supreme Court  Docket: 14-857

Decided: 1/20/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: An unaccepted settlement offer or offer of judgment made pursuant to F.R.C.P. 68 does not moot a plaintiff's case.


Case Name: McFarland v. Wells Fargo

Court: U.S. Ct. App 4th Cir.    Docket: 14-216

Decided: 1/15/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court of appeals held that the district court properly entered summary judgment against Plaintiff on his common law claim that the contract should not be enforced because the terms were substantively unconscionable; but, the court did recognize Plaintiff's statutory claim to challenge the banks's unconscionable inducement of Plaintiff to enter into such a loan. The case was remanded to federal district court for further proceedings on Plaintiff's unconscionable inducement claim.


Case Name: Lerma v. Schiff Nutritionals

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. SDCA   Docket: 11-cv-01056

Decided: 11/4/2015

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result:  The court approved the class action settlement of deceptive marketing claims for products containing glucosamine and chondroitin as fair, reasonable, and adequate, but agreed that the injuncitve relief provided little benefit to the class, and refused to award the full attorneys' fees sought.


Case Name: Wert v. Manorcare of Carlisle Pa.

Court: Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Middle District   Docket: No. 62 MAP 2014

Decided: 10/27/2015

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.


Case Name: Caplinger v. Medtronic

Court: U.S. Supreme Court  Docket: 15-321

Filed: 10/15/2015

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Are state law claims against a medical device manufacturer based on injuries caused by a medical device preempted where the device was not granted premarket approval for the particular use that caused the injuries and the manufacturer marketed the device for that unapproved use?


Case Name: Glover v. Wells Fargo

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 3d Cir. Docket: 14-4829

Decided: 10/14/2015

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court affirmed dismissal of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims raised by the homeowners. It noted that it was sensitive to the issues raised in AARP's amicus brief regarding the inability of low income plaintiffs to bear the costs of a special master, but declined to reach those issues.


Case Name: Reyes v. Zions First National Bank

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

Decided: 9/2/2015

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: Quinn v. Walgreen Co.

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

Decided: 8/12/2015

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: Berman v. City of New York

Court: N.Y. Ct. App.  Docket: CTQ-2014-07

Decided: 6/30/2015

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: A New York city law that requires attorneys regularly engaged in debt collection to be licensed, is not preempted by the state's regulation of lawyers.


Case Name: McFarland v. Wells Fargo

Court: U.S. Ct. App 4th Cir.    Docket: 14-216

Filed: 3/4/2015

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Is mortgage lender practice of artificially inflating the appraisal of homes resulting in upside-down mortgages an unconscionable practice that may be raised in defense of a foreclosure?


Case Name: Bank of America v. Caulkett and Bank of American v. Toledo-Cardona

Court: U.S. Supreme Court Docket: 13-1421 and 14-163

Filed: 2/23/2015

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Does the Bankrupcy Code, which provides that a lien in excess of the value of the collateral is "void" - permit a Chapter 7 debtor to extinguish a mortgage lien on his personal residence where the collateral to which the lien attaches is found to have no value?


Case Name: Ciser v. Nestle

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 3d Cir.  Docket: 13-4509

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff's claims for failure to plead a cognizable claim was affirmed because the third circuit found, not action to recover voluntarily paid but allegedly unreasonable late fees exists at common law, and actions to challenge unconscionable conduct under the N.J. Consumer Fraud Act must allege an element of deceptive conduct. Because the late fees were disclosed in Nestle's contract, they may not be challenged as an unconscionable practice.


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 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: Cabral v. Supple

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir. Docket: 13-55943

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Was it proper to certify a class of people who claim that Supple falsely advertised that its special juice will "completely reverse and halt the disease process" for any joint disease?


Case Name: Jarvis v. First Resolution Invest. Corp. 

Court: Ohio Supreme Court    Docket: 13-0118

Read Summary AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Does debt collection action require strict adherence to procedural rules?


Case Name: Martinez v. Capital One Bank, N.A.

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 2d Cir.    Docket: 12-1342-cv

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue:  Is there a private right of action to enforce N.Y. statutory safeguards that protect exempt benefits and wages from garnishment?


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