FTC Will Ask Congress To Sharpen Monetary Relief Authority Dulled By Supreme Court Ruling
Justice Breyer suggests FTC ask Congress to strengthen its enforcement rules. It is “free to ask Congress to grant it further remedial authority,” according to court opinion stating a rule the FTC has wielded for forty years to impose financial penalties doesn’t grant it authority to obtain equitable monetary relief.
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Lawmakers disagree whether legislation to amend an FTC regulation to grant the commission authority to pursue monetary remedies should be retroactive, which would impact approximately 75 pending federal court cases alleging violations.
White House, Democrat majority in Congress and likely next FTC chair support the agency wielding the authority, says advertising law attorney Holly Melton. Supreme Court, though, likely will rule in pending cases that a strict reading of an FTC regulation doesn’t grant monetary penalty authority.
Non-monetary settlements are more effective than litigation at changing consumer product companies’ advertising practices, says FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson. “We see non-monetary settlements curtail behavior and require sometimes fundamental changes in the way companies do business.”