House Bill Restoring FTC Monetary Relief Tool Stretches ‘Look Back’ Authority From 3 To 10 Years
House Passes Bill Prompted By Supreme Court Striking FTC’s Previous Reading Of Sec. 13(b)
Limiting FTC authority to enforcement started after legislation passes rather than all pending complaints as House bill allows could be divisive. But consumer health marketers question number of years before a complaint is filed agency can allege a business used false and misleading advertising under legislation the House passed.
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House already passed legislation to amend Sec. 13(b) of FTC regulations and make explicit its authority to obtain injunctive and equitable relief in court, but differences in Democrat and Republican commission appointees' views on the authority was a key topic of discussion during a recent Energy and Commerce hearing.
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.