Supreme Court Case Tests FTC’s Powers to Recoup Ill-Gotten Gains

Brent Kendall

Supreme Court justices voiced mixed views Wednesday about whether a U.S. consumer-protection agency has broad authority to demand that defendants who cheat or deceive the public must return the money they gain from that activity.

Justices across the ideological spectrum acknowledged that the Federal Trade Commission for decades has been going to court to seek financial redress from companies and individuals who allegedly engage in scams and unfair business practices. And until recent years, lower courts had uniformly ruled that the FTC had the power to do so.

But many of the same justices also suggested the text of the relevant 1973 law, which gives the FTC the right to seek court injunctions against nefarious activity, doesn’t explicitly give it the right to seek financial judgments as well.

Click here to read more of this Wall Street Journal article by Brent Kendall.