Chad S. Hummel

27 August 2019

FTC’s Authority to Obtain Monetary Relief is in Doubt

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has struck a major blow to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement authority, holding that the agency cannot seek its preferred remedy of monetary restitution in federal court.

In recent years, the FTC has used Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act)1 as its preferred enforcement mechanism, and it has done so to great effect. In 2017, for example, the FTC obtained $5.29 billion in restitution under this section. Civil penalties, which are authorized under a different part of the statute, totaled just $176 million that same year.


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