In today's competitive environment, attempts to influence customers are taking place not only through traditional media but across many new platforms, including external websites, social media outlets and mobile applications.
The practices and policies of consumer-facing companies, from invasive marketing to the protection of customer information, are under constant scrutiny, as are issues relating to deceptive or unfair advertising. The FTC is the governmental agency at the forefront of regulating marketing practices and investigating allegations of unfair or deceptive advertising. And the FTC can refer matters to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.
Regulations and investigations involving consumer protection do not stop at the federal level. Each state, through its Attorney General or Department of Consumer Affairs, enforces unfair trade practice laws through so-called “Little FTC Acts.” Such law enforcement actions can take place in concert with the FTC or other federal agencies.
Experience Before the Federal Trade Commission
No other law firm in the country has handled as many FTC and state attorney general investigations and enforcement actions as we have over the last few years. We have defended many clients in response to highly sensitive civil investigative demands and other inquiries, and have an excellent record of resolving such actions amicably, by either convincing the Commission that enforcement proceedings should not be initiated or negotiating favorable settlements on our client's behalf. In the few instances where we have not been able to negotiate a favorable settlement, our litigation team has been effective in mounting a strong defense. In fact, our lawyers have served as defense counsel on some of the highest-profile FTC cases in recent years.
State Attorney General Experience
Our team shares decades of experience representing clients in proceedings brought by individuals and multiple state attorneys general. Our professionals are successful in negotiating reasonable settlements and in persuading state attorneys general not to file formal actions against our clients.
Who we work with
Industries impacted by the FTC touch every industry sector, from e-commerce and technology, to financial services, to healthcare, to retail, to food, and to consumer products and services.
What we do
The consumer protection laws and regulations involving the FTC are broad. We protect and defend clients with respect to:
- Spam and commercial e-mailing
- Solicitation on electronic mail, through facsimile and by telephone
- Comparative advertising
- Substantiation of advertising claims
- Endorsement and testimonials in advertising
- Use of the terms “free” and “rebate”
- Guarantees and warranties
- “Made in the U.S.A.” label
- Multilevel marketing
- Contests, sweepstakes and games of chance
- Consumer credit (including credit reporting, credit billing and truth-in-lending)
- Debt collection
- Franchise and business opportunities
- Mail orders
- Group-specific target marketing (e.g., children, senior citizens, Hispanic citizens)
- Advertising and consumer regulations in specific industries (e.g., food, alcohol, medical products, funeral, jewelry, motor vehicles, retail food stores, drugs)
- Labeling (e.g., clothing, appliances, cosmetics, drugs, food, furs, hazardous substances, tires)
- Data security and identity theft
Manatt's experience before the Federal Trade Commission
No other law firm in the country has handled as many FTC and state attorneys general investigations and enforcement actions as Manatt over the last few years. We have defended many clients in response to highly sensitive Civil Investigative Demands and other inquiries, and have an excellent record of resolving such actions amicably with the Commission, by either convincing the Commission that enforcement proceedings should not be initiated or negotiating favorable settlements on our client's behalf. In the few instances where we have not been able to negotiate a favorable settlement, our litigation team has been effective in mounting a strong defense. In fact, Manatt attorneys have served as defense counsel on some of the highest-profile FTC cases in recent years.
In addition to our strong substantive knowledge of the consumer protection laws, we have a keen knowledge of how the Commission works and the factors it considers in deciding whether to initiate enforcement. Many former Manatt attorneys currently work at the Commission, and within the firm, Manatt has attorneys who previously served at the Commission.
Manatt's Experience with State Attorneys General
Manatt has represented clients in of individual and multistate proceedings brought by the state Attorneys General. We understand the nuances and intricacies of managing state Attorney General investigations. Similar to our FTC experience, our professionals are often successful in persuading state Attorneys General not to file formal actions against our clients. Insituations where action has commenced, our attorneys are successful in negotiating reasonable settlements.
Manatt attorneys share over 50 years experience in the area of consumer protection involving state Attorneys General. They have substantial relations with state AG offices nationally through their connections with the National Association of Attorneys General ("NAAG"). In fact, one of our attorneys was awarded the NAAG's Marvin Award, which is given, at most, to five Assistant Attorneys General per year for outstanding leadership and experience. These attorneys have also conducted training programs for state AGs.
Below are examples that reflect our deep background in individual and multistate proceedings:
- Defense of owner of L.A. Weight Loss in consumer protection litigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General and investigations by the Attorneys General of New York, Missouri, Maryland, Connecticut, and Florida
- Defense of pharmaceutical company in investigation by New York Attorney General concerning rebates and other consumer protection matters
- Defense of automobile dealership marketing company in multi-state investigation being led by the Attorneys General of Georgia and Idaho concerning allegations of deceptive/unfair advertising and marketing practices
- Defense of financial institutions-including lenders, banks, and vendors-in several state attorney general and regulatory investigations concerning compliance with industry laws and regulations; privacy and data security issues; lending discrimination, and deceptive/unfair advertising and marketing practices
- Defense of debt collection agencies in investigations concerning unfair and deceptive business practices by the New York and Pennsylvania Attorneys General
- Defense of CVS in investigation by California Attorney General concerning allegations of deceptive/unfair advertising and marketing practices