In a unanimous decision released on April 22, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court upended decades of lower court precedent by finding that Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) does not authorize the FTC to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement. Instead, in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC,1 the Court pointed to other sections of the FTC Act, notably the administrative procedures contained in section 5 and the consumer redress available under section 19, as the proper legal avenues for the FTC to seek consumer redress and restitution in most cases. The ruling substantially curbs the FTC’s ability to obtain consumer redress under section 13(b), the FTC’s preferred means of seeking monetary damages due to its administrative efficiency compared to other Commission enforcement authority granted under the FTC Act.
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1 AMG Capital Management, LLC et al. v. Federal Trade Commission, No. 19-508, 593 U.S. ___ (2021).