Court of Appeals Holds that Evidence of Intent Is Not Required to Establish Consumer Protection Claim
On February 27, 2020, the Court of Appeals decided Frankeny v. District Hospital Partners LP, 18-CV-628 (D.C. Feb. 27, 2020) which establishes pro-consumer precedent under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“CPPA”).
By way of background, the CPPA prohibits unfair or deceptive trade practices including those listed in D.C. Code § 28-3904. Subsection (a) makes it unlawful to “represent that goods or services have a source, sponsorship, approval, certification, accessories, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities that they do not have.” And subsection (d) makes it unlawful to “represent that goods or services are of particular standard, quality, grade, style, or model if in fact they are of another.”
The Court of Appeals held that a consumer does not need to prove intentional misconduct in making a claim under subsection (a) or subsection (d), which is an extension of prior precedent establishing that a consumer does not need to prove intentional misconduct in making a claim under other subsections. Likewise, it held that a consumer does not need to prove that the alleged wrongful conduct was in furtherance of an “entrepreneurial motive” (i.e., a business interest such as financial gain).
The Court of Appeals reasoned that none of the provisions of the CPPA state that a consumer needs to prove intentional misconduct or an entrepreneurial motive, that there was not any reason to impose such requirements under the facts of the case, and that its holdings are supported by its prior precedent.