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"But We Didn't Mean to Cheat YOU!"

01 Mar 2003

The Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District has made it easier to sue under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Reversing summary judgment for a defendant, the Court held the Act doesn't require privity, or some sort of direct contact, between plaintiff and the misrepresentations made by a defendant. Rather the statute eliminated certain elements required in a common law fraud action. For example, plaintiff's reliance on the defendant's false statement is not an element of a claim under the Consumer Fraud Act. Likewise, the complaint need not allege that defendant intended to deceive the plaintiff. The focus of the statute is on the deceptive conduct of the defendant, not the conduct of the plaintiff. Whether the defendant is guilty of unlawful practices under the Act must be determined regardless of whether anyone was in fact misled, deceived or damaged. Shannon v. Boise Cascade, No. 4-01-0143, 328 Ill.App.3d 621, 766 N.E.2d 1136, 262 Ill.Dec. 833 (Jan. 31, 2003). Practice tip: Scrutinize carefully the catalogs, brochures, advertising, and other literature on an allegedly defective product.

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