Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NY reiterates that justifiable reliance isn't an element for consumer protection claims

Koch v. Acker, Merrall & Condit Co., --- N.E.2d ----, 18 N.Y.3d 940, 944 N.Y.S.2d 452, 2012 WL 995287 (N.Y.)

I’m pretty sure this is related to/a part of a similar suit over allegedly counterfeit wine from a few years back.  Koch sued a wine auctioneer, alleging that he bought counterfeit wine.  The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s denial of the auctioneer’s motion to dismiss, and Koch appealed.  The Court of Appeals reversed the Appellate Division and reinstated the GBL §§ 349 and 350 claims.  Such claims require (1) consumer-oriented conduct that is (2) materially misleading and that (3) plaintiff suffered injury as a result of the allegedly deceptive act or practice.  Koch sufficiently pled that here; the disclaimers in defendant’s catalogs didn’t establish a defense as a matter of law.  The Appellate Division imposed a reliance requirement, but that was a mistake: justifiable reliance by a plaintiff isn’t an element of the statutory claim.

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