Volkswagen
Volkswagen

 

Andrew Barovick is a partner with New York’s Alegria & Barovick LLP. Through the firm, Andrew Barovick represents clients in cases involving medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, and more. The field of consumer protection is complex, and 2017 will be a landmark year in this area of law with a number of major cases coming before the courts.

One of the biggest cases involves Volkswagen and its emissions cheating scandal, which results in a $14.7 billion deal. The deal involves buying back or fixing nearly 500,000 vehicles and investing in the environment. However, the manufacturer still has to deal with its three-liter vehicles impacted by the scandal and face domestic actions from Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Last year’s Spokeo case brought about a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring plaintiffs hoping to bring about statutory claims to allege concrete harm. Lower courts are still parsing out this ruling and its impact on consumer protection cases. In 2017, it will become clearer exactly what plaintiffs need to make it past a motion to dismiss.

The other major consumer protection case for 2017 involves Wells Fargo, which was caught opening a large number of accounts without the consent of its customers. The company faces $185 million in civil penalties. While the bank has sought arbitration, the CFPB is currently working to ban arbitration clauses in consumer finance contracts. However, Donald Trump’s election could prevent this change from occurring.

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