Consumer Law Success at Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court


Dwyer v. Ameriprise Financial

On April 25, 2024, the Supreme Court issued a precedential opinion in Dwyer v. Ameriprise Financial siding with the consumer Plaintiffs, affirming the broad remedial nature of Pennsylvania’s flagship consumer protection law, the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL).

Liberal Damages Award under UTPCPL

The Supreme Court held that the trial court could not use a jury’s common-law punitive damages award or the award of statutory attorney fees to limit the availability of treble (triple) damages under the UTPCPL.  Rather than being interchangeable with punitive damages, treble damages under the UTPCPL are a separate remedy available to consumers wholly independent of any entitlement to punitive damages or attorney fees.

The Court reiterated the UTPCPL’s purpose “to benefit the public at large by eradicating” unfair acts and practices and the Act must be read “liberally to effect its object of preventing unfair or deceptive practices.”

Amicus Brief Authors

Flitter Milz, PC attorneys Cary Flitter, Andy Milz and Jody Lopez-Jacobs, along with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and other top consumer rights law firms co-authored an amicus brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of the National Consumer Law Center, the National Association of Consumer Advocates and various legal aid organizations. This “friend of the court” brief called on the Court, “once again, to protect the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 P.S. §§ 201-1 to 201-9.2 (“UTPCPL”), from narrow, restrictive interpretations that deny consumers the full scope of the remedial relief mandated by the statute.”

“It’s good to see the Court reiterate the importance of a strong consumer protection law to allow consumers to level the playing field when dealing with big business,” said FlitterMilz.

This same group of consumer attorneys co-authored a successful amicus brief in an earlier Supreme Court decision, Gregg v. Ameriprise, in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a Consumer Protection Law claim built on “deceptive” conduct need not prove the intent of the merchant who made the deceptive statement.  Both cases from the Pa Supreme Court move the state’s consumer protection law in the right direction for consumers.