FTC Consumer Protection
Our Federal Trade Commission Counsel team has extensive experience representing clients who are under investigation or who have been sued by the FTC. In addition, we meet in person with individual FTC Commissioners, their chief executives, and staffers. Not only do we work with the FTC’s Washington, D.C.-based office – our FTC practitioners are throughout the country and regularly handle investigations and litigation brought by the FTC’s regional offices. We understand that great harm can be done through the media, advocacy groups, and other government officials, so we work proactively with our federal and state lobbyists and media and strategic communications experts to put together and work on an integrated strategy to make sure that our client’s position is properly communicated and heard.
On September 28, 2023, after a more than 7-year battle (3 years of investigation and 4 years of litigation) handled by Foley & Lardner’s FTC Practice, a complete victory was obtained for leading direct selling company Neora, its founder Jeff Olson, following a two week federal court trial in Dallas, Texas. The court denied the FTC’s requested relief on all 5 of its claims: pyramid, income, product, agency, and means & instrumentalities claims. This is the first time that a direct selling company has ever defeated the FTC’s pyramid scheme claims in a court trial. It is also the first significant victory of its kind since Amway’s 1979 administrative law defeat of the FTC. Foley FTC Co-Chair Ed Burbach, who lead the Foley team from the beginning, attributed the win to the robust Foley interdisciplinary team from 8 Foley offices and the excellent testimony of Neora executives Jeff Olson, Deborah Heisz, Amber Olson, and Sandra Davis, and the support of Neora General Counsel Gail Lane.
Leading industry publication The Direct Selling News reported described the win as “Historic”. As summarized by the Direct Selling Association in its amicus brief, had the FTC been successful in pursuing its new and vague “overemphasis on recruiting” test, it would have had “a profound impact on the state of the law and negatively impact[ed] operations of a sizeable portion of the United States economy.” Am Law named the lead Foley trial partners as “Litigators of the Week” in the U.S. Read more about the win here.
Our Federal Trade Commission practitioners work on behalf of clients to address a wide variety of matters arising as a result of FTC investigation and possible overreach, including, to name a few:
- Court challenges to the FTC’s authority to unilaterally and retroactively change law
- Defend against FTC investigations and litigation against retailers
- Defend against FTC antitrust investigations and litigation
In addition, our FTC practice has the unique advantage of incorporating Foley’s nationwide State Attorneys General practice expertise. State Attorneys General and their consumer protection, antitrust, and other relevant staffers regularly coordinate investigations and litigation with the FTC.