On April 22, 2021, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the closely watched AMG Capital v. FTC case. The Court held unanimously that § 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 (“FTC Act”), which provides that the “Commission may seek . . . a permanent injunction,” does not authorize the FTC to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement.
The AMG Capital opinion upends the FTC’s decades-long practice of seeking monetary relief directly in district courts under § 13(b) without first conducting administrative proceedings. While AMG Capital involved a consumer protection action, the FTC has used § 13(b) to obtain substantial monetary remedies in high profile antitrust cases as well. This decision forecloses that avenue, at least for now.
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