The ABA Section of Litigation, Products Liability Committee will soon publish its 50-state survey on consumer protection statutes. Bryan Anderson and I coauthored the chapter for the state of Washington. As described in our article, Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86.010, et seq., is quite broad:
The Act is modeled after federal statutes, primarily the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Sherman Act, and sections of the Clayton Act. The purpose of the CPA is “to protect the public and foster fair and honest competition.” RCW 19.86.910. The CPA is “a carefully drafted attempt to bring within its reaches every person who conducts unfair or deceptive acts or practices in any trade or commerce.” Short v. Demopolis, 691 P.2d 163 (Wash. 1984) (emphasis in original). It is to be “liberally construed that its beneficial purposes may be served.” RCW 19.86.920.
Standing is also quite broad, allowing a party without monetary damages to bring suit:
The Washington Supreme Court has recognized that the use of the term “injured” in this statutory provision “makes clear that no monetary damages need be proven” to have a cognizable claim under the CPA, and that “nonquantifiable injuries, such as loss of goodwill[,] would suffice. . . .” Nordstrom, Inc. v. Tampourlos, 733 P.2d 208, 211 (Wash. 1987).
In fact, the Washington Supreme Court held that “a physician whose reputation is injured has standing to sue a drug company which engaged in an unfair or deceptive trade practice by failing to warn the physician of the dangers of its drug about which it had knowledge.” Wash. State Physicians Ins. Exch. & Ass’n v. Fisons Corp., 858 P.2d 1054, 1060 (Wash. 1993).
Another interesting development discussed in the article is that the “Supreme Court of Washington recently invalidated a class-action waiver in an arbitration clause of a contract for cellular telephone service, explaining that ‘without class actions, consumers would have far less ability to vindicate the CPA.’” Scott v. Cingular Wireless, 161 P.3d 1000 (Wash. 2007)