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Washington's Consumer Protection Act Amended Effective July 26

Come July 26, Washington’s Consumer Protection/Unfair Business Practices Act will be amended to increase the discretionary trebling of damages to $25,000 from $10,000. This should be of interest to local practitioners, as Section 43(a)-type causes of action (like infringement of an unregistered trademark, false designation of origin, and false advertising) at the state level often get shoe-horned into the CPA.

A new section also broadens the Act’s reach by clarifying that “a claimant may establish that the act or practice is injurious to the public interest” — a requirement that has slayed many CPA claims — if it “(a) [i]njured other persons; (b) had the capacity to injure other persons; or (c) has the capacity to injure other persons.” This significantly lessens the plaintiff’s proof needed to sustain a CPA claim.

Per Substitute Senate Bill 5531, these amendments apply “to all causes of action that accrue on or after the effective date” of the amendments, or July 26.

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