By Tracy Rezvani and George Slover
2013-2014 Cochairs, Antitrust and Consumer Law Section
At the D.C. Bar’s annual dinner last month, our section, the Antitrust and Consumer Law Section, was recognized as Section of the Year. Our Bar is fortunate to have many active sections, any one of which would be deserving of such recognition. Still, it was an honor for our section to be the one to receive it this time.
One of the activities in which our section has been involved over the past couple of years, which was not listed by the Bar as a reason for our recognition, but of which we are nonetheless quite proud, is an opportunity we've had for engagement in the D.C. Council on two bills of particular importance for consumers.
The first bill strengthened the Consumer Protection Procedures Act, or CPPA, to reaffirm the right of consumers to bring action as “private attorneys general,” after a 2010 D.C. Court of Appeals decision in Grayson v. AT&T Corp. had created uncertainty regarding that right.
Our section’s decision to send the Council a statement in support of the bill led to our being invited to testify before the D.C. Council committee considering it, and then to our being invited to assist the bill’s sponsor, Councilmember Mary Cheh, and the committee chair, Councilmember Yvette Alexander, and their staff in refining the bill’s text to ensure that it was written the best that it could be to achieve its intended effect. They were very appreciative of our assistance, and we were pleased to see the efforts of all bear fruit when the bill was signed and became law.
The other bill, still pending in the Council, would strengthen protections for homeowners against losing their homes in unfair tax lien sales without proper notice or a fair opportunity to cure any tax delinquency. As with the CPPA bill, our section has sent the Council a statement in support of the bill. We have similar high hopes for its success, and stand ready to help with its consideration.
Who knows when other opportunities like this might come our way? We will certainly be watching out for them. But, our point in writing now is to encourage other sections to be open to and on the lookout for similar opportunities to engage with the DC Council.
As our section has learned, acting on such opportunities can be a very satisfying way to serve the Bar, the law, and the citizens of the District of Columbia.
For more information on the Antitrust and Consumer Law Section, please visit here.