In 1979, the New Jersey Legislature added Chapter 347 to the state’s Consumer Frauds Act. That chapter contained a provision expanding what constitutes an “unlawful practice” to include misrepresentations of the identity of food, and also created a refund remedy–specifying that “[a]ny person violating the provisions of the within act shall be liable for a refund of all moneys acquired by means of any practice declared herein to be unlawful.”
But what is “the within act”? New Jersey’s lower courts had found it meant the entire Consumer Frauds Act. On January 10, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously disagreed, holding that the refund remedy is only available for cases involving food-related fraud– thus reversing the intermediate appellate court’s holding it could be applied to claims for misrepresentation by a nursing home in the admissions process.