by Jeff Sovern
According to Private Enforcement in Administrative Courts, 72 Vanderbilt Law Review, (Forthcoming), by Michael Sant'Ambrogio of Michigan State, in the year ending March 31, 2017, the government filed only eight consumer protection cases in federal court, which contrasts with the 9,706 cases filed by private plaintiffs. Sometimes we see the argument that we don't need private enforcement of consumer laws because public enforcement is sufficient. If the numbers Sant'Ambrogio reports are accurate, they make that claim harder to make; indeed, they make it ludicrous. To be sure, many government cases are resolved short of filing in federal court, some government cases are resolved in internal administrative proceedings, and state agencies–especially AG's offices–also file consumer protection cases, but those categories are unlikely to come close to solving underenforcement problems.