Briefs and Comments

The Center files amicus curiae briefs in courts around the country, providing the perspective of low-income consumers and contributing to major victories like De la Torre v. CashCall and Connor v. First Student in the California Supreme Court.  We also research policy briefs, offer testimony, and submit comments to federal and state regulatory agencies on topics ranging from debt collection practices to robocalls to emergency measures.

Center Files Comment Supporting FTC Rule That Would Make Subscription Cancellation As Easy as Enrollment

July 7, 2023

Over the past several years and especially during the pandemic, companies have increasingly offered automatically renewing subscription-based services to their customers. After the initial subscription period (say, a year) for which the customer pays, the company automatically charges the customer for another term. These subscription services include an enormous range of businesses, from shopping sites like Amazon Prime, to entertainment streaming platforms like Netflix, to newspapers and apps and just about any other industry you can name.


Center Deplores Supreme Court Decision Halting Student Debt Cancellation

June 30, 2023

Like so many of you, the UC Berkeley Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice is dismayed by the decision from the U.S. Supreme Court striking down President Biden’s student loan debt relief plan. We join in the deep disappointment of the millions of Americans who hoped for some relief from the burden of student debt, which today eclipses $1.78 trillion dollars and has prevented millions of people from purchasing a home, launching a business, or starting a family.


Center Files Amicus Brief Supporting Used Car Buyers’ Rights Under California’s Lemon Law

June 23, 2023

It is well established in California that the state’s Lemon Law applies to vehicles that are still under the manufacturer’s warranty, whether those cars are new or used. Or, at least, it was well established until an appellate court in Southern California upended that consensus this spring.

Last week, the Berkeley Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice, joined by nine other national...

Center Files Amicus Brief Defending the CFPB on Behalf of 90 State & Local Nonprofit Organizations

May 15, 2023

Writing on behalf of 90 state and local nonprofit organizations, the UC Berkeley Center for Consumer Law & Economic Justice today filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court arguing that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s independent funding mechanism does not violate the Appropriations Clause of...

The Supremes – and the Center – Take on Student Debt Relief

March 1, 2023

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases that will decide the fate of President Biden’s plan to cancel student debt for over 40 million Americans. The two lawsuits, Biden v. Nebraska and Department of Education v. Brown, challenge the Secretary of Education’s statutory authority to issue widespread debt relief under the 2003 Higher Education Relief Opportunities (HEROES) Act. The Center filed ...

Center Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court Supporting Student Debt Cancellation

January 12, 2023

Last August, the Biden Administration announced a landmark plan to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for millions of borrowers. The plan was hailed as a way for former students to finally get out...

Serova v. Sony decided!

August 19, 2022

Spoiler alert: The consumers win.

The California Supreme Court has decided a significant case upholding the state’s consumer protection statutes against a First Amendment challenge, giving a boost to both advocates for honesty in advertising and Michael Jackson fans.

The case arose when one such fan filed a lawsuit against Sony alleging that three of the nine songs on the posthumous album Michael were not actually sung by the King of Pop. The court of appeal held that the plaintiff’s false advertising claims violated Sony’s free speech rights, a ruling that called into...

Victory in the California Supreme Court: Pulliam v. HNL Automotive

May 27, 2022

In a case of national importance, the California Supreme Court has decided that consumers are entitled to recover attorneys' fees (in addition to any money they may have lost) in cases brought against deceitful lenders under the FTC Holder Rule. The court's opinion accords nicely with an amicus brief filed by the Center last November. You can r...

Center Helps Author Comment to CFPB on Proposed Rule to Keep Adverse Information Off of Consumer Reports for Survivors of Human Trafficking

May 9, 2022

The Center joined a coalition of organizations to respond to a request for comments from the CFPB on the proposed rule that will keep information related to human trafficking off of survivors’ credit reports. The prohibition was added as Section 605C to the Fair Credit Reporting Act by the National Defense Authorization act (NDAA) of 2022. The comments generally agree with the CFPB’s proposals, while advocating for a number of tweaks to make the process as smooth as possible for survivors of trafficking. The comments also advocate that the Bureau use its authority under FCRA to...

Center Files Amicus Brief Explaining Consumers’ Ability To Recover Attorneys’ Fees In Cases Against Holders Of Credit Contracts

November 17, 2021

The Center filed an amicus brief in Pulliam v. HNL Automotive, a case before the California Supreme Court that will determine whether defrauded consumers may collect attorneys’ fees against third-party finance companies pursuant to the...

Center Highlights Racial Inequities in SCOTUS Amicus Brief in Case Against TransUnion

March 23, 2021

On March 10, 2021, the Center joined an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States in TransUnion v. Ramirez in support of class action plaintiffs who sued TransUnion because their credit reports were cross-referenced with a terrorist list based only on their names. The Housing Clinic of Jerome N. Frank Legal Services...

Center Files Amicus Brief To Support Prop 65 Warnings on Glyphosate – and the Government’s Ability to Inform the Public About Health Dangers

February 19, 2021

The Center, along with Berkeley Law professor Claudia Polsky, filed an amicus brief in National Wheat Growers Association v. Becerra, a case challenging California’s Prop 65 warning requirement on products containing glyphosate. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s weed-killer, Roundup, and has been identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable carcinogen. The Center supported the State...

Center Files Amicus Brief in OCC True Lender Case

January 15, 2021

Just before the holiday season last year, the Center filed an amicus brief on behalf of Professor Adam J. Levitin of Georgetown Law in People of the State of California, et al. v. The OCC to support a challenge to the OCC’s “valid-when-made” rule. The rule — if allowed to stand — will deliver...

Center Files Amicus Brief in CA Supreme Court Defending False Advertising Statutes in Case Involving Posthumous Michael Jackson Album

December 14, 2020

On Friday, the Center filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court in Serova v. Sony, a case that threatens to undermine the state’s deceptive advertising laws. Increasingly, commercial defendants in false advertising cases have been filing anti-SLAPP motions, claiming that their free speech rights are being threatened. The irony of these claims is...

Center Joins Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Case to Defend FTC’s Ability to Get Restitution for Consumers

December 8, 2020

On December 7, 2020, the Center joined a coalition of consumer advocates in an amicus brief filed in support of the Federal Trade Commission in FTC v. AMG Capital Management, a critical case pending before the U.S. Supreme...

Center and EBCLC File Comment on AI/Machine Learning and Equal Credit Opportunity Act

December 1, 2020

The Center and the East Bay Community Law Center filed a joint comment responding to the CFPB's request for information on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). Specifically, the comment responded to a question about the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine creditworthiness of consumers. Without proper oversight, these algorithms pose a serious risk of discrimination — in violation of ECOA. Read the comment ...

Center Files Comment to CFPB on Disclosures in Debt Collection Practices (Regulation F)

August 3, 2020

The CFPB requested comments on its draft rule regarding debt collection practices under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Center filed a comment emphasizing the need for those disclosures to be strengthened in order to achieve the goals that the CFPB identified. Read the comment here.

Center Files Brief in Ninth Circuit in Zabriskie v. Fannie Mae

April 10, 2019

In March the Center filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit in Zabriskie v. Federal National Mortgage Association, a case centering on the question of whether companies using automated consumer information software should be subject to regulation under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the Center’s brief, Executive Director Ted Mermin and 2L Hanne Jensen argued for a rehearing of the case en banc, noting that the lack of clarity left by the Court’s recent split decision leaves consumers vulnerable. The brief ...