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Consumer fraud act ruling appealed to supreme court

November 23, 2010
The CATA and the IADA in Springfield have joined to contest a recent Illinois Appellate Court ruling which contends a provision of the state's Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act represents "special legislation" pertinent only to dealers and therefore is unconstitutional. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed against an area Chevrolet dealer over a used vehicle purchased in 1996. An amendment that year to the Illinois consumer fraud act states, in part: "No award of punitive damages may be assessed . . . against a party defendant who is a new-vehicle dealer or usedvehicle dealer within the meaning of Chapter 5 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, unless the conduct engaged in was willful or intentional and done with evil motive or reckless indifference to the rights of others." According to legislative history, the act was amended because of abuse "as exemplified by situations in which simple mistakes by car dealers have garnered as much as $20,000 in punitive damages." The CATA/IADA brief to uphold the amendment will be considered by the Illinois Supreme Court.