Why is the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act such an important tool in business disputes?
Chicago, IL Personal Injury Attorney Mark P. Loftus talks about why the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act is important in business disputes.
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The biggest single factor I tell my folks, my clients, when I see them is the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act gives you one advantage that a straight breach of contract count doesn’t give you. And the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act is a fee shifting statute. So, in the event that you – and whenever I file contract or commercial cases, I do everything I can to include a consumer fraud count act.
Because in the event that you represent a client who prevails on a consumer fraud account, you can then ask the judge after the case has resolved for attorney’s fees. You keep track of your attorney’s fees, and in addition to the compensatory damages that the client might receive at trial or settlement – although the attorney’s provision only kicks in if you go to trial.
If you go to trial and win and get compensatory damages under the Consumer Fraud Act, you can also ask the judge, “In addition to the compensatory damages, I want my attorney’s fees.” So your lawyer has kept track of his time and can present a petition to the judge, “Here’s my attorney’s fees.”
And if you have that as leverage in a breach of contract case, that’s significant leverage that the other side has to be worried about. And they’re saying to themselves, “Not only might we have to pay the breach of contract damages, but we might have to pay this guy’s lawyer.” So, that gives folks leverage that they don’t necessarily have in a straight breach of contract claim.