Small claims magistrates don’t see many lawsuits filed by individuals alleging injury from unfair or deceptive acts (hereinafter, UTP) by persons with whom they’ve done business — but they should. A primary purpose of GS 75-1.1, the relevant statute, is to provide a remedy for consumers injured by unethical or improper behavior in the marketplace, even when the dollar amount of the injury suffered is relatively small. Proving a right to relief under GS 75-1.1, unlike many consumer protection statutes, is simplicity itself, often requiring an injured plaintiff to do little more than relate his story in a clear and persuasive manner. Compared to small claims cases requiring magistrates to interpret and apply multiple statutes in the light of often complicated case law, the straightforward legal principles applicable to UTP cases make them ideal for determination in small claims court. In this blog post, I’ll take a quick look at some of the common procedural issues related to this claim in small claims court, review the general legal principles governing these actions, and briefly discuss case law involving GS 75-1.1 in the context of residential lease agreements.
Tag: Unfair trade practices