Clark v. Eddie Bauer LLCAnnotate this Case
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit certified a question of law to the Oregon Supreme Court. Defendants Eddie Bauer LLC and Eddie Bauer Parent, LLC, operate the Eddie Bauer Outlet chain of stores, where they sell branded clothing. More than 90 percent of the products offered at the outlet stores are manufactured solely for sale at the outlet stores and were not sold elsewhere. Defendants advertised clothing at the Eddie Bauer Outlet stores as being sold at a substantial discount; with limited exceptions, the clothing was never sold at the “list” price. In 2017, plaintiff Susan Clark purchased two articles of clothing from one of defendants’ outlet stores in Oregon. Plaintiff filed a complaint in federal district court, alleging that defendants had violated multiple provisions of the UTPA, including, among others, ORS 646.608(1)(j) (making false or misleading representations of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amounts of price reductions), and ORS 646.608(1)(ee) (advertising price comparisons without conspicuously identifying the origin of the price the seller is comparing to the current price). Plaintiff alleged she had been fraudulently induced to buy those garments by defendants’ false representation that she was buying them at a bargain price. Defendants moved to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint on the ground that it failed to allege an “ascertainable loss of money or property,” as required of a complainant pursuing a private right of action under the UTPA. The federal appellate court asked the Supreme Court whether a consumer suffered an "ascertainable loss" when the consumer purchased a product that the consumer would not have purchased at the price that the consumer paid but for a violation of [ORS] 646.608(1)(e), (i), (j), (ee), or (u), if the violation arose from a representation about the product’s price, comparative price, or price history, but not about the character or quality of the product itself. The Oregon Court answered the Ninth Circuit's question in the affirmative.