Saturday, December 27, 2014
Standing as consumer under the DTPA
WHO MAY SUE UNDER THE DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES ACT?
To have standing to sue under the DTPA, a party must be a consumer. TEX. BUS. & COM. CODE ANN. § 17.50(a). To be a consumer under the DTPA, a party must show that he sought or acquired goods or services by purchase or lease. Id. § 17.45(4) (defining "consumer"). And he must show that the goods or services purchased or leased form the basis of the complaint. Melody Home Mfg. Co. v. Barnes, 741 S.W.2d 349, 351 (Tex. 1987); Kennedy v. Sale, 689 S.W.2d 890, 892 (Tex. 1985).
The purpose of making misrepresentations actionable under the DTPA "is `to ensure that descriptions of goods or services offered for sale are accurate.'" Doe v. Boys Clubs of Greater Dallas, Inc., 907 S.W.2d 472, 480 (Tex. 1995) (quoting Pennington v. Singleton, 606 S.W.2d 682, 687 (Tex. 1980)). The DTPA does not require the consumer to be the person who actually purchased or leased the services. Amstadt v. U.S. Brass Corp., 919 S.W.2d 644, 649 (Tex. 1996) ("Privity of contract with a defendant is not required for the plaintiff to be a consumer."); Kennedy, 689 S.W.2d at 892-93 (DTPA's language does not require "that the consumer must himself be the one who purchases or leases" the goods or services).
SOURCE: DALLAS COURT OF APPEALS - 05-12-01607-CV - 5/5/2014
McLeod does not cite authority for his argument that Gyr cannot establish standing to sue because he received the money he used to acquire McLeod's services from other people and did not personally lose "a dollar." Gyr testified, however, that he acquired McLeod's legal services for the purpose of filing an N-400 application to become a naturalized United States citizen, and his complaint arises from false representations made in connection with the purchase of those services. Regardless of the source of the funds or Gyr's obligation to repay them, Gyr is a consumer under the DTPA and has standing to sue McLeod. See Kennedy, 689 S.W.2d at 892-93; Bus. Staffing, Inc. v. Viesca, 394 S.W.3d 733, 742-43 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2012, no pet.).