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Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices

Every corporation that conducts business in North Carolina should be aware of the risks and benefits associated with North Carolina's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. This broad statute permits the award of treble damages and attorney fees in a range of circumstances. Ellis & Winters attorneys have direct experience in the litigation and trial of such claims, including in matters involving the theft of trade secrets.

Ellis & Winters has deep experience in litigating claims of unfair or deceptive trade practices. To give two examples of our experience in this field:

  • The firm represented the defendant in Bumpers v. Community Bank of Northern Virginia, 747 S.E.2d 220 (N.C. 2013). Clarifying the law under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that when a plaintiff pursues a section 75-1.1 claim based on an alleged misrepresentation, the plaintiff must prove that he or she actually and reasonably relied on the statements at issue. The court also held that in most circumstances, parties cannot state a claim under section 75-1.1 by alleging that the price they paid was “excessive.”
  • The firm, with co-counsel, represented the defendants in Torrence v. Nationwide Budget Finance, 753 S.E.2d 802 (N.C. Ct. App. 2014). In Torrence, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that the plaintiffs, who alleged that the defendants’ lending practices violated N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1, were required to submit their claims to binding bilateral arbitration. Applying recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the court reversed a trial court’s decision that an arbitration clause in the plaintiffs’ loan contracts was unconscionable.

Ellis & Winters also serves the courts and the bar through scholarship on unfair and deceptive trade practices. Our lawyers often speak to lawyers, judges, and professors on a variety of issues that concern unfair and deceptive trade practices and other business torts.