Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Consumer Protection Law Only Actionable Against Sellers

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision constraining the scope of the state’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (“UTPCPL”), resulting in dismissal of UTPCPL claims brought by the Pennsylvania AG’s Office against oil and gas companies.
  • In its 6-1 decision in Commonwealth v. Chesapeake Energy, et. al, No. 81 MAP 2019, the Court held that the appellants’ business practices in purchasing natural gas leases from landowners are not actionable under the UTPCPL, because the UTPCPL only regulates the conduct of sellers, not buyers. Having held that the UTPCPL is inapplicable, the Court declined to reach the second question presented on appeal, which asked whether claims sounding in antitrust are actionable under the UTPCPL.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision overturns an appellate ruling by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court upholding the trial court’s denial of motions to dismiss by the appellants.