Minnesota Supreme Court Redefines "Injury" in Consumer Fraud

There is a private attorney general action under Minnesota Statutes Section 8.31. In a sense, what it does is permit a private citizen to bring claims that would affect many others, but not in a class action sense. The upside to the individual is that she can recover significant attorney's fees in bringing the action.

In the Engstrom opinion, the Supreme Court opined that incurring attorney's fees in response to allegedly fraudulent demands is sufficient to be an injury in the context of the private attorney general statute. This is very significant as historically attorney's fees paid by a party did not constitute an injury sufficient to cause another party to be liable for damages.

Before you send that demand letter, make sure you know what you are doing and you are locked in on the debt claimed. The defendant in Engstrom might have believed it was actually owed money, but is now facing a significant payout.

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