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From Antitrust Law Daily, January 19, 2018

FTC updates civil penalty amounts for inflation

By J. Preston Carter, J.D., LL.M.

The FTC has published the inflation-adjusted maximum civil-penalty dollar amounts for violations of 16 provisions of law that the FTC enforces, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, the agency announced. The Act directs federal agencies to adjust each civil monetary penalty under their jurisdiction for inflation in January of each year pursuant to a cost-of-living adjustment.

Increases in civil penalties for premerger, other violations. The maximum civil penalty amount has increased from $40,654 to $41,484 for a number of violations: premerger filing notification violations under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Improvements Act (Section 7A(g)(1) of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. §18a(g)(1)); willful violations of recycled oil labeling requirements under Section 525(b) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. §6395(b)); and unfair or deceptive acts or practices under several sections of the FTC Act—Section 5(l) at 15 U.S.C. §45(l), Section 5(m)(1)(A) at 15 U.S.C. §45(m)(1)(A), and Section 5(m)(1)(B) at 15 U.S.C. §45(m)(1)(B).

Also, a number of violations have received a maximum penalty increase from $534 to $545: failure to file required reports under Section 10 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. §50); failure by associations engaged solely in export trade to file required statements under Section 5 of the Webb-Pomerene (Export Trade) Act (15 U.S.C. §65); failure by wool manufacturers to maintain required records under Section 6(b) of the Wool Products Labeling Act (15 U.S.C. §68d(b)); and failure to maintain required records regarding fur products under Sections 3(e) and 8(d)(2) of the Fur Products Labeling Act (5 U.S.C. §69a(e) and 69f(d)(2)).

Two violations have received a maximum penalty increase from $21,598 to $22,039: violations of cease and desist orders issued under Clayton Act section 11(b) (Section 11(l) of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. §21(l)) and recycled oil labeling violations under Section 525(a) of the energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. §6395(a)).

The maximum penalty for knowing violations of Section 621(a)(2) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. §1681(a)(2)) has increased from $3,817 to $3,895.

The maximum penalty for knowing violations of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act section 332, including labeling violations (Section 333(a) of the EPCA, 42 U.S.C. §6303(a)), has increased from $440 to $449.

The maximum penalty for failure to comply with the filing requirements of Section 1115(a) of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-173 (21 U.S.C. §355 note), has increased from $14,373 to $14,666.

Finally, the maximum civil penalty amount for violations of prohibitions on market manipulation and provision of false information to federal agencies under Section 814(a) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. §17304) has increased from $1,156,953 to $1,180,566.

The new maximum civil penalty amounts will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register, scheduled for January 22, 2018.

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