In the latest of a recent string of judicial rebukes, the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Axon Enterprise, Inc. v. FTC offers the targets of Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and other agencies’ administrative proceedings a path to quicker judicial relief. Historically, courts have been reluctant to permit immediate challenges to investigations and adjudications without forcing the targets to wait for the resolution of all agency proceedings. While aptly referred to as the doctrine of “exhaustion,” the result, as Justice Gorsuch observed, is that “agencies sometimes use this as leverage to extract settlement terms they could not lawfully obtain any other way.” The Court’s decision in Axon not only deprives the FTC of a potential source of leverage, but it also increases the likelihood that companies faced with investigations may turn to the courts for relief at an earlier stage. The decision comes at a time when the FTC’s powers and attempts to exercise those powers have been called into question by the bar, members of Congress, and by courts.
Continue Reading Unanimous Supreme Court limits FTC and other agencies’ investigative power