In FTC v. BlueHippo Funding, LLC, No. 11-374-cv (2d Cir. Aug. 12, 2014), the Federal Trade Commission brought a contempt motion seeking more than $14 million in damages, on behalf of more than 55,000 customers, for defendant’s alleged violation of a Consent Order by failing to disclose to customers material details concerning its store credit policy.  The district court granted the FTC’s motion, but awarded only approximately $600,000 in damages, which it calculated based upon record evidence of actual consumer reliance.  On appeal, the FTC argued that the damages were too low because the district court had erroneously failed to apply a presumption of customer reliance.  The Second Circuit agreed, vacated the award and remanded for re-calculation of damages.  Joining the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, the Second Circuit held that the FTC was entitled to a presumption of consumer reliance that attaches to potential consumers at the instant of the initial misrepresentation.  Thus, the FTC need only show that (i) the defendant made material misrepresentations or omissions that were of a kind usually relied upon by reasonably prudent persons, (ii) the misrepresentations or omissions were widely disseminated, and (iii) consumers actually purchased the defendant’s products.  The court reasoned that to require proof of each individual customer’s reliance would be an onerous task with the potential to frustrate the purpose of the FTC’s statutory mandate to protect consumers.