Sovern Publishes Articles in Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law, Rutgers

Professor Jeff Sovern’s short article, The Content of Consumer Law Classes III, will appear in the Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law.


Jeff Sovern

Here is the abstract:

This paper reports on a 2018 survey of law professors teaching consumer protection, and follows up on similar 2010 and 2008 surveys, which appeared in Jeff Sovern, The Content of Consumer Law Classes II, 14 J. Consumer & Commercial L. 16 (No. 1 2010), and Jeff Sovern, The Content of Consumer Law Classes, 12 J. Consumer & Commercial L. 48 (No. 1 2008), respectively. As reported in previous surveys, professors teaching consumer law report considerable variation in coverage. Professors want to cover relatively current subjects within their courses, such as FinTech, credit invisibles, and mortgage servicing. They also continue to cover topics traditionally explored in consumer law courses, such as common law fraud and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The 2018 survey also found considerable interest in some topics that did not generate any interest in the 2010 survey, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission and student loan servicing.

The survey also asked professors whether they read contracts before agreeing to them and read required disclosures before entering into consumer transactions. Not one professor reported always doing so, while 57% said they rarely or never read contracts and 48% said they rarely or never read required disclosures. It thus appears that not even consumer law professors routinely read consumer contracts and disclosures.

Meanwhile, Rutgers University Law Review published Sovern’s article, Free-Market Failure: The Wells Fargo Arbitration Clause Example, 70 Rutgers. U. L. Rev. 417 (2018). Rutgers will publish another of Sovern’s articles during the next school year.

On June 29, The Conversation ran Sovern’s op-ed, Mick Mulvaney turned the CFPB from a forceful consumer watchdog into a do-nothing government cog. It has been read by over 11,000 readers and was republished online by the San Francisco Chronicle and Houston Chronicle, among others. The essay began:

Until last Thanksgiving, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was known for forcefully pursuing its core mission, returning nearly US$12 billion to about 30 million consumers who had been taken advantage of by financial institutions.

But since then, the bureau has been known for … well, not much. After Obama-appointee Richard Cordray stepped down in November, President Donald Trump named as interim director, his budget chief Mick Mulvaney, who has long been a foe of the CFPB.

Finally, one of Sovern’s blog posts was referred to by the Credit Union Times in an article headlined Federal Judge Strikes Down CFPB Structure as follows:

[T]he New York decision could lead to more lawsuits being filed challenging the constitutionality of the agency, according to Jeff Sovern, a law professor at the St. John’s University Law School. He wrote in a consumer law blog sponsored by Public Citizen that the constitutionality of the agency may end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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