It has been more than eighteen years since the Washington Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in Hangman Ridge Training Stables v. Safeco Title Insurance Company. This was the final decision in a string of cases in which the court attempted to resolve problems arising from the application and interpretation of the right to a private cause of action under Washington's Consumer Protection Act ("CPA"). This Article explores the application of the public interest requirement since the decision in Hangman Ridge and considers whether the tests devised by the Hangman Ridge court to determine public interest are still necessary in light of current interpretations of what constitutes an unfair or deceptive act. Part II provides general background information regarding the development of consumer protection laws in Washington leading up to the Hangman Ridge decision. Part III discusses the Hangman Ridge decision. Finally, Part IV argues, through representative cases, statutory language, and a comparison with other jurisdictions, that unfair or deceptive acts are misconduct that necessarily touches the public interest, and that the public interest requirement no longer retains any independent legal significance.
Jonathan A. Mark, Dispensing with the Public Interest Requirement in Private Causes of Action under the Washington Consumer Protection Act, 29 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 205 (2005).