Like many states, Nevada enacted deceptive trade practices statutes to protect consumers. In a recent case, the plaintiff smoked cigarettes and alleged they injured her, but admitted she did not purchase or use any of the defendant’s products. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint based on that admission, arguing the plaintiff lacked standing. The Nevada Supreme Court disagreed, noting NRS 41.600(1) gives standing to “any person” who is a “victim of consumer fraud.” Defendants potentially violate the deceptive trade practices statute “when they make a knowingly false representation regarding the product in an attempt to sell the product and the claimant suffered a direct harm from the attempted sale, regardless of whether the claimant purchased the at-issue product.” The complaint alleged sufficient factual allegations to create standing. It also alleged sufficient facts of direct harm, asserting the plaintiff “would not have smoked cigarettes and developed cancer but for all defendants’ deceptive trade practices.
This ruling broadens the range of potential plaintiffs in a deceptive trade practices action. Moving forward, motions to dismiss in this scenario might focus more on whether the plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to establish a “direct harm.”