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Unfair Competition Law

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The San Diego city attorney sued the owner of Instacart for misclassifying its gig workers as independent contractors seeking an injunction and civil penalties under B&P Code 17200.  This decision holds that defendant cannot compel arbitration of the city attorney's claim.  Like the EEOC in EEOC v. Waffle House Inc. (2002) 122 S.Ct. 754, the city attorney here was not… Read More

Doctors sued county for the unreimbursed portion of their invoices for emergency medical treatment given to participants in the county's health plan.  Under the Knox-Keene Act, a health plan must reimburse noncontracting health care providers for the reasonable value of the emergency care they render to health plan participants.  A provider that thinks it has been underpaid may sue a… Read More

This decision affirms denial of defendant's motion to disqualify the private attorneys whom San Diego hired on contingency fee contracts to prosecute this suit for civil penalties under B&P Code 17200.  The contingency fee contracts specified that the City Attorney retained ultimate control over the litigation or its settlement, and the contracts contained other clauses required under County of Santa… Read More

This decision affirms all but $42 million of a $344 million judgment against Johnson under the UCL and FAL for misleading advertising and concealment of the serious risks entailed in using its pelvic mesh product to cure certain conditions in women.  The trial court applied the proper test in determining whether Johnson's instructions for use and other advertising would mislead… Read More

A dredge company's application to the Coast Guard for a coastwise shipping permit was protected speech under CCP 425.16.  Plaintiff had no probability of succeeding on its UCL claim based on the allegedly fraudulent application for the coastwise permit because the Coast Guard exercises exclusive jurisdiction over the issuance of those permits, preempting state law claims arising from the issuance… Read More

Under the Knox-Keene Act, health care plans must reimburse out-of-contract hospital for emergency services provided to plan members at the reasonable and customary value for those services (in the absence of a contract setting another rate).  A hospital may sue a health plan in quantum meruit if if thinks the health plan has paid less than the reasonable and customary… Read More

Following Nolte v. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 1401, this decision holds that it is not an unfair or unlawful business practice for a hospital not to affirmatively disclose, prior to treatment, that it will charge an emergency room charge to patients using the emergency room.  Extensive state and federal statutes and regulations require specific sorts of disclosures of… Read More

Compensation for expected but unearned future income to which the plaintiff has no legal entitlement is not recoverable as restitution under the UCL, regardless whether it is characterized as lost market share. Lost profits are damages, not restitution, and are unavailable in a private action under the UCL.  Here, the trial court properly dismissed plaintiff optometrist's UCL claim against a… Read More

The CMA sued under the UCL seeking an injunction banning Aetna's policy of discouraging its in-network doctors from referring patients to out-of-network doctors.  This decision holds that the CMA's diversion of its time and assets to help its doctor members fight Aetna's policy doesn't qualify as a loss of money or property under B&P Code 17203 and that absent a… Read More

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