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Unfair Competition Law

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The trial court did not abuse its discretion in bifurcating and trying first plaintiff's UCL claim even though the claim was based on an alleged FDCPA violation and defendant was entitled to a jury trial of the FDCPA claim.  The UCL claim is equitable.  Equitable first is the rule in California.  Also, that procedure serves the UCL's purpose of affording… Read More

The trial court correctly dismissed the consumer plaintiff's UCL unfair claim against Apple for its policies of taking a 30% cut of app developers' earnings and prohibiting app developers from advertising alternative means of paying for app purchases.  Apple's policies were unilaterally conceived and imposed, not by agreement with any other entity.  California's Cartwright Act does not contain a monopolization… Read More

A consent decree that defendant entered into with the Attorney General which prohibited defendant from charging any fee it couldn't show was to reimburse a reasonable cost defendant incurred did not moot the prayer in this UCL class action for a public injunction banning defendant from charging its  $45 processing fee for each new rent-to-own contract.  The consent decree did… Read More

The trial court awarded $22 million in civil penalties against defendants for having committed UCL and FAL violations for over a decade in promoting their private university primarily to older, poor, minority students, only a quarter of whom graduated.  In calculating civil penalties at $9 per misleading sales call, the trial court erred in including in the penalty calculation calls… Read More

This decision holds that a judge's denial of a motion for acquittal under Pen. Code 1118.1 in a criminal prosecution of the later plaintiff suing for malicious prosecution is sufficient to invoke the interim adverse decision rule, barring the required finding of lack of probable cause, without which the malicious prosecution action cannot succeed.  The opinion also Cel-Tech's tethering test… Read More

Following Mejia v. DACM, Inc. (2020) 54 Cal.App.5th 691 and Maldonado v. Fast Auto Loans (2021) 60 Cal.App.5th 710 and rejecting Hodges v. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC (9th Cir. 2021) 21 F.4th 535, this decision holds that a suit alleging UCL and CLRA claims and seeking an injunction against allegedly false advertising which would benefit both existing and future customers… Read More

FPI managed federally subsidized housing.  Federal regulations under that subsidy program required landlords to give 30 day notice before evicting tenants.  FPI gave only three day notice.  Plaintiffs sued under B&P Code 17200, claiming that FPI's practice of giving too little notice before eviction was unlawful.  This decision holds that the tenants had alleged a sufficient "loss of money or… Read More

A UCL suit by a public prosecutor does not operate as merger and bar of private suits for the same alleged UCL violations against the same defendant.  A law enforcement action by prosecutors is designed to protect the public, not one to benefit the individuals harmed by the defendant's illegal practices, even if restitution is sought and ordered in the… Read More

B&P Code 6128(a) makes it a misdemeanor for an attorney to engage in deceit or collusion with intent to deceive the court or a party.  In this case, the LA and San Francisco district attorneys sued the Potter law firm claiming it engaged in an unlawful business practice in violation of B&P Code 6128(a) and 17200 by filing shakedown ADA… Read More

Plaintiff alleged a viable claim under 17200's fraudulent and unfair business practice prongs against defendant concrete company which added to its regular rates for its concrete an "energy fee" and an "environmental fee" which plaintiff alleged were unconnected with anything having to do with energy or the environment and instead were just ways to increase defendant's profits.  Mislabeling the fees… Read More

Plaintiffs obtained a loan from defendant while it was an illegally unlicensed lender in California.  This decision holds that plaintiffs lack standing to sue defendant for violating the UCL in making the loan while unlicensed since plaintiffs suffered no loss of money or property due to the defendant's unlicensed status.  They received the exact loan terms for which they had… Read More

Following Department of Fair Employment & Housing v. Cisco Systems, Inc. (2022) 82 Cal.App.5th 93 and EEOC v. Waffle House Inc. (2002) 122 S.Ct. 754, this decision holds that the People of the State of California (as represented by the Attorney General and two District Attorneys) and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement cannot be required to arbitrate claims that… Read More

Disagreeing with Torres v. Adventist Health System/West (2022) 77 Cal.App.5th 500 and Naranjo v. Doctors Medical Center of Modesto, Inc. (2023) 90 Cal.App.5th 1193, this decision holds that a plaintiff cannot state an actionable UCL or CLRA claim based on emergency room management fees charged by hospitals if the hospital complies with state law in posting its fee schedule on… Read More

The UCL’s standing requirements are satisfied when an organization, in furtherance of a bona fide, preexisting mission, incurs costs to respond to perceived unfair competition that threatens that mission, so long as those expenditures are independent of costs incurred in UCL litigation or preparations for such litigation.  When an organization has incurred such expenditures, it has “suffered injury in fact”… Read More

The collateral source rule cannot be used to confer UCL standing on a plaintiff who has suffered no economic injury from the alleged unfair competition but whose insurer paid more as a result.  Here, plaintiff alleged that Genentech sole a drug in too big doses that ended up wasting the expensive drug.  Plaintiff conceded he would have paid the same… Read More

Fire insurance policies must be written on the statutory form that includes a one-year from inception of loss (semi-contractual) statute of limitations.  This decision holds that the insured cannot circumvent that limitations provision by bringing suit under the UCL for an injunction against denial of insurance coverage under similar circumstances.  To have standing to sue under the UCL, the plaintiff… Read More

A plaintiff may state a viable CLRA claim based on the defendant's nondisclosure in any of the four circumstances that Limandri allows a fraud claim based on nondisclosure.  Here, plaintiff states a viable CLRA claim based on the defendant hospital's failure to disclose to emergency room patients that it would charge an evaluation and management services fee that could amount… Read More

The district court did not err in holding that Apple violated the UCL's "unfair" prong by prohibiting app developers from advertising to consumer iPhone users that they could pay through other means than Apple's in-app payment system and thereby save money.  Epic's mere failure to prove its antitrust claim doesn't bar it from establishing the practice is unfair under Cal-Tech's… Read More

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