A court may decide the issue of class certification on demurrer when it is clear that even taking the facts alleged in the complaint as true there is no reasonable possibility that the requirements for class certification can be met. The trial court properly sustained a demurrer to the class action allegations in this case. Plaintiffs sought to represent a class of mobile home park lessees at 18 different mobile home parks scattered throughout California. They claimed that defendant owners of those parks employed eight different tactics during the negotiation of the leases that tricked lessees into disadvantageous lease terms. Since the eight tactics involved one-on-one interactions between the owners’ personnel and prospective lessees, individual issues necessarily overwhelmed common ones. Also, the UCL claim sought refunds of excess rent. Computing excess rent would be an issue that would differ at least from one park to the next because some were in cities with rent control. Reliance was an individual issue on the fraud claim.
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1 (Benke, J.); March 18, 2016; 2016 WL 1068616