The California Supreme Court issued a landmark B&P Code 17200 case today in In re: Tobacco II Cases. How these rules affect auto finance class actions remains to be seen. The holding of the decision was as follows:
On review, we address two questions: First, who in a UCL class action must comply with Proposition 64’s standing requirements, the class representatives or all unnamed class members, in order fro the class action to proceed? We conclude that standing requirements are applicable only to the class representatives, and not all absent class members. Second, what is the causation requirement for purposes of establishing standing under the UCL, and in particular, what is the meaning of the phrase “as a result of” in section 17204? We conclude that a class representative proceeding on a claim of misrepresentation as the basis of his or her UCL action must demonstrate actual reliance on the allegedly deceptive or misleading statements, in accordance with well-settled principles regarding the element of reliance in ordinary fraud actions. Those same principles, however, do not require the class representative to plead or prove an unrealistic degree of specificity that the plaintiff relied on particular advertisements or statements when the unfair practice is a fraudulent advertising campaign. Accordingly, we reverse the order of decertification to the extent it was based upon the conclusion that all class members were required to demonstrate Proposition 64 standing, and remand for further proceedings regarding whether the class representatives in this case have, or can demonstrate, standing.
A copy of the decision can be found here