The UCL Practitioner
Friday, April 02, 2004
 
Choice-of-Law or Not "Unlawful"?
Yesterday, in Kearney v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Apr. 1, 2004), the Court of Appeal relied on choice-of-law principles in finding no UCL violation for conduct lawful under another state's laws. In Kearney, the defendant's Georgia-based employees recorded telephone calls with California customers without the customers' consent. That would be unlawful in California (though not in Georgia), so the customers sued, claiming a UCL violation. Instead of deciding that the conduct was not "unlawful" under the UCL because it was lawful where it occurred, the court held that Georgia law governed the dispute, so the UCL did not apply at all. The existence of a Georgia law approving the defendant's conduct "places this case squarely within the 'conflict of law' arena which, in turn, requires us to select the law of the state with the greater 'governmental interest' in the issue." The opinion contains a lengthy and detailed "governmental interest" analysis.
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