The UCL Practitioner
Friday, September 03, 2004
UCL caselaw roundup
We have been inundated lately with news articles on Proposition 64, but no new UCL decisions for a while. So, I will report on one decided in June. In DiPirro v. American Isuzu Motors, Inc., 119 Cal.App.4th 966 (2004), the complaint alleged "causes of action for violation of Proposition 65 itself [as well as] for Proposition 65-based unlawful business practices under Business and Professions Code section 17200." The Court of Appeal held that these claims were properly dismissed because the plaintiff had not satisfied Proposition 65's prelitigation certificate of merit requirement. This case appears to illustrate the rule that, under the UCL's "unlawful" prong, a defense to the underlying "borrowed" law is a defense to the UCL claim as well.

I also recently learned that the Court of Appeal, on its own motion, withdrew its opinion in Benson v. Kwikset Corp., formerly published at 120 Cal.App.4th 301 (2004), pending rehearing. Here is the docket page. We shall have to wait and see what happens. The original Benson opinion affirmed a UCL judgment against a lock manufacturer for mislabling its products as "Made in America" when many of the component parts were manufactured overseas. The dissenting opinion heartily criticized the UCL in general, and its application in that case in particular. My original posts on Benson are here and here.

Finally, Freespace had an interesting post a few days ago entitled "17200 abuse of the day," which addressed Kramer v. Intuit, Inc., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Aug. 11, 2004). I have to point out, though, that Kramer was a CLRA case, not a UCL case, and that unlike the UCL, the CLRA does have traditional standing requirements, which the plaintiff in Kramer satisfied. Also, the CLRA has a very specific laundry list of prohibited conduct, mostly involving the sale of goods and services. Civ. Code § 1770(a)(1)-(23), (b). On appeal, the plaintiff did not claim that the defendant's conduct was "deceptive or misleading," but rather that the conduct violated one of the CLRA's express prohibitions concerning rebate programs. The Court of Appeal simply disagreed with that legal theory. My original report on Kramer is here.
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