The UCL Practitioner
Friday, October 29, 2004
New UCL decision: Leonte v. ACS State and Local Solutions, Inc.
On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal issued Leonte v. ACS State and Local Solutions, Inc., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Oct. 26, 2004), in which the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant "operated automated traffic enforcement systems in violation of former Vehicle Code section 21455.5," and was therefore guilty of "unlawful" conduct under the UCL. In the published portion of the decision, the Court of Appeal analyzed the statutory language in detail and found that the complaint alleged no violation. The unpublished portion is far more interesting from a UCL point of view. Holding that plaintiffs had not alleged "unfair" conduct, either, the Court of Appeal said:
Plaintiffs’ first count is labeled “Unlawful Business Practices” and repeatedly alleges “illegal” and “unlawful” conduct. Plaintiffs also allege in two parallel paragraphs first that certain alleged conduct is “unlawful” and then that the same conduct is “fraudulent.” Plaintiffs do not allege that the conduct is “unfair,” however. The word "unfair" appears in the complaint only in references to the "unfair competition law" and in conclusory incantations of the statutory language, "unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice" (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200), but not in any substantive allegation. We therefore conclude that the complaint does not adequately allege an unfair business practice.
Slip op. at 9. A rather obvious pleading lesson can be learned here.
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