The UCL Practitioner
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
New UCL decision: Buchanan v. Maxfield Enterprises, Inc.
In Buchanan v. Maxfield Enterprises, Inc., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (June 20, 2005), plaintiff's "seventh cause of action, based on Business and Professions Code section 17200 et seq., alleges that the defendants unlawful practices include 'the arbitrary discrimination against and refusal to serve customers whom defendants deem "unworthy" of shopping at their Melrose Avenue store, and the false arrest and imprisonment of such customers at defendants’ Melrose Avenue store.'" Apparently, the plaintiff was shopping at a fancy boutique in LA when, unbeknownst to him, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck came in. The manager forcibly ejected the plaintiff so that Ms. Lopez and Mr. Affleck could have the store to themselves. Plaintiff sued under the UCL and a variety of other theories. The trial court sustained the defendant's demurrer without leave to amend based on the ground that the defendant's conduct was "privileged" under Civil Code section 47. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the store's "non-communicative" conduct was not privileged. What's instructive about this from a UCL point of view is that Civil Code section 47 is one of the rare statutes that have been interpreted to provide a statutory "safe harbor" for UCL violations. Rubin v. Green, 4 Cal.4th 1187 (1993) also addresses the interplay between the UCL and section 47.
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