Mealey's California Section 17200

  • March 26, 2020

    Panel Affirms Class Certification Order In UCL Suit Over Investment Information

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 23 left undisturbed a lower federal court’s “legally sound, if imperfect” order certifying a narrower class in a lawsuit alleging that a life insurer’s informational documents of potential investment earnings violated California’s unfair competition law (UCL) (Joyce Walker, et al. v. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, No. 19-55241, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8983).

  • March 23, 2020

    Judge Tosses Negligence, UCL, Antitrust Claims Against Insurer, Software Developers

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on March 4 dismissed with prejudice insureds’ claims alleging that their homeowners insurer’s undervaluation of insurance policy values was negligent, fraudulent and the product of a conspiracy with the developers of two software programs that were used to determine their initial insurance policy value and the cost to rebuild or repair their property following wildfire damage (Brian Sheahan, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-cv-06186, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37590).

  • March 23, 2020

    Panel Remands For An Order To Grant Anti-SLAPP Motion In Suit Over CBD Article

    SAN DIEGO — A California appeals panel on March 20 held that a lower court erred in finding that plaintiffs have demonstrated a probability of prevailing on the merits of their libel, false light and unfair competition claims arising from the publication of an article regarding the safety of a cannabidiol (CBD) product, reversing and remanding with directions to enter an order granting the defendants' motion to strike these three claims under California’s strategic lawsuit against public participation (anti-SLAPP) statute (Medical Marijuana, Inc., et al. v. ProjectCBD.com, et al., No D074755, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1, 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 233).

  • March 18, 2020

    Remand Denied In Exit Security Suit As 1 Claim Is Valued At More Than $39M

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A class complaint accusing a membership-only warehouse club of violating California wage laws and California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 et seq. by failing to pay workers for time spent going through exit security inspections must stay in federal court as the penalties for one claim alone may go as high as $70 million, a California federal judge ruled March 10, denying the lead plaintiff’s motion to remand (Megan Rough, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., No. 19-1340, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41545).

  • March 16, 2020

    Judge Enjoins Franchisor From Arbitrating Claims In Ohio, Dismisses UCL Claim

    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on March 12 entered a preliminary injunction barring arbitration proceedings in a federal court in Ohio between Matco Tools Corp. and two franchisees who complain that they are being wrongfully treated as independent contractors as opposed to employees, finding that the plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence of the likelihood of success on their argument that provisions in a distribution agreement between the parties may render it unenforceable (Emanuel Aguilera, et al. v. Matco Tools Corp., No. 19-01576, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43283).

  • March 16, 2020

    Judge: Suit Fails To Allege Automatic Renewal Law Violations To Support UCL Claim

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 13 held that a plaintiff has not alleged any violations of California's automatic renewal law (ARL) that would support her claim for unlawful or unfair business practices against the publisher of People Magazine, dismissing the putative class action complaint with prejudice (Linda Hall v. Time, Inc., et al. No. 19-01153, C.D. Calif., Southern Div., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44149).

  • March 16, 2020

    Judge: UCL Claim For Unlawful Act May Proceed In Class Suit Over ‘Defective’ Blender

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 9 refused to dismiss a plaintiff’s California unfair competition law (UCL) claim for an “unlawful” act or practice to the extent that it is based upon SharkNinja Operating LLC’s purported violation of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty acts, further granting in part and denying in part SharkNinja’s motion to dismiss claims in a consumer class action alleging that it knowingly sold defective Ninja Blenders to consumers (Krystal Wallace v. SharkNinja Operating, LLC, No. 18-05221, N.D Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40594).

  • March 16, 2020

    Judge Dismisses UCL Claim To The Extent Plaintiffs Seek Nonrestitutionary Relief

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on March 12 granted in part an employer’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ California unfair competition law claim to the extent that they continue to seek nonrestitutionary relief, further granting in part and denying in part the employer’s motion to dismiss the California Labor Code claims (Yoshira Barajas, et al. v. Carriage Services, Inc., No. 19-02035, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44057).

  • March 16, 2020

    Federal Judge Allows UCL Claim To Proceed, Dismisses Elder Abuse Claim Based On Fraud

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on March 11 held that at this juncture, a plaintiff can seek damages for breach of contract and remedies under California’s unfair competition law (UCL) as alternative theories of recovery in his lawsuit against his life insurer but dismissed without prejudice an elder abuse claim based on fraud and a bad faith claim to the extent that the plaintiff seeks to recover in tort (Viesturs Petersons v. Transamerica Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-00661, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43304).

  • March 13, 2020

    Class Action:  Life Insurer Refuses To Comply With California Insurance Code

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A beneficiary of a life insurance policy filed a class action complaint on March 10 in a California federal court, alleging claims for declaratory relief, breach of contract, unfair competition and financial elder abuse against a life insurer for its purported refusal to comply with the mandatory provisions of California Insurance Code and common law that regulates the lapse and termination of life insurance policies (Sheryl Clark, et al. v. Transamerica Life Insurance Company, No. 20-00539, E.D. Calif.)

  • March 09, 2020

    Federal Magistrate Dismisses RESPA, HBOR, UCL Claims In Foreclosure Dispute

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal magistrate judge in California on March 2 dismissed a homeowner’s claims under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), California Business and Professions Code Section 17200, et seq., and Homeowners Bill of Rights (HBOR), finding that the amended complaint asserting a nonjudicial mortgage foreclosure does not allege any actual damages (Donald Catherine v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. 19-1487, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36774).

  • March 09, 2020

    Judge Defers Ruling On Anti-SLAPP Motion, Dismisses UCL Claim With Leave To Amend

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 6 issued a redacted public version of a Feb. 11 order that deferred ruling on a plaintiff’s motion under California’s Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (anti-SLAPP) and granted with leave to amend the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss the defendant’s counterclaims for unlawful and unfair business practices, unjust enrichment, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage (Pinnacle Ventures LLC, et al. v. Bertelsmann Education Services LLC, No. 18-03412, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39567).

  • March 05, 2020

    Judge: Nonconforming Soils Constitute ‘Defective Materials’ Under Policy Exclusion

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 3 held that nonconforming soils used by a general contractor insured to fill levees in a flood construction project constitute “defective materials” under a builders’ risk insurance policy's “cost of making good” exclusion, further finding that the definition of “professional loss” under a professional liability insurance policy excluded the insured’s claimed loss (Brosamer & Wall, Inc. v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company, No. 19-872, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37589).

  • March 04, 2020

    Class Certification Denied In Musician’s Lawsuit Over Royalties For Streaming

    LOS ANGELES — A musician and his production company’s failure to show actual damages in his case bringing California unfair competition law (UCL), breach of contract and other claims against his record label over royalties dooms his typicality showing for the purposes of class certification, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 27, declining the plaintiffs’ requests to delay the ruling until further discovery has been completed (Leonard Williams v. Warner Music Group Corp., No. 18-9691, C.D. Calif.).

  • February 28, 2020

    Reverse Mortgage Lender, Plaintiffs Settle Elderly Financial Abuse, UCL Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Feb. 18 ordered the dismissal of a putative class action alleging that a reverse mortgage lender “is scamming the nation’s senior citizens and their heirs out of millions of dollars” by conducting and charging for numerous property inspections and force-placing property insurance on properties that are insured after being notified Feb. 14 that the parties had reached a settlement (Nancy Palombi, et al. v. American Advisors Group, et al., No.19-cv-2120, C.D. Calif.).

  • February 27, 2020

    Federal Judge Relies On Trucking Companies’ Numbers In Denying Remand Of Class Suit

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Feb. 7 denied truck drivers’ motion to remand their putative class complaint alleging state wage-and-hour violations and violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), finding that the amount in controversy alleged by the defending trucking companies, which included all relief available to drivers for work performed both in and out of the state, matched the language in the drivers’ claims (Gregory Walters, et al. v. Famous Transports, Inc., et al., No. 19-8016, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21801).

  • February 27, 2020

    Federal Judge Denies Motion To Intervene In Product Labeling Suit Against Hershey

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Feb. 6 denied a motion to intervene in a class lawsuit alleging that The Hershey Co. falsely labels its Brookside Dark Chocolate products as flavored with natural ingredients when they contain artificial flavor, finding that the proposed intervenors have failed to show good cause (Howard Clark, et al. v. The Hershey Company, No. 18-6113, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20524).

  • February 26, 2020

    Rite Aid Found To Have Waived Any Arbitration Rights In Unfair Pricing Suit

    SAN DIEGO — A putative class complaint accusing a drugstore chain of engaging in a deceptive and unfair pricing scheme may proceed with California unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims in court, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 25, finding that the chain had waived any rights it may have had to arbitration (Byron Stafford, et al. v. Rite Aid Corporation, No. 17-1340, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32051).

  • February 20, 2020

    GEICO Sues Windshield Replacement Company, Owners Over False Bills

    LOS ANGELES — The Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) and three of its affiliates on Feb. 12 filed a lawsuit in California federal court accusing a windshield repair company and its owners of engaging in a fraudulent scheme to bill the insurer for expensive replacement windshields they never purchased and that they performed the work without a license to do so (Government Employees Insurance Co., et al. v. Winaffix Auto Glass Inc., et al., No. 20-cv-01401, C.D. Calif.).

  • February 14, 2020

    Panel Affirms Dismissal Of UCL, Negligence Claims Against Lexapro Manufacturers

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of California unfair competition law (UCL) and negligence claims against manufacturers of the antidepressant drug Lexapro, finding that “the drug's packaging contained clear warning labels about a heightened risk of suicidality for adolescents” (Stephanie Patton, et al. v. Forest Laboratories Inc., et al., No. 18-56336, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 4520).