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March 2018

Stroock Client Memorandum

By: James L. Bernard, Brian C. Frontino, John R. Loftus, Stephen J. Newman, Arjun P. Rao, Julia B. Strickland, Quyen T. Truong

In California, class action lawyers wield two powerful tools: the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA).

The UCL forbids “unlawful, unfair or fraudulent” conduct in connection with virtually any type of business activity. With its sweeping liability standards and broad equitable remedies, the UCL is the weapon of choice for plaintiffs’ lawyers. The CLRA is more defined in structure, but no less potent. The CLRA applies to any “consumer” transaction involving the “sale or lease of goods or services” and authorizes recovery of actual, statutory and punitive damages. The CLRA, which explicitly prohibits 24 separate business acts or practices, provides for streamlined class certification and dispositive motion proceedings.

This article discusses decisions from California and federal courts in 2017 which provided important direction in areas of arbitration, standing, preemption, the proper scope of class certification, reliance and causation and other issues under the Unfair Competition Law and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act.

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