Client Alert

Kwikset Corp. v. Superior Court Clarifies UCL Standing Requirements

February 03, 2011

The Class Action and Complex Litigation Practice

In the past two years, the California Supreme Court has issued important decisions interpreting Californias Unfair Competition Law (California Business and Professions Code sections 17200, et seq. the (UCL)), a law almost universally invoked in California consumer class actions. Two years ago, the Court decided In re Tobacco II Cases, and held that the representative plaintiffs(s) in a UCL class action needed to plead and prove standing by a showing of actual reliance for claims brought under the UCLs fraud and false advertising prongs. Last week, the Court addressed Kwikset Corp. v. Superior Court (Benson), a case again interpreting the UCLs standing requirement in false advertising cases. In Kwikset, the Court held that plaintiffs who can truthfully allege that they were deceived by a products [Made in the U.S.A.] label into spending money to purchase [a] product, and would not have purchased it otherwise have standing to sue under the UCL regardless of the fact that the product worked as promised and regardless of the fact that the plaintiff would be ineligible for restitution. This alert summarizes Kwikset and analyzes the practical implications in consumer UCL litigation that may arise as this important body of law develops in the future.

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