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In June 2012, plaintiff-appellant Allen Krizhner leased a Mercedes-Benz from defendant Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC for personal use. The complaint alleged the car came with an express written warranty covering repairs for any defects. During the warranty period, the car allegedly exhibited a variety of defects which caused the navigation system and key fob to malfunction, the steering column adjustment mechanism and power seats to be inoperative, the coolant level warning light to illuminate, and smoke to emanate from the cigarette lighter. After bringing the issues to defendant’s attention, and frustrated with defendant’s supposed failure to abide by its warranty obligations, plaintiff filed suit under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. Plaintiff accepted an offer of compromise pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 998, including a restitution provision identical to Civil Code section 1793.2 (d)(2)(B). The court awarded plaintiff over $47,000 in accordance with the 998 offer. Plaintiff appealed, arguing the trial court erred because it denied him recovery of approximately $680 in vehicle registration renewal and certificate of nonoperation fees which he incurred in the years after he first leased the car. The Court of Appeal concluded the court properly determined section 1793.2(b)(2)(B) did not require payment of vehicle registration renewal fees and related costs incurred after the initial purchase or lease. View "Kirzhner v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2011 and 2012, a number of individuals and closely held corporations known as Treasure Your Success (TYS) operated a fraudulent credit card interest reduction scheme. Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin, LLC (Universal) violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), 16 C.F.R. 310.1 et seq., by providing substantial assistance to the TYS schemers. The district court found that a violation of the TSR constitutes an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. As such, the district court was authorized to order restitution and disgorgement. Furthermore, the court clarified that substantial assistance under the TSR was itself sufficient to justify joint and several liability. The court reaffirmed its order holding Universal jointly and severally liable; Universal contended that was error and joint and several liability can only lie where the defendant is a participant in a common enterprise with the primary violators. The Eleventh Circuit concluded after review the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding Universal jointly and severally liable with the members of the TYS scheme. View "Federal Trade Comm'r v. Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin, LLC" on Justia Law

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On remand from the Supreme Court, the Second Circuit certified the following question to the New York Court of Appeals: Does a merchant comply with New York's General Business Law 518 so long as the merchant posts the total‐dollars‐and‐cents price charged to credit card users? View "Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman" on Justia Law

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Noel purchased an inflatable Kids Stuff Ready Set Pool for $59.99, based on a photograph on the packaging, depicting a group of three adults and two children sitting and playing in the pool. The box also prominently displayed the pool’s actual dimensions: “8FT X 25IN.” Once Noel inflated his pool, it was “materially smaller” than shown on the packaging and was capable of fitting only one adult and four small children. Noel sued on behalf of himself and similarly situated individuals, alleging violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (Civ. Code 1750) (CLRA), Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code 17200) (UCL), and False Advertising Law (Bus. & Prof. Code 17500) (FAL). The court denied class certification on the UCL and FAL claims, finding Noel’s proposed class of more than 20,000 potential members was not ascertainable (Code of Civil Procedure 382) and refused to certify a class on Noel’s CLRA claim because it determined common questions of law or fact did not predominate over individual questions of reliance and causation. The court of appeal affirmed. The certification motion was filed without first conducting sufficient discovery to meet plaintiff’s burden of demonstrating there are means of identifying putative class members so that they might be notified of the litigation, which jeopardizes the due process rights of absent class members. View "Noel v. Thrifty Payless, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting class certification for a group of Appellants’ customers, including Appellees. The class definition included all who “owe or will incur debts” springing from business with Appellants. On appeal, Appellants argued that certification was improper because no class was “ascertainable” under Ark. R. Civ. P. 23. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the class as defined was not ascertainable as a threshold matter, and therefore, the circuit court abused its discretion by proceeding to a Rule 23 analysis and granting certification. The court remanded the case with instructions to decertify the class. View "Arch Street Pawn Shop LLC v. Gunn" on Justia Law

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A third party can not sue a merchant for negligence in breaching duties when the merchant sells a high-end sports car to its customer and the customer pays for most of the car with two checks the third party made out to the merchant. A customer's payment with a check not in the customer's own name, by itself, is not a red flag. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary adjudication dismissing the third party's negligence and related claims against the merchant. View "QDOS, Inc. v. Signature Financial, LLC" on Justia Law

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In the published portion of the opinion, the Court of Appeal held that an appropriate correction offer under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act does not prevent a consumer from pursuing causes of action for fraud and violation of the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) based on the same conduct, because the remedies are cumulative. In this case, plaintiff filed suit against Dealer and Lender, alleging several causes of action stemming from her purchase of a used car. The court affirmed an award of damages to plaintiff for fraud and imposing an injunction on dealer's advertising under the UCL. View "Flores v. Southcoast Automotive Liquidators, Inc." on Justia Law

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Artur Hefczyc appealed an order denying his motion for class certification in his lawsuit against Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego (Rady). On behalf of a proposed class, Hefczyc sought declaratory relief to establish that Rady's form contract, signed by patients or guarantors of patients who receive emergency room care, authorized Rady to charge only for the reasonable value of its services, and that Rady therefore was not authorized to bill self-pay patients based on its master list of itemized charge rates, commonly referred to as the "Chargemaster" schedule of rates, which Hefczyc alleged was "artificial" and "grossly inflated." The trial court denied Hefczyc's motion for class certification, concluding that the class was not ascertainable, that common issues did not predominate, and that class action litigation was not a superior means of proceeding. Hefczyc contends that the trial court erred in denying class certification because, as the complaint sought only declaratory relief, the motion for class certification was brought under the equivalent of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, rule 23(b)(1)(A) or (b)(2) (28 U.S.C.), for which he was not required to establish the ascertainability of the class, that common issues predominated and that class action litigation was a superior means of proceeding. Hefczyc also contended that even if the trial court properly imposed those three requirements in this action, the trial court abused its discretion in concluding that those requirements were not met. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded that Hefczyc's arguments lacked merit, and accordingly affirmed the order denying class certification. View "Hefczyz v. Rady Children's Hosp." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of an action against a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq. The panel remanded for further proceedings, holding that federal law preempts a private party's use of state execution procedures to acquire and destroy a debtor's FDCPA claims against it. The panel explained that such a procedure frustrates the Act's purpose. View "Arellano v. Clark County Collection Service" on Justia Law

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Karen Corum appealed the grant of summary judgments in two collection actions brought by American Express Centurion Bank. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court's summary judgments were proper as a matter of law and the district court did not err by denying Corum's request to allow her husband to be her spokesperson in court. A party who is not represented by a licensed attorney cannot be represented by another person, including their spouse, in any court of record in this state, absent authorization provided by state law or supreme court rule. The right of free speech does not encompass in-court advocacy by a non-lawyer on behalf of another person, including a spouse. View "American Express Centurion Bank v. Corum" on Justia Law