Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in California Supreme Court
Apple Inc. v. Superior Court
The Song-Beverly Credit Card Act governs the issuance and use of credit cards. One of its provisions, Cal. Civ. Code 1747.08, prohibits retailers from recording or requesting personal information from a credit card holder as a condition to accepting a credit card as payment. In this case, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Apple Inc. required him to provide him his address and telephone number as a condition of accepting his credit card as payment in violation of section 1747.08. The trial court overruled Apple's demurrer in which Apple argued that the Act does not apply to online transactions and that deciding otherwise would undermine the prevention of identity theft and fraud. The court of appeal summarily denied Apple's petition for writ of mandate seeking review. After analyzing the statute's text, structure, and purpose, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded with directions to issue the writ, holding that section 1747.08 does not apply to online purchases in which the product is downloaded electronically. View "Apple Inc. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law
Parks v. MBNA Am. Bank, N.A.
Defendant MBNA America Bank issued a credit card to Plaintiff Allan Parks. As part of its service to cardholders, MBNA extended credit to Plaintiff by sending him convenience checks that did not include disclosures required by Cal. Civ. Code 1748.9. Plaintiff later sued MBNA on behalf of himself and similarly situated MBNA customers, alleging that the bank engaged in unfair competition by failing to make the disclosures mandated by section 1748.9. MBNA argued that the National Bank Act of 1864 (NBA) preempted the state disclosure law. The trial court granted judgment on the pleadings on MBNA's motion, concluding that the bank's failure to attach the statutorily mandated disclosures to its convenience checks was not unlawful. The court of appeal reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeal, holding that NBA preempts section 1748.9 because the state law standards act as an obstacle to the broad grant of power given by the NBA to national banks to conduct the business of banking. Remanded. View "Parks v. MBNA Am. Bank, N.A." on Justia Law
Brown v. Mortensen
In this case, the court addressed the remedies available to a patient when a debt collector, acting on behalf of a medical professional, was asserted to have illegally disclosed confidential patient information to various consumer reporting agencies in the course of a dispute over an alleged medical debt. At issue was whether all state law claims arising from the furnishing of information to consumer reporting agencies were preempted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. 1681t(b)(1)(F). The court concluded that, because of the dual state and federal responses to the protection of an individual's privacy and accuracy interests, when the interests overlap, as in this case, the question of what remedies were available was a federalism problem. The court subsequently held that Congress did not intend for the state remedies to be preempted. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
Pooshs v. Philip Morris
Plaintiff sued defendants, manufacturers of the cigarettes that she smoked for 35 years, where plaintiff was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 1989, diagnosed with periodontal disease in 1990 or 1991, and did not sue defendants of the cigarettes that she had smoked until she was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003. At issue was whether the lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations, which required that a suit be brought within a specified period of time after the cause of action accrued. The court held that when a later-discovered latent disease was separate and distinct from earlier-discovered disease, the earlier disease did not trigger the statute of limitations for a lawsuit based on the later disease.