Articles Posted in Supreme Court of California

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Plaintiff opened a credit card account with Defendant Citibank, N.A. and purchased a credit protector plan. Defendant later amended the original agreement by adding an arbitration provision. The provision waived the right to seek public injunctive relief in any forum. The arbitration provision became effective in 2001. In 2011, Plaintiff filed this class action based on Defendant’s marketing of the Plan and the handling of a claim she made under it when she lost her job, alleging claims under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), the unfair competition law (UCL), and the false advertising law. Defendant petitioned to compel Plaintiff to arbitrate her claims on an individual basis pursuant to the arbitration provision. Based on the Broughton-Cruz rule, the trial court ordered Plaintiff to arbitrate all claims other than those for injunctive relief under the UCL, the CLRA, and the false advertising law. The Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for the trial court to order all of Plaintiff’s claims to arbitration, concluding that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts the Broughton-Cruz rule. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the arbitration provision was invalid and unenforceable because it waived Plaintiff’s right to seek public injunctive relief in any forum. Remanded. View "McGill v. Citibank, N.A." on Justia Law

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This case involved the practice of short-term deferred deposit lending, often referred to as “payday” or “cash advance” lending. After the Legislature enacted the California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law (the Law), which limits the size of each loan and the fees that lenders may charge, some deferred deposit lenders sought affiliation with federal recognized Indian tribes, which are generally immune from suit on the basis of tribal sovereign immunity. In this case, a pair of federally recognized tribes created affiliated business entities, which provide deferred deposit loans through the internet to borrowers in California under terms that allegedly violated the Law. At issue in this case was whether these tribally affiliated entities were immune from suit as “arms of the tribe.” The Supreme Court clarified the legal standard and burden of proof for establishing arm-of-the-tribe immunity and held that the entities in this case failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that they were entitled to tribal immunity as an arm of its affiliated tribe. Remanded for the trial court to address the issue of whether the parties had the opportunity to fully litigate their claims under that standard. View "People ex rel. Owen v. Miami Nation Enterprises" on Justia Law

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The Automobile Sales Finance Act (ASFA) is a consumer protection law that governs the sale of vehicles in which the buyer finances all or part of the car’s purchase. Plaintiffs were consumers who purchased vehicles from Raceway Ford, Inc., an automobile dealership. Plaintiffs alleged that Raceway violated ASFA when (1) after agreeing to an initial finance contract, Raceway would enter into a subsequent finance contract with a buyer and backdate the second contract to the date of the first contract, and (2) a computer error caused Raceway to incorrectly include smog-related fees in buyers’ purchase contracts. The trial court found in favor of Raceway on all claims relevant to this appeal. The court of appeal affirmed with respect to Plaintiffs’ smog fee claims but reversed with respect to Plaintiffs’ backdating claims. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Raceway’s practice of backdating contracts did not violate the ASFA; and (2) Raceway did violate the ASFA when its disclosed inaccurate smog fees, but Plaintiffs were not entitled to a remedy under ASFA because the violation was due to an accidental or bona fide error in computation. View "Raceway Ford Cases" on Justia Law

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This case was a putative class action challenging an herb grower’s (Defendant) marketing of its herbs as organic. Defendant sought judgment on the pleadings on federal preemption and primary jurisdiction grounds, arguing that the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 vests the United States Department of Agriculture with exclusive authority to to regulate the labeling and marketing of organic products and both expressly and impliedly preempts state truth-in-advertising requirements. The trial court agreed and entered a judgment for Defendant. The Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that the express preemption provisions in the Organic Food Act did not foreclose state false advertising suits, but such suits were impliedly preempted. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a state law claim that produce is being intentionally mislabeled as organic is neither expressly nor impliedly preempted. Remanded. View "Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms, Inc." on Justia Law