We all know that UCL claims are equitable and tried to the judge, not a jury. Yet UCL claims are frequently brought in the same lawsuit along with legal claims, such as CLRA claims, that carry a jury trial right. In Hoopes v. Dolan, ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Nov. 12, 2008), the Court of Appeal (First Appellate District, Division Four) provides a useful analysis of how lawsuits that involve both equitable and legal claims should be tried.
The opinion discusses the reasons why, in California, equitable claims are usually (but not always) tried before legal claims, and explains that "[t]he order of trial, in mixed actions with equitable and legal issues, has great significance because the first factfinder may bind the second when determining factual issues common to the equitable and legal issues." Slip op. at 9. "[A] jury's factual findings on legal causes of action should bind the trial court when granting ancillary remedies [such as declaratory or injunctive relief] based on the same facts." Id. at 12.
The entire opinion is definitely worth reading because the topics it discusses can be expected to come up in UCL cases in which other causes of action are also pleaded. [Via Cal Biz Lit.]