Today's Recorder reports that "CLRA Suits Require Actual Injury" (subscription). The article begins:
More than four years ago, California voters passed Proposition 64, limiting suits filed under the state's unfair competition law to individuals actually injured by someone else's illegal acts.
On Thursday, the California Supreme Court took a similar step by restricting suits filed under the state's Consumer Legal Remedies Act to plaintiffs who have suffered real damage because of an allegedly unlawful practice.
The Complex Litigator, however, points out in this post that the Supreme Court in Meyer took pains to emphasize the difference between "any damage," as used in the CLRA, and "actual damage," and to explain that "the breadth of the phrase 'any damage' indicates a category that includes, but is greater than, 'actual damages." Meyer, slip op. at 5 (emphasis added). In other words, the CLRA's standing requirement remains less strict than the UCL's. As Monique Olivier told The Recorder, "The ruling ... [is] no 'death knell' for the CLRA."
Agreed. Most plaintiffs who bring CLRA cases have suffered "any damage" as interpreted in Meyer and won't have an issue with standing. Still, as I told The Daily Journal, "it's a significant problem when companies insert unconscionable provisions into their contracts and apparently no one can sue to stop them from doing that." Laura Ernde, "Justices Restrict Fine-Print Lawsuits," The Daily Journal (Jan. 30, 2009). Consumers could very well be deterred from attempting to enforce rights that, because of an unconscionable contract term, they thought they had given up.