The ruling could prompt more retailers to file price-fixing suits against manufacturers of all kinds of products, said Craig Corbitt, a partner in the San Francisco office of Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason. Corbitt wrote a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Pharmacists Planning Services Inc. in support of the plaintiffs.
"This now allows intermediaries such as the pharmacies and other retailers who buy from manufacturers and resell to the public to pursue their own claims," he said. "There should be an enhancement of antitrust enforcement in California."
The ruling will help consumers pursue class action lawsuits brought under the Unfair Competition Law (UCL), said Kimberly Kralowec of the Kralowec Law Group in San Francisco, who had written a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the Consumer Attorneys of California.
The court held that plaintiffs can seek an injunction under the UCL even if they aren't necessarily entitled to restitution, which was in question since the passage of Proposition 64, a 2004 ballot initiative that limited private lawsuits against companies.
"We argued in our amicus brief that a right to get an injunction shouldn't be tied in that way to the right to recover restitution," Kralowec said.
To give credit where credit is due, Pamela Parker of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd really should have been mentioned as the person who wrote CAOC's brief. While my name also appeared on the brief, the majority of the work was hers and she did a great job on it.
Yesterday's Recorder also had an article by Mike McKee, "No Pass-0n Defense in California Antitrust Cases" (subscription).