In East West Bank v. Rio School District, ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Apr. 1, 2015), the Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Six) reminded us that the doctrine of unclean hands does not apply to UCL claims, equitable though they may be:
Not only is there no analogous case applying the [unclean hands] doctrine to an action pursuant to [Public Contract Code] section 7107, there are analogous cases holding as a matter of law that the doctrine does not apply to such statutory causes of action.
In Mendoza v. Ruesga, supra, 169 Cal.App.4th 270, a group of immigrants sued an immigration consultant alleging violations of the Immigration Consultants Act (ICA). (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 22440 et seq.) The defendant raised unclean hands as a defense based on the immigrants' undocumented status. The court held the doctrine of unclean hands inapplicable as a matter of law stating: "Plaintiffs contend that as a matter of law the unclean hands doctrine is inapplicable to their cause of action under the ICA because it is based on Ruesga's violation of statutes intended to protect consumers. [Fn. omitted.] We agree with plaintiffs. 'It is true that when the Legislature enacts a statute forbidding certain conduct for the purpose of protecting one class of persons from the activities of another, a member of the protected class may maintain an action notwithstanding . . . that he has shared in the illegal transaction. The protective purpose of the legislation is realized by allowing the plaintiff to maintain his action against a defendant within the class primarily to be deterred.' [Citation.]" (Id., at p. 279; see also Ticconi v. Blue Shield of California Life & Health Ins. Co. (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 528, 543 [holding defense of unclean hands does not apply to an action under the unfair competition law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.)].)