The Consumers Legal Remedies Act in California is the topic of this blog post.
The Consumers Legal Remedies Act is act is also known as the CLRA and is a very potent weapon that may be used by a California consumer against a business or service provider who is using unfair or deceptive trade practices. The CLRA provides remedies for unfair or deceptive trade practices and is very detailed.
Statutes governing Consumers Legal Remedies Act in California.
The statutes governing the Consumers Legal Remedies Act in California are found in Civil Code sections 1750 through 1784. The damages available include actual damages, an injunctive order enjoining the acts, methods or practices, restitution, punitive damages and reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees. A plaintiff who is a senior citizen over the age of 65 years or disabled as defined by subdivisions (f) and (g) of Civil Code section 1761 can also be awarded additional damages of up to $5,000.00 in certain cases.
Civil Code § 1780 states in pertinent part that,
“(a) Any consumer who suffers any damage as a result of the use or employment by any person of a method, act, or practice declared to be unlawful by Section 1770 may bring an action against that person to recover or obtain any of the following:
(1) Actual damages, but in no case shall the total award of damages in a class action be less than one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(2) An order enjoining the methods, acts, or practices.
(3) Restitution of property.
(4) Punitive damages.
(5) Any other relief that the court deems proper.
(e) The court shall award court costs and attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff in litigation filed pursuant to this section. Reasonable attorney’s fees may be awarded to a prevailing defendant upon a finding by the court that the plaintiff’s prosecution of the action was not in good faith.”
There are more than 20 separate categories of illegal practices listed in Civil Code § 1770. These include passing off goods or services as those of another, using deceptive representations or designations of geographic origin in connection with goods or services, and representing as original or new goods that have deteriorated unreasonably or are altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or secondhand.
Requirements before filing a lawsuit under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act in California.
The CLRA does have some very specific requirements that must be followed. Before a lawsuit can be filed requesting damages under the CLRA the plaintiff must first give the defendant notice of the violation and allow them a specific period of time to make things right.
At least 30 days before filing a lawsuit under the CLRA, the plaintiff must give the potential defendant notice of the alleged violation and demand that he or she “correct, repair, replace or otherwise rectify” the prohibited practices. The notice must be in writing and sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to the place where the transaction occurred, or to the potential defendant’s principal place of business within California pursuant to Civil Code section 1782(a)(2).
The complaint must contain allegations that proper notice was given. If a plaintiff files a complaint requesting damages without first sending the required notice, the claim can be dismissed. This defect cannot be cured by amendment. Failure to provide notice after litigation has started will not be effective, notice must be given in order to state a claim, failure to give notice before filing any complaint will result in a Court dismissing the case with prejudice.
Messages sent by email, fax, or standard mail are not sufficient, and the notice must also be sent to the place where the transaction occurred, or to the potential defendant’s principal place of business within California pursuant to pursuant to Civil Code § 1782 (a)(2).
The notice is intended to give the manufacturer or vendor sufficient notice of alleged defects to permit appropriate corrections or replacements, and to facilitate settlements of consumer actions wherever possible before a complaint is filed.
It should be noted that a plaintiff that is requesting only injunctive relief under the CLRA does not have to serve the required notice, and a plaintiff can file a complaint that requests only injunctive relief and later amend their complaint and request damages if they include allegations that they served the required notice on the defendant.
A defendant may establish good faith by introducing evidence of their attempts to comply with a consumer’s demand pursuant to Civil Code section 1782(3).
A defendant may avoid liability under the CLRA if they can prove that any alleged violation was not intentional; it resulted from a bona fide error; and they made an appropriate correction, repair, or replacement, or provided another remedy pursuant to Civil Code section 1784.
An experienced litigation attorney can evaluate your situation and determine whether sending a demand letter requesting that a business or company correct their violations of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act is appropriate.
Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
Contact attorney Nathan Mubasher for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.
Schedule a free consultation today with attorney Nathan Mubasher.
Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR NATHAN MUBASHER:
Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660
Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.