Unfair Competition Litigation

Dedicated Pleasanton Attorney Guiding Businesses through Disputes

Because of the competitive nature of business, interactions among entities and between consumers and businesses can become somewhat complicated. As a result, the state of California has created the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) to govern many of these relationships. Familiar with the mandates of the UCL, experienced business litigation lawyer James G. Schwartz can help entities in Pleasanton and elsewhere in the East Bay navigate the intricacies of the law while remaining in compliance with it.

Contesting Unfair Competition Claims

Litigation regarding unfair business practices is usually brought under the UCL, which is a statute that covers a wide range of conduct. The law prohibits "any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising." CAL. BPC. Code § 17200. Common business behaviors litigated under the UCL include abusive debt collection practices, targeting minors in advertising products such as cigarettes, and charging hidden fees to credit card customers.

Perhaps one of the most distinctive attributes of the UCL is the broad sweep of its purview. The law governs most, if not all, actions taken by California businesses. According to the UCL, a business practice is unlawful if it violates any law, including state, federal, and even local ordinances. In addition to unlawful practices, the UCL also prohibits unfair business practices or acts. Under the UCL, a business practice is considered unfair if the business’ reasons for taking the specific action do not justify the degree of harm to the victim. A business practice is also seen as unfair if it goes against well-established public policy or when the practice is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, or substantially injurious to consumers.

Additionally, the UCL defines a fraudulent business practice as one that is likely to deceive members of the public. This portion of the law is particularly broad in that businesses do not have to intend to defraud to be found liable, and consumers or members of the public do not have to actually rely on the business or its product for the business to be found in violation of this law. The UCL is distinctive in that it allows actions from both private attorneys on behalf of a citizen or group of citizens and it also allows public prosecutors to bring claims on behalf of the state.

The UCL only offers equitable relief as a remedy. This means that a court can either issue an injunction to stop or compel the violating party to take a certain action, or the court can order restitution, which would require the violating party to pay only the amount of money lost by the harmed party. The UCL does not allow for damages awards, meaning a party bringing a suit cannot obtain any money beyond the exact amount of restitution.

Explore Your Options with a Pleasanton Lawyer during Commercial Litigation

When facing a potential claim brought under the UCL, having an experienced, knowledgeable commercial law attorney may be a valuable asset. Serving Pleasanton and the surrounding cities, such as Oakland, San Ramon, and Hayward, James G. Schwartz can assist with protecting the interests of your business. Call us today at 925-463-1073 or contact us to set up a consultation.

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