Due to its extremely broad scope, California’s Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code Section 17200 et seq.) (UCL) frequently is the weapon of choice for California litigants who sue businesses. The UCL prohibits a broad range of “unlawful,” “unfair” or “fraudulent” business conduct, and although UCL plaintiffs may not obtain damages, they may seek equitable relief—including injunctions and restitution—on behalf of the general public, as well as attorneys’ fees.
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips is a recognized leader in litigation brought under the UCL. For decades, as UCL litigation has increased, our attorneys have successfully represented UCL defendants, plaintiffs and friends of the court in California’s state and federal trial and appellate courts. We are familiar with over 80 years of UCL case law and legislative history, and have shaped judicial interpretation of the UCL by winning first-impression decisions from the courts of appeal and the California Supreme Court.
Our special focus on UCL is particularly important because the courts hearing such litigation often have sparse UCL precedent to guide them, and UCL standards are purposefully fluid. In cases from the 1930s to the present, the California Supreme Court has emphasized the broad, “sweeping” scope of the UCL and has encouraged California judges to use their imagination to remedy “schemes” that “frustrate the fundamental rules of honesty and fair dealing.” Even though UCL claims have become ubiquitous, many California judges often don’t know what to make of them. Thus, we are actively working to shape UCL in the courts, and our professionals are recognized for the use of novel theories and defenses to get to the heart of the issues.
Manatt attorneys are sought after to speak and write on UCL topics. Our articles in legal publications have dealt with such issues as whether the UCL currently provides needed protections to consumers while balancing the burdens and risks it engenders to business, and what direction UCL decisions should take under the present scope of the Unfair Competition Law. Our UCL Practice Group distributes an electronic newsletter that discusses the latest UCL developments.
We handle all types of UCL disputes, including such diverse areas as entertainment cases, patent infringement, health care regulatory claims, employment litigation, and advertising claims.
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