Unfair Competition Law Reforms Killed by Assembly Majority

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, May 9, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The leadership of the State Assembly hastily decided to have a last minute hearing of the Judiciary Committee late Thursday afternoon, May 8th, in order to dispense with bill proposals aimed at improving California's often abused Unfair Competition Law (UCL). Unfortunately, democrats on the committee made the decision to kill significant reform attempts, and instead sided with a bill backed by personal injury attorneys who have long resisted any reforms at all.

Assemblymembers Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), Robert Pacheco (R-Walnut), and Robert Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) each had bills introduced months ago that would have provided much needed and substantial reform of the state's UCL. But the night before the hearing, Chairwoman Ellen Corbett's (D-San Leandro) AB 95 amendments surfaced to impose some very light requirements on attorneys filing UCL suits.

Democrats on the committee killed each of the substantial reform measures and passed the Chair's proposal. This proposal, in conjunction with a Senate bill, is part of a plan to add a "disgorgement" provision to current law that would not only allow private attorneys, but also district attorneys and the Attorney General to use the UCL to extract "disgorgement" money from companies even when there is no consumer plaintiff who has suffered a financial loss.

CMTA supports reforms to help stem the extortion-like abuses under the state's UCL and believes that a solution can be achieved that does not compromise consumer protection. The choice by some Assembly democrats to ignore the thousands of small businesses (often minority owned) that have been targeted for extortion under the current and flawed UCL is irresponsible and unfortunate.
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