X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The latest appeal court opinion on whether the tort reform measure Proposition 64 is retroactive is a double blow to the plaintiff bar. The Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, ruled Thursday that the November rollback of the private attorney general law applies to all pending cases filed under Business & Professions Code �17200. The opinion is a harder blow to the plaintiff bar than a similar Second District ruling published Wednesday because it takes direct aim at a Feb. 1 anti-retroactivity ruling by the First District. And the latest opinion is topped off by a cudgel-like partial dissent from Presiding Justice David Sills that compares some of the state’s most prominent plaintiff lawyers to the Trevor Law Group, whose attorneys were hounded out of practice last year for abusing 17200. “This case represents what will hopefully be the last of a breed of lawsuits against businesses where lawyers make big bucks and clients nothing, for finding some tiny arguable technicality and bringing an unfair competition suit,” Sills wrote in a new epilogue to the blistering dissent, which was originally issued in June before the case was reheard. In Benson v. Kwikset, 05 C.D.O.S. 1252, plaintiff lawyers from several firms — including Washington, D.C.’s Cuneo Waldman & Gilbert and San Diego-based Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins — convinced a trial court that a lock maker illegally labeled products “Made in the USA” when certain components actually had been manufactured abroad. In Thursday’s opinion, Justice William Rylaarsdam wrote that Prop 64 is retroactive, adding that the First District’s opinion in Californians for Disability Rights v. Mervyn’s, 05 C.D.O.S. 1010, was “unpersuasive.” “The First District’s reasoning reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the repeal principle,” Rylaarsdam wrote. Prop 64 proponents were heartened by the decision, which gives them a 2-to-1 edge in appellate rulings as the issue races to the Supreme Court. “Both [pro-retroactivity] decisions take the First District to school,” said William Stern, the author of Prop 64 and a partner at Severson & Werson. Stern and John Sullivan, the co-chairman of Prop 64′s sponsor, Californians to Stop Shakedown Lawsuits, said the measure should apply to pending cases, even though the initiative itself is silent as to retroactivity. Plaintiff lawyers disagree with the latest rulings, but say conflicting appellate decisions were expected. “I can’t say that’s a surprise to me,” said Jonathan Cuneo, the lead lawyer in the Kwikset case. But, he added, he is confident that the California Supreme Court will find that voters did not intend Prop 64 to stop pending suits. “In our case, something that’s very concerning is that we have a trial judgment, and this is something where I don’t think Prop 64 was passed to undo five years of work in a case where the defendant has been found liable,” said Cuneo.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.