On May 18, 2009, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in In Re Tobacco II Cases, S147435. In a 4-3 decision, the Court held that for a fraudulent business practice claim under the State’s Unfair Competition Law, Bus. & Prof. Code Section 17200 et seq., as amended by Proposition 64 in 2004, the class representative needs to plead and prove actual reliance to satisfy the standing requirement of 17204, but the class members do not.
In addition, the representative is not required to plead and prove individualized reliance on specific misrepresentations, particularly where statements are part of an extensive and long-term advertising campaign. The following summarizes several highlights from that opinion:
“We therefore conclude that Proposition 64 was not intended to, and does not, impose section 17204’s standing requirements on absent class members in a UCL class action where class requirements have otherwise been found to exist.”