In a prior published opinion, McAdams v. Monier, Inc. (May 30, 2007, C051841), as mod. June 25, 2007, reversed a trial court order denying certification of the proposed CLRA and UCL classes. The gravamen of the complaint was an alleged failure to disclose that the color composition of defendant's roof tiles would erode away, leaving bare concrete, well before the end of the tiles‟ represented 50-year lifetime. Then, the Supreme Court granted review and deferred the matter (grant and hold) in light of In re Tobacco II Cases (2009) 46 Cal.4th 298 (Tobacco II), pending on the Supreme Court's docket at the time. After Tobacco II was decided, the Supreme Court remanded with directions to vacate the decision and reconsider in light of Tobacco II.
Today, the Court of Appeal (Third Appellate District) issued its amended Opinion on Remand in McAdams v. Monier, Inc. (February 24, 2010). But indicating that much of its Opinion would remain unchanged, the Court said, "In doing so, we reiterate our position involving the CLRA, as Tobacco II concerned only the UCL." Slip op., at 2. Going on, the Court summarized the new Opinion as follows:
We agree with case law that an “inference of common reliance” may be applied to a CLRA class that alleges a material misrepresentation consisting of a failure to disclose a particular fact. (Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 1282, 1293 (Massachusetts Mutual).)
As for the UCL, we remand for the trial court to determine if the representative plaintiff meets the Proposition 64 standing requirements, as interpreted in Tobacco II. Otherwise, we find the UCL action suitable for class certification.
Consequently, we reverse the trial court's order denying certification of the proposed CLRA and UCL classes. We do so, however, with one proviso as to defining these classes, which we will explain in this opinion: The members of these classes, prior to purchasing or obtaining their Monier roof tile product, had to have been exposed to a statement along the lines that the roof tile would last 50 years, or would have a permanent color, or would be maintenance-free. (See Tobacco II, supra, 46 Cal.4th at p. 324.)
Slip op., at 2-3.
The opinion is extensive in its analysis of both the CLRA and the UCL. The CLRA discussion is interesting for many reasons, including approving citation of the standing analysis in Chamberlan v. Ford Motor Co. (N.D.Cal. 2005) 369 F.Supp.2d 1138 (slip op., at 17) and clarification (and, to a degree, limitation) of the extent of the misrepresentation/omission discussion in Outboard Marine Corp. v. Superior Court (1975) 52 Cal.App.3d 30 (slip op., at 13-16).
The UCL discussion is also interesting on many levels. For instance, the Court provides a simple reminder about what happened in Tobacco II: "In Tobacco II, the high court reversed an order that had denied class certification in a UCL lawsuit." Slip op., at 21. In other words, it reversed every element of the trial court order and Court of Appeal Opinion necessary to support that order. Ultimately, the Court applied much of its certification analysis discusses in its CLRA discussion to the UCL claim, concluding that certification was appropriate. The Court then directed the trial court "to determine whether the representative plaintiff can establish UCL standing as defined in Tobacco II and, if not, whether amendment should be permitted to add a new class representative." Slip op., at 28.
Check The UCL Practitioner for more on Monier. Ms. Kralowec has reported extensively on this case and has promised to post detailed comments soon.