UPDATED: Lu v. Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Inc. offers a reminder that the UCL can borrow statutes that do not themselves include a private right of action

Greatsealcal100Better late than never, a brief comment about Lu v. Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Inc. (Jan. 22, 2009) is in order. In Lu, the Second Appellate District, Division Three, considered whether dealer tip pooling in casinos (1) gives rise to a private right of action under California Labor Code section 351 and/or 450, and (2) whether those or other Labor Code sections can serve as predicates for an Unfair Competition Law claim.

After reviewing the two Labor Code sections at issue, the Lu Court concluded with little difficulty that neither section (351 or 450) created a private right of action. However, the Lu Court then noted that such Labor Code sections could nevertheless serve as predicates for the “unlawful” conduct prong under the UCL:

Nevertheless, Lu alleged a cause of action under the UCL for violation of Labor Code sections 351 and 450. “ ‘Virtually any law -- federal, state or local -- can serve as a predicate for an action under Business and Professions Code section 17200.’ [Citation.]” (Ticconi v. Blue Shield of California Life & Health Ins. Co. (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 528, 539; cf. Louis v. McCormick & Schmick Restaurant Corp. (C.D.Cal. 2006) 460 F.Supp.2d 1153, 1156, fn. 5; Matoff v. Brinker Restaurant Corp., supra, 439 F.Supp.2d at pp. 1037-1038.) The UCL is a proper avenue for Lu to challenge violations of these Labor Code provisions. Therefore, we turn to the substantive question of whether the tip pool procedure here violates the Labor Code sections enumerated in the complaint such as would support UCL causes of action.

(Slip op., at p. 11.) The Court then analyzed various Labor Code sections asserted in the plaintiff’s complaint, concluding that section 351 could support a UCL “unlawful” prong claim sufficient to withstand summary judgment. (Slip op., at pp. 21-23.)

UPDATE:  Just when you get around to writing a post, wouldn't you know that the Court of Appeal changes the Opinion.  A Modified Opinion issued on February 11, 2009, which slightly alters the judgment.