We are pleased to announce the webinar “Hot Topics and Trends in California Consumer Class Actions” is now available as a webinar recording.

On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, Seyfarth partners Robert Milligan and Joseph Escarez reviewed the latest consumer class action law developments affecting companies that do business in California. It is no secret that resourceful plaintiff’s attorneys target companies conducting business in California with expensive and time-consuming putative class actions alleging violations of federal or state consumer statutes. Specifically, Robert and Joe provided a summary of recent key decisions, identified trends for companies to watch for in 2019 and beyond, and provided practical “best practices” and risk management advice for the future.

As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a summary of key takeaways:

  1. Companies that record or monitor outbound or inbound calls with California residents need to ensure that they have adequate disclaimers at the inception of the call that alert the other party that they call may be monitored or recorded, otherwise they face exposure under California’s call recording/monitoring statute.
  2. Companies that use a subscription or renewal based system for the sale of goods or services with California residents need to strictly comply with California’s auto-renewal statute to ensure they avoid costly claims by regulators and class action attorneys.
  3. Companies with consumer arbitration agreements and class action waivers should review and revise those agreements to address potential claims for public injunctive relief and comply with McGill v. Citibank and Blair v. Rent-A-Center.
  4. The FCC is expected to issue new rules defining “Automated Telephone Dialing System” under the TCPA. In the meantime, companies that make calls or send text messages to consumers should ensure that they have first obtained the call or text recipients’ prior express consent (or prior express written consent for telemarketing calls or texts).
  5. Companies faced with a consumer class action in California state court should know that plaintiffs are NOT required to establish ascertainability to certify a class. A named plaintiff need only describe a class that might in the future be identified by reference to objective criteria.
  6. The Court of Appeal recently held that Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code section 17501 is NOT unconstitutional for vagueness and does not restrict speech. But defendants facing false pricing lawsuit may still prevail by challenging the plaintiff’s damages model.