Larry Golub was quoted in an Aug. 2, 2013, Law360 article, Zhang Ruling Yanks Insurer Shield Against UCL Claims, (subscription required) about the California Supreme Court’s ruling which found that consumers can accuse insurance companies of violations of California’s unfair competition law.
Some court watchers believe the ruling could invite more class actions and give plaintiffs a new means of obtaining premium refunds, injunctions and attorneys’ fees.
The ruling against California Capital Insurance Co. could also motivate attorneys to add unfair competition claims to breach-of-contract and bad faith claim lawsuits against insurers, the article said.
Although violators of the unfair competition law can be forced to pay restitution and potentially attorneys’ fees, doing so is not an easy task, according to Golub. Policyholders would have to demonstrate that they had done something significant for the public interest.
“In the run-of-the-mill bad-faith case, I don’t think you’re going to be able to establish that just because you fought an insurance company, you’ve done something for the public good,” he said.
Mr. Golub recently reviewed the Zhang decision on this blog, California Supreme Court Finally Decides How a UCL Claim and First Party Bad Faith Claim Can Co-Exist.