(CN) – Plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the tobacco industry are not required to show that every member has relied on the tobacco industry’s claims about cigarettes, the California Supreme Court ruled. The class action had been decertified in trial court after the Unfair Competition Law was amended by Proposition 64 in 2004.
Proposition 2004 defines a proper UCL plaintiff as “a person who has suffered an injury in fact and has lost money or property as a result of unfair competition.”
On appeal, Justice Moreno dealt with the question of who needs to prove they have been damaged: the class representatives or everyone in the class?
Moreno ruled that only the representatives are required to prove that they suffered damage from the misleading statements of the tobacco industry.
“References in the (UCL) to one who wishes to pursue UCL claims on behalf of others (are) in the singular,” Moreno wrote. “The conclusion must be drawn that only this person – the representative plaintiff – is required to meet the standing requirements.”