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52 Hastings L.J. 1131 (2000-2001)
Why the Increasing Role of Public Policy in California's Unfair Competition Law Is a Slippery Step in the Wrong Direction

handle is hein.journals/hastlj52 and id is 1159 raw text is: Why the Increasing Role of Public
Policy in California's Unfair
Competition Law Is a Slippery Step in
the Wrong Direction
[California] has pioneered the use of bounty-hunting litigation by
private parties to enforce public policy.1
Do you have a grievance? Has a particular business or industry
upset you? Even if you have not suffered any actual injury, if you live
in California-you're in luck. You may be able to sue under the
California Business and Professions Code section 17200, California's
Unfair Competition Act [hereinafter UCL or 17200],2 and your
chances of convincing an attorney to represent you are surprisingly
good. Partly due to its grant of attorney's fees for successful suits and
partly due to the vast uncertainty as to what may qualify as a UCL
cause of action, this statute has become one of the favorites of the
plaintiff's bar. Many believe that the past decade has seen a boom in
such [UCL] claims.'3 Stan Ulrich, of the California Law Revision
Commission, said that, [a]lthough I can't prove it, I believe there's a
huge underground economy in 17200 claims.4
* J.D., U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 2001; B.A., University of California at
Berkeley, 1998.
1. Tim W. Ferguson, The Lawsuit Business, FORBES, May 18, 1998, at 110 (citation
2. CAL. Bus. & PROF. CODE §§ 17200-17209 (West 1997 & Supp. 2001).
3. Sheila Muto, Unfair Competition Law Faces High-Court Scrutiny, WALL ST. J.,
Nov. 3, 1999, at CA3.
4. Id.


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