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10 U.S.F. L. Rev. 651 (1975-1976)
Daar v. Yellow Cab Co.: The Advent of the Consumer Class Action in California

handle is hein.journals/usflr10 and id is 665 raw text is: Daar v. Yellow Cab Co.: The Advent of
the Consumer Class Action in California
By Michael D. Berk*
Only eleven months after his elevation to the California su-
preme court, Mr. Justice Sullivan wrote a landmark opinion for the
court unanimously reversing a superior court order transferring an
action to the municipal court upon sustaining a demurrer to a com-
plaint alleging a class action. The complaint sought to recover dam-
ages and an accounting on behalf of the named plaintiff' and a large
class of unidentified taxi-cab riders for overcharges allegedly made
by the cab company for taxi services rendered in Los Angeles during
the years 1960 to 1964. In reversing the order, the California su-
preme court for the first time sanctioned a representative action
brought on behalf of a consumer group allegedly composed of thou-
sands of unidentified individuals each of whom was only marginally
damaged. The ruling itself may be viewed as merely a logical exten-
sion of the court's prior rulings concerning class actions;2 however,
Mr. Justice Sullivan's opinion in Daar v. Yellow Cab Co.:' may be
identified as signaling the advent of the large consumer class action'
in California.5
* A.B. 1964, University of California at Berkeley; ,J.D. 1967, University of California at
Los Angeles; Law Clerk to Hon. Raymond L. Sullivan, Supreme Court of California, 1967-
1. The named plaintiff also was the attorney for the alleged class. The Court did not
address itself to the propriety of the attorney for the class being the named plaintifl.
2. See Weaver v. Superior Court, 58 Cal. 2d 275, 373 P. 2d 849, 23 Cal. Rptr. 761 (1962):
see also Heffernan v. Bennett & Armour, 110 Cal. App. 2d 564, 243 P. 2d 846 (1952); Fanucchi
v. Coberly-West Co., 151 Cal. App. 2d 72, 311 P.2d 33 (1957).
3. 67 Cal. 2d 695, 433 P. 2d 732, 63 Cal. Rptr. 724 (1967).
4. A typical consumer class action was described by Justice Kaus in Cartt v. Superior
Court, 50 Cal. App. 3d 960, 962, 124 Cal. Rptr. 376 (1975), as one
in which the damages sought by each of the class members are paltry - a few
dollars at most - yet if there is any merit to the suit, the total recovery may
run into six or seven figures.
See also Vasquez v. Superior Court, 4 Cal. 3d 800, 807-08, 817, 484 P.2d 964,968 94 Cal. Rptr.
796, 800 (1971).
5. Those interested in the complete story may wish to known that on or about October
19, 1970, the parties in Daar agreed to a settlement in the sum of $1,400,000. Of that amount,

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