Unfair competition - actions by city attorneys
SB 376, c. 17 of 2007
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SB 376, c. 17: Unfair competition; actions by city attorneys. Revises the statute authorizing the city and county of San Francisco to bring unfair competition actions, and to allow recovery of a civil penalty regardless of the size of its population.
The source of this bill was the Office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and was supported by the City and County of SF. According to the sponsor, "The San Francisco City Attorney's office has a long and distinguished history of bringing actions under the unfair competion law. However, a recent federal census estimates that San Francisco's population has decreased to below 750,000. This has prompted defendants in unfair compeition actions to argue that the San Francisco City Attorney no longer has standing to bring these actions. While these arguments have ultimately been unsuccessful, there is a concern that defendants will continue to attack San Francisco's standing to bring unfair competition actions unless the issue is clarified by statute."
However, the bill was opposed by the State Chamber of Commerce. The California Chamber of Commerce states, "While we are aware that San Francisco's population has experienced fluctuations, lack of population requirement is currently a legal basis for challenging any city attorney's standing to prosecute unfair competition claims. We do not support removal of any defense to unfair competition actions currently available under the unfair competition law, as such actions have been an area ripe for abuse and used to harass businesses. In particular, the City and County of San Francisco already possesses a history of establishing ordinances and policies that are particularly burdensome to businesses within its jurisdiction.
If you would like to order the legislative history of this bill [click here] .