California Supreme Court Again Confirms a Penalty is Not Restitution Under the UCL

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Recently, we reported on the California Supreme Court’s decision in Clark v. Superior Court (National Western Life Insurance Company), wherein the Court confirmed that the only monetary remedy available under the Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code section 17200 (the “UCL”) is restitution, and that a claim for treble damages is not restitution, nor is the nature of restitution comparable to a penalty.

The Court echoed that holding in a new decision issued November 18, 2010, Pineda v. Bank of America, N.A. As with Clark, Pineda was a unanimous opinion by the Court.

At issue in Pineda were penalties provided for under California Labor Code section 203 when an employer fails to timely pay final wages to an employee. The first issue addressed by the Court was whether a one-year or three-year statute of limitations applied to a claim for such penalties when an employee sues only to recover the penalties and not the final wages themselves (which had already been paid). On that issue, the Court held that the longer, three-year statute applied.

Please see full article below for more information.

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Published In: Antitrust & Trade Regulation Updates, Civil Remedies Updates, Civil Rights Updates, Labor & Employment Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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