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Court of Appeal of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division One
November 18, 2008, Filed
[**444] McINTYRE, J.—The critical issue in this appeal is whether someone who presents himself or herself to a business with the intent of purchasing its services or products, but becomes aware of that business's practice of charging different amounts for such services or products based on gender and thereafter does not purchase those services or products, is aggrieved by that practice so as to have standing to sue for violations of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51 et seq.; the Act) and the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995 (Civ. Code, § 51.6; the Gender Tax Repeal Act). (All further undesignated statutory references are to the Civil Code.) In a case of first [***2] impression in California, we answer this question in the negative and adopt a bright-line rule that ] a person must tender the purchase price for a business's services or products in order to have standing to sue it for alleged discriminatory practices relating thereto.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
In November 2003, TrueBeginnings, LLC, began operating an online matchmaking service, True.com (referred to collectively with TrueBeginnings, LLC, and its parent company, HDVE, LLC, herein as TrueBeginnings). The service was very successful, but it had a disproportionately high percentage of [*417] male patrons. In November 2004, TrueBeginnings sought to rectify this imbalance by offering certain free services to women who joined. In early May 2005, Steven Surrey visited TrueBeginnings's Web site with the intent of utilizing its services; after discovering the discrepancy in its charges, he did not, however, subscribe to or pay for its services.
Surrey thereafter filed this action in San Diego Superior Court “individually and on behalf of the general public,” alleging in part that TrueBeginnings's differential pricing for its services violated the Act and the Gender Tax Repeal Act. TrueBeginnings moved [***3] for summary judgment on various grounds, including that Surrey was not entitled to sue because he was never “denied” the rights protected under the Act or the Gender Tax Repeal Act. Surrey admitted that he had never subscribed to, or paid for, TrueBeginnings's services, but argued that neither was a [**445] prerequisite to his assertion of claims under those statutes.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
168 Cal. App. 4th 414 *; 85 Cal. Rptr. 3d 443 **; 2008 Cal. App. LEXIS 2264 ***
STEVEN SURREY, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. TRUEBEGINNINGS, LLC, et al., Defendants and Respondents.
Subsequent History: Review denied by, Request denied by Surrey (Steven) v. Truebeginnings LLC, 2009 Cal. LEXIS 1492 (Cal., Feb. 25, 2009)
Prior History: [***1] APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County, No. GIC865318, Joan Marie Lewis, Judge.
Gender Tax Repeal Act, discriminatory, subscribe, standing to sue, lack standing, damages, tickets
Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Standing, General Overview, Civil Rights Law, Protection of Rights, Public Facilities, Injury in Fact, Remedies, Damages, Remedies, Attorney Fees & Expenses, Basis of Recovery, Statutory Awards