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Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions, Inc.

Supreme Court of California

January 24, 2013, Filed

S184929

Case Summary

Procedural Posture

In January 2008, plaintiff, a lessee of copiers, sued defendant lessor, alleging violation of the Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq. The trial court dismissed with prejudice, concluding that the action was barred by the four-year statute of limitations for UCL claims, Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17208. The California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, affirmed. The lessee's petition for review was granted.

Overview

The original complaint alleged the lessor knew or should have known it was charging for excess copies and that the practice of charging for test copies was both unfair and fraudulent. The second amended complaint established a first violation in 2002. The court held that the UCL is governed by common law accrual rules to the same extent as any other statute. That a cause of action is labeled a UCL claim is not dispositive; instead, the nature of the right sued upon and the circumstances attending its invocation control the point of accrual. Continuous accrual principles prevented the complaint from being dismissed at the demurrer stage on statute of limitations grounds. Although the lessee could not recover alleged excess charges preceding the limitations period, he was not foreclosed from seeking recovery for charges to the extent they fell within that period. The lessee alleged a recurring unfair act - the inclusion in monthly bills of charges for copies the lessor itself made. The theory of continuous accrual applied to such allegations, and insofar as the complaint alleged at least some such acts within the four years preceding suit, the suit was not entirely time-barred.

Outcome

The judgment of the appellate court was reversed, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

LexisNexis® Headnotes

 

 

Civil Procedure > ... > Responses > Defenses, Demurrers & Objections > Demurrers

Civil Procedure > ... > Pleadings > Complaints > General Overview

Civil Procedure > Appeals > Standards of Review > General Overview

HN1  Demurrers

On appeal from the sustaining of a demurrer, an appellate court accepts as true the well-pleaded facts in the operative complaint. The appellate court will not, however, disregard contrary allegations in earlier complaints to the extent they are pertinent, as a plaintiff may not disavow earlier concessions by omitting them from subsequent complaints.

 

Governments > Legislation > Interpretation

Civil Procedure > Appeals > Standards of Review > Questions of Fact & Law

Governments > Legislation > Statute of Limitations > Time Limitations

HN2  Interpretation

The application of the statute of limitations on undisputed facts is a purely legal question.

 

Civil Procedure > ... > Responses > Defenses, Demurrers & Objections > Demurrers

Civil Procedure > ... > Pleadings > Complaints > General Overview

Civil Procedure > Appeals > Standards of Review > General Overview

HN3  Demurrers

Where an appeal follows the sustaining of a demurrer, the appellate court must take the allegations of the operative complaint as true and consider whether the facts alleged establish the plaintiff's claim is barred as a matter of law.

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55 Cal. 4th 1185 ; 292 P.3d 871 ; 151 Cal. Rptr. 3d 827 ; 2013 Cal. LEXIS 480 

JAMSHID ARYEH, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. CANON BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, INC., Defendant and Respondent.

Subsequent History: Reported at Aryeh (Jamshid) v. Canon Business Solutions, Inc., 2013 Cal. LEXIS 1052 (Cal., Jan. 24, 2013)

On remand at, Decision reached on appeal by Aryeh v. Canon Bus. Solutions, Inc., 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4823 (Cal. App. 2d Dist., July 9, 2013)

Prior History:  [1] Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BC384674, Robert L. Hess, Judge. Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight, No. B213104.

Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions, Inc., 185 Cal. App. 4th 1159, 111 Cal. Rptr. 3d 211, 2010 Cal. App. LEXIS 941 (Cal. App. 2d Dist., June 22, 2010)

Disposition:  The judgment of the appellate court was reversed, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.