Horvitz & Levy LLP represented Michelin Tire Co. in this appeal involving allegations that Michelin defrauded consumers and competitors.
The plaintiff alleged that Michelin falsely claimed in technical bulletins that consumers would void the Michelin tire warranty if they used runflat tire inserts made by a competitor. The plaintiff brought causes of action for, among other things, violation of the Unfair Competition Law (UCL). The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the plaintiff had not alleged any unfair business practice as defined by California law.
The California Court of Appeal (Second District, Division Two) affirmed the trial court’s judgment of dismissal. The Court of Appeal held that plaintiffs had not alleged an unfair business practice either under the standard applied to competitors or to consumers. There were no allegations in the complaint that Michelin perpetrated an incipient violation of the anti-trust laws or engaged in any conduct that was substantially injurious to consumers. The Court of Appeal also found that the complaint did not adequately allege that Michelin engaged in a fraudulent business practice, because there were no particularized allegations that members of the public were likely to be deceived by Michelin’s actions.