Welfare of Mentally Disorder Person
Defendant landlord appealed a judgment from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which, in a civil action brought by plaintiff city under the unfair competition law (UCL), Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq., Enjoined the landlord from having direct contact with tenants for five years, assessed a civil penalty, and ordered the landlord to pay the city’s attorney fees. The law of evaluation and treatment is Welfare and institutions code 5150 of mentally disorder person.
The city alleged that the landlord sexually harassed a tenant, entered tenants’ units without permission, and rented uninhabitable space as living quarters. The court held that the landlord waived an argument regarding the admission of evidence of past bad acts because he made only conclusory assertions of prejudicial error under Cal. Const., Art. VI, § 13 and Code Civ. Proc., § 475, without explaining how he would have obtained a more favorable result had the evidence not been admitted. Sexual harassment of a tenant was a business practice within the meaning of § 17200 and was subject to suit under the UCL because it was made possible by a commercial relationship and had an integral connection with commercial activity. The trial court erred in awarding attorney fees because the UCL did not authorize such fees; thus, in accordance with Code Civ. Proc., § 1021, each party was responsible for its own attorney fees. Prevailing plaintiffs under the UCL generally were limited to injunctive relief and restitution. No exception existed for UCL actions predicated on a statute that authorized attorney fee awards, and the city therefore could not recover fees authorized by an ordinance.
The court reversed the award of attorney fees and affirmed the judgment in all other respects.