Demurrer to Class Action Complaint California
It is an abuse of discretion to sustain a demurrer without leave to amend if there is a reasonable possibility any defect can be cured by amendment. ( Minsky v. City of Los Angeles (1974) 11 Cal. 3d 113, 118 113 Cal. Rptr. 102, 520 P.2d 726; Interinsurance Exchange v. Narula, supra, 33 Cal. App. 4th at p. 1143).
A demurrer may be sustained without leave to amend where the nature of the defects and previous unsuccessful attempts to plead render it probable plaintiff cannot state a cause of action. ( Taliaferro v. Wampler (1954) 127 Cal. App. 2d 306, 310 273 P.2d 829).
To avoid this result, plaintiff must demonstrate how she can amend her complaint to change the legal effect of her pleading. ( Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal. 3d 335, 349 134 Cal. Rptr. 375, 556 P.2d 737; Wade v. 20th Century Ins. Co. (1988) 206 Cal. App. 3d 32, 39 253 Cal. Rptr. 361).
As noted in Vasquez v. Superior Court (1971) 4 Cal. 3d 800 94 Cal. Rptr. 796, 484 P.2d 964, "Protection of unwary consumers from being duped by unscrupulous sellers is an exigency of the utmost priority in contemporary society. . . . Frequently numerous consumers are exposed to the same dubious practice by the same seller so that proof of the prevalence of the practice as to one consumer would provide proof for all.
Individual actions by each of the defrauded consumers is often impracticable because the amount of individual recovery would be insufficient to justify bringing a separate action; thus an unscrupulous seller retains the benefits of its wrongful conduct.
A class action by consumers produces several salutary by-products, including a therapeutic effect upon those sellers who indulge in fraudulent practices, aid to legitimate business enterprises by curtailing illegitimate competition, and avoidance to the judicial process of the burden of multiple litigation involving identical claims.
The benefit to the parties and the courts would, in many circumstances, be substantial." (At p. 808.)
A demurrer tests the sufficiency of a complaint by raising questions of law. ( Rader Co. v. Stone (1986) 178 Cal. App. 3d 10, 20 223 Cal. Rptr. 806).
In determining the merits of a demurrer, all material facts pleaded in the complaint and those that arise by reasonable implication, but not conclusions of fact or law, are deemed admitted by the demurring party. ( Moore v. Conliffe (1994) 7 Cal. 4th 634, 638 29 Cal. Rptr. 2d 152, 871 P.2d 204; Interinsurance Exchange v. Narula (1995) 33 Cal. App. 4th 1140, 1143 39 Cal. Rptr. 2d 752).
The complaint must be construed liberally by drawing reasonable inferences from the facts pleaded. ( Flynn v. Higham (1983) 149 Cal. App. 3d 677, 679 197 Cal. Rptr. 145.)
On appeal, we do not review the validity of the trial court's reasoning but only the propriety of the ruling itself. ( Lee v. Bank of America (1990) 218 Cal. App. 3d 914, 919 267 Cal. Rptr. 387; Mayflower Ins. Co. v. Pellegrino (1989) 212 Cal. App. 3d 1326, 1332 261 Cal. Rptr. 224).
This court is not bound by the trial court's construction of the complaint, but must make its own independent interpretation. ( Rader Co. v. Stone, supra, 178 Cal. App. 3d at p. 20.)
There are two essential elements for maintenance of a class action: an "ascertainable class" and "a well-defined community of interest in the questions of law and fact involved." ( Vasquez v. Superior Court, supra, 4 Cal. 3d at p. 809).
In order for there to be an ascertainable class, "the right of each individual to recover may not be based on a separate set of facts applicable only to him."
Community of interest "does not depend upon an identical recovery, and the fact that each member of the class must prove his separate claim to a portion of any recovery by the class is only one factor to be considered in determining whether a class action is proper.
The mere fact that separate transactions are involved does not of itself preclude a finding of the requisite community of interest so long as every member of the alleged class would not be required to litigate numerous and substantial questions to determine his individual right to recover subsequent to the rendering of any class judgment which determined in plaintiffs' favor whatever questions were common to the class" (Ibid).