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December 2014: Class Action Victory at Pleading Stage

December 2014

The firm won a complete victory for ADT Security Services at the pleading stage of a putative California-wide class action. Plaintiff alleged that ADT violated California’s Alarm Company Act by not informing customers of alarm system permits required by many local jurisdictions. Plaintiff also alleged that ADT violated local ordinances in many California jurisdictions by not obtaining permits for customers who failed to do so themselves. As a result, plaintiff asserted claims under consumer protection statutes and related common law doctrines.

The firm defeated all plaintiff’s claims on demurrer. First, Quinn Emanuel obtained a ruling construing the Alarm Company Act, as a matter of first impression, such that ADT’s disclosures of alarm permit requirements satisfy the statute. Plaintiff argued ADT was obligated to disclose the exact amount of the permit fee in each of the over 120 California jurisdictions that have alarm permit requirements. Based on the statutory text, the Los Angeles Superior Court disagreed and held ADT’s disclosure of the potential for local permit requirements sufficient.

Second, in the same order, the firm obtained a ruling that plaintiff could not assert claims against ADT under the Los Angeles Municipal Code. Plaintiff, having signed a contract with ADT making it his responsibility to obtain any necessary alarm permits, sought to impose liability on ADT because it did not obtain a permit for him when he failed to do so. The Court held plaintiff authored his own harm by failing to obtain a permit and thus could not assert claims against ADT.

In the absence of a proposed amendment to cure the defects in plaintiff’s complaint, the Court further denied plaintiff leave to amend, resolving all claims in ADT’s favor