Plaintiff appealed the decision of the Superior Court of Alameda County (California), which granted defendant’s demurrer and dismissed his action alleging interference with prospective economic advantage and violations of the Cartwright Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 16700-16758, and the California Unfair Practices Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17000 et seq.
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Plaintiff was the sole owner of a common carrier that dealt with defendant, and plaintiff indicated a desire to sell the company. Plaintiff brought an action against defendant alleging interference with prospective economic advantage and statutory unfair competition violations. The trial court granted defendant’s demurrer and dismissed plaintiff’s action without leave to amend. On appeal, the court reversed the dismissal of plaintiff’s action for interference with prospective economic advantage since the complaint alleged sufficient facts to state a cause of action, and the requisite justification of defendant failed to appear upon the face of the complaint. The purpose of the alleged interference was to discourage potential buyers from purchasing the company of plaintiff and thereby depress its purchase price substantially below its market value. The court affirmed, however, the dismissal of plaintiff’s statutory claims of unfair business practices since the complaint failed to establish the existence of a monopoly. The complaint failed to claim the existence of a combination or trust for the purpose of restricting the flow of trade or commerce.
The court reversed the dismissal of plaintiff’s action for interference with prospective economic advantage since the complaint alleged sufficient facts to state a cause of action, and defendant showed no justification. The court affirmed the dismissal of the unfair business practices claims since there was no evidence of monopoly.