Center Updates


December 7, 2020

The week after Thanksgiving, a remarkable group of advocates from across the country came together for the first-ever Economic Justice Policy Advocates Conference. The Center hosted the virtual conference along with the National Consumer Law Center, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, National Association of Consumer Advocates, Texas Appleseed, and Center for Responsible Lending. 

November 3, 2020

The Second District Court of Appeal granted the Center’s request to publish Swain v. LaserAway Medical Group, a decision holding that LaserAway’s arbitration contract was unconscionable and therefore unenforceable. The Center was joined on its amicus letter by the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center at Santa Clara Law, National Consumer Law Center, Public Law Center, and Public Counsel.

October 30, 2020

It has been a year of upheaval and insecurity, of racial injustice and financial crisis. We have believed from the Center’s founding that economic injustice underlies many of the most urgent problems faced by this nation. And we have worked steadily ever since to address those problems, in partnership with students and faculty, with allied organizations, and with the Center’s broad and growing community of supporters.

We are proud to tell you what we have been up to, and grateful that you have been there with us every step of the way.

September 22, 2020

On September 15, 2020, the California Court of Appeal (Fourth District, Division 3) granted the Center’s request to publish Mejia v. DACM, a decision holding that the arbitration clause in a consumer credit contract was unenforceable.

September 1, 2020

As of September 1, 2020, debt collectors are no longer allowed to completely empty a person’s bank account. Governor Newsom signed the new law — SB 616 — in October of last year. The law requires debt collectors to leave at least $1,788 in the account (an amount that will increase with the cost of living), and not to take any money from accounts that contain less than that amount. The law is designed to ease the financial shock of having an account cleaned out, which leaves people with no money to pay for critical expenses like food and rent.

August 4, 2020

The Center for Consumer Law & Economic Justice, along with the Eviction Defense Collaborative, Public Law Center, the National Housing Law Project, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, the East Bay Community Law Center, and Legal Aid of Sonoma County, requested publication in Graylee v. CastroThe Fourth District Court of Appeal held that even when a landlord and tenant agree to

July 20, 2020

On June 10, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held, in Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School v. Kirchmeyer, that a provision of California’s Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (PPEA) regulates speech and implicates heightened First Amendment scrutiny. Though cloaked as a modest decision, in fact the court’s opinion represents a radical expansion of the use of the First Amendment as a deregulatory tool. 

On July 6, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Barr v. American Assn. of Political Consultants, Inc. that the 2015 amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) allowing robocalls to be used for collecting government debts violates the First Amendment. However, the Court severed that provision from the rest of the statute, keeping the overall robocall ban intact.

July 14, 2020

The Center for Consumer Law & Economic Justice, along with the Center for California Homeowner Association Law, Housing & Economic Rights Advocates, and Legal Aid Society of San Diego, requested publication of Coley v. Eskaton, a recent decision from California’s Third District Court of Appeal that held that homeowner association (HOA) directors can be held personally liable for their misconduct and self-dealing in managing an association.

July 10, 2020

Learn about what we at the Center for Consumer Law & Economic Justice have been up to this past year in our 2020 Annual Report.  

July 6, 2020

On June 25, 2020, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in Abbott Laboratories v. Superior Court of Orange County, answering the question whether local district attorneys may enforce California’s unfair competition law (UCL) outside their county’s borders. The Court answered in the affirmative, allowing district attorneys to seek statewide relief for consumers.

June 30, 2020

On June 29, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Court ruled 5-4 that the provision allowing the President to remove the Director of the CFPB only for cause was unconstitutional; the Justices also held 7-2 that the for-cause provision of the Dodd-Frank Act is severable, and the CFPB may stand without it.

May 26, 2020

The Center successfully requested publication of Third Laguna Hills Mutual v. Joslin, which provides important guidance on the appropriate application of “anti-SLAPP” motions between homeowners and homeowner associations, helping to protect homeowners’ rights.

May 20, 2020

Check out Berkeley Law’s recent profile of the Scamhunter Project, a joint effort of the Center and Berkeley Law’s Consumer Advocacy and Protection Society (CAPS) to track down instances of fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 8, 2020

Berkeley Law’s Prasad Krishnamurthy and EBCLC’s Miguel Soto have written an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle on the need to protect California homeowners from credit card debt collectors trying to foreclose on their homes. Read the piece here.

April 28, 2020

Where there is any perceived vulnerability in our society, scammers and fraudsters rush in to take advantage of anyone looking for help. The coronavirus pandemic has offered plenty of opportunities for those looking to get money from people, whether it is price gouging, trickery, or outright theft.

April 20, 2020

The Center celebrated its second birthday yesterday. Like most two-year-olds, we are growing and determinedly moving forward (and making new friends). Here are reflections on milestones met and opportunities still to come...

December 17, 2019

On November 8, the Center brought together students, practitioners, scholars, advocates, and people with direct experience in the prison system for a “Crimsumerism” conference that explored how consumer law might be applied to alleviate corporate exploitation of incarcerated people and their support networks.  Danica Rodarmel ’17 lead the gathering, which was co-sponsored by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco, Jus

October 23, 2019

As the Center races past its year-and-a-half birthday, we reflect on the parenting guides that tell us that most 18-month-olds aren’t just walking —they’re running. And not only that: they may be using two-word phrases, loudly.

Alumni Weekend!

On October 5, Ted Mermin ’96 was joined by illustrious alums Elizabeth Cabraser ’78 and Gail Hillebrand ’81 for a panel discussion: The Opioid Crisis, Climate Change, and Criminal Justice Reform: New Frontiers in… Consumer Law? As the program put it:

July 31, 2019

Adults tend to report their age in years. But for the very young, developmental changes are so exciting that we count them in smaller increments. We are therefore delighted to report on the 15-month-old UC Berkeley Center for Consumer Law & Economic Justice as it enters toddlerhood. And like any self-respecting toddler, the Center has been getting into all kinds of things, spreading germs (the seeds of ideas), and spending time with friends….