Cases & Deals

H&R Block wins summary judgment in putative class action alleging UCL and CLRA violations

Clients H&R Block, Inc.

On April 25, 2016, Jones Day client H&R Block, Inc. won summary judgment on a putative class action alleging violations of California's Unfair Competition Law ("UCL") and Consumers Legal Remedies Act ("CLRA"). The plaintiff originally sought certification of a 49-state class under Missouri law based on allegations concerning H&R Block's response to the Return Preparer Initiative of the IRS. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri denied certification of the nationwide class, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed.

Following the Eighth Circuit appeal, plaintiff amended his complaint to assert claims under California's consumer protection statutes and moved to certify a California-only class. In granting H&R Block's motion for summary judgment, the District Court held that the plaintiff could not establish violations under the UCL's or CLRA's "fraud prong" because he could not prove materiality or reliance. The Court also held that the plaintiff could not establish a violation of the UCL under the statute's "unlawful prong" because an alleged violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act could not serve as a predicate unlawful act.

Perras v. H&R Block, Inc., No. 12-00450-CV-W-BP (W.D. Mo.)