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Society wins latest ruling in California lawsuit

Society wins latest ruling in California lawsuit
By Laura Del Rosso
Originally Published on www.travelweekly.com

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- ASTA has won another ruling from the California Superior Court here in its fight against the Consumer Action League, which this spring sued more than 200 travel agencies because, the league claimed, they failed to post their California Seller of Travel registration numbers on their Web sites.

The court dismissed the Consumer Action League's request for a court order requiring the agents named in the suit to display their registration numbers.

"The fact is, these agents and agencies are already in compliance with the California rule," said ASTA president Richard Copland. "There was no need for further court action to direct them to do something they had already done."

ASTA's Litigation Center hired a San Francisco law firm to represent about 70 travel agencies named in the suit.
In July, the court dismissed the league's demand for monetary damages.
ASTA said that one issue in the case remains: legal fees, which Consumer Action League attorney Brian Kindsvater has claimed are due him for bringing the case.

Kindsvater has invoked "private attorney general," a privilege available in California (see accompanying story below) to those who seek to enforce a law that they claim the attorney general has not enforced.

San Francisco attorney Alexander Anolik, who is representing 24 agencies that have been sued by Kindsvater, said he has been working closely with ASTA's California-based legal counsel to thwart Kindsvater's efforts to collect.

"ASTA and I are hacking away at Kindsvater on different levels to get at the same goal, which is to have the court deny him any attorney's fees," he said.

Anolik, meanwhile, said he has learned from insurance companies that offer travel agencies errors- and-omissions insurance that attorney's fees and legal filing costs in relation to the Consumer Action League suit may be covered by their policies.

Anolik suggests that affected agencies check with their insurance companies.