Immigrant Rights Defense etc. v. Hudson Insurance Co.

Filed 10/18/22 CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION FOUR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS DEFENSE B313878 COUNCIL, LLC, (Los Angeles County Plaintiff and Appellant, Super. Ct. No.19STCV45290) v. HUDSON INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant and Respondent. APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Judge William F. Highberger. Affirmed. Medvei Law Group and Sebastian M. Medvei for Plaintiff and Appellant. Humphrey, Berger & Associates, Clark H. Cameron and Kenneth S. Humphrey for Defendant and Respondent. ____________________________ The Immigration Consultant Act (ICA) (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 22440 et seq.), specifically, Business and Professions Code section 22443.11 requires an immigration consultant to procure and file a bond in the amount of $100,000. Any person who suffers damages by reason of the immigration consultant’s fraud, misrepresentation, or failure to provide services has a right of action against the consultant and the surety on the ICA bond. (§§ 22443.1, 22446.5, 22447.) Appellant Immigrant Rights Defense Council, LLC (IRDC or appellant) is a self-described “watchdog association” that brings actions for injunctive relief against immigration consultants under section 22446.5. Under subdivision (b) of that section, any person who believes an ICA violation has been committed may bring a civil action “on behalf of the general public” seeking solely injunctive relief. In October of 2017, appellant brought over 90 such actions against immigration consultants, two of whom had bonds issued by respondent Hudson Insurance Company (respondent or “Hudson”). After appellant prevailed in its suit against the two Hudson-bonded consultants, appellant filed suit against respondent to recover its attorney fees and costs against the ICA bond. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Hudson, concluding that appellant was not entitled to recover these litigation costs against an ICA bond. On appeal, appellant contends the trial court committed legal error, citing general principles of surety law which provide that a surety’s liability is typically commensurate with the liability of its bond principal. However, as explained in our opinion, a surety issuing a statutory bond is liable only to the extent indicated in the code section under which the surety executes the 1 Statutory references are to the Business and Professions Code unless otherwise specified. 2 bond. Under the plain language of the relevant bond statutes, a non- aggrieved person who suffers no damages is not entitled to recovery from an ICA bond. Because appellant does not fall within the class of persons who may recover against an ICA bond, the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of respondent. We therefore affirm the trial court’s judgment. BACKGROUND I. The ICA The ICA makes it “unlawful for any person, for compensation, other than persons authorized to practice law . . . to engage in the business or act in the capacity of an immigration consultant within this state except as provided in this chapter.” (§ 22440.) An immigration consultant can assist with certain immigration paperwork (§ 22441) but must first pass a background check and submit …

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Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals