More than 200 agencies scored a second legal victory as the
California Superior Court in Sacramento tossed out a request for a
court order that would require agencies named in a class-action
suit to display their California Seller of
Travel registration numbers on their Web sites. The Consumer
Action League, the plaintiff in the class action, filed suit this
spring against the agencies, claiming the retailers failed to post
their CST numbers online, as California state law requires. Upon
filing the suit, Brian Kindsvater, the plaintiff’s attorney, argued
that citizens of California were harmed by the agencies’ lack of a
CST number and gave the agencies the opportunity to individually
settle the suit out of court for a fee rather than go to trial.
This victory for the agencies follows a July ruling in which the
court denied a motion by the Consumer Action League to collect
damages from the agencies it is suing.
Still to be determined by the court: whether the Consumer Action
League can collect legal fees from the agencies for bringing the
The most recent ruling in the CST suit pleased agencies named
“We’re not surprised, and we never really considered it a threat
to legitimate businesses,” said Brad Anderson, president of San
Diego-based Anderson Travel & Cruises. “We really work hard to
follow all the rules, whether we agree with them or not.”
Anderson, whose agency is one of approximately 70 using the
legal services of ASTA’s Litigation Center, doesn’t recall his
agency ever leaving its CST number off of its Web site, and even if
it was omitted, he doesn’t think its absence harmed the public.
“I think there are bigger issues for the courts to be
addressing,” he said. “I’m pleased they saw it the same way.”
Karl Dring, general manager of the San Diego Travel Group,
believes the court’s rulings thus far could discourage copycat
suits from appearing down the line.
“I hope it sends a signal to [the attorney] and others who would
fabricate something out of nothing and try to extort money out of
an industry that has plenty of challenges anyway,” said Dring,
whose multilocation agency is also among those named in the suit.
“It was very clear this was completely self-serving.”