By Laura Del Rosso
SAN FRANCISCO -- A Superior Court judge in Sacramento dismissed
a motion by the Consumer Action League to collect damages from
travel agencies it claims broke the law by failing to post
California Seller of Travel registration numbers on their Web
sites, according to ASTA senior vice president Paul Ruden.
The dismissal came as a result of a filing by the ASTA
Litigation Center, which hired the San Francisco law firm of
McKenna and Cuneo to represent some 74 travel agency owners who
signed up with the center.
They were among more than 250 agencies named in a suit brought
by the Consumer Action League in April.
Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster did not dismiss two other
claims made by the league, Ruden said.
He said the league asked for an injunction to force agencies to
post their registration numbers and to collect attorney's fees for
Brian Kindsvater, the Sacramento-area attorney representing the
Ruden said the ASTA Litigation Center plans to continue to fight
so that those two claims also will be dismissed. He said he could
not give details, but hoped that the entire matter will soon be
"Let's just say this will be the incredible shrinking legal
case," Ruden said.
Ruden said that the league's motion to force the agencies to
post their numbers is moot: All the agencies involved in the ASTA
center suit have already added those numbers on their sites.
In a separate case, San Francisco attorney Alexander Anolik is
representing four travel agencies also named in the suit by the
Anolik said that during the recent deposition phase of the case
he obtained a stipulation from Kindsvater to drop the claim for
damages from the travel agencies.
Anolik said "the big issue now is attorney's fees, which is
really what [Kindsvater] is after."
Both ASTA and Anolik, who is ARTA's legal counsel but is
handling the case separate from his ARTA duties, have charged that
league's suit is frivolous and its main purpose is to force
agencies to pay Kindsvater, who found a little-known requirement of
the Seller of Travel law that Web sites selling travel must post
registration numbers and filed the suit.
Kindsvater, in an interview with Travel Weekly in April, said
the league only looking out for the good of consumers. Yet he said
the league is not a "full-blown" organization and that the
plaintiff he represents is an individual, whom he would not
He said he would drop the legal action against the agencies
named if they posted their registration numbers on Web sides and
paid the "league" a settlement fee, which would be