Wald v. Truspeed, 184 Cal. App. 4th 378 (2010)

Alex Wald, who is in the business of “finding, buying and then selling again used Porsches,” found 11 Porsches for Truspeed (a car dealer), which Truspeed sold without paying Wald the finder’s fee. In response to Wald’s lawsuit against Truspeed alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud, Truspeed asserted that Wald lacked a dealer’s license and a salesperson’s license and, therefore, he was barred from recovering against Truspeed. Wald argued that he was really a salesperson and not a dealer and that he should be able to recover against Truspeed. The trial court sustained Truspeed’s demurrer without leave to amend, but the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that Wald was “in substance a salesperson” for Truspeed. As for the fact that Wald also lacked a salesperson’s license, the Court held that the licensing requirement exists to protect the public from unscrupulous dealers and not dealers from their own salespeople. The Court also held that Wald could proceed with his fraud claim.