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Judge Koh Dismisses Another Meritless Consumer Class Action with Prejudice

Federal trial Judge Lucy H. Koh last month continued her laudable, seemingly one-judge stand against consumer class action abuse in the Northern District  of California.

The plaintiffs argued that battery package text promising a “10-YEAR GUARANTEE in storage,” and marketing claims, such as,  “you will always have access to power” would lead reasonable consumers to believe the batteries could be kept in storage for a decade without leaking or aging in any measureable way — much like Matthew McConaughey’s character “Cooper” in Interstellar (Paramount Pictures 2014).

Judge Koh disagreed, finding that “GUARANTEED” meant guaranteed: if it doesn’t work properly, Duracell will repair, replace at no cost, or refund the purchase price. Judge Koh also found the additional marketing claims to be perfectly permissible advertising “puffery,” which any first-year law student should recognize.

In booting desperate plaintiffs counsel out of court, Judge Koh noted that their identically meritless complaint had failed previously in Massachusetts, which raises this perfectly reasonable question: Why didn’t she find plaintiffs’ counsel in contempt for wasting federal court resources and order them to undergo some storage of their own — in a jail cell for a few days?

But one hates to quibble, and Judge Koh, recently nominated by President Obama for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, deserves both credit for this no-nonsense dismissal and prompt consideration by the U.S. Senate.

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