In this Court of Appeals case, the Court reversed a trial court ruling regarding whether not a group of plaintiffs could pursue a class action claim alleging a violation of the Unfair Trade Practices Act.
At the trial court level, a group of plaintiffs made a claim that a cigarette manufacturer misrepresented the quality of "light" cigarettes sold between 1971 and 2001. The trial court found that the individuals making up the potential class, which numbered at approximately 100,000, did not meet the criteria for establishing a class. Generally, in order to establish a class, you must show that the group of people in the potential class have a claim with common issues of law and fact.
The Court of Appeals disagreed with the trial court ruling. The Court of Appeals found that the plaintiffs intended to introduce evidence that there was in fact a common motive in purchasing "light" cigarettes. Further, the Court of Appeals determined that it did very least, these plaintiffs could make a claim for the price of purchase.
An interesting part of this case is the use of the Unfair Trade Practices Act. This consumer protection statute allows a consumer to make a claim against a seller of goods or services. One of the claims allows for a remedy if the seller of goods misrepresents the quality of the good or the service.
We have handled cases involving serious personal injury resulting from the misrepresentation of the quality of a good for sale. The statute is potentially powerful because it allows for recovery of attorney fees and costs if the consumer prevails at trial.
If you have a serious injury case, and wonder whether or not it involves a consumer protection statute claim, call us at 503-325-8600.