A federal court in California has dismissed putative class claims for breach of warranty and false advertising filed against individuals and a company that manufactures and markets a dietary supplement to treat the symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia. Luman v. Theismann, No. 13-0656 (U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Cal., order entered February 4, 2014).
According to the court, the plaintiffs’ claims for monetary damages were moot, and thus they lacked standing to bring the lawsuit because the company issued them a refund in response to pre-suit letters required for claims filed under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act. So ruling, the court disagreed that the defendants sought to “pick off” representatives of a putative class to foil the class action. The court also determined that the claims were not “transitory” and thus did not relate back to the date of the complaint’s original filing. In the court’s view, the defendant “provided relief by sending refunds, thereby obviating the need for plaintiffs to seek through the courts a less efficient resolution of the monetary claims.”
As to whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring claims for injunctive relief, the court determined that they did not because they failed to plead that “they continue to be misled by defendants’ advertisements” or “any facts indicating they are likely to be misled again. Instead, plaintiffs’ allegations that defen- dants have deceived them suggest that the probability they will be injured again by defendants’ alleged deception is infinitesimal.”The court was not persuaded by other district courts in the Ninth Circuit that have “permitted consumer class action plaintiffs to pursue injunctive relief despite the lack of a realistic threat of repeated harm.” In this regard, the court agreed that it was not within the court’s authority “to carve out an exception to Article III’s standing requirements to further the purpose of California consumer protec- tion laws.”The court ordered the case closed.