In Evans v Lasco Bathware, a California appellate court affirmed denial of class certification based on the need for individualized damage determinations, which the court found trumped the commonality factor. According to the plaintiffs, a defective design in a shower pan replacement system caused unique damages to the area surrounding the tub. The plaintiffs’ expert testified that the damages were capable of calculation through a formula that would obviate the need for individual damage assessments. The defendants argued that no such formula was available because of the various materials and techniques used for installing its shower pans.
Noting that the evidence both supported and refuted the plaintiffs’ contention that a formula could be used to determine class-wide damages, the appellate court found that sufficient evidence existed on which the lower court could base its finding that individualized damages were not amenable to a one-size-fits-all formula. In addition to individualized damages barring class certification, the court noted that the proposed class representatives were inadequate because in an apparent attempt to avoid individualized damage determinations from blocking certification, they attempted to limit the claims of putative class members to replacement of the shower pans. The court found that this limitation “forfeit[ed] additional recoveries… class members might otherwise be entitled to recover,” and concluded that the representatives did not adequately represent the class members’ interests.