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By Perry Cooper
Sept. 21 — Target Corp. must face a certified class of customers alleging its Up & Up brand wipes don’t “break apart after flushing” as stated on the label, the Northern District of Ohio ruled Sept. 19 ( Meta v. Target Corp. , 2016 BL 309814, N.D. Ohio, No. 14-832, 9/20/16 ).
The contention that the wipes don’t perform as described on the packaging is common to all potential class members, Judge Donald C. Nugent wrote for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
Christopher Meta brought a class suit against Target and wipe-maker Nice-Pak alleging that the wipes damaged his plumbing when they caked together in his pipes and septic system after flushing. He challenges labels on the packaging saying the product is “flushable,” “sewer and septic safe” and “breaks apart after flushing.”
Class certification is appropriate for Meta’s breach of warranty claims because if the product doesn’t do what it claims, all purchasers are affected the same way regardless of how they used the wipes, the court said.
But Meta’s fraud claim doesn’t meet certification requirements because fraud requires reliance on the alleged mispresentation, the court said. Class certification isn’t the superior method for resolving this claim because reliance would have to be established on a plaintiff-by-plaintiff basis.
The court also found that an injunctive relief class isn’t appropriate because Target has already stopped selling the challenged version of the wipes.
Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP and Tycko & Zavareei LLP were appointed class counsel.
Sutter, O’Connell, Mannion & Farchone represents Target. Tucker Ellis LLP represents Nice-Pak.
To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nicholas Datlowe at nDatlowe@bna.com
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