(CN) – A Target customer who says he was duped into buying imported items that weren’t actually “Made in the USA” can’t sue the retailer on behalf of all California consumers who made similar purchases, a state appeals court ruled.
Reymundo Sevidal sued Target after he bought three items of clothing from the company’s website that were misidentified as being made in America. He claimed the clothes were actually made in China, Indonesia and Jordan.
He cited last year’s California Supreme Court opinion In re Tobacco II Cases to argue that he could bring a class action, even if most of the class members did not rely on the “USA” designation.
The trial court declined to certify Sevidal’s class, because the evidence showed that most of the proposed class did not see the online notice of the clothes’ country of origin.
The Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Diego upheld the decision, ruling that Sevidal’s proposed class was too broad.
“Substantial evidence supports the court’s conclusion the absent class members could not be reasonably identified by reference to records or by common characteristics that would allow the class members to identify themselves,” Justice Judith Haller wrote.
“We also determine the court properly found the class was overbroad because the evidence shows the vast majority of absent class members never saw the Web page containing the alleged misrepresentation and thus were never exposed to the alleged wrongful conduct.”
Haller added that Sevidal never made the claim that Target “was legally required to inform consumers of the product origin information.”
“Although Sevidal alleged a false ‘Made in USA’ representation violates a statute, he has not cited any legal requirement that a retailer must inform consumers of the country-of-origin information before they purchase an item,” she wrote.