Printer Owners Can’t Sue Hewlett-Packard as Class


     (CN) – A federal judge refused to certify a class action that claims Hewlett-Packard knew about a page-skipping defect in one of its multiuse printers.



     Lead plaintiff Chaim Kowalsky said HP’s Office Jet Pro All-in-One printer of the 8500 series “has a defect that causes the printer to randomly skip pages when copying, scanning and faxing.”
     As a result, the document feeder can only take “two to three sheets at a time,” though it is advertised as being able to hold 50 sheets.
     U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh dismissed the complaint in April 2011, finding the proposed class failed to raise facts that would suggest that HP knew about the alleged defect in the printer.
     Kowalsky filed an amended complaint the next month, saying “HP’s claims regarding the ‘core functions’ of the 8500 printer ‘could only be verified as accurate through testing of the printer.'”
     Kowalsky, who bought his printer in July 2009, also said consumers began to complain about the “recurring page-skipping problem” as early as April 2009.
     When HP moved again to dismiss, the San Jose, Calif., court found that Kowalsky raised a “plausible inference” that the manufacturer knew about the defect.
     On Thursday, however, Koh concluded that the action cannot be certified on a classwide basis, based on the 9th Circuit’s recent decision in Mazza v. American Honda Motor Co.
     In that action, the circuit decertified a nationwide class because its members bought their cars in different jurisdictions with different consumer-protection laws.
     “Plaintiff offers no argument, other than asserting that Mazza was wrongly decided, to circumvent Mazza‘s holding, which precludes the certification of a nationwide class asserting claims under the Unfair Competition Law and the California Legal Remedies Act,” Koh wrote.
     The court granted Kowalsky leave to amend the complaint.

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