Samsung Dodges Class Cert Over Galaxy Defect

     DALLAS (CN) – A Texas federal judge has refused to certify a class of Samsung customers who claim their Galaxy S smartphones are defective.
     Lead plaintiff Shane Galatski sued Samsung Telecommunications America LLC in Dallas Federal Court in 2012. He sued on behalf of hundreds of thousands of California consumers who purchased Galaxy S phones sold under the brand names AT&T Captivate, T-Mobile Vibrant, Sprint Epic 4G and Verizon Fascinate.
     Galatski claims the models suffer from a common hardware defect that causes them to randomly freeze, shut down, reboot and power off while on standby or in sleep mode.
     U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater rejected the request for class certification on Aug. 28. Unsealed on Sept. 11, the opinion concluded “there is no class-wide proof available” to decided on the breach of warranty claims and that only individual trials can determine the issue.
     “Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that the question whether Samsung breached the warranty can be definitively answered for all class members using a generalized set of facts and producing one unified conclusion,” the 42-page opinion stated. “Moreover, under California law, a latent defect discovered after the warranty period has expired cannot form the basis of a breach of express warranty claim, even if the warrantor knew of the defect at the time of sale.”
     Fitzwater pointed out that the presence of individualized issues does not necessarily prevent class certification, that there “must be some underlying common question” whose resolution would make up a “significant part” of the individual cases.
     “Plaintiffs have failed to make this showing,” Fitzwater wrote.
     The plaintiffs also failed to show the court “any feasible method” of determining how much restitution each proposed class member is owed under the Golden State’s unfair competition law, he said.
     “The only two methods that plaintiffs propose for awarding restitution damages to individual class members would require the jury to decide, for each individual class member, whether he or she received any value from his or her Galaxy S phone, or would require the court to award damages that, for many class members, would be unauthorized under California law,” the opinion stated. “The court therefore holds that plaintiffs have not established for their UCL claim that damages can be awarded on a class-wide basis.”
     Samsung spokeswoman Danielle Meister Cohen declined to comment on the ruling Monday afternoon.

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