Today's Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports things went badly for Southern California's Westrup Klick when it tried to get a class certified against Oreck Direct, the vacuum cleaner folks. Judge Marilyn Patel of the Northern District denied certification under Rule 23, and had some choice words for the Westrup Klick office:
“In short, the conduct in this action does not look good, does not sound good, and does not smell good. In fact, it reeks. The court will not participate in this scheme by certifying a class.”
But wait, there's more:
"Furthermore, the Westrup Klick firm has had trouble regarding its choice of plaintiffs in the past. See Apple Computer, Inc. v. Superior Court, 126 Cal.App. 4th 1253 (2005) (disqualifying the Westrup Klick firm from a class action case where it was established that, “from 2003 to 2005, Westrup Klick and [another firm] had jointly filed 10 class actions under [California’s Unfair Competition Law] in which an attorney from Westrup Klick or a relative of one of the attorneys was the named plaintiff”). The latest filing is just one more example of plaintiff’s counsel’s improper approach to consumer litigation."
And then, there's this:
"Indeed, counsel himself admitted at the hearing that he or his firm had the research performed on the product at issue and had a theory about the product’s deficiencies. Then, armed with that information they went in search of a plaintiff, never mind the lack of a fitting plaintiff or the lack of ethical scruples. The instant action is nothing more than Westrup, Klick bringing its show to the Northern District and continuing its practice of selecting stand-in plaintiffs, even ones who are inappropriate.. To grant class certification in such circumstances would be to place this court’s imprimatur on litigation practices which it finds abhorrent and inconsistent with the standards of federal class action suits."
Ah come on, Judge Patel. Why don't you tell us what you really think? The entire opinion is here.