Baseball Bat Company Strikes Out on Dismissal Motion

Advertising Law

A California federal court allowed the bulk of a class action challenging the advertising claims for Easton’s youth baseball bats to move forward, denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Ricky Wisdom claimed that the $160 bat he purchased for his child was promoted as weighing 22 ounces but actually weighed 25 ounces, not only increasing the risk of injury to his young player but also proscribing use of the bat in certain leagues and tournaments because of its weight.

Easton countered that the case should be dismissed because Wisdom failed to allege a sufficient injury and therefore lacked standing.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer disagreed, finding that Wisdom had demonstrated a sufficient financial injury to move the suit forward. “Plaintiff alleges the bat he purchased was incorrectly labeled, and that he purchased the bat in reasonable reliance on the bat’s labeled weight,” the court said. “This is a sufficiently concrete economic injury to confer Article III standing.”

Wisdom also had standing to pursue his claims under the state’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and False Advertising Law (FAL), Judge Fischer said, because the challenged conduct occurred in California.

Since the defendant was headquartered in Thousand Oaks and all of its conduct at issue—control of the labeling, advertising, promotion, quality control and sale of the bats—occurred at its principal place of business in California, the plaintiff established standing for Wisdom despite his Alabama domicile.

Nor was the defendant able to persuade the court to dismiss the lawsuit for failure to state a claim under the UCL and FAL. Applying the reasonable consumer standard, Judge Fischer found that the plaintiff pleaded his causes of action with sufficient particularity based on the alleged mislabeling of the bat’s weight.

However, the court did toss Wisdom’s claim for injunctive relief as well as claims for breach of express and implied warranty.

To read the order in Wisdom v. Easton Diamond Sports, LLC, click here.

Why it matters: Although Easton struck out on its motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s UCL and FAL claims, it scored with the dismissal of the warranty and injunctive relief claims.



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