Prince Lobel Successfully Defeats Motion for Class Certification

November 23, 2010

Prince Lobel attorneys representing 3Com Corporation (3Com), recently defeated a motion for class certification in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of PA. The motion was brought by a putative class of customers who alleged that they purchased a telephone equipment and services program called “Power of Zero,” which was developed and sold by Capital 4, a former 3Com Value Added Reseller.

The two putative class representatives (who were defendants, counter-claim and third-party plaintiffs) alleged that they were Power of Zero customers and claimed, among other things, that 3Com had assumed Capital 4’s obligations under their Power of Zero contracts with Capital 4 and breached those obligations by failing to provide telephone and Internet services after Capital 4 went out of business.

The putative class representatives sought certification of multiple claims against 3Com, including claims for breach of contract, breach of third-party beneficiary rights, conspiracy to commit fraud and violations of the federal RICO statute and various state law claims related to unfair trade practices.

After discovery on the class issues, two stages of extensive legal briefing, and a two-day evidentiary hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Baylson denied class certification based on, among other things:

  1. “Adequacy:” Neither the plaintiffs nor class counsel could adequately represent the class as required under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(4);
  2.  “Predominance:” Common issues did not predominate over individualized issues as required under Rule 23(b)(3); and
  3. “Superiority:” The class action would not be superior to other available methods of adjudication as required under Rule 23(b)(3).

Click here to read the full text of the court’s decision.


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