U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith in Missouri has denied a request by plaintiffs' lawyers for class certification in lawsuits against six makers of polycarbonate baby bottles and sippy cups. The ruling (PDF), dated July 5, involves a case with defendants Handi-Craft Co., Gerber Products Co., Playtex Products Inc., Evenflow Co. Inc., Nalge Nunc International Corp. and RC2 Corp. The plaintiffs allege that the manufacturers failed to warn consumers of the dangers of BPA despite their knowledge of its alleged toxicity. Denying class certification doesn't end the lawsuits. But it's interesting that the court had some comments about the debate over BPA safety, which it addressed in determining if the lawsuits could satisfy federal guidelines on "commonality." Here's a portion of the ruling: "Defendants contend - and the Court agrees - that a consumer's knowledge of BPA's existence and the surrounding controversy is legally significant. Knowledge of the controversy carries with it knowledge of the likelihood (or at least possibility) that a plastic baby bottle contained BPA. A consumer who knew about the controversy and also knew that the bottle s/he purchased contained BPA would have all the knowledge Plaintiffs allege should have been disclosed, and will have tremendous difficulty convincing a jury that the seller was unjustly enriched. Similarly, a consumer who knew about the controversy and exhibited no concern about whether the product purchased contained BPA may have difficulty convincing a jury that the seller was unjustly enriched. This same analysis holds true for claims under consumer protection statutes."
Court rejects class certification for BPA lawsuits
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