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Pella Corporation v. Saltzman

Close Date: 01/18/2011
Status: closed
Date Of Involvement: 12/10/2010
Docket: 10-355


Pella Corporation, a manufacturer of windows and doors, allegedly concealed from its customers a known design defect making its windows highly susceptible to wood rot and requiring replacement within a few years. Plaintiffs filed a consumer-fraud class action, seeking to recover the cost of window replacement and an order that Pella notify its customers about the defect and extend its warranty. The district court and Seventh Circuit ruled that the case could proceed as a class action to adjudicate whether Pella fraudulently concealed a known defect. Individual plaintiffs would later demonstrate their own injury and damages in subsequent proceedings.

Pella petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing that class certification was improper under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because the class proceeding would not resolve whether Pella injured each individual plaintiff. Acceptance of Pella’s theory would virtually eliminate consumer-fraud class actions. Working with the plaintiffs’ law firm, Public Citizen successfully opposed the cert petition, demonstrating that the lower courts are not divided on the issues raised by Pella.