Stroud v. eMachines

Case # CJ-2003-968
Case Name Stroud v. eMachines
Jurisdiction Oklahoma District Court - Cleveland County
Summary

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants sold personal computers with known defects in the floppy disk mechanism.  This defect can cause corruption of the data stored on these floppy disks.  This known defect is in violation of the express written warranty provided to the consumer, which avers that the computer is free of defects at the time of purchase.

Final Approval Date 03/27/2013
Result
  1. Final Approval granted.
  2. Citing some changes in the claims procedure as a victory for the class, Objectors Kress and Connors received a payment of 4,800 claim vouchers (equivalent to $300,000) in exchange for dropping their remaining objections.
  3. It appears that Class Counsel also reached agreements with the other objectors in exchange for them not appealing the Final Approval, though the details of such arrangements are not publicly available.
Dismissal of Last Appeal N/A
Attachments Preliminary Approval Order.pdf
Plaintiff's Response to Objections.pdf
Defendant's Response to Objections.pdf
Order Finding Objectors Are Parties Subject to Discovery.pdf
Motion for Final Approval.pdf
Final Approval Order.pdf
Docket Report.pdf
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Objection of John C. Kress, Maureen Connors

Objectors John C. Kress
Maureen Connors
Signers Douglas J. Smith
Attorneys Douglas J. Smith
Steve A. Miller
Jonathan E. Fortman
Summary
  1. Claims requirements are unduly burdensome on class members.
    • Requiring a proof-of-purchase or photographic evidence of owning an affected computer will prevent many class members from receiving benefits.
      • An affidavit statement should suffice.
    • Requiring a redacted copy of a photo ID is designed to harass or intimidate class members into not filing claims.
  2. Settlement only provides a "credit certificate" which can be redeemed for used computer equipment or a reduced cash value and should be considered a coupon.
  3. Attorneys' fees are excessive, improperly calculated, and were not determined in a way that class members could evaluate.
  4. Release is overbroad, since class members release their claims even if they are not able to file for compensation.

Both Mr. Kress and Ms. Connors were deposed in this case (see Order Finding Objectors are Parties Subject to Discovery, above).  Due to a dispute over the scope of depositions, neither Mr. Kress nor Ms. Connors would testify regarding any other objections they had been a party to.  Mr. Fortman, who represented them in their depositions, repeatedly objected to questions and refused to allow his clients to answer questions.  Class Counsel motioned to compel answers to these questions, feeling that they provided insight into the motives of the objectors and their attorneys.

Four days after the Motion to Compel, Objectors Kress and Connors filed a Statement of Support for the settlement.  In it, they claim to have produced benefits for the class by making the certificate redeemable for cash online (instead of exclusively through the mail) and by removing the requirement that class members visit the online retail site before receiving cash.  They stated they no longer object to all the other provisions of the settlement.  As a result of their supposed improvements to the settlement, Class Counsel agreed to pay the objectors and their counsel 4,800 certificates, which have a cash value of $300,000.

Attachments Objection of John C. Kress and Maureen Connors.pdf
Kress Deposition Transcript.pdf
Connors Deposition Transcript.pdf
Motion to Compel Deposition Answers from John C. Kress and Maureen Connors.pdf
Statement of Kress and Connors Objectors in Support of Settlement.pdf
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Objection of Cery Perle, Spare Backup, Inc

Objectors Cery Perle
Spare Backup, Inc
Signers Cery Perle
Attorneys Christopher A. Bandas
Summary
  1. Requirements to object are overly burdensome and designed to drive down the number of objectors.
  2. Relief available to class members should be considered a coupon, which does not have value equal to their face value.
  3. Attorneys' fees should not be calculated until complete claim information is available.
  4. Settling parties cannot prove commonality, predominance, superiority, and adequacy of class counsel and class representatives.
  5. Attorneys' fees are excessive and improperly calculated.

It appears that class counsel and Objector Perle (through his counsel, Christopher Bandas) reached an agreement to prevent an appeal.  However, the terms of that agreement are not available other than the requirement that Mr. Bandas file an appearance.

Attachments Objection of Cery Perle and Spare Backup.pdf
Bandas Request for Temporary Pro Hac Vice Admission.pdf
Bandas Appearance for Objector-Appellant Perle.pdf
Approval of Cery Perle Settlement.pdf
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Objection of Clyde Farrel Padgett

Objectors Clyde Farrel Padgett
Signers Clyde Farrel Padgett
Attorneys
Summary
  1. Identification requirements for class members to make a claim are unduly burdensome.
  2. The claims process constitutes a "snare and delusion", in that it promises relief that it does not deliver.
  3. Attorneys' fees are excessive and improperly calculated.
  4. Coupon relief available to the class requires them to purchase used computer parts from the Defendant.
  5. Class representative incentive awards are excessive.

It appears that class counsel and Objector Padgett reached an agreement to prevent an appeal.  However, the terms of that agreement are not available.

Attachments Objection of Clyde F. Padgett.pdf
Approval of Clyde F. Padgett Settlement.pdf
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