Taiwanese company seeks dismissal from Madison County class action

Steve Korris Feb. 8, 2006, 12:42am

People don't often confuse Texas with Taiwan, but it happened in a Madison County class action suit over window blinds with dangling cords.

Beautiful Window Enterprise, identifying itself as a Taiwan company, has asked Circuit Judge Daniel Stack to dismiss it as a defendant in Alsup vs. 3-Day Blinds, for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Beautiful attorney Brian Parsons of Chicago told Stack in a Feb. 6 motion that the suit identified his client as a Texas company.

Parsons wrote that Beautiful is not doing business in Illinois. He wrote that keeping Beautiful in the suit would violate its right to due process.

Ronald Alsup of Edwardsville and Robert Crews of Granite City filed the suit last year against dozens of companies that made, distributed or sold blinds with cords.

Attorney Jeffrey Lowe of Clayton wrote in the complaint that dangling cords strangled 339 persons in 30 years, but he did not seek damages for the dead.

He sought damages for "hundreds of millions of individuals" who bought blinds. He asked Stack to certify Alsup and Crews as representatives of all buyers.

Some defendants have settled. Some have moved to dismiss.

Three days before Beautiful moved to dismiss, attorney Russell Scott of Belleville filed a pair of motions to dismiss Richfield Window Coverings.

First, Scott asked Stack to drop Richfield for failure to state a cause of action.

He wrote that plaintiffs sought to enjoin the manufacture, distribution or sale of blinds with cords. He wrote that in effect, they asked the court to shut down businesses.

He wrote that they did not allege that they purchased Richfield blinds. He wrote that they did not connect their alleged damages to Richfield's products or actions.

And, he wrote that they did not allege that Richfield sold them anything or that Richfield sold corded blinds to any class member.

Next, he moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and standing. He presented an argument similar to the one in his first motion.

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