Federal judge rejects defense arguments in Redbox class action; remands case to St. Clair County

Amelia Flood Mar. 16, 2010, 11:00am


A class action suit against Redbox DVD rental kiosks has been remanded to St. Clair County.

Defendant Redbox Automated Retail had removed the October 2009 case brought by lead plaintiff Laurie Piechur to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act.

Piechur and the proposed class are represented by Thomas Maag, James Kelly and Jeffrey Millar.

In an order dated Feb. 24, U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert of the Southern District of Illinois rejected Redbox's arguments.

Gilbert cited the company's own "Terms of Use" agreement that states that it and the customer renting a DVD will submit to the local courts' authority.

"In the case at bar, Redbox has not suggested that enforcement of the forum selection clause contained in the Terms of Use is unreasonable or that the clause is invalid," Gilbert wrote.

"Furthermore, the exclusive jurisdiction specified in Redbox's forum selection clause is the Illinois state court system, which does not include the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. This Court, while it may sit in [ital.] the state of Illinois, is not a court of [ital.] the state of Illinois."

Redbox filed a motion March 5 asking that the proceedings in the suit be stayed until its appeal of the federal remand order is resolved in April. It filed for review of the federal order on March 3.

Circuit Judge Patrick Young signed an order March 5 setting a hearing on the stay motion for March 24 at 9:30 a.m.

Piechur, who asks to lead a nationwide class action against Redbox, claims that the company has reaped more than $100 million in improper late fees and non-returned movie charges from January 2002 to the present. The suit claims that Redbox boasts that it does not charge late fees.

Piechur wants the action split into two. The first class would include people who were charged $1 late fees for DVDs while the other would consist of those charged $25 for DVDs that were never returned to the company's kiosks.

The suit seeks at least $350,000 in damages, fees and other relief.

According to the stay motion, the federal order's appeal will be resolved on or by April 26.

Redbox is represented by Eric Brandfonbrener and Thomas Boeder.

The case is St. Clair case number 09-L-562./i>

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