Redbox plaintiff wants Illinois law applied in possible nationwide class

Amelia Flood Apr. 26, 2010, 11:19am


The plaintiff in a proposed nationwide class action suit over late fees charged by Redbox DVD rental kiosks is asking that Illinois law be applied to the suit filed last year in St. Clair County.

Laurie Piechur claims her suit could represent a class with members ranging from California to Wisconsin.

Piechur alleges that late fees charged by Redbox violate consumer fraud laws and its own statements that the company does not charge late fees.

Piechur and the potential class are represented by Jeffrey Millar and James Kelly of St. Louis, Tom Keefe Jr. of Swansea, Thomas Maag of Edwardsville and Peter Maag of Breese.

Defendants are represented by Robert Sprague of Belleville, Jonathan Buck and Eric Brandfonbrener of Chicago.

The case had been removed to federal court but was remanded back to St. Clair County Feb. 24 by U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert of the Southern District of Illinois.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $350,000 and attorney's fees.

Redbox has moved to dismiss the suit.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young will hear the motion to dismiss and other matters May 27 at 9 a.m.

In her April 20 move for partial summary judgment, Piechur asks for summary judgment that would apply Illinois law to the suit, which could potentially be a nationwide class action. In the motion, Piechur cites a preliminary investigation that allegedly has turned up more than 200 complaints similar to Piechur's claims.

She argues that there are no material facts at issue.

The motion also cites an instance in 2008 in which Redbox fought a patent infringement suit against a competitor in the federal Northern District of Illinois.

"In this case, the only issue is the validity of the late fees automatically charged by Redbox and the parties' own choice, that issue is governed by Illinois law," the April 20 motion reads.

Redbox filed an earlier motion asking to dismiss the suit alleging that its fees are clearly spelled out in the company's terms of use that Piechur and others agree to when they rent DVDs from the company's kiosks.

Piechur also filed a motion asking the court to allow her to serve more than 30 interrogatories on the same day as the partial summary judgment move.

The case is St. Clair case number 09-L-562.

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