Redbox files added defenses in class action suit over late fees

Amelia Flood Sep. 1, 2010, 1:00pm


A DVD rental kiosk company is asking to file new defenses in a proposed national class action over the company's late fees.

Defendant Redbox Automated Retail Inc. filed its move to include additional defenses Aug. 17 in the St. Clair County case.

The company claims that new information has arisen that impacts its defense against the suit brought by lead plaintiff Laurie Piechur.

Piechur claims the company's $25 maximum late fees are improper and violate the law.

She proposes to lead a class action that could include class members in California and other states as well as claims dating back to 2002.
The suit seeks a judgment of at least $350,000 and other relief.

Redbox has tried unsuccessfully to have the suit thrown out.

A third party, Blockbuster Inc. and its DVD kiosk partner NCR Corp., also have moves pending to quash Piechur's discovery requests.

The new defenses claim that Piechur, who rented five DVDs from a Redbox kiosk under the name Laurie Fritz in July 2008, does not have the standing to bring her case.

The company claims that although Piechur was charged the maximum late fee for failing to return two of the DVDs she rented, she never repaid the company.

It claims that because she never paid the fee, she cannot bring the suit.

The company also argues that Piechur did not attempt to mitigate her damages by contacting its customer service department.

Redbox also claims that Piechur's suit violates the statutes of limitations set forth by various laws and the company's own terms of use.

Redbox has also moved for a protective order over some information requested in the discovery process.

The suit took a trip briefly to federal court before it was remanded to St. Clair County.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young presides.

Thomas and Peter Maag, Tom Keefe Jr. and others represent Piechur and the proposed class.

Eric Brandfonbrener and Robert Sprague represent Redbox.

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

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