A class action against Sears and the makers of lawnmowers has been removed to federal court.

Defendant MTD Products Inc. filed to remove the case brought by lead plaintiff Rhonda Lemay to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on May 13.

Lemay is leading a class of lawnmower purchasers who claim they were misled about the horsepower of the machines.

More than 40 similar cases have been filed across the country.

The suit seeks more than $5 million in damages.

MTD removed the case alleging it falls under the "mass action" provision of the federal Class Action Fairness Act, due to the size of the class and the amount of damages in question.

MTD claims its move is timely because it was only served in the 2009 case last month.

A move to consolidate the Lemay case with an earlier class action filed by lead plaintiff Andrew Stone is now in limbo.

Lemay had moved to consolidate Stone's case with her own last year.

However, Stone fired back, moving to strike Lemay's motion, arguing it made more sense to consolidate her suit with his.

Stone had filed his proposed class action in 2008.

Upon the case's removal in May, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley reset a status conference in the case to October.

The case, if it returns to St. Clair County, will likely go to a new judge as O'Malley plans to retire at the end of July.

Lemay is represented JoDee Favre and others.

MTD is represented by Jonathan Garside, John Galvin and others.

Stone is represented by Paul Weiss, Richard Burke and others.

The Lemay case is St.Clair case number 09-L-085.

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