Class Certification Denied in Printer Case Against HP

A Northern District of California judge rejected the certification of eight classes in a lawsuit brought against HP Inc. according to a Thursday order. The plaintiffs sought the creation of the classes to prosecute their claims that HP printers use color ink, even when printing black-and-white, and that certain models stop printing when any ink cartridge is empty, no matter the color scale of printing selected.

Judge Vince Chhabria found that there was not a common question of law or fact in the first set of proposed classes, a key element for class certification, because “there is a dizzying array of printers, settings, and software in play, and the behavior of any given configuration may vary based on the document being printed.”

The judge added that the second class was unsustainable because some of the proposed class members did not own printers with the contested feature, while another suggested he liked the feature during discovery.

Finally, Judge Chhabria argued in a footnote that “The plaintiffs’ model makes no attempt to measure damages for the whole class, making it impossible to give to a jury were this case to go to trial.”

A case maangement conference is set for next month to determine if the plaintiffs should have another attempt to form a class.

The plaintiffs are represented by Treehouse Law and Faruqi & Faruqi. HP is represented by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.