Plaintiffs Seek Expansion of HP Printer Firmware Consumer Class Action

After having some of their claims dismissed last October, the plaintiffs leading the charge against HP Inc. in a consumer class action over its LaserJet printers urged the court to allow them to file an amended pleading on Monday. The suit contests how HP allegedly disables its own customers’ printers using malicious code designed to block competitors’ supply cartridges from working through firmware “updates.”

As previously reported, the business and individual plaintiffs contend that HP transmits online firmware updates to LaserJet printers which alters their code and renders competitors’ ink cartridges incompatible. They further accuse HP of using the update process to secretly collect data concerning whether customers are using HP or its competitors’ cartridges without their consent.

In a ruling last fall, the Northern District of California largely upheld the plaintiffs’ third amended complaint. Magistrate Judge Susan Van Keulen left standing the plaintiffs’ fraud-based consumer remedy claims made in reliance on statements from HP about its printers’ purported compatibility with other ink cartridges. Too, their federal and California computer hacking statute claims survived to the extent they did not accuse HP of unauthorized access, as the court said those allegations found no support in the pleading.

Now, and in response to “additional reports of the exact same alleged conduct” impacting HP InkJet printers, the plaintiffs seek to encompass those model printers in their suit. 

Though HP opposed the filing of a fourth amended complaint, the plaintiffs claim that it would be neither futile, as the court upheld parallel allegations against LaserJet printers, nor unduly delayed. The motion asserts that the case is in its nascency as limited documents have been produced and no depositions taken. Further, they claim that HP will not be prejudiced by amendment as the conduct causing the alleged harm to InkJet printer owners is the same as that to LaserJet printer owners.

The plaintiffs are represented by Javitch Law Office and Zimmerman Law Offices P.C. HP is represented by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.