Class Certification Motion Filed in Rawlings Baseball Bats Class Action Lawsuit

Blog Post Authors: Jaclyn Reinhart (jreinhart@sfmslaw.com); Nicolas A. Lussier (nlussier@sfmslaw.com)

On October 25, 2018, Plaintiff, Richard Sotelo (“Plaintiff”), filed a proposed class action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District Court of California against Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. (“Rawlings”), suing for violations of the California Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), California False Advertising Law (“FAL”), California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”), as well as breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, and unjust enrichment claims.  Plaintiff claims that Rawlings misrepresents the weights of the baseball bats it sells, noting that the bats are advertised and labeled as being a specific length and weight, considerations that are crucial to consumers in deciding which baseball bat to purchase.  Specifically, Plaintiff purchased a baseball bat which was labeled and advertised as weighing 16 ounces when, in reality, it weighed approximately 18.6 ounces.

On May 8, 2019, the Court issued an order denying Rawlings’ motion to dismiss the complaint as to Plaintiff’s UCL, FAL, CLRA, and breach of express warranty claims.  The Court dismissed Plaintiff’s breach of implied warranty claim and unjust enrichment claim without prejudice.

On January 17, 2020, Plaintiff filed his motion for class certification, asking the Court to certify a class of all consumers who purchased in California, either in a retail store, on Rawlings’ website, or through a third-party website, any model of Rawlings’ non-wood adult or youth baseball bats from October 25, 2014 through the present.  Plaintiff included with his motion an expert report regarding calculated damages on a class-wide basis.  Plaintiff also argued that the uniformity in the labeling and marketing of the bats would allow a trier of fact to use common evidence to answer common questions, rendering this matter well-suited for class treatment.  Rawlings has yet to file its opposition to Plaintiff’s motion for class certification.  The motion for class certification is set for oral argument on April 6, 2020, before the Honorable George H. Wu.

The legal team at SFMS has significant experience litigating consumer protection class action matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact John Roberts (jroberts@sfmslaw.com) or Alec Berin (aberin@sfmslaw.com). We can also be reached toll-free at 877-891-9880.

Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP is a law firm with offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. SFMS is an active member of International Advisory Group (www.iaginternational.org), which provides us with the ability to provide our clients with access to excellent legal and accounting resources throughout the globe.  For more information about our firm, please visit us at www.sfmslaw.com.

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