Karen Kidd Mar. 7, 2016, 1:51pm


SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – Two class action lawsuits against Seagate Technology, both claiming the manufacturer knowingly sold defective hard drives, now are combined into one after a U.S District Court judge approved a motion to relate the two cases.

Meanwhile, Seagate isn't saying much about either case, individually or combined. Seagate is aware of both cases filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Seagate Technology Senior Director of Executive Communications Eric DeRitis said in an email to Legal Newsline.

"Seagate is reviewing the complaints and will respond to them in due course," DeRitis said.

Judge Ronald M. Whyte of the court's San Jose Division granted a motion to relate the two cases.

The first of the two class action cases was filed Feb. 1 by Christopher A. Nelson of South Dakota, alleging that certain of Seagate's hard drives are not as "innovative, fast, powerful, reliable, dependable, and having extremely low failure rates," as advertised.

"Rather, they were defective and failed prematurely at spectacularly – and in many respects unprecedentedly – high rates," Nelson's lawsuit said.

The hard drives named in Nelson's lawsuit are the Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive and Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive.

In his lawsuit, Nelson said he purchased the Seagate Backup Plus hard drive online through a third party retailer Nov. 22, 2012, and received it shortly thereafter, registering the drive with Seagate the following month. The drive cost Nelson $105.99, including tax and was covered by a two-year warranty, the lawsuit said.

The drive sustained "a catastrophic failure with little to no forewarning" in December 2014 while it was still under warranty, the lawsuit said.

Nelson did receive a replacement drive from Seagate but that drive also suffered a catastrophic failure Oct. 20, less than a year later, the lawsuit said.

Nelson's suit also referred to negative consumer comments about the drive posted online, include more than 700 reviews posted on the website newegg.com, where reviewers gave the drive a rating of one or two out of five.

Four days after the Nelson lawsuit was filed, another class action lawsuit with similar claims was filed with the court by Adam Ginsberg, Dudley Lane Dortch IV, Dennis Crawford and David Schechner.

Ginsberg lives in California, Dortch in South Carolina, Crawford in New York and Schechner in North Carolina, though Schechner lived in Florida when he bought the Seagate drive that later failed, that lawsuit said.

In addition to the two Seagate hard drives mentioned in the Nelson case, the Ginsberg lawsuit also listed Seagate's FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 3TB External Hard Disk Drive.

Plaintiffs in both cases claimed they lost data, including photos and documents, when their Seagate drives failed.

On Feb. 10, an administrative motion was submitted in the case by Plaintiffs in the Ginsberg case for the court to consider whether the cases should be related, thus joining the two. Both cases allege Seagate sold defective hard drives and both cases name Seagate as the defendant, the motion said.

"Consequently, Ginsberg and Nelson will involve overlapping witnesses, experts, and discovery such that maintaining two separate actions would be an unduly burdensome duplication of labor and expense on the part of counsel and the courts," the motion said. "Relating Ginsberg to Nelson will promote substantial efficiency and judicial economy."

When no objections were filed by Seagate, Whyte granted the motion Feb. 26.

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