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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Retailers move for dismissal, say false thread count allegations claims don't hold up

By Tricia Erickson | May 24, 2017

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (Legal Newsline) – Popular retail chains sued over the thread counts of bed sheets have filed a motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit filed against them earlier this year.

Six consumers filed suit against retailers TJ Maxx and Home Goods, Ross Stores Inc., Macy's Retail Holdings Inc. and Belk Inc. on Feb. 10 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois alleging breach of warranty, fraud and negligent misrepresentation. TJX, Ross and Belk filed a motion to dismiss the case April 25.

The class action lawsuit alleges the companies made false claims for the total thread counts of seven cotton-rich bed linen products. The plaintiffs claim the linens had lower thread count than was advertised on the products. 

The defendants claim first that the suit should be dismissed because the lack of personal jurisdiction. The motion says there is neither general nor specific jurisdiction over the retailers because simply operating stores in Illinois or having a website available to Illinois residents does not establish general jurisdiction.

In regards to the specific jurisdiction, the motion states, “no plaintiff alleges he or she bought sheets in Illinois. Therefore, there is nothing to tie the retailer defendants’ broadly alleged Illinois activity to the allegations made by plaintiffs, and there is no basis for specific jurisdiction with respect to the named plaintiffs’ claims.”  

The defendants also argued to dismiss the suit because the plaintiffs lack subject matter jurisdiction. The motion explained the plaintiffs did not establish an allegation that harm was traceable to the retailers and the number of class members is enough to exceed the jurisdictional threshold. 

The motion’s final argument is that the case can be granted dismissal “when the allegations fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 

The motion states that the claim does not explain clear allegations against each defendant, but rather group the defendants together with allegations against them as a whole. The complaint does not offer specifics of the deception or misrepresentation of each defendant individually or the transactions themselves.

Under its argument that the complaint does not meet the requirements for claim for relief, the defendants explained the suit fails to state a claim as established by the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. The complaint also fails to state a claim for unjust enrichment or claim for breach of express warranty according to the defendants. 

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois