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In re Teflon Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
254 F.R.D. 354 (S.D. Iowa 2008)


Facts

Numerous individuals (plaintiffs) claimed that DuPont (defendant) falsely misrepresented that its Teflon® nonstick coating was safe, when in fact normal use can cause a flu-like illness. The action sought recovery for economic losses and injunctive relief. The causes of action varied by state but included negligent misrepresentation, statutory violations, and others. In a multidistrict litigation proceeding, the plaintiffs asked the court to certify twenty-three classes of consumers who used Teflon® coated products. The plaintiffs proposed three sub-classes: (1) those who bought branded Teflon® coated products and had documentation, (2) those who bought off-brand DuPont coated products, and (3) those who did not fit into the other classes. After extensive discovery, it became clear that very few potential plaintiffs, including the proposed class representatives, had any documentation or memory about when or where they purchased the products at issue, and it would be impossible to determine whether a product was coated with Teflon® by a visual inspection. DuPont opposed certification of the class.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Longstaff, J.)

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