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 user 2010-03-01 at 11:37:44 am Views: 65
  • #23492

    The federal court
    has dismissed a proposed class action accusing Dell Inc. of
    fraudulently marketing an ink-jet printer feature to convince customers
    to replace ink cartridges that don’t need to be replaced yet. Dajani v.
    Dell Inc., 2009 WL 1833983 (N.D.Cal. June 25, 2009).

    alleged that Dell fraudulently marketed its Ink Management System, a
    technology feature on all Dell ink jet printers.  The feature will
    display ink levels on a status window during a print job. The complaint
    alleged that the Ink Management System was highly imprecise and
    inaccurate, and that it was designed to deceive customers into replacing
    what they believed to be nearly empty cartridges, when they actually
    still contained a substantial amount of usable ink. Dajani sought to
    represent a class of all Californians who own or have owned Dell ink jet
    printers.Judge Susan Illston rejected the lawsuit, without leave to
    amend the complaint.  Previously, the court had dismissed California-law
    based claims, as the terms and conditions of his sales agreement
    provided for Texas law to be allied to all claims. The amended complaint
    alleged a claim under Texas law for breach of implied warranty of
    merchantability and a claim of unjust

    The court
    ruled last week that the claim for the breach of implied warranty of
    merchantability could not survive, because the printer was not
    unmerchantable as the term is defined under Texas law. The product must
    be unfit for the ordinary purposes for which it is used because of a
    lack of something necessary for adequacy.  Dell argued that the ordinary
    use of the product was printing, not measuring ink, and that any
    alleged imprecision in the Ink Management System had no impact on that
    basic function. The court agreed, finding that at most, plaintiff had
    alleged that the use of the Ink Management System is cumbersome because
    of allegedly premature replacement prompts. The device still worked. 
    And plaintiff hurt his claim by alleging that upon receiving “low ink”
    warnings, he simply removed and discarded his ink cartridge and replaced
    it with a new one. Such was “plainly at odds” with the product’s
    instruction manual, which states that a low ink warning appears when ink
    cartridges are low, not yet empty, and that a separate “reserve tank” 
    window appears when they are empty.

    The judge also dismissed the
    unjust enrichment claim because under Texas law, when a valid, express
    contract covers the subject matter of the parties’ dispute, there can be
    no recovery under a theory of unjust enrichment. Fortune Prod. Co. v.
    Conoco, Inc., 52 S.W.3d 671, 684 (Tex.2000) (“Parties should be bound by
    their express agreements. When a valid agreement already addresses the
    matter, recovery under an equitable theory is generally inconsistent
    with the express agreement.”).Because plaintiff cannot cure the defects
    mentioned above through the pleading of additional facts which do not
    contradict those already made, plaintiff’s complaint was dismissed
    without leave to amend.