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Criminal Contempt of T.V. Personality, Plus Consumer Fraud Class Action Certification

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By FindLaw Staff on May 20, 2010 4:20 PM

In Pella Corp. v. Saltzman, No. 09-8025, the Seventh Circuit dealt with defendant's Rule 23(f) appeal of the district court's certification of two classes of plaintiffs in their suit against defendant, a window manufacturer, alleging that defendant committed consumer fraud by not publicly declaring a design defect that caused wood casing the windows to rot.

In granting the defendant's petition and affirming the district court's class certification of two classes, one class being members whose windows have not yet manifested the alleged defect or whose windows have some rotting but have not yet been replaced and the other class consisting of only those members who have had a manifest defect and whose windows have been already replaced, the court held that, although consumer fraud class actions present challenges that a district court must carefully consider, certification is appropriate under the circumstance of this case.     

In Fed. Trade Comm'n v. Trudeau, No. 10-1383, the court faced a challenge to the district court's summary disposition, sentencing defendant to thirty days for direct criminal contempt of court for directing his fans to send emails on his behalf directly to the court during civil contempt proceedings (for violating the terms of a consent order barring him from misrepresenting the content of any of his books on TV).  In vacating the summary punishment, the court held that the district court's summary punishment was an abuse of discretion as defendant's conduct occurred outside the judge's presence as required under Rule 42.     

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