MIAMI — The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has dismissed allegations against Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. over pillowcases a customer purchased and believed were not as advertised.
Candace Hardy alleged the pillowcases were only 2 percent pima cotton, but were advertised as 100 percent pima cotton when she bought them from Bed Bath & Beyond, according to the order. Hardy filed a lawsuit, alleged Bed Bath & Beyond violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), according to the district court.
“Hardy’s complaint fails to sufficiently allege standing to bring a FDUTPA claim,” the district court wrote in the order.
In making the decision to grant Bed Bath & Beyond's motion to dismiss, the court looked at the receipt Hardy attached to her complaint.
Part of the receipt includes Bed Bath & Beyond’s store policy which says, “gladly accept[s] returns or exchanges at any of [its] stores or by mail.”
“There are no restrictions stated in the instructions for returns, but BB&B asks customers to indicate why they are returning the item,” the court wrote. “Among the possible reasons a customer can choose from is that the '[i]tem is not as described/pictured.'”
Because of this policy, the court said Hardy could have returned the pillowcases and received a refund if she was unsatisfied with the purchase.
“Because, according to her complaint, Hardy could have received a full refund, the only injury she actually alleges was essentially mooted,” the court wrote.
The court wrote, citing previous similar cases, “when a defendant offers a plaintiff a full refund for all of its alleged loss prior to the commencement of litigation, this refund offer deprives the plaintiff of Article III standing because the plaintiff cannot establish an injury in fact.”
Because Hardy was looking for monetary damages, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief, the court described the difference between each claim.
When seeking monetary damages, the court said plaintiffs have to prove they “suffered a loss.” And when plaintiffs look for declaratory or injunctive relief, the court said they have to prove they have been “aggrieved.”
In either case, the court wrote Hardy’s case is dismissed because she had a chance to get a refund.
“Because the only injury Hardy actually alleges was mooted by BB&B’s pre-litigation offer of a full refund, Hardy has not sufficiently alleged that she either ‘suffered a loss’ or was ‘aggrieved,” the court wrote.
In regards to Hardy’s claim for relief under the Federal Declaratory Judgments Act, the district court said “a plaintiff must prove not only an injury but also a ‘real and immediate threat’ of future injury.”
The defendant argued that Hardy didn’t prove any possibility of being harmed by the purchase in the future.
The court agreed with the defendant.
“Hardy has not presented any allegations that she herself faces any real and immediate threat of future injury,” the court wrote.
After dismissing all of her claims, the court said Hardy will have a chance to appeal the ruling. The court ordered Hardy to fix the issues in her complaint and file by March 22.