Florida Record

Thursday, August 22, 2019

U.S. court backs Costa Del Mar's request to seal some internal communications

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Jul 31, 2019


JACKSONVILLE — A federal court has agreed to Daytona Beach-based Costa Del Mar's request to seal some of the company's internal communications, marketing information and confidential business documents that are part of a class action suit filed by a Florida man who alleges the sunglass manufacturer illegally charged customers a processing fee for lifetime warranties.

According to the July 11 U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division filing, defendant Costa Del Mar Inc. asked the court to seal three categories of exhibits involved in the lawsuit filed by plaintiff Troy Smith and others. 

Smith initiated the class action lawsuit in August 2018, alleging that despite Costa's advertised "lifetime warranty" for manufacturer's defects, the company does not repair or replace damaged sunglasses unless customers pay $11.95 plus tax with their warranty claim. Smith argues Costa's actions violates the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that stipulates warrantors advertising lifetime warranties cannot charge to fix their products.

Smith argues that Costa Del Mar advertises on its website that their sunglasses are "Built by hand, backed for life" as well as states its products are "backed with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer's defects." Yet the company charges customers per warranty claim to repair or replace the sunglasses. 

The court agreed with Costa Del Mar and concluded that despite the "public's right of access," Costa showed "good cause" as to why the detailed list of documents they submitted to the court should be sealed. 

U. S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan granted Costa Del Mar's motion, which was unopposed by the plaintiff. He ordered the plaintiff to "mail or hand-deliver" materials related to the matter and that the documents be sealed for the length of the litigation or until "further order of the court."

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U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division

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