Where district court did not err when it certified a class of consumers of software that promised to improve the function of their computers, and then ran worthless fixes. The appellate panel found that the class requirements were satisfied because all consumers saw the same advertisements, and the software allegedly functioned the same on every user’s machine.
Archie Beaton saw an advertisement on the internet for SpeedyPC Pro software. The advertisement suggested that SpeedyPC Pro could improve the performance of a user’s computer, and offered a free test to check the user’s machine for flaws. Beaton downloaded a free trial of the software and ran its test on his machine. The test reported hundreds of errors, and told Beaton that purchase of the full version of the software could fix the errors and improve performance. Beaton dutifully purchased the full version of the software, but after running its fix feature several times, nothing changed on his machine.
Beaton later sued SpeedyPC in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois. Beaton filed a class action, alleging that SpeedyPC fraudulently told all users of its software that their computers were in need of fixes, and then, after the users bought the full version of SpeedyPC Pro, performed functionally worthless fixes. Beaton defined the class in his case as that of “all individuals and entities in the United States who purchased SpeedyPC Pro.” He also defined a subclass representing only Illinois consumers. The district court certified Beaton’s proposed class and subclass for claims of the breach of implied warranties of fitness and merchantability, and claims under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act for the subclass. SpeedyPC filed an interlocutory appeal challenging the class certification. Continue reading