July 16, 2018
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Federal judge throws out lawsuit against LL Bean over return policy change

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
A Bean Boot is seen in the return bin at L.L. Bean retail store in Freeport, Feb. 2, 2018. A federal judge in Illinois threw out a lawsuit against the iconic Maine retailer over its return policy change.
By Lori Valigra
Updated:

A Chicago man who tried to start a class-action lawsuit against L.L Bean after the iconic Maine retailer changed its return policy in February has come up empty after a judge ruled in federal court to dismiss the case.

U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois Robert W. Gettleman ruled on June 28 that plaintiff Victor Bondi failed to state a claim against L.L. Bean.

L.L. Bean filed a motion to dismiss the case on April 6, saying Bondi had failed to establish that he had suffered a concrete loss or that he had tried to return any product he bought before Feb. 9, 2018, when L.L. Bean announced the changed policy.

“L.L.Bean is very pleased with the recent ruling granting our motion to dismiss the Illinois case in its entirety,” L.L. Bean spokeswoman Carolyn Beem said in an email to the Bangor Daily News.

“As we have maintained from the outset, this suit is without merit and the complaint misstated L.L.Bean’s policies. Products purchased prior to Feb. 9, 2018 are not subject to the new one-year restriction on returns,” she said. “This plaintiff did not claim to be dissatisfied with his L.L.Bean purchase, was never denied a refund, and therefore has no basis on which to pursue this case.”

Bondi filed the 16-page lawsuit on Feb. 12, saying he was a loyal customer who made purchases based on L.L. Bean’s unconditional satisfaction guarantee. The proposed class-action lawsuit included more than 100 people seeking at least $5 million in damages, excluding interest and costs.

Three other similar lawsuits seeking class-action status and targeting the policy change have not yet been decided.

The most recent lawsuit was filed May 4 by William A. Shirley of Berkeley, California. Another was filed Feb. 28 in New York by Anita Berger, and another on April 24 in Massachusetts by Benjamin Pershouse.

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