Judge Denies Class-Action Status for Lawsuit Against Barkworks Stores

Animal rights activists have been demonstrating against Barkworks for years.
Animal rights activists have been demonstrating against Barkworks for years.
Facebook/Boycott Barkworks Pet Stores

Animal activists have succeeded in drawng protests, lawsuits and media coverage to the Barkworks pet store chain in Orange County, where there are allegations of dogs from puppy mills being sold.

But the chain's Los Angeles-based attorney says Barkworks just scored a legal win.

Daniel Silverman, Celeste Brecht, Matthew Gurvitz and Melissa McLaughlin successfully defeated a Motion for Class Certification despite going against six plaintiff lawyers and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The plaintiffs were seeking to certify a class of all California customers of Chien et Chat, Inc. (Barkworks Pet Stores) from 2009 to the present based on claims that store policies, business practices and intentional misrepresentations misled customers to purchase puppies that were sick at the time of sale.

However, Judge Thierry Colaw in the Complex Division of the Orange County Superior Court denied the motion. Whether a particular puppy was sick at the time of sale, and whether that illness was the result of Barkworks’ conduct, presented too many individualized questions to make class certification appropriate, the judge ruled.

Colaw found the plaintiffs did not present any method for identifying which Barkworks’ customers suffered harm and concluded that class-action status would not make trying the case easier for the court or the jury.

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