Witowsky v. Home Depot USA, Inc., 2009 WL 3739454 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 5, 2009)

Plaintiffs, Hope and Michael Witkowsky, filed suit on behalf of a nationwide class of customers of Home Depot in California state court claiming that Home Depot calculated its flooring installation fee on the total amount of flooring purchased by a customer, rather than the amount actually installed, which wasn’t fair and really made them mad. Home Depot removed, and apparently would have had a hard time avoiding remand had the plaintiffs not provided some helpful tools in their Fourth Amended Complaint.

Home Depot provided evidence that it based the installation fee on the amount of flooring purchased in over 5.9 million transactions nationwide, with a corresponding $2.5 billion (dang) in revenue. The plaintiffs argued that this didn’t necessary correspond to damages suffered by the class, as it "shed no light on" how many of those customers paid installation fees for flooring that was never installed.

Yeah, well, the plaintiffs had unfortunately alleged in their complaint that Home Depot inflated the amount of flooring needed in each instance, and therefore the installation fee, by a pre-determined percentage (about 10%). In other words, taking the allegations in the complaint as true, damages would have necessarily exceeded about $250 million. Oops.