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Lawsuit Against L.L. Bean’s Return Policy Just Got Dismissed

— March 22, 2019

The third of four lawsuits against L.L. Bean was recently dismissed by a California judge.

Earlier this month, a California district court judge dismissed the third of four lawsuits filed against L.L. Bean. The suits were filed against the outerwear retailer shortly after it “changed its lifetime return policy in February 2018.” All four of the suits, which were filed in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and New York, sought class-action status and asked for “damages allegedly suffered when L.L. Bean put a time limit on returns.”

Image of the L.L. Bean Logo
L.L. Bean Logo; image courtesy of
L.L. Bean, Inc. via Wikimedia Commons,

The company decided to change its return policy to prevent lost revenue and fraud. Since the changes to the policy were made, L.L. Bean said it has seen a decrease in “fraudulent and abusive returns.” However, it has yet to “reveal the financial benefits from the policy change.

The suit that was recently dismissed was the one filed in California in May 2018 by William A. Shirley of Berkeley. Of the other three suits, one was filed in Illinois Northern District Court in February 2018 by Victor Bondi. Another was filed in New York on February 28, 2018, by Anita Berger, and another was filed by Benjamin Pershouse in April 2018 in Massachusetts. Pershouse was the only plaintiff who actually tried to return an item to L.L. Bean. Despite his return being successful, he still went through with filing his lawsuit.

Why was the California suit dismissed, though? Well, according to U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers:

“Shirley alleges no current, concrete injury. At best, Shirley alleges a hypothetical future harm that would arise if he attempts to return an item he purchased before February 2018, and L.L. Bean denies the return for reasons other than those in the current return policy. Such speculative injuries do not establish standing.”

It’s important to note that, prior to dismissing the case, the judge gave “Shirley a chance to amend his complaint.” He failed to do so, which led to the complaint being dismissed on March 14. This isn’t the first of the four lawsuits that have been dismissed, though. In fact, the Illinois case was dismissed back in June 2018 and Berger’s case was dismissed on January 8, 2019, when U.S. District Court Judge Eric Vitaliano in a Brooklyn court said that since “Berger had not returned an item to L.L. Bean, the case rested on future, unknown events.” His ruling stated, “if plaintiff should ever attempt to return her coat and find her return denied, she may seek relief at that time.”

So far, a spokesperson for L.L. Bean has not responded to requests for comment.


Judge dismisses return policy lawsuit against L.L. Bean

California judge dismisses return policy lawsuit against LL Bean

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