On Aug. 27, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court established in Felix v. Ganley Chevrolet, Inc., Slip Opinion No. 2015-Ohio-3430 that all members of a plaintiff class alleging violations of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (OCSPA) must have suffered injury as a result of the conduct challenged in a suit under the act. In so ruling, the court made clear that:
- Ohio’s class action rules and consumer protection statutes do not permit “windfall awards” to parties who were not actually injured by a business’s allegedly improper commercial practices.
- “No-injury” consumer class actions will not be allowed in Ohio.
This decision is particularly important to companies (and their management and boards) that provide consumer services and hold consumer information – including manufacturers, distributors, and/or retailers of consumer goods and/or providers of consumer services (banking, insurance, credit, utilities, etc.). At least in Ohio, class actions now cannot be based on allegations akin to “We bought a product, other people had a problem with it, and we want our money back, even though it worked fine for us.”