SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court has ruled against Francesca Muller, a shopper who challenged part of a $36 million award in a class action lawsuit against Restoration Hardware Inc.
Muller had filed a notice of appeal to challenge the attorney fees as part of the $36 million award. She believed the lower court made a mistake by not sending a notice to all class members about the hearing on the attorneys' fee award.
The court said it denied Muller's appeal because she didn't intervene in the class lawsuit at the trial stage.
The court based its decision on the 1942 ruling of Eggert v. Pacific States Savings & Loan Co, saying that unnamed class members can't appeal a class judgement, settlement or attorney fees unless they file a motion to intervene with the case.
Muller argued that the 1942 ruling is outdated and many California courts of appeal have stopped following it.
Cases such as the1975 decision in Trotsky v. Los Angeles have allowed unnamed class member to file an appeal, Muller said.
The court, however, didn't find any persuasive reason for making an exception against the ruling of Eggert v. Pacific States Savings & Loan Co.
The Restoration Hardware litigation began in 2008. Plaintiff Michael Hernandez filed a class action against Restoration, alleging it violated the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act by recording ZIP codes from customers who used a credit card to make purchases at its California retail stores.
The trial court decided on a $36 million judgment against Restoration Hardware, then approved an award of $9.1 million for attorney fees.