Federal Judge Throws Out Duracell Lawsuit

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Duracell’s guarantee that its batteries stay powered for up to 10 years in storage is not a promise that its batteries will never leak during that period says a Federal Judge.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, has thrown out a class-action lawsuit against Procter & Gamble Co. and its Gillette unit for allegedly defrauding consumers in ads and packaging for Coppertop batteries containing “Duralock Power Preserve” technology.

Plaintiff Renee Punian brought a lawsuit against The Gillette Company and Procter & Gamble Company alleging that the companies mislabeled packaging on Duracell Coppertop AA- and AAA-sized batteries with the statement that Defendants “guaranteed” such batteries would last 10 years in “storage,” when in fact “Defendants’ batteries would not last for 10 years, and could damage any device in which the batteries were stored.”

In her ruling that dismissed the lawsuit, Judge Koh said reasonable consumers would understand that P&G’s representation that the batteries were “guaranteed for 10 years in storage” was simply a warranty to repair, replace or refund batteries that failed within that timeframe, and not a promise that the batteries “have no potential to leak.”

She also noted in her 33-page decision that the complaint did not identify any cause, including any design or manufacturing defect, as to why the batteries might leak.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired the Duracell Battery unit from Procter & Gamble Co. on February 29, 2016.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.