Santa Clara, CA: A consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been filed against Wilson Sporting Goods Co., alleging the company falsely claims that some of its DeMarini baseball bats comply with United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) standards. This claim allegedly leads customers to believe that because the popular bats meet national manufacturing requirements, they can be used in various youth baseball leagues and tournaments.
The proposed nationwide class action was filed by Theodore Sheeley, a parent who purchased a DeMarini bat that was advertised as having met USSSA standards, because his son plays baseball games governed by those standards.
According to the complaint, a number of the premium bats have a prominent silver sticker on the their surface certifying that the bats meet USSSA standards. However, because the bats don’t meet those standards, consumers are left with bats they cannot use.
“Defendant intended for consumers to rely on its representations that its DeMarini baseball bats met USSSA regulations when choosing to purchase the bats,” the complaint states. “Defendant’s DeMarini baseball bats were specifically marketed and sold to individuals who required that the DeMarini baseball bats they purchased complied with USSSA regulations and defendant’s customers relied on such representations in making their decision to purchase the bats.”
The suit claims that results from a recent audit of several models of Wilson DeMarini youth baseball bats revealed that they don’t actually follow the regulations and can’t be used for play in any league that adheres to USSSA standards. Those models have been officially withdrawn from USSSA baseball play, Wilson said recently, according to the suit.
DeMarini youth baseball bats are among the most expensive bats Wilson manufactures, with some models retailing at more than $350, the complaint alleges. While the defendant has offered various replacement options for the affected bats, including sending them for adjustments to meet the requirements or returning them for product vouchers, Wilson has so far refused to give monetary compensation to purchasers, the suit states.
Sheeley seeks to represent a nationwide class of people who purchased any defective models of Wilson DeMarini baseball bats within a proposed class period, as well as an Illinois subclass of people who bought one of the problematic models in the state within the last three years.
Sheeley is represented by Scott A. Morgan of the Morgan Law Firm Ltd. and Myles McGuire, Evan M. Meyers and Eugene Y. Turin of McGuire Law PC.
The suit is Theodore Sheeley v. Wilson Sporting Goods Co., suit number 1:17-cv-03076, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.