In re: Williams-Sonoma, Inc., No. 19-70522 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
In the underlying action, plaintiff filed suit against Williams-Sonoma for damages after he allegedly suffered from the company's alleged misrepresentations about thread count on bedding he purchased. Before a class action was certified, the district court concluded that Kentucky law governed plaintiff's claims and that Kentucky consumer law prohibited class actions. The district court then granted plaintiff's request to obtain discovery from the company for the sole purpose of helping counsel's attempt to find a California purchaser of bedding from Williams-Sonoma who might be willing to sue.
The Ninth Circuit granted Williams-Sonoma's petition for writ of mandamus and ordered the district court to vacate a pre-class-certification discovery order that directed Williams-Sonoma to produce a list of California customers who had purchased certain bedding products. Applying the Bauman v. U.S. Dist. Court, 557 F.2d 650, 656-661 (9th Cir. 1977), factors, the panel held that the district court clearly erred as a matter of law when it ordered the discovery in question. In this case, the first two Bauman factors weigh in favor of granting the petition, because Williams-Sonoma has no other adequate means to obtain relief at this time. Furthermore, before a direct appeal could be taken and heard, the disclosure and damage to its (and its customers') interests would be complete. The panel held that the balance of factors weighed in favor of granting the writ and vacated the district court's discovery order.