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PATTERSON v. NORTH SHORE AGENCY
September 14, 2000
GEORGE PATTERSON, PLAINTIFF,
NORTH SHORE AGENCY, INC.; AND COLUMBIA HOUSE MUSIC CLUB, A PARTNERSHIP, DEFENDANTS. BRUNITA (MIKKI) BANKS, PLAINTIFF, V. NORTH SHORE AGENCY, INC.; AND JOHN DOES 1-10, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Moran, Senior District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
The Patterson case began with two different issues. Those
were determined adversely to plaintiff in a different case, and
that ruling was affirmed in January of this year. Plaintiff
thereafter filed an amended complaint, and defendants moved to
dismiss. In the meantime, the Banks case had been filed. Since
it raised the same issue, the case was transferred to this court
as related on April 6, 2000.*fn1 We now grant the motions to
dismiss in both cases.
In Patterson, Columbia House Video Club operates a video
club. A consumer signing up for the club receives seven video
movies for seven cents, plus shipping and handling. He also
agrees to purchase five more video movies over a three-year
period at $19.95 to $29.95 per movie, plus shipping and
handling. The material furnished to the consumer further
provides as follows:
What If I Don't Fulfill My Part of the Agreement?
• Cancel your membership before buying the number
of selections agreed upon, or
• Fail to make your purchase within the specified
length of time, or
• Are late paying a bill.
First, we'll send you a reminder, and hopefully the
matter will be cleared up quickly.
If you still don't meet the terms of your agreement,
we'll bill you for an amount called "Due on
Contract." This represents the total cost of the
selections you haven't yet bought. We calculate this
charge by multiplying the number of unpurchased
selections by our commitment Club price of $19.95. We
also add shipping and handling and any applicable
tax. Once you've paid this charge, you may order and
receive the number of selections you've paid for.
In Banks, the product is books but the system is the same.
The consumer receives several books at a very low cost and
obligates herself to purchase several additional books at stated
prices. That agreement provides as follows:
Your Membership Agreement
• When you joined the club, you agreed to purchase a
given number of books at regular club prices to
satisfy your membership agreement. Please note that
clearance and non-book (merchandise and audio)
purchases do not count toward your membership
• If you[sic] book purchase obligation is not
fulfilled within your agreed-to time period, you ...
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