The wife of an avid marathon runner filed a federal class action lawsuit late last month over claims an electronic fitness tracker she bought her husband failed to go the distance.
Andrea Katz filed the suit Jan. 30 against Swiss electronics company Garmin in Chicago's federal court . Garmin’s American subsidiary is based in Kansas.
Katz's suit centers on a Garmin Forerunner 610 she bought her husband, Joel, in December 2012 for about $350 at the company's Chicago store.
The Forerunner 610 is an electronic fitness trainer that is worn on a person's wrist and tracks things like location, distance traveled and vital body functions. It comes with a plastic wristband to secure it to the operator and looks like a watch.
According to the complaint, Joel started using the device in his marathon training shortly after his wife gave it to him. About two months later, Katz claims, the Forerunner 610 fell off Joel's wrist when two metal pins that held it to the wristband either fell out or broke.
He then took the wristband and unit to the Garmin store in Chicago, where the suit states an employee replaced the two metal pins free of charge.
Two months later, however, Katz contends the plastic wristband again detached from the unit because of a malfunction with the metal pins. Joel went to the Garmin store again and Garmin replaced the two metal pins free of charge for a second time, according to the suit.
Katz asserts that a less than a month later, the metal pins malfunctioned for a third time while Joel was using the unit. He again went to the Garmin store, where an employee replaced the pins for free and then recommended he buy a $30 Velcro wristband for the unit, which he did.
Joel, however, was dissatisfied with the Velcro wristband because of an odor that developed after using it, Katz contends, noting that washing the wristband removed the odor, but diminished its functionality.
Katz asserts that other Forerunner 610 owners have had similar problems to her husband. A quick search of customer reviews of the Forerunner 610 on amazon.com shows complaints similar to those alleged in Katz’s suit.
"Defendants knew or should have known about the design and manufacturing defect of the Forerunner 610," Katz states in her suit. "Despite such knowledge, Defendants failed and/or refused to recall said Forerunner 610's, or replace said Plastic Watchbands for free, and failed to remedy the problem."
The suit claims that the allegedly faulty metal pins constitute a breach of contract, a breach of express warranty, a breach of implied warranty, violations of Illinois statutory law, specifically the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
It includes alternative claims that Garmin's use of the faulty metal pins in the device constitutes negligence, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.
Katz is seeking compensatory damages, punitive or exemplary damages, prejudgment interest and legal costs for herself and a proposed class. She is also asking that Garmin recall all Forerunner 610's and be barred from marketing and selling the unit as is.
Attorneys Louis Ludwig, Patrick Dahlstrom and Leigh Handelman Smollar of Pomerantz LLP in Chicago submitted the suit on Katz's behalf.
She originally brought the suit against Garmin in December, but it was dismissed because of a technicality regarding citizenship.