SOURCE: King & Spalding

July 31, 2008 09:39 ET

King & Spalding Earns Major Appellate Victory for The Home Depot

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - July 31, 2008) - King & Spalding, a leading international law firm, earned a significant appellate victory for its client The Home Depot, Inc. in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. On July 28, 2008, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision granting The Home Depot summary judgment and dismissing the case.

The lawsuit centered on The Home Depot's sale of an optional damage waiver, which was offered to customers in connection with tool rentals. The plaintiff claimed that The Home Depot's practices with regard to this damage waiver were deceptive because, according to the plaintiff, the damage waiver did not provide any value to the consumer. The plaintiff sought to maintain his claim under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act on behalf of all individuals who purchased a damage waiver from a The Home Depot store located in Illinois. After discovery related to class certification, The Home Depot moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff's individual claim, and the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment of his own. Judge John F. Grady of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted The Home Depot's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case. Judge Grady held that the damage had value and provided the plaintiff with reasonable protection from liability.

On appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Court held that the "the plain language of the Rental Agreement demonstrates that the Damage Waiver does have value" and that "Home Depot is entitled to charge customers a price in exchange for its waiver of some of the customer's liability under the Rental Agreement." This result is a significant victory for The Home Depot in the damage waiver litigation. It is the first appellate decision addressing The Home Depot's damage waiver program, which has been challenged in a number of putative class action lawsuits across the country.

"The court's interpretation of this matter should set an undeniable precedent for still-pending lawsuits related to our damage waiver program," noted Will Barnette, Counsel for Commercial Litigation at The Home Depot. "This decision validates the purpose of the damage waiver program and we could not have hoped for a better result."

The King & Spalding legal team representing The Home Depot, Inc. on this matter was led by business litigation partners Dwight Davis and Stewart Haskins, both of the Atlanta office. Atlanta associates Tracy Braintwain, Jon Chally, Shannon Cox and Joy White also assisted on this matter.

About King & Spalding

King & Spalding is an international law firm with more than 800 lawyers in Abu Dhabi, Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Dubai, Frankfurt, Houston, London, New York, Riyadh (affiliated office), San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. The firm represents half of the Fortune 100 and in a Corporate Counsel survey in September 2007 was among the top firms representing Fortune 250 companies. For additional information, visit www.kslaw.com.

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