The present ruling relates to a Class Action filed in bad faith. Since the Appellant acknowledged failing to take the preparation during the minimal period prescribed by the manufacturer is sufficient to cancel the standing of the Appellant as representing the class.
The Appellant purchased a preparation intended to strengthen the male libido. Prior to the Appellant finishing the prescribed course as detailed in the accompanying literature and as explained by the Supplier’s Helpline, the Appellant filed suit with the District Court claiming that the product is misleading, and requested that the case be considered as a class action.
The District Court refused to see this as a class action since the Appellant had no standing, and therefore could not represent the class.
Supreme Justice Danziger cancelled the Appeal without awarding costs to either party, and added that the need to test that the plaintiff behaves equitably is anchored in Section 8(a)4 of the Class Action Law. The ruling of this court does not indicate a general ruling of what is considered equitable behavior as far as Class Actions are concerned. In one case Inequitable behavior occurs when a case is filed due to false motivation, such as an intent to damage a competitor or to “squeeze a compromise”. In other instances, the mere fact that a plaintiff is acting commercially, looking to profit from the class action does not, in and of itself, indicate that he is behaving inequitably, however the plaintiff has to behave equitably during the hearing. This is significant where the plaintiff is representing a class and not merely himself and when a lawyer solicits plaintiffs for a class action.
In this instance, the District Court has determined, from the evidence before it, that the Appellant:
- recorded conversations with the service hotline of the vendor
- did not read the accompanying literature, tried the preparation for too short a period in direct contradiction of the instructions that he received with the preparation
- contacted a lawyer prior to finishing the course; filed suite 5 days after stopping the treatment
- via his attorney, submitted advertisements that were not related to his decision to take the treatment
These facts resulted in the District Court concluding that the plaintiff did not have standing in his own right and could therefore not represent the class of men with impotence issues due to a lack of standing.
The Court has concluded that the circumstances indicate that this is a rare case of someone initiating a Class Action inequitably, and contrary to Section 8(a)(4) of the Law. This conclusion is not based on the motive of the plaintiff, for one may be motivated by material gain, but by the inequitable behavior determined by the District Court. Simply not going the full course indicated by the manufacturer is sufficient to make the Appellant not appropriate to represent the class.
Oddly, and perhaps not inappropriately, this case was heard by three male judges, who agreed unanimously with the verdict.
4534/14 Appeal to Supreme Court, Eli Daniel vs. Direct Nature LTD
The Appellant, Eli Daniel, may not have had to pay compensation or costs, but, due to his actions, has entered the Israel legal text-books as having erectile dysfunction. Not the end of the world.
Substantively, the efficiency of all medicines, both classical and alternative (where there are active ingredients, as opposed to homeopathy) work to a greater or lesser extent in different patients due to personal physiology. A class of one is hardly a representative sample to test the efficiency of a treatment. There is a well documented placebo effect and presumably this works in both directions, so a patient lacking belief in a treatment is unlikely to see positive results. I assume that not everyone reacts the same way to aphrodisiacs, and there are large number of foods that are attributed as having both aphrodisiac and libido dampening effects. I understand that patients taking classical medical treatment for erectile dysfunction still need to feel aroused, and the medicine alone won’t work. I therefore wonder whether the treatment in question works some of the time and for some men. Certainly, there is no indication in this class action that this is not the case.