In Sony Electronics, Inc. v. Superior Court, ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Nov. 28, 2006), which was published yesterday, the Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate District, Division One) reversed an order granting class certification of UCL, CLRA, and Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act claims, holding that the class, as certified, was not ascertainable. The trial court had certified a class consisting of: "All persons and entities who [bought certain Sony laptops] in which the memory connector pins for either of the two memory slots were inadequately soldered." Slip op. at 4-5. The Court of Appeal relied on the rule that a class must be defined in terms of objective facts, not in terms of liability:
Unfortunately, because there is no evidence showing that this alleged manufacturing defect is universal to all GRX Series Notebook computers, the class definition requires a merits-based determination in order to establish whether a particular GRX Series Notebook owner is a member of the class. The members of such a class are thus not readily identifiable so as to permit appropriate notice to be given and the definition would not permit persons who receive notice of this action to determine whether they are part of the class.
Id. at 12. The opinion concludes by directing the trial court "to conduct further proceedings on the issue of whether an alternative class is properly certifiable." Id. at 14.