By  on June 10, 1994

DALLAS -- Tenants in the International Apparel Mart here have lost their certification as a class for a long-pending lawsuit, because the Leaseholders Association of the Dallas Apparel Mart was late in publishing a legal notice about the class action, as required by the state district court.

But while the legal controversy with the Mart continues, LADAM members say there now is considerable harmony between tenants and Mart management, and the group, which once threatened to leave the building for showrooms elsewhere, has dropped that proposal.

The class was certified in late 1991 and included all tenants of the Mart from 1982 through 1991. It was the result of a lawsuit filed in 1990 by LADAM and nine individual sales representatives against the Dallas Market Center, which owns the Mart. The suit sought an accounting of how utility and tax charges were calculated and aimed to have tenants of the Mart certified as a class.

An announcement of the impending class action ran May 31 in the Dallas Group III supplement to WWD, missing the March 8 deadline set by Judge Bill Rhea. On June 7, Rhea granted the DMC's motion to decertify the class and ruled that a retraction of the May 31 announcement had to be published June 9 and 10 in WWD and June 14 in the Dallas Morning News.

Jack Dowd, a principal in Dowd Bros., one of the nine individual plaintiffs and a member of LADAM, asserted that the suit for an accounting of utility and tax charges would continue. Now, however, the plaintiffs would include only the nine individuals plus LADAM, which has about 535 members, he said.

The DMC sees it differently. Marilyn Lahr, attorney for the DMC, maintains that LADAM can't represent its members in the suit. "It has not been authorized by the court to act on behalf of any of its members," she pointed out.

Lahr said the judge is expected to set a trial date within the next three weeks for the nine named plaintiffs. In addition to Dowd Bros., they include Flahavin Enterprises, Charles J. Dowd and Hector P. Dowd, Brilliant Sales, Jim Quist and Associates, Jacques de la Marre, Martha Foster Associates, Merle Gorman and Marcia Oliver Sales.

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