Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog

Court Rejects Attempt to Derail Class in Whirlpool Moldy Washer Case Set for October Trial

Jonathan D. Selbin, chair of the defective products practice group at the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced today that U.S. District Judge Christopher A. Boyko of the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland denied Whirlpool Corporation’s (NYSE: WHR) motion to decertify a class of Ohio residents who purchased certain models of front-loading Whirlpool Duet washing machines manufactured between 2001 to 2008 that developed mold.

“We are pleased that the Court rejected Whirlpool’s latest attempt to avoid a class-wide trial of its liability for selling the defective washers to consumers,” stated Selbin. “For years, Whirlpool has sought to escape accountability for selling millions of washers to American families that it knew developed mold, often in hidden recesses of the machines where consumers cannot see or clean it. Whirlpool also knew that everything about the washers’ care and use was different than the top-load washers consumers used without problem for decades– that they were, in Whirlpool’s own words, ‘not your mother’s washing machine.’ Moreover, Whirlpool knew that no matter what efforts the consumers made, the defective design causes mold and bacteria to grow and build-up in the machine.”

The Court reaffirmed an earlier holding in 2010 that plaintiffs had met their burden of proving that the class of consumers satisfied each of the requirements for a class action. Trial is presently scheduled to commence on October 7, 2014, in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Whirlpool to reverse the 2010 order.

The consumers allege that the washers are defective because they accumulate mold and require extraordinary and expensive maintenance to try to reduce the effects of that mold, such as running extra cleaning cycles, leaving the door open between use, and wiping down the washer after every use with bleach. They also allege that Whirlpool instructed them–only after purchase–that they needed to routinely buy another product sold by Whirlpool, Affresh™, to try to address the mold, at substantial cost to consumers and profit to Whirlpool.

Learn more about the defective front-load washer litigation.

About Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, is a sixty-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Nashville. Lieff Cabraser is committed to achieving justice for consumers, employees, patients, investors, and business owners; promoting safer products and fair competition; protecting our environment; assisting individuals blow the whistle on fraud; safeguarding the rights of patent and copyright holders; and remedying violations of the civil rights of citizens worldwide.

Source/Contact (for Media Inquiries Only)

Jonathan D. Selbin
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLPM
212 355-9500