Defective Products

Front Load Washers

washing machine

Issue: Allegedly defective washing machines

A settlement of the class action lawsuit relating to mold and odor problems in certain Whirlpool, Kenmore, and Maytag brand front-loading washing machines received final approval in 2016. Under the settlement, owners of affected washers could submit claims for compensation including a cash payment, a discount off purchase of a new washer or, if they paid out of pocket or to replace their washer due to mold/odor, cash reimbursement up to certain set amounts. The deadline for submitting claims was October 2016.

Consumers Charged Defects in Front-Load Washing Machines Lead to Mold and Mildew

Lieff Cabraser represented consumers in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and other states in cases relating to the presence of mold in front-loading washing machines sold by Whirlpool and Sears (the seller of Kenmore washers).

The complaints charged that certain front-load washers manufactured and sold by these companies were defective because they accumulate mold and cannot adequately clean themselves. As a result, the complaints alleged, these washers require extraordinary and expensive actions by consumers including running extra cleaning cycles, leaving the door open between use, and wiping down the washer after every use with bleach. The complaints further assert that the manufacturers wrongly failed to disclose the machines’ defect, and maintenance required as a result, prior to sale.

Front Load Washer Lawsuits: Specific Allegations

Consumers charged that their front-load washers have serious design defects that:

  • cause them to accumulate mold, mildew, and other biological debris
  • render them unable to clean themselves of this mold, mildew, and biological debris
  • produce an odor (from mold) that permeates the washing machines and the consumers’ homes
  • produce an odor on clothes and other items washed in the machines

The plaintiffs further alleged that although they and other consumers spent money for repairs and other purported remedies, none of those remedies actually solved the defect, which is inherent to these particular washing machines’ design.

Trademark Notice

“Whirlpool Duet,” “Whirlpool Duet Sport,” and “Whirlpool Duet HT” are registered trademarks of Whirlpool, USA. “Sears” is a registered trademark of the Sears Holdings Corporation. “Bosch” is a trademark of Robert Bosch, LLC. Any use of trademarks are for informational and product identification purposes only. Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, is not affiliated in any way with Whirlpool, USA, Sears Holdings Corporation, or Bosch.

BP Solar Panel Defect Litigation and Settlement

Family homes with solar panels

Result: $67 million settlement
Year: 2017

Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel represented California consumers in a class action lawsuit against BP Solar International (“BP”) and Home Depot U.S.A. (“Home Depot”) that charged that the companies sold solar panels with defective junction boxes that cause premature failure and a fire risk.

Final Approval Granted to Consumer Settlement

In January 2017, Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted final approval to the proposed settlement for consumers.

Plaintiffs alleged that the BP solar panels at issue were substantially certain to fail within their warranted lives due to an inherent defect in the junction box, the small casing on the back of the panel where soldered output cable connections are housed. Settlement Class Members with certain higher failure rate models, or with high failure rates in their arrays, will be eligible for complete replacement of their solar panels. Others will receive replacement of failed panels and a new inverter with advanced safety technology. Owners of large, non-residential systems will be entitled to a mediated commercial negotiation with BP, with extended opt-out rights. The Settlement thus helps eliminate any danger associated with these panels – either the allegedly faulty panels are removed or a state-of-the art inverter is installed.

“We are very pleased that after extensive litigation and strenuous negotiations, the parties were able to reach a settlement that provides significant and substantial relief valued at more than $67 million,” said Lieff Cabraser partner Robert J. Nelson, who helped negotiate the deal. “The Settlement eliminates all the uncertainty and risk in this complex class action matter, extends relief to a nationwide class, and provides that meaningful relief now, rather than the mere hope of relief many years in the future.”

Potential class members can visit the official settlement website at www.bpsolarsettlement.com for more information.

Honda Window Defects

Landscape behind car window

Issue: Faulty window regulator

Consumer Protection Lawsuit Charges Certain Honda Windows Are Defective

Lieff Cabraser represents Honda owners charging the company sold vehicles with a defective window regulator, the mechanism that moves side windows inside the door frame up and down.

Without warning, the windows can drop into the door frame and break or become permanently stuck in the fully-open position. Honda denies a defect exists in its window regulators and refused to pay for the expenses consumers incur in repairing their cars.

What occurred to one Honda owner we represent is typical of what many Honda owners have experienced. The driver’s side window slid down suddenly while he was driving on a smooth road. A few months later, the window on the passenger side of the vehicle also slid down into the door and would not move back up. The owner incurred more than $300 in repair costs, which Honda refused to pay for.

Lieff Cabraser attorney Jonathan Selbin commented on the case: “Not only did our clients complain to Honda about their failures at the time, but before we filed this lawsuit we reached out to and notified Honda of the problem and asked them to resolve it for everyone who has the vehicles. Honda never responded.”

Contact Lieff Cabraser

If the window system in your 2005 or later Honda Element, Honda Pilot, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, or Honda Odyssey has failed or become inoperable, please use the form below to contact an attorney at Lieff Cabraser to submit your complaint and to discuss potential claims.

The information you provide is important in assisting us learn of the full extent of the alleged defect in Honda windows. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your complaint.

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