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.
“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.