Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 6, 2013, 6:30pm

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) -- A Wisconsin insurer sued Whirlpool Corporation, along with a Texas-based parts supplier, in federal court last week, for money it paid out to several policyholders for water damages to their homes.

Plaintiffs State Auto Insurance Company of Wisconsin, State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Company and State Auto Insurance Company, in their eight-page complaint against Whirlpool and Elbi of America Inc., claim defective valves in the appliances are to blame.

Whirlpool designed, manufactured, distributed and sold the appliances. Elbi manufactured and supplied the appliances' water valves.

In its Aug. 28 complaint, State Auto said it was forced to pay out more than $75,000 to or on behalf of its insureds for damages to property insured by the company and caused by the water losses.

"The Elbi Valves on the Whirlpool Appliances failed due to a manufacturing defect, causing significant water related property damage in the homes of the involuntary plaintiffs," according to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

"Upon information and belief, Whirlpool breached its duty of care by, among other things, negligently designing, manufacturing, testing, inspecting and/or distributing the Whirlpool Appliances.

"As a direct and proximate result of Whirlpool's negligent acts or omissions, the dishwashers leaked water in the homes of the involuntary plaintiffs, causing significant related property damage."

State Auto is seeking judgment against Whirlpool and Elbi in an amount to be determined, plus prejudgment interest, all taxable costs, fees and disbursements.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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