SCOTUS declines to hear moldy washing machine suits

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 24, 2014

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to take on the multiple class action lawsuits alleging defective front-loading washing machines and has allowed the cases to proceed in state courts.

The lawsuits alleged Kenmore-brand high-efficiency washing machines - which were manufactured by the Sears Holding Co., Whirlpool BSH - were defective in part because they emitted moldy, unpleasant smells.

Consumers claimed their high-efficiency front-loading washing machines did not properly clean themselves, which caused the moldy smells.

The legal issue before the Supreme Court justices was whether the individual claims were sufficiently similar to warrant class action certification.

The defendants argued the cases involved too many individualized issues to proceed as class actions.

The Sears lawsuit covers breach of warranty claims by consumers in California, Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota. The Whirlpool case involves Ohio consumers, and the BSH case involves California, Illinois, New York and Maryland consumers.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that said consumers could proceed as a group in the Whirlpool case. It asked the Sixth Circuit to reconsider its decision in light of another consumer class action involving Comcast.

In July, the Sixth Circuit affirmed its original decision and reinstated the class action against Whirlpool.

U.S. Supreme Court case numbers: 13-138, 13-430, 13-431

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at classactions@legalnewsline.com.

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