Electrolux agrees to settle dryer fire class action

By Kyla Asbury | Jun 18, 2014

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - Electrolux Home Products Inc. has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged its dryers caught fire because they were defective.

Electrolux agreed to pay up to $8 million in attorneys' fees, $1,300 per fire, a cash rebate to assist in the purchase of a replacement Electrolux-brand or Frigidaire-brand dryer or other home appliance up to a maximum of $350 off the price and an online code that can be used to purchase new products at up to a 20 percent discount from Electrolux's website, according to the settlement agreement filed April 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Class members will also be notified that they need to regularly clean the dryer lint and will get free cleaning services if they have problems within the first five years of ownership.

"The menu of options available through the settlement - all of which provide benefits that are uncapped by Electrolux, and allow the settlement class members to choose multiple options - provide fair and adequate benefits to the settlement class when considered in light of the litigation risks," the settlement document states.

The settlement applies to customers who bought Frigidaire, White Westinghouse, Kelvinator, Gibson, Tappan, Crosley and Kenmore ball-hitch dryers made between 2002 and 2011.

Electrolux has denied that its dryers are defective or that they pose an unreasonable fire hazard to consumers.

The company denies any wrongdoing but has agreed to settle the Electrolux dryer class action lawsuit to avoid the risk and expense of further litigation.

The settlement was preliminarily approved on May 5.

"The parties entered into the settlement agreement solely for the purpose of compromising and settling disputed claims," District Judge Christina A. Snyder's order states.

The lawsuit was first filed in 2012 after plaintiffs Shawn Roberts and Nicole Horton claimed the dryers allowed lint to accumulate behind the drum, putting it close to the machine's heat source and increasing its chance of catching fire.

Some of the fires spread to clothing in the dryer to travel through a plastic air duct, which provided more fuel and did not contain the fires, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claimed Electrolux was negligent, breached its express and implied warranties, was negligent in failing to recall or retrofit the dryers, breached its strict product liability, failed to warn the class members, was unjustly enriched and violated multiple state consumer protection laws.

The plaintiffs are represented by Edward A. Wallace, Amy E. Keller and Dawn M. Goulet of Wexler Wallace LLP; Gretchen M. Nelson of Kreindler & Kreindler LLP; Erin Dickinson and Charles Crueger of Hansen Reynolds Dickinson Crueger LLC; and Gregory F. Coleman and Mark E. Silvey of Greg Coleman Law PC.

Electrolux is represented by Michael T. Williams, Jessica G. Scott and Kenneth E. Stalzer of Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP; and Matthew P. Kanny and Noel S. Cohen of Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number: 8:12-cv-01644

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

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