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From Products Liability Law Daily, February 24, 2014

Washing machine manufacturer’s challenges to certification of statewide classes of purchasers will not be reviewed

By Pamela C. Maloney, J.D.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review challenges to the certification of statewide classes of purchasers who alleged that front-loading washing machines manufactured and/or sold by Sears Roebuck and Co., Whirlpool, and BSI Home Appliances Corp. had a propensity to develop odors which the manufacturers/sellers failed to disclose (BSH Home Appliances Corp. v. Cobb, Docket No. 13-138; Sears, Roebuck and Co. v. Butler, Docket No. 13-430; In re: Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation (Glazer v. Whirlpool Corp.), Docket No. 13-431; February 24, 2014).

Background. The class members in the underlying actions claimed that Kenmore-brand high-efficiency washers, manufactured for the Sears Holding Co subsidiary by Whirlpool, Whirlpool's own-brand washers, and those manufactured by BSH, a subsidiary of Germany-based BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgerate GMbH, were defective in part because they had the propensity to develop biofilm, mold, mildew, and odors, resulting in property damage. Both the manufacturers and sellers of the machines had challenged the certification of the class on the ground that in each case, the statewide class’s lacked commonality.

Underlying decisions.  The Supreme Court’s decision lets stand decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in BSH Home Appliances Corp. v. Cobb; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Butler v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., and the U.S. Court of Appeals decision in In re: Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation (Glazer v. Whirlpool Corp.). With the issue of class certification settled, the class’s claims can proceed.

The case numbers are: 13-13813-43013-431.

Attorneys: Brian J. Murray (Jones Day) for BSH Home Appliances Corp.; Stephen M. Shapiro (Mayer Brown LLP) for Whirlpool Corp. Michael T. Williams. Michael T. Williams (Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP) for Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Companies: BSH Home Appliances Corp.; Whirlpool Corp.; Sears, Roebuck and Co.

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