A federal appeals court has ruled that class status was properly granted to Ohio consumers who claimed they experienced mold contamination as a result of defectively designed Whirlpool front-load washers. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the lower court’s order in that regard. The case involved multidistrict litigation concerning alleged design defects in certain Duet-style front-load washing machines made by Whirlpool. The Plaintiffs are Ohio residents who alleged that the Duets fail to prevent or eliminate the accumulation of mold-causing residue, causing the growth of mold and mildew in the machines, ruined laundry and malodorous homes.

In opposing the certification of a class of current Ohio residents who purchased one of the specified Duets, Whirlpool argued that the incidence of mold problems was rare and that individual questions of liability precluded class treatment. But the Sixth Circuit concluded that the Plaintiffs met the federal requirements for class certification with respect to their claims for tortious breach of warranty, negligent design and negligent failure to warn. The Court said in its order:

Based on the evidentiary record, the district court properly concluded that whether design defects in the Duets proximately caused mold or mildew to grow and whether Whirlpool adequately warned consumers about the propensity for mold growth are liability issues common to the plaintiff class. These issues are capable of classwide resolution because they are central to the validity of each plaintiff’s legal claims and they will generate common answers likely to drive the resolution of the lawsuit.

We will continue to monitor this case and will update its status in future issues. The case is Glazer v. Whirlpool Corp., U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit , No. 10-4188.

Source: Lawyers USA Online

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