ILNews

Owners of foul-smelling washing machines granted class certification by 7th Circuit

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has granted class certification to owners of odor-emitting Kenmore washers, allowing their lawsuit against Sears, Roebuck and Co. to go forward.   

In one ruling on two separate class actions against Sears, the 7th Circuit reversed the denial of certification of class regarding a mold claim and affirmed the grant of class certification regarding the control unit claim. The lead plaintiff in Larry Butler, et al., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Sears, Roebuck And Co., Nos. 11-8029, 12-8030, is a resident of Indiana.

Both class action claims arise from alleged defects in the Kenmore-brand Sears washing machines. The “mold claim” complains of a defect that causes a mass of microbes to form in the machine’s drum that creates mold which emits bad odors. The “control unit claim” complains of a malfunction in a computer device that causes the machine to stop even though nothing is wrong.

The 7th Circuit accepted the appeals in order to clarify the concept of “predominance” in class action litigation.  

For the mold claim, Sears contended since different models had different defects, the common questions of fact about the mold problem and its consequences do not predominate over individual questions of fact.

Conversely, the 7th Circuit found that the basic question in the litigation was “Were the machines defective in permitting mold to accumulate and generate noxious odors?” And this question is common to the entire mold class even though the answer may vary with the differences in the design of the machine. The individual questions are the amount of damages owed to particular owners of the washing machines.

In considering the question of predominance, the court found the class action procedure would be efficient not only in cost but also in efficacy. The stakes in an individual case would be too small to justify the expense of suing which means that denial of class certification would preclude any relief.

For the control unit claim, the court ruled it is more efficient to resolve the question of whether the washing machines were defective in a single proceeding than for it to be litigated separately in hundreds of different trials.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

  2. What a fine example of the best of the Hoosier tradition! How sad that the AP has to include partisan snark in the obit for this great American patriot and adventurer.

  3. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  4. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  5. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

ADVERTISEMENT