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7th Circuit reinstates smelly washer class actions

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Two class actions claiming Kenmore washing machines sold at Sears stores were defective were reinstated by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday after certification of the suits was vacated in June by the U.S. Supreme Court.

An Indiana man is the lead plaintiff in the both classes, Larry Butler et al. v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., 11-8029, 12-8030. The suits separately claim that design defects in front-loading washers sold between 2001-2004 create odor-causing mold or cause the machines to stop at inopportune times.

The SCOTUS ruling vacating class certification in the cases remanded the suits to the 7th Circuit on the basis of its holding in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426 (2013). There, justices determined that a suit may not be certified as a class action unless damages sought are the result of a class-wide injury.

In reinstating class certification in both cases in accordance with its November 2012 ruling, Circuit Judge Richard Posner wrote, “It would drive a stake through the heart of the class action device, in cases in which damages were sought rather than an injunction or a declaratory judgment, to require that every member of the class have identical damages. … (T)he fact that damages are not identical across all class members should not preclude class certification.

“There is a single, central, common issue of liability: whether the Sears washing machine was defective,” the 7th Circuit ruled.

Posner noted that the opinion harmonizes a Sixth Circuit ruling in light of Comcast in a similar mold class action regarding washers made by Whirlpool, which also manufactured the Kenmore machines. “The concordance in reasoning and result of our decision and the Sixth Circuit’s decision averts an intercircuit conflict,” Posner wrote for the panel.
 
 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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