Sunday, September 19, 2010

Class Action Against Whirlpool, Allegation of Fraud, That "Energy Star" Logo Doesn't Convey The Need To Run Extra Cycles To Clean Clothes

This post is a summary brief of a case. Follow the link to the case to read more.

In In re: WHIRLPOOL CORP. FRONT-LOADING WASHER PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION, CASE NO. 1:08-WP-65000, (N.D. Ohio September 15th, 2010), the Plaintiff's Complaint alleged Whirlpool had violated various state and federal laws in the marketing and sale of its front-loading washing machines because alleged defects in the machines lead to mold problems. The Plaintiffs also alleged violations of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, tortious breach of warranty, negligent design and failure to warn, breach of express and implied warranties, unjust enrichment, and fraud-based violations of numerous state consumer protection and deceptive trade practices statutes.

The Plaintiff's complaint alleged that the energy star logo on defendants products makes express representations about the quality of its washing machines, namely, that the washing machines sold are “High Efficiency” and they save water and energy. The complaint did not allege that these representations were false.  Instead, the Plaintiffs complaint stated that while labeling its products ENERGY STAR compliant, Whirlpool concealed the fact that customers would need to run extra cycles of hot water and other cleaning products to combat mold problems in the machines. 

The Defendant, Whirlpool Corporation, moved to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ fraud claims on the grounds that the claims (1) lacked particularity, (2) failed to allege any actionable false statement, and (3) were prohibited by the relevant state consumer fraud statutes as a matter of law. The Court denied Whirlpool's motion. The court found that the amended complaint was enough to assert an allegation for fraud.  The Defendant's motion was therefore denied.