In re Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation

722 F.3d 838 (2013)

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In re Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
722 F.3d 838 (2013)

Facts

Purchasers of front-loading washing machines (purchasers) (plaintiffs) sued the manufacturer of the machines, Whirlpool Corporation (Whirlpool) (defendant), on theories of breach of warranty, negligent design, and negligent failure to warn for a design defect that promoted the growth of mold and mildew inside the machines. The purchasers claimed that Whirlpool knew about the design defects but continued to sell the machines without warning consumers of the propensity of the machines to incubate mold and emanate bad odors. The lawsuits were consolidated in the Northern District of Ohio, and the purchasers successfully moved for certification of a class action on the issue of liability. The court reserved the issue of damages for individual adjudication. Whirlpool appealed the order certifying the class, and the circuit court affirmed the certification. After an unsuccessful petition for rehearing, Whirlpool petitioned for a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court granted Whirlpool’s petition, vacated the appellate judgment, and remanded the case for further consideration in light of the ruling in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, which had reversed certification of a liability and damages class because the damages could not be measured on a class-wide basis. The circuit court reconsidered the district court’s certification of the liability class.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stranch, J.)

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