Samsung Washing Machine Recall Lawsuit Consolidation To Be Considered By JPML
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will hear oral arguments next month over whether to consolidate and centralize all federal lawsuits over recalled Samsung top-loading washing machines, which have been linked to reports of substantial property damage and injuries for homeowners.
There are currently at least 24 Samsung washing machine class action lawsuits filed by dozens of plaintiffs, which are pending in various U.S. District Courts nationwide.
Each of the complaints raise similar allegations that Samsung sold defective and dangerous washing machines, so the Panel will determine whether it is appropriate to transfer the cases to one judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings during an upcoming hearing on September 28, at the U.S. Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts.
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The litigation emerged following a Samsung washing machine recall first issued in November 2016, which impacted about 3 million top-loading units that were already in homes throughout the United States.
Samsung recalled the washing machines after at least 733 consumer reports indicated that they may begin to shake violently and break apart, exploding and causing projectiles to fly from the machines.
Since the recall, a steady stream of Samsung washing machine lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs nationwide, over the damages and injuries allegedly caused by the washing machines themselves, as well as class action complaints that allege the company’s efforts to compensate owners for the defective washing machines were inadequate, and appeared to be designed to force consumers to do more business with Samsung.
A motion to centralize the Samsung washing machine recall lawsuits was filed in June by Samsung, Sears and Lowe’s Home Centers, whom are all named as defendants in the various cases. The Panel has been asked to transfer cases pending nationwide to the Western District of Oklahoma to reduce duplicative discovery and avoid contradictory pretrial rulings from different courts.
At least nine injuries have been linked to the recalled Samsung washing machines, including a broken jaw and injured shoulder from a consumer being hit by pieces of the metal frames or struck while attempting to control the shaking washing machines. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), many of the reports also included incidents of property damage to surrounding walls and floors in laundry rooms.
Prior to the recall, a warning was issued on September 30, alerting consumers about the risk that Samsung machines may explode or break apart. The warning resulted in an investigation by both the CPSC and Samsung, which concluded that the impacted top-loading washing machines can lose balance at high spin speeds with heavy loads, such as bedding or bulkier water resistant items. When the loss of balance occurs, the machines may spin out of control, causing excessive vibration that may result in the top of the frame detaching from the chassis, posing an impact injury risk.
How Samsung handled the recall generated even more ill will among many consumers.
At the time of the recall, consumers were given three options: refund, replacement, or repair. However, many consumers have left comments on this website and social media complaining that Samsung is trying to force them to take the washing machine replacement option, or a discount towards a new machine that forces them to spend more money on the manufacturer’s products.
Many sought to receive a refund, but are complaining that they are being steered away from that option, or being offered pro-rated refunds based on the age of their machine. Some report they are only being offered a fraction of the original price of $450 to $1,500, even if their machine is only a couple of years old.
Consumers also report that the Samsung washing machine “repair” option is not acceptable, consisting of a sticker that is placed on the controls, blocking the more high-powered options, as well as reinforcing the lid. This leaves homeowners with a washing machine that does not have features they paid for, and many suspect they still have an unreasonably dangerous and defective product in their homes.
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