Electrolux has entered into a settlement agreement after a class action lawsuit was filed against the home appliance manufacturer regarding clothes dryer fires. The company denied that the fires were caused by a defective productdesign, but it agreed to the settlement in order to avoid future litigation from claimants in Florida and elsewhere. The United States District Court for the Central District of California judge provided her preliminary approval for the settlement, which specifically declares that Electrolux is not admitting any fault.
According to the complaint, the dryer design permitted lint to be gathered around the dryer’s heat source, which in turn led to fires. It further alleged that the manufacturer used flammable plastic air ducts under the dryers’ drums and flammable plastic blower housings that made fires more dangerous. The dryers impacted by the lawsuit were those that had a ball-hitch design, which is a design that includes a rear drum-bearing shaft in front-load dryers. They were both gas dryers and electric dryers.
The lawsuit alleged that Electrolux was aware of the problem since at least 1998 but refused to do anything to prevent the fires from occurring. In fact, the lawsuit claimed that Electrolux continued to process thousands of claims regarding fires from 2000 and forward, including hiring engineers to investigate the defects and litigating hundreds of cases involving the alleged defects. When GE signed a contract with Electrolux, the claim alleged that GE insisted that the manufacturer fix the defect so that it could pass fire containment tests.
Individuals who have suffered injuries because of defective products may decide to join with other injured individuals as part of a class action lawsuit. They could discuss their case with a personal injury lawyer with knowledge of products liability claims to learn of available options.
Source: Plastics Today, “Electrolux settles dryer-fire class action“, Tim Somheil , June 27, 2014