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Whirlpool Oven Defect Suit Denied Class Status |

Whirlpool Oven Defect Suit Denied Class Status

By
Perry Cooper


An expert witness’s “unclear and fluctuating opinions” doomed class certification
of a suit alleging Whirlpool ovens are defective (


Kljajich v. Whirlpool Corp.

, 2017 BL 154445, N.D. Ill., No. 15-CV-5980, 5/9/17
).

The witness didn’t identify any specific design defect that causes the ovens to overheat
and fail during self-cleaning, Judge Amy J. St. Eve wrote May 9 for the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Without expert testimony on the existence of a class-wide defect, individual questions
would overwhelm class proceedings, the court said.

The ruling means Whirlpool won’t have to face potential liability for the 2 million
allegedly defective ovens sold.

Only Two Ovens Tested

Consumers alleged Whirlpool’s Vision II platform wall ovens—sold under the brands
Whirlpool, KitchenAid and IKEA—suffer the same design defect that makes them unusable
when the self-cleaning function is run.

Professional engineer Albert de Richemond tested only the ovens owned by the two named
plaintiffs, which had already failed, before concluding that all 2 million ovens suffer
from a common defect.

That conclusion “leaves too large a gulf in analytical reasoning to qualify as reliable,”
the court said.

“Without a common cause, it is impossible to extrapolate from a particular oven’s
failure during self-cleaning to learn anything about all (2 million)
ovens,” the court concluded.

Onder, Shelton, O’Leary
Peterson LLC; and Sullivan Law LLC in Bloomington, Ind., represented the plaintiffs.

Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP represented Whirlpool.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at
pcooper@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at
spatrick@bna.com

For More Information

Full text at
http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Kljajich_v_Whirlpool_Corp_No_15CV5980_2017_BL_154445_ND_Ill_May_0.

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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