A federal trial court judge in New Jersey ruled recently that most of the product liability claims alleging that appliance giant Electrolux knowingly sold refrigerators with faulty ice-makers may proceed in court. In denying most of Electrolux’s motion to dismiss, the judge found that the plaintiff class representatives made sufficient allegations for a legal claim against Electrolux.
The product defect lawsuit arose from defective ice-makers contained in refrigerators sold by Electrolux. The defective ice-makers allegedly leaked water, damaged other property, and generally malfunctioned. The plaintiffs’ representatives claim in the lawsuit that Electrolux knew about the defects in the ice-makers, but continued to sell the refrigerators anyway. The plaintiffs also claim that Electrolux purposefully concealed the defects from its consumers and made only enough repairs on the ice-makers to get past the one-year express warranty mark on the refrigerators.
In its motion to dismiss, Electrolux argued that the lawsuit is barred by a New Jersey law which prohibits lawsuits like the plaintiffs’ lawsuit from being brought, because the complaint only alleges damage to the product itself. Electrolux also challenged the individual members of the proposed class as having legal standing to file the lawsuit because they did not buy the refrigerators with specific model numbers. The federal judge rejected Electrolux’s claims on the basis that the plaintiffs suffered economic damage in the form of food that was spoiled in the refrigerators, floors that were ruined, and property other than the refrigerators being damaged. The judge also stated that it is too early in the proceeding to dismiss members of the class based on the model numbers bought by plaintiffs.
Electrolux and the plaintiffs can now be expected to begin the lengthy and expensive process of pre-trial discovery with respect to the issues of the alleged defects in the refrigerators and whether the manufacturer knew of the defects when the refrigerators were sold.
If you or someone close to you has suffered personal injuries, or if a loved one has suffered a wrongful death, in an accident caused by a defective product, please call our Boston, MA product liability personal injury lawyers, Boston, MA accident injury attorneys or Boston, Massachusetts wrongful death accident attorneys, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 617-787-3700.
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